Sunday, May 22, 2016

Believers are Not in the Flesh ~ Romans 8:9-13

How can we not be in the flesh? It sure seems like we are in the flesh, yet the Word tells us that believers are not in the flesh. What does this look like in the Christian's life? 

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. {Romans 8:9} No believer is ever in the flesh. This is not a description of one's walk, but of the seat of one's life. The natural man's life emanates from the flesh and cannot do other. The believer's life emanates from the Spirit and cannot do other. The believer was circumcised out of the flesh when he was buried with Christ into His death. All believers are positioned in the Spirit. The source of the believer's life is no longer the flesh; it is the Spirit of God. The missing factor in every natural man {all children born into this world} is the Spirit of God. The human spirit is sufficient to express humanity, but not sufficient for humanity to express God. The Spirit of God restored to humanity is humanity enabled to fully express humanity. Where the Spirit does not dwell, Christ does not dwell, and there is no life, just carnality. 

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. {Romans 8:10} If you are saved, Christ is in you. If Christ is in you, your body is dead to sin. If Christ be in you, two things are true, set one over against the other: 1) The body is dead; 2) The Spirit is life. In Christ our human body is dead. That which was crucified in Christ is that which the believer shares. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" {Galatians 2:20}. Experience would never teach that the body is dead and free from sin. The gospel of Christ is supernatural. God defines reality in His own terms, not ours. God condemned sin in the flesh by terminating the place where sin resides - the flesh {the message of Romans 6}. The Spirit of God has become, not just the source, but the very life of the born-again believer. 

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you {Romans 8:11}. We have a guarantee. If the same Spirit dwells in us that dwelt in Christ when He raised from the dead, we can expect the exact same treatment. Having become a recipient of the work of Christ on the cross, we are assured of a continuing work. The word quicken, as used in the New Testament, is reserved for that act of resurrection wherein the mortal body is raised from the dead. 

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. {Romans 8:12, 13} We who are dead in trespasses and sins were placed into Christ and quickened in his quickening. We owe all. We must give all. If a believer could not do other than walk after the Spirit, it would be a waste of breath and paper to make a command or give a warning. The believer in the Spirit should walk after that Spirit. If he doesn't, he comes under temporal condemnation. Here is a warning that brethren who live after the flesh will die. It is most appropriate that if one should live after that which is dead, he should himself die. This death is the sin unto death of the believer whereby his body is killed in order "that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" {1 Corinthians 5:5}. A believer is a debtor {duty bound} to walk consistent with his position. The warning is that if a believer does not choose to walk after the spirit, he will be killed by God.

Fellowship with the Spirit {the saved state} is still essential to overcoming the flesh. The regenerated man cannot depend on the renewal itself to deliver him; he must conquer through active participation with the Spirit. The believer does not have the responsibility to crucify his flesh. The flesh of every believer is as crucified and as dead as the flesh of Christ. The believer is crucified, his flesh dead, yet it appears quite alive. There are two worlds: the world of the flesh - of the seen, and the world of the Spirit - of the unseen. If we believe our outer experience, we will be no better off than the unregenerate of Romans 7. If we believe God, we experience a miracle of sanctification and deliverance from sin's power. We are not told to believe that the body of sin is dead apart from Christ, but in Christ. The death of the flesh is a divine reality. Faith has hold of that objective truth, and when we experience that freedom from the flesh, it is called mortifying the deeds of the body. Mortifying is not creating reality, it is faith appropriating a reality already accomplished in the work of Christ. The implication is that if a believer does not mortify the deeds of the body, he will be killed, in the flesh, prematurely.

"If you do not die to sin, you shall die for sin. 
If you do not slay sin, sin will slay you." 
{Charles Spurgeon}

*The series begins HERE.
***From Michael Pearl's teaching with some of my thoughts.