Romans 8:12-17

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Text: Romans 8:12-17

OBLIGATIONS

INTRODUCTION:

In Romans 1:16-17 we have noted the theme of Romans. It is the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. The one who is made righteous by faith in Christ's finished work on the Cross at Calvary is the one who will have eternal life.

In Romans 1:18-3:20 we have seen that all humanity lacks righteousness.

In Romans 3:21-5:21 we have seen that righteousness from God is provided in Christ through faith.

In Romans 6 Paul deals with the union of the believer with Christ. In chapter 7 he deals with the conflict of the two natures, and in chapter 8 he deals with spiritual victory through the Holy Spirit.

We have see, in Romans 7:14-25 the inability of the flesh to have victory over sin.

In Romans 8:1-11 we have seen that victory over sin comes only by the power of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

In Romans 8:12-17 we see that we as believers have an obligation to live our lives according to the Holy Spirit rather than according to the flesh.

People often want privileges without obligations, but it doesn't work this way. They want a highly efficient government without the obligation of taxes. Thy want a social security system which totally meets the needs of the elderly, but they don't want the social security tax taken out of their paychecks. They want the peace and security we enjoy without the need of the armed forces. They want to drive on good roads, but they don't want to pay for them. They want to have money without having to work to earn it. They want to be esteemed very highly without having to pay the price to earn this esteem. They want their deposits in banks and savings and loan associations to be guaranteed, but they don't want to pay for this insurance.

We have seen that the Holy Spirit delivers from the condemnation of the flesh in 8:1-2, that the Holy Spirit delivers from the power of the flesh in 8:3-8, and that the Holy Spirit delivers from the power of death in 8:9-11.

As a result, we see some obligations we have and some privileges we enjoy in 8:12-17.

1. We are obligated to God the Holy Spirit to live our lives according to the Holy Spirit rather than according to the old sin nature.

2. We are obligated to mortify the deeds of the body.

3. We are privileged to be guided by God the Holy Spirit in our Christian lives.

4. We are privileged that we have been set free from sin and adopted into God's family and enabled to call God the Father our Father.

5. We are privileged to have God the Holy Spirit testifying to us that we are sons of God.

6. We are privileged as sons of God to be heirs along with Christ and heading for glorification together with Christ.

We see that -

I. WE ARE OBLIGATED TO THE HOLY SPIRIT TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT RATHER THAN ACCORDING TO THE OLD SIN NATURE - 8:12

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Therefore is emphatic and understood in the sense of so then.

Brethren is brothers and indicates that Paul regards his readers as fellow believers.

We are debtors means that we as believers have an obligation we must pay, but Paul never actually says what this obligation is.

He states negatively that we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. We do not owe the flesh (i.e. the old sin nature) anything.

The tense of to live indicates continuous or habitual action in the sense of to be living.

After the flesh is literally after flesh; and is understood in the sense of according to flesh, in accordance with flesh, or in conformity with flesh. We are not to be living in conformity with our old sin natures.

We must habitually refrain from living in conformity with flesh.

The reader would expect a positive contrast to be stated at this point introduced by but. However, the contrast is not actually stated.

The reader will have no difficulty, however, in reading between the lines and supplying what is lacking.

If the thought had been completely expressed, something such as but we are debtors to the Spirit to live after the Spirit would have been stated.

As believers we are obligated to the Spirit to live in accordance with the Holy Spirit.

We see life according to the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21 .

Galatians 5:19-21 - (19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

We see the result of living after God the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:16-17 and Galatians 5:22-23 .

Galatians 5:16-17 - (16) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (17) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Galatians 5:22-23 - (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

We also see that -

II. WE ARE OBLIGATED TO MORTIFY THE DEEDS OF THE BODY - 8:13

Romans 8:13 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.

If ye live after the flesh is a condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true. However, it is not true for everyone. If is, therefore, understood in the sense of assuming that. The condition is literally, Assuming that after the flesh (i.e. in accordance with flesh or in conformity with flesh) you are living.

The flesh refers to the old sin nature.

The tense of live indicates that its action is continuous or habitual. It is not a one-time slip; rather, it indicates one's continuous practice.

This condition is true for unbelievers, but it is not true for believers.

The result of living in conformity with the flesh, i.e. with the old sin nature, is that those individuals who do so are about to die.

Ye shall die is you are about to die. It indicates that the ones who habitually live in accordance with flesh have never been saved and will, therefore, spend eternity in hell. Their true character is demonstrated by their deeds.

A mild contrast is introduced by but.

If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body is also a condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true.

This condition is likewise not true for everyone. If is again understood in the sense of assuming that. It is assuming that by means of the Spirit the deeds of the body you put to death.

Through the Spirit is by means of the Spirit and refers is to God the Holy Spirit.

Ye . . . do mortify means you put to death or you are putting to death. Its tense indicates continuous or habitual action; and it refers to the steady, normal practice of these persons rather than to a single isolated act.

The deeds means the acts or the actions.

Of the body is another reference to the flesh, i.e. the old sin nature. It is in the body that the actions of the old sin nature take place.

The deeds of the body might be the deeds belonging to the body, but it is probably the deeds produced by the body, i.e. by the old sin nature.

This condition is true for believers, but it is not true for unbelievers whereas the first condition in this verse was true for unbelievers but not for believers.

The conclusion of this second condition is ye shall live. Those who are habitually putting to death the deeds produced by the body shall live. This refers to eternal life.

It does not mean, however, that one can earn eternal life by putting to death the deeds of the body; rather, the one who is genuinely saved will, by means of the Holy Spirit, be habitually putting to death the deeds of the body. This demonstrates that he already has eternal life. His actions will be demonstrating his true character.

Colossians 3:5-10 - (5) Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (6) For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: (7) In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. (8) But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. (9) Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (10) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.

The man in Christ is not in the flesh, but the flesh is still in him. It's like the thought that you can take the boy off the farm, but you can't take the farmer out of the boy. The problem of salvation is not how to change the flesh every day without being overcome by it. The presence of the Holy Spirit solves this problem.

The flesh cannot be destroyed in this life, but its deeds can be mortified or put to death.

What does this imply for someone who claims to have been saved years ago but whose life has never changed. It shows that the Holy Spirit is not working in his life and brings the genuineness of his salvation into question.

Furthermore, we see that -

III. WE ARE PRIVILEGED TO BE GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE - 8:14

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Verse 14 is written in explanation of verse 13 as indicated by for. Another possibility is that verse 14 is written in order to provide the reason for verse 13. If so, for should be understood in sense of because.

As many as is all those who.

Are led is are being led and speaks of an ongoing situation.

The term translated by the Spirit in verse 14 was translated through the Spirit in verse 13. In both cases it is best understood in the sense of by means of the Spirit.

Of God leaves no doubt that this is God the Holy Spirit and demands that Spirit in verse 13 also be understood as the Holy Spirit rather than the individual's own spirit.

There is also no doubt that the ones intended by as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the same ones, who in verse 13, through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body. Both phrases refer to the same people.

They (literally these {ones}) refers to as many as are led by the Spirit of God.

Something true of all sons of God is that they are led by means of the Holy Spirit of God. This further substantiates what was stated in verse 13, that the evidence of one's salvation is that he will be habitually putting to death the deeds of the flesh. There will be an ongoing, gradual movement away from sinful practices in his life if he is genuinely saved.

Moreover, we see that -

IV. WE ARE PRIVILEGED THAT WE HAVE NOT BEEN REDUCED TO SLAVERY WITH THE RESULT THAT WE SHOULD FEAR BUT THAT WE HAVE BEEN SET FREE, ADOPTED INTO GOD'S FAMILY, AND ENABLED TO CALL GOD OUR FATHER - 8:15

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Verse 15 is intended to explain as is indicated by for, and it is best to connect it with verse 12 where Paul stated that we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Ye have not received is you did not receive.

The spirit of bondage is a spirit which produces slavery.

Again refers to the time before the believer was saved when he was a slave to sin. He has not once again received this slavery to sin. He is rid of slavery to sin forever.

To fear indicates the end or goal and is used in the sense of for fear or unto fear. Believers have not again received a spirit which produces slavery with the result that they should fear.

But introduces a strong contrast.

Ye have received is the same word used at the beginning of the verse. It sums up what all believers received at the time of their salvation, and it means you received.

Instead of a spirit which produces fear, believers received the Spirit of adoption, another reference to God the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of adoption is a Spirit Who produces adoption.

Adoption implies that, prior to our salvation, we were not part of the family of God, but that, at the time of our salvation, we were adopted into the family of God, with the result that we are now God's children.

In addition, we see that -

V. WE ARE PRIVILEGED TO HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT TESTIFYING TO US THAT WE ARE SONS OF GOD - 8:16

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

The Spirit itself refers to the Holy Spirit. It means the Spirit Himself. Although God the Holy Spirit is personal, the Greek word spirit is neuter. The translators merely retained the gender of the word spirit with the word itself.

Beareth witness with is is testifying with, is testifying in support of, or is confirming.

With our spirit is with our individual spirits or with the spirit of each of us.

Our is plural, whereas, spirit is singular. It does not mean that we all have the same spirit; rather, it means that we all as individuals have a spirit.

What the Holy Spirit is confirming is that we are the children of God, i.e. that we are God's children.

Finally, we see that -

VI. WE ARE PRIVILEGED AS SONS OF GOD TO BE HEIRS ALONG WITH CHRIST AND HEADING FOR GLORIFICATION TOGETHER WITH CHRIST - 8:17

Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

And continues the thought from the previous verse.

If children is a condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true. Inasmuch as this condition is actually true for all the children of God, if is understood in the sense of because, since, inasmuch as, or in view of the fact that.

Of God from the previous verse should be supplied with children, and we are should also be supplied by the reader so that, if Paul had completed the phrase, it would read, Because (i.e. since, inasmuch as, or in view of the fact that) we are children of God.

Since the condition is true, the conclusion, then heirs, is also true.

Then heirs is literally also heirs, and we are must again be supplied so that the completed phrase would be, We are also heirs.

The fact that we are children of God means that we are going to be heirs of God along with Christ.

I Peter 1:3-5 - (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, (5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

If so be is if indeed, if after all, since, or since indeed. It does not suggest a condition for our inheritance which may or may not be fulfilled; rather, it indicates something that is definite. Just as Christ suffered for us, we also will suffer with Him.

That suggests in order that or for the purpose that.

We suffer with him, i.e. with Christ, in order that we may also be glorified together with Him or in order that we might share in His glory.

CONCLUSION:

We are privileged to be the Sons of God. However, as the sons of God, we are obligated to live according to the Holy Spirit and to mortify the deeds of the flesh. How are you doing? What steps might you take to do better?

Are you sure you are really saved?