Pondering the Passages: Romans 8:9-17

This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.  12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

MetLife has a motto that this passage reminds me of…

7 times in these verses Paul uses the word “if.” I want to focus my attention on verse 13: For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. Paul is talking here about the “if ” in LIFE. John Owen, in his classic book The Mortification of Sin, made this comment about this verse:

“…the choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin…Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

Mortify – now there’s a word that you do not hear a lot these days. So what does it mean? Merriam-Webster defines it like this: “to destroy the strength, vitality, or functioning of “.

So as believers we are in a daily battle to destroy the strength and vitality of sin. Paul says that if we don’t do this we will die, i.e. we will be dead spiritually. But if we do battle sin and destroy it’s vitality then we will live. So how do we fight sin – in a practical sense? John MacArthur offers up these 5 suggestions as a way to start;

1) Recognize the presence of sin – not just in the world, but in YOU! Admit that you have a  problem. Sin dwells within you and it MUST be fought. It must be killed…. or it will be killing you little by little.

2) Fix your heart on God – This is one of the primary reasons that you should be strongly connected to a community of believers. We need each other in order to keep our hearts fixed on God. Without the regular encouragement from the preaching of the Word and corporate worship and small group fellowship our hearts are prone to wander.

3) Meditate on the Word of God – The Psalmist says, “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Jesus did battle against sin on the Mount of Temptation by wielding the Word of God as mighty weapon. This is why I love this whole pondering passages thing – because it MAKES me think intentionally on the Word. This is a good thing.

4) Commune with God in diligent watchful prayer – John Owen again wrote, “He who pleads with God for the remission of sin also pleads with his own heart to detest it.” Don’t just go through the religious exercise of prayer but learn to pray diligently. Learn to pray watchfully.

5) Cultivate obedience to the Word – As you read the Word and as you meditate on the Word and as you pray the Word – take it a step further and implement the Word in strategic practical ways. As James says, don’t just be hearers of the Word. Be doers of the Word.

Pretty good suggestions I think. And IF we take them to heart and IF we help each other practice them and IF we learn how to fight sin then we will undoubtedly take the IF out of LIFE and live boldly for the glory of God.

I’m just sayin’!

Next Week’s Passage: Romans 8:18-27

Next Week’s Memory Verse: Romans 8:18

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