Putting to Death Sin
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Putting to death the deeds of the flesh is brutally ruthless. The word that was used to describe this phrase means there should be a total annihilation and rejection of the sin that does not glorify God. It is declaring war against the sin that tempts us.
As a Christian, it means I don’t treat sin lightly because I know its effect on me. It can destroy marriages, relationships and bring a lot of mess in my life. It is such a big deal that God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.
Another way to put to death sin is to change the motivation to sin by remembering the gospel. (Keller, loc 274) Verse 12 tells us that we are debtors not to the flesh which means that I am no longer obliged to live in the flesh because I walk in the Spirit of God.
I have been redeemed, transformed by the grace of God. God gave me His righteousness. I am a new person in Christ. This is who I am. In my own life, I’ve seen how an understanding of who I am is the most effective way to fight sin and temptation. It is remembering whose I am rather than make a list of dos and don’t’s that makes me have the power to say no to sin.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive that the way to defeat sin in our lives is to remind ourselves that sin has already been defeated at the cross. We want more list to obey so we can measure if we are really putting sin to death rather than reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ and what He has done for me. Remind ourselves that I am not a debtor to the flesh.
“Paul is saying that sin can only be cut off at the root if we expose ourselves constantly to the unimaginable love of Christ for us. That exposure stimulates a wave of gratitude and a feeling of indebtedness. Sin can only grow in the soil of self-pity and a feeling of “owedness.” – Tim Keller, loc 274