Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. Romans 8:12
“Therefore” is given as a summary of verses 9-11. Because of these things, “Therefore…”
After stating this he speaks to his audience, which includes us, as “brethren.” In this, he is showing the bond of family which is formed by the union with the Spirit who dwells in each person who has called on Christ. We are now in a familial relationship, one which continues in the language of believers around the world today – “Hello Brother Steve.”
Therefore, brethren, because of those things I just relayed to you, “we are debtors.” He then explains this in what may seem a rather unusual way. He says, “not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.” He uses a negative term to describe our debt.
This would be like explaining all of the good things somebody named Alex did for you by getting you off of drugs, and then turning around and saying, “You are a debtor (because of all these good things) not to Mark – to live and work for Mark.” Mark was your drug supplier and if you had stuck with him, then you would have eventually died, having given him what you own and in the end, thrown your life away as well.
This is what Paul is saying here. Therefore, we are debtors (as described to us in the preceding verses) – not to the one we once served. We are in fact debtors to God for the work of God in Christ. Through Christ in us, our body is dead because of sin, but our Spirit is alive because of righteousness. We are now truly alive in Christ. So why would we pay a debt to a dead body? It would make no sense. If we pay our debt to someone who is dead, then only death is the result. If we pay our debts to the One who lives in us, then the payment is accounted to that life.
This concept will be built on in the verses ahead and will culminate in some of the most glorious verses of the magnificence of life in Christ.
Life application: Believers in Christ are in a fallen body, but bear the sealing of the Holy Spirit; we are made alive in Christ. If existence implies a debt is owed, and it does, then who are we debtors to? Think it through – if our physical bodies are animated and yet dead, but our spirit is made alive in Christ, then to which should the debt be paid? We are debtors not to the flesh – to live according to the flesh, but to the Spirit – to live according to the Spirit. Let us think on this with every action we take.
Lord Jesus, You saved me from the pit and have set me in broad spaces. Now be with me as I learn Your word and endeavor to live according to its precepts. Help me not to misuse the intent of Your word, but to walk rightly and with pure doctrine. Lead me, guide me, and instruct me in the beautiful pages of the Bible. Amen.