Living In The Flesh
Romans 7:5 (ESV) — For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.
When I graduated from Army Basic Training, in many ways, I was a new man. My family recognized the growth and maturity. My future wife noticed it—it’s one of the reasons she finally dated me. The military brought a transformation of character, mindset, habits, and work ethic in my life. Was I the same person? In some ways, yes. It was still me. My DNA was the same as when I went in to Basic Training. But in some ways, no. I was not the same guy. Something shifted in me and I could not go back to what I was before.
This illustration captures some of what today’s passage points us to. Paul says, “For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.” At conversion, we are born again. Our hearts are changed. In some ways, we are a brand-new person. But in other ways, we are the same “us” as before. The old us, or as theologians have called it “the old man,” still lurks in us. That old man is our flesh.
The flesh is a real battle for Christians. We still have desires, habits, and inclinations that need to be transformed and matured. We still revert to sinful tendencies in our bodies and souls. Paul says that while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions were at work in our bodies to bear fruit. We are no longer in the flesh. The battle we face is to put to death those sinful impulses in our passions. If we do not put to death those impulses, and fight against the reality of indwelling sin, they will bear bad fruit in our actions and lives.
The Christian life is an ongoing battle to fight indwelling sin. We need to read the Word each day. The Scriptures bring transformation of mind and heart. We need to pray and ask the Lord to help us, strengthen us, and lead us not into temptation. We need other believers. The church of Jesus is a gift to us. Believers are to help one another battle against sin and fight the good fight of faith. We need to walk by the Spirit. If we walk by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Do battle, friends. Put sin to death, and live holy to God.
Reflection & Journal:
- What is indwelling sin? Do believers still have this?
- What are examples in our life where indwelling sin manifested itself?
- How do Christians fight indwelling sin and put it to death?
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