Select Page
Read Introduction to Romans


13 For if you live according to the flesh [according to the dictates of the sin capacity] you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.



The opposite of living according to the standards of the flesh is living according to the Spirit, with equally true results.

if [and it is true] by the Spirit

The “if” indicates that it is true that Christians live by the Spirit. We cannot live the Christian life by self-effort. “By the Spirit” refers to the power of the Spirit. No one can overcome the corruption of the sin capacity by operation bootstraps but only by the power of the Holy Spirit. The putting to death of the flesh is to be done by the Spirit. The flesh and the Spirit are incompatible.

you put to death [present tense] the [mis]deeds of the body,

“Put to death” is in the present tense—“are putting to death.” We must deal with the struggle with the flesh on an ongoing basis. Sustained effort is necessary to deal with the flesh. There is no one swooping answer to the flesh. This is something that must be done daily.

Ro 6:11, Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is necessary for the believer to put to death the sin capacity over and over again.

you will live [temporally in abundant life].

True living the life of God will occur when we deal with sin in our lives. We cannot live the life of the Spirit by allowing the flesh to control us. Those who deal with the sin issue in their lives hear the voice of their Savior. These people will enjoy holiness and the glory of the Christian life.


Christians keep eternal values in view because of the indwelling Spirit.


It is we who live the Christian life. We do not have the power in ourselves to execute that life. The goals we seek are the principles that rule us. Our objective is what gives us incentive. It determines how we live. It will influence our choices. If Jesus died for us, that should determine how we live. Privileges involve obligations.

Christians have a choice between “you will die” and “you will live.” We must choose between life in the flesh and life in the Spirit. The necessity of holiness before God is absolute; we can never separate justification from sanctification.

Christians must deal with sin radically. It is not something we can play with. It is the energy of the Spirit, not the power of human choice, which enables the believer to deal with the flesh. If we do not kill sin, it will kill us.

Life in the Spirit and in the flesh is incompatible. The one precludes the other. There is a life that is death and there is a death that is life. Those out of fellowship can never enjoy their spiritual lives. They will exist like those without Christ.

It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the Christian can resist sin. Our sin capacity sets its will against the Spirit and contrariwise the Spirit sets Himself against the flesh (Ga 5:17). Those who “walk” in the Spirit have a special dynamic in their lives for dealing with sin (Ga 5:18). The filling of the Spirit is when a believer is under the control of the Spirit (Eph 5:18). This kind of believer makes no provision for the sin capacity toward sinful lusts (Ro 13:14).