Expose’ On Romans 8: 12-13

By Brother Eric Nelson

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

Paul is talking directly to a combined church comprised of both Jew and Gentile cultures----some of the Jews had received the Holy Ghost when all that was necessary to be saved was to believe that Jesus Christ was the long awaited JEWISH MESSIAH. When Gentiles started receiving the same Holy Ghost it caused a lot of confusion----because the JEWISH MESSIAH had only been given to the nation of Israel NOT the Gentile nations. God raised up apostle Paul in order to let the world know that the world was now under a different spiritual dispensation----which Paul referred to as 'his gospel' aka.: the gospel of grace----where all that was necessary in order to receive God's Spirit----whether Jew or Gentile----was to believe----on an individual basis----that Jesus Christ had died for their personal sins and then God Almighty raised Him from the dead for their personal justification.

Many of the Jews remember Paul when he was infamously known as Saul of Taurus aka.: The Jesus Only Antagonist. Many of these Jews had received God's Spirit under the New Testament Pentecostal program, while yet others had received God's Spirit under the gospel of Grace program----yet there were also Orthodox Jews among them who were not yet saved----as well as saved and unsaved Gentiles. Paul walks a fine line in addressing all of these factions.

Usually when Paul wrote to a church within a certain region there could be many, possibly hundreds, of congregations within that region, yet Paul always referred to them as one single church. This is very similar to today’s standard’s as far as churches within a certain town or city that are associated with one another----perhaps through denominational affiliations, or just through common shared beliefs in the Word of God.

Romans the 8th chapter is a continuation of Romans the 7th chapter. Paul is explaining to the saved Jews----with slight emphasis on the unsaved Jews----and he is explaining to them why they are no longer obligated to concern themselves with trying to walk with God through the letter of the Jewish law aka.: a performance based acceptance system.

The Old Testament covenant was a covenant of death & condemnation. {2nd Corinthians 3: 6-9 “Who hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.”}.

The ministration of death is why Paul refers to death so often in Romans the 7th chapter. Paul was not talking about dying and going to hell. Paul was using the idiom of death to describe how devastating trying to please God in one’s flesh actually is-----this can only be done by attempting to walk with God by way of stringent rules, regulations and hardcore legalities aka.: the Jewish law. Paul is trying to describe how devastating this mindset is to the born again believer who has been saved by God’s Grace. Paul was letting them know they are now under the auspices of a brand new spiritual program known as Grace. Therefore, it is no longer plausible to even try to walk with God in one’s flesh which can only be done by serving the old letter of the law.

When Paul referred to death he was using an idiom. For example: If someone were to tell you that they once ate a chocolate ex-lax candy bar and it tore them up. Clearly they do not mean that the chocolate ex-lax candy bar physically started tearing away at their flesh and ripped them into a million pieces. (The meaning is very clear what they actually meant. LOL!).

{Romans 7: 1 “Know ye not, brethren, for I speak to them that know the law.”}. Clearly Paul is addressing the Jewish faction of the audience.

In these next few verses of scripture please take special note how Paul referred to himself as dying or used the word death in this regard.

{Romans 7: 9 “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”}. Paul is letting his (Jewish) audience know that he, like them, tried to walk with God, after he was saved by Grace----by trying to keep the Jewish law. {Romans 7: 10-11 “And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment deceived me, and by it slew me.”}{Romans 7:13 “Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good;}.

These next few verses tell us that Paul was dealing with these personal struggles after he got saved. {Romans 7: 15-25 “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me in captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord”…….}.

In Romans 8 Paul is talking about sanctification in reference to saved believers NOT lost sinners. When Paul stated in Romans 8: 1----There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit (aka. God’s Grace) Paul was referring to the Old Testament Jewish laws vs. the brand new laws concerning life and freedom in the Spirit. {Romans 8: 3----For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh…..}{Romans 8:5----For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh (aka.: the Jewish law); but they that are after the Spirit (aka.: God’s Grace) the things of the Spirit.}. Remember Paul is writing mainly to born again believers with slight emphasis on orthodox Jews who were attending Christian churches. Paul now turns the tables and uses the word death in the same vernacular (or idioms) that he used repeatedly in chapter 7. {Romans 8: 6-9----For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God (aka.: the spiritual law of God not the fleshly performance based law of the Old Testament) neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you (If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you----Is a direct statement in regard to the unsaved orthodox Jews and Gentiles. Paul is basically trying to encourage them to get saved by letting them know that unless they receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost they do not belong to Christ in the first place.). Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

{Romans 8: 12-13----Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh (aka.: the Jewish law) to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit (aka.: gospel of Grace) do mortify the deeds of the body (aka.: trying to walk with God from within the power of your fallen sinful flesh or human efforts), ye shall live.}.

Again, this is a continuation of the same discussion from chapter 7 where Paul referred to himself as dying numerous times. He is now using the same word play concerning the word death as it relates to his Jewish audience. {Romans 8: 15----For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; (In the Old Testament they feared God. If they performed adequately enough they were blessed. If they missed the mark they were cursed.); but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father.}.

These next passages of scripture tell us exactly why trying to walk with God by following the old Jewish covenant is so devastating to a born again believer.

(Remember: Paul lost his life trying to stop orthodox Jewish teachers from placing both his Jewish and Gentile converts under the Old Testament covenant. The apostasy that Paul fought against, even to the point of death, is still prevalent to this very day. {Romans 7: 12-13----Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.}. In other words, the more you try to walk with God in the strength of your own human flesh (The only way this can even be attempted is by attempting to follow stringent rules and regulations.) the MORE you will sin!!!!!!!!!!! The Jewish law was designed to expose sin. The law actually stirs up sinful desires in mankind! Man was never meant to be able to keep the law successfully----that is a distinct impossibility due to man’s sinful flesh. The law was simply designed to prove to a sin sick world how desperately we needed, and still need, a Savior. {Romans 3:20---Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.}{Romans 5:20----Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:}{Romans: 6: 14:----For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.}{1 Corinthians 15: 55-56----O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.}.

The reason so many Christians are so full of bitterness, anger and resentment is not because God does not love them. It’s because they think that they must earn God’s love by their conduct and by doing good works. When Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”, He was not talking to those who were tired from working their secular jobs. He was talking to people who were under the burden of the law. He was talking to those who were laboring under the law to please God. He was telling them to cease from their self-efforts and to allow Him (the Savior) to give them rest.

The Reason For the Epsitle To The Romans

The Reason Paul Wrote the Epistle To the Romans