Dead to sin, Alive to God

20 08 2008

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.” (Romans 8:13)

This verse puts before every one of us a matter of LIFE and DEATH. Don’t dismiss this if you value your soul! The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, says that if you DO THIS you will die; but if you DO THIS you will live. The path that leads to death is to live your life ACCORDING TO THE FLESH. The path that leads to life is to PUT TO DEATH THE DEEDS OF THE BODY BY THE SPIRIT. The text is talking about the Biblical doctrine of MORTIFICATION, which means “putting to death.” If you are a believer, you have been crucified with Christ. The OLD MAN is dead in principle, but you must also PUT TO DEATH the inclinations of the old sinful nature by faith in the pursuit of Christ’s righteousness. This is all part of the Spirit’s work of SANCTIFYING believers.

So, how do you know if you are mortifying the flesh? Here are a few things to check as you examine your heart before God…

BEFORE YOU COMMIT A SIN…

1. Do you have a strong desire to sin, so that you carefully plot and plan how to pursue it? Psalm 36:4 says of the unmortified sinner that “He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil.” In other words, his energy and effort is spent in preparing to sin. This is a sign of an unmortified heart.

2. Are you more eager to commit a sin when you are tempted than you are to resist it? A stream is known by the natural course that it follows. So is the human heart. When faced with a temptation, which is stronger: your desire to give in, or your desire to resist? Your honest answer will reveal the extent to which your flesh is mortified.

3. Do you pray often and consistently against the sins that you most often fall into? James tells us that we do not have because we do not ask (in prayer). If you don’t have victory over prevailing sins, could it be because you are not asking for victory? Your practice of prayer (or lack thereof) will also show you the state of your heart.

4. Does your desire for sin occupy your mind even when you are in the presence of God? What do you think about when you go to church and sit before the Word? Are your thoughts inclined toward Christ or do they drift here and there in the contemplation of sin? When the preacher is praying, what are you thinking about?

5. When you remember your former sins, does it move you to deep humility or does it spark a new desire to return to them? The heart that truly hates sin and is mortified will hate even the memory of past transgressions. But the unmortified heart will be stirred up to fresh lusts when prior sins are brought to mind.

6. Are you easily swept away by even the slightest temptations? How hard does Satan have to work to trip you? The more that your flesh is mortified, the higher will be your resistance against the motions of the flesh. Dead men have no reflexes. If the smallest hint of temptation provokes you to sin, the reflexes of the OLD MAN are still very much alive.

AFTER SINNING…

1. Do you find more joy in the pleasure of sin than you find sorrow for having fallen into it?

2. Do you get angry and defensive when a brother or sister tries to point out your sin in love?

3. Are you more careful to hide your sins from the eyes of men than to repent and be humbled before God?

These are some tests of the heart that will help you to determine whether you are on the path that leads to DEATH or the way that leads to LIFE. Remember, the putting to death of the flesh is BY THE SPIRIT. It isn’t in your own strength. If you are convicted by these things, call out to God for grace and strength to DIE to SIN and LIVE to CHRIST.

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