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. (ESV)
We know that there is a radical difference that takes place when one comes to faith in Jesus Christ. We become a completely new creation. The old has gone, the new has come. What happens with our sinful nature? Do we become perfect instantaneously at salvation? What do we do with our sin nature? Will it ever go away?
There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that we will struggle with sin for the rest of our lives. This sinful nature is what Paul described in detail in Romans Chapter 7. Paul himself, although he was an Apostle, struggled with his flesh. In his spiritually renewed mind he desired to do what was right, but his flesh did not cooperate.
The good news is that we have been given a helper in the midst of our struggle. Paul tells us in our verse today that it is by the Spirit that we are to put to death the deeds of the body. If we try in our own strength to put to death the deeds of the body we will fail. It is by the power of the Spirit of God living in us that we can put to death the deeds of the body.
If we live according to the flesh we will die. This is the description of someone who does not know God. They live according to the lustful dictates of what the flesh wants. The believer in Jesus Christ is one who knows that they belong to God, and that they are in a constant battle with the flesh. The Spirit is there to enable them to put sin to death. It is a battle that will be won when we are in Heaven.
How goes your battle with the flesh? Have you been winning or losing? Do not rely on your own strength. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Daily. Hourly. Every moment. He is your strength.