Debt-free to the Flesh

The United States debt-ceiling crisis of 2013 is part of an ongoing political debate in the United States Congress about the appropriate level of government spending and its consequential impact on the national debt and debt ceiling. On 12 March 2013, debt held by the public was approximately $11.856 trillion or about 75% of GDP. The national debt is one of the biggest political contentions today. Debt obligates the country to repay those borrowed funds. When you are indebted to someone or some entity, that party somewhat owns you. For that matter, when we are individually indebted to someone, we too are obligated to that party.

In Romans 8, the matter of who you are indebted to is Paul’s point to the people. As a believer, the most important question revolves around to whom are we obligated. Paul, in his effort to guide the people, identifies the two options: the flesh or the Spirit. Listen to what he says,

“12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

Paul makes it clear that our obligation is not to the flesh but to the Spirit. Reflect on the outcome of living according to the flesh – you will die, but if you live by the Spirit, you will live. We see the comparison/contrast just as we did in The Spirit brings Life and Peace. The comparison lies between living by the flesh versus living by the Spirit.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are debtors to Christ and to the Spirit; therefore, we owe our lives to Him. As a servant of Christ, we have no right to run our own lives but to Him as Lord. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul shares this same  thought to the Corinthians. He says, “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Since we were bought at a price, the price of an incarnate Christ who subjected Himself to that which He created. He suffered and died for us. We are obligated to Him. We are indebted to Him for our freedom from sin. If we have been freed from the sinful nature, why would we again allow ourselves to be bound by sin again; therefore, Paul says “So I say, walk by the Spirit,and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

It reminds me of A Debtor to Mercy, a song by Upward: The Bob Kauflin Hymns Project by Sovereign Grace Music .

A debtor to mercy alone
Of covenant mercy I sing
I come with Your righteousness on
My humble offering to bring
The judgments of Your holy law
With me can have nothing to do
My Savior’s obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions
From view

The work which Your goodness began
The arm of Your strength will complete
Your promise is yes and amen
And never was forfeited yet
The future or things that are now
No power below or above
Can make You Your purpose forego
Or sever my soul from Your love

My name from the palms of Your hands
Eternity will not erase
Impressed on Your heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace
Yes I, to the end will endure
Until I bow down at Your throne
Forever and always secure
Forever and always secure
Forever and always secure
A debtor to mercy alone


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