The Christian a Debtor not to the Flesh, But to the Spirit
Romans 8:12
Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

You take a wild briar from the hedge, and plant it in your garden; upon that briar you graft the choicest rose, and the result is — what? not two distinct identities, the briar flourishing as a briar, and the rose as a rose, nor the briar being completely absorbed into the rose, but two distinct natures forming one individuality, of which one represents the original individuality of the briar, while the other the imparted nature of the rose. This original individuality is only to be allowed to express itself through the imparted nature. All self-assertion on the part of the original briar stock, as distinct from the new nature engrafted upon it, is to be rigorously repressed. Neglect this process of repression, and the briar may make shoots below the graft; and as these shoots develop themselves the rose nature begins to lose ground, and suffers in foliage and flower, until, if the process be only allowed to go far enough, the rose is extinguished, the old briar is supreme. Yet observe: the briar itself is not repressed; it is allowed to develop itself in accordance with the laws of its own nature, but only through the rose. None of its personal rights or functions are to be interfered with; it is not to be robbed of the enjoyment of full vital vigour; but all this is to go to the production of a flower worthy of your garden, instead of the scanty and quickly-fading bloom of the hedge-rose. What is it that produces the standard rose? Not the rose without the briar; not the briar without the rose, but the rose and the briar united in one. In that standard rose, Christian, behold a picture of thyself if Christ is formed in thee! Thy individuality is not to be repressed; no healthy function of thy nature is to be laid aside. Yet is it necessary that you should be prepared to mortify the deeds of the body, or the old nature may assert itself apart from all reference to the new. "Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth." Do you ask how? I reply that the same Spirit which has already introduced the new nature, and united Himself, provides the pruning-knife. "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." We are debtors, not to the old briar-stock apart from the rose, for what did that ever bear that was worth gathering? what fruit had we but those things whereof we are now ashamed? the end of those things was death. But we are debtors, not only to that God whose sovereign love has made us what we are; not only to that Saviour who has redeemed us from the slavery of sin; not only to that Spirit who has condescended to make our body His temple; but we owe it to our new selves — that self into which the new Adam has been grafted, and wherein the new Adam claims to have His way; we owe it to that sense of harmony which pervades the once distracted elements of our nature; to that calm which has taken the place of our former disquietude; to that joy which has already furnished us with a foretaste of heaven; that we should be true to the instincts of our new life, and to the laws of our renovated nature! To forget this solemn debt is to turn our backs on all that makes life profitable, is to give ourselves over to spiritual bankruptcy; to recognise it and pay it with loyal and grateful devotion, is to secure boundless resources of infinite wealth. "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die"; and he who dies is stripped of all: "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live"; and he who thus lives, lives in the enjoyment of all.

(W. Hay Aitken, M.A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

WEB: So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

The Christian -- a Debtor
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