Sin and Death, or Grace and Life
Romans 8:13
For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.


1. To live "after the flesh" is to obey the orders of our corrupt nature; to gratify its sinful desires without regard to or in contradiction of the will of God. And this will appear if we consider —

(1) The actions of a carnal man (Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:12; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 6:10).

(2) His words (Matthew 12:34; Ephesians 5:4; James 3:6).

(3) His thoughts (Proverbs 23:7; Matthew 15:18; Psalm 10:4; Philippians 3:19; 1 John 2:15).

2. Now, mark the consequence of living after the flesh; "ye shall die I" (ver. 6; 1 Timothy 5:6; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:2). What else could be reasonably expected? There are but two eternal states, and every man is training up for one of these. The carnal man is unfit for heaven; for all the joys and employments of the blessed are spiritual.


1. To mortify sin is to put it to death, as the magistrates put a felon to death by due course of justice; he is suspected, apprehended, tried, and executed. Crucifixion is the manner of killing it which God has appointed (Galatians 5:24). This is —

(1)  A violent and painful death.

(2)  A scandalous death.

(3)  A slow and lingering death.

2. By what means may we effectually mortify sin? "Through the Spirit." We must first have the Spirit, that we may experience His sanctifying power. The Spirit helps us to mortify sin —

(1) By enabling us to discover it, and by showing us its abominable nature; filling our souls with a sincere dislike to it, and a holy determination to destroy it.

(2) By giving us faith, and leading us to Christ for pardon, righteousness, and strength.

3. This promised help of the Spirit does not exclude the use of means on our part. The Spirit so works in us, as also to work by us. The duty is ours; the grace is His.

4. Thus doing, we "shall live." There is no condemnation to persons of this character. This is an evidence that they have "passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). They live indeed, for Christ liveth in them. They live to God; and in this, their gradual sanctification, consists their meetness for heaven, where sin shall be all done away. But, oh sinner, what will be the end of thy present pursuits? (Romans 6:21).

(G. Burder.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Mortification a Christian Duty
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