Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.…
I. THE OBLIGATION DUE TO THE BODY. We are in the flesh, and the flesh has claims which rest upon Divine appointment.
1. Observe the form in which the apostle puts the matter. We may be debtors to the flesh, but not to live after it. The duty we owe it is not that of servants to a master, but of a master to his servants. We are debtors in respect to food, medicine, raiment, shelter, temperance and cleanliness. And to those who belong to us after the flesh we are debtors for earthly things; and he that careth not for them is worse than an infidel.
2. Let us go further. Our bodies are the Divine workmanship, and their faculties are of God's malting and giving. Why? Not that they should run away with us or rule us, but that they should be subject to us.
II. THE LIMIT OF THE OBLIGATION. "Not to live after the flesh." Men live after the flesh —
1. When the flesh is made the chief object of care, and this we are not obliged to do by any Divine law.
2. When we allow carnal indulgence to interfere with Christian duty.
3. When we decline bodily suffering in the cause and at the call of God.
4. When we are guided by a carnal policy in the conduct of life.
III. THE DIFFICULTY OF THE OBLIGATION. We shall find the flesh so tyrannical that to keep within the actual limit of obligation is no easy matter. To mortify the deeds of the body thus becomes an important duty. This mortification is evangelical in motive, spiritual in nature, gradual in consummation.
IV. THIS MORTIFICATION IS AT ONCE THE TEST OF SPIRITUALITY OF MIND AND THE FRUIT OF THE EFFECTUAL WORK OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD. Salvation is not only a work for us, but in us.
1. The Great Helper. We are not left to ourselves.
2. But a helper implies our own activity.
3. This proclaims the energy and reality of the spiritual life.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.