To Whom Are We Obliged?

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors – not to the flesh, to 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.”  Romans 8: 12-13

This passage makes it clear that we don’t owe our flesh anything. 

We are not under any obligation to perform the deeds that were characteristic of our way of life before we came into relationship with God; to conform ourselves to the former passions that once ruled our minds and our bodies – as when we were entirely ignorant of God and His ways.

“As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance, but as the one who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written; “Be holy, for I am Holy.” 1st Peter 1: 14-16

The NIV has it this way;    As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.

As Paul said in so many ways throughout his letters, (and specifically in Romans 8)once we have once we have received the Spirit, we are no longer obligated to the flesh to live according to its demands.

However, once we have received the Holy Spirit, we do have an obligation to God to live according to the Spirit that He has given us. In other words, if we have received grace from God to walk in obedience, then we have an obligation to walk in obedience according to the grace that we have received from Him.

Conversely, if we have receive nothing from God, then we are obliged to live according to the flesh, and the result will be spiritual (and physical) death; and not necessarily in that order.

Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

Actual mortification (the sanctification by death to the flesh that works its way into our reality experientially, and without which no one will see the Lord) requires us to invite Jesus ( the Holy Spirit) into all of our thought processes continually; not just once in a while, but always at all times “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (who was obedient to the point of death) and bringing all things that some would consider hidden, to the light, where “all things are laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”

Before God, nothing created is hidden, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. Hebrews 4:3 (CJB)

Being obligated to the flesh is a losing proposition, and leads only to death. But being obligated to God because of the grace He has provided is a marvelous gift that leads to life everlasting.

Prayer: Lord, grant us the wisdom to act according to the grace you have so lavishly supplied in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ, to whom belongs all glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen

3 Responses to “To Whom Are We Obliged?”

  1. This is good! Thanks for sharing your insights! It’s interesting to remember that without Christ, without that “obligation” and work in us, we are than slaves to the flesh. But with Him, we are slaves to Him and His righteousness! Which in reality is actually setting us free! Free from Sin and Death and the Yoke of Slavery! 🙂

    • You are welcome… and you’re very correct; we’re we’re either slaves to the flesh and sin, or we’re slaves to the Spirit and righteousness. Couldn’t be any clearer than in Paul’s teaching in Romans 6 (and throughout his other epistles as well as the clear teaching of Jesus also.)

      Thanks for your comment, Joy, and for visiting Wordimagery! Hope you’ll stop by again:)

      His grace and peace for your journey,


    • Hi Joy,
      It should be obvious that I’ve not been keeping up with my blog forever. Haven’t been a diligent blogger in the last year since I started learning my new career in Medicare. I do want to thank you for stopping by and for your very appropriate comment. Please say a prayer for me when you happen to think of it. My new job is pretty time-consuming and mentally consuming. I worked 160.5 hours in the past 2 weeks, and that’s on the clock – no travel time included… all that to say, not near as much time as I had when I began wordimagery. I’m praying for a fresh season of inspiration.

      Thanks so much. His grace and peace for your journey,


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