Romans 8:13
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) If ye through the Spirit . . .—If under the influence of the Spirit you reduce to a condition of deadness and atrophy all those practices to which the impulses of your material nature would prompt you.

8:10-17 If the Spirit be in us, Christ is in us. He dwells in the heart by faith. Grace in the soul is its new nature; the soul is alive to God, and has begun its holy happiness which shall endure for ever. The righteousness of Christ imputed, secures the soul, the better part, from death. From hence we see how much it is our duty to walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. If any habitually live according to corrupt lustings, they will certainly perish in their sins, whatever they profess. And what can a worldly life present, worthy for a moment to be put against this noble prize of our high calling? Let us then, by the Spirit, endeavour more and more to mortify the flesh. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit brings a new and Divine life to the soul, though in a feeble state. And the sons of God have the Spirit to work in them the disposition of children; they have not the spirit of bondage, which the Old Testament church was under, through the darkness of that dispensation. The Spirit of adoption was not then plentifully poured out. Also it refers to that spirit of bondage, under which many saints were at their conversion. Many speak peace to themselves, to whom God does not speak peace. But those who are sanctified, have God's Spirit witnessing with their spirits, in and by his speaking peace to the soul. Though we may now seem to be losers for Christ, we shall not, we cannot, be losers by him in the end.For if you live ... - If you live to indulge your carnal propensities, you will sink to eternal death; Romans 7:23.

Through the Spirit - By the aid of the Spirit; by cherishing and cultivating his influences. What is here required can be accomplished only by the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Do mortify - Do put to death; do destroy. Sin is mortified when its power is destroyed, and it ceases to be active.

The deeds of the body - The corrupt inclinations and passions; called deeds of the body, because they are supposed to have their origin in the fleshly appetites.

Ye shall live - You shall be happy and saved. Either your sins must die, or you must. If they are suffered to live, you will die. If they are put to death, you will be saved. No man can be saved in his sins. This closes the argument of the apostle for the superiority of the gospel to the Law in promoting the purity of man. By this train of reasoning, he has shown that the gospel has accomplished what the Law could not do - the sanctification of the soul, the destruction of the corrupt passions of our nature, and the recovery of man to God.

13. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die—in the sense of Ro 6:21.

but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body—(See on [2226]Ro 7:23).

ye shall live—in the sense of Ro 6:22. The apostle is not satisfied with assuring them that they are under no obligations to the flesh, to hearken to its suggestions, without reminding them where it will end if they do; and he uses the word "mortify" (put to death) as a kind of play upon the word "die" just before. "If ye do not kill sin, it will kill you." But he tempers this by the bright alternative, that if they do, through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body, such a course will infallibly terminate in "life" everlasting. And this leads the apostle into a new line of thought, opening into his final subject, the "glory" awaiting the justified believer.

Note, (1) "There can be no safety, no holiness, no happiness, to those who are out of Christ: No "safety," because all such are under the condemnation of the law (Ro 8:1); no holiness, because such only as are united to Christ have the spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9); no happiness, because to be "carnally minded is death" (Ro 8:6)" [Hodge]. (2) The sanctification of believers, as it has its whole foundation in the atoning death, so it has its living spring in the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ (Ro 8:2-4). (3) "The bent of the thoughts, affections, and pursuits, is the only decisive test of character (Ro 8:5)" [Hodge]. (4) No human refinement of the carnal mind will make it spiritual, or compensate for the absence of spirituality. "Flesh" and "spirit" are essentially and unchangeably opposed; nor can the carnal mind, as such, be brought into real subjection to the law of God (Ro 8:5-7). Hence (5) the estrangement of God and the sinner is mutual. For as the sinner's state of mind is "enmity against God" (Ro 8:7), so in this state he "cannot please God" (Ro 8:8). (6) Since the Holy Ghost is, in the same breath, called indiscriminately "the Spirit of God," "the Spirit of Christ," and "Christ" Himself (as an indwelling life in believers), the essential unity and yet Personal distinctness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, m the one adorable Godhead must be believed, as the only consistent explanation of such language (Ro 8:9-11). (7) The consciousness of spiritual life in our renewed souls is a glorious assurance of resurrection life in the body also, in virtue of the same quickening Spirit whose inhabitation we already enjoy (Ro 8:11). (8) Whatever professions of spiritual life men may make, it remains eternally true that "if we live after the flesh we shall die," and only "if we through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body we shall live" (Ro 8:13, and compare Ga 6:7, 8; Eph 5:6; Php 3:18, 19; 1Jo 3:7, 8).

Second: The Sonship of Believers—Their Future Inheritance—The Intercession of the Spirit for Them (Ro 8:14-27).

If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; viz. eternally, and never partake of the glorious resurrection before spoken of. The godly themselves need this caution; they must not think, that because they are elected and justified, &c., that therefore they may do and live as they list.

Through the Spirit; i.e. by the grace and assistance of the Spirit.

Mortify; i.e. kill and put to death. It is not enough to forbear the actings of sin, but we must kill and crucify it. Sin may be left upon many considerations, and yet not mortified.

Evil deeds are called

the deeds of the body, because the body is so instrumental in the doing thereof. There are some, that by body here do understand the corrupt nature, the same that before in many places he calls the flesh: this was called, Romans 8:6, the body of sin, and here it is called the body.

Ye shall live; viz. eternally. See a parallel place, Romans 6:22 Galatians 6:8: see Romans 8:6.

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die,.... Such persons are dead, whilst they live, and shall die a second or an eternal death, if grace prevent not. It may be asked, whether one that has received the grace of God in truth, can live after the flesh; flesh, or corrupt nature, though still in such a person, has not the dominion over him: to live in sin, or in a continued course of sinning, is contrary to the grace of God; but flesh may prevail and greatly influence the life and conversation, for a while; how long this may be the case of a true believer, under backslidings, through the power of corruptions and temptations, cannot be known; but certain it is, that it shall not be always thus with him. It may be further inquired, whether such an one may be so left to live after the flesh, as to die and perish eternally; Christ expressly says, such shall not die that live and believe in him; grace, which is implanted in their souls, is an incorruptible and never dying seed; grace and glory are inseparably connected together; but then such persons may die with respect to their frames, their comforts and the lively exercise of grace, which seems to be here intended; as appears from the next clause,

but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. This is not to be understood of the mortification of the body itself; nor does it design any maceration or afflicting of it by any severities of life; nor of the destruction of the body of sin by Christ: or of the being and principles of sin in the saints by the Spirit of Christ; which is contrary to Scripture, to the experience of the saints, who find it in them, alive in them, and to their expectations, whilst in this world: nor is this mortification to be considered as a part of regeneration, which by some divines is made to consist in a sense of sin, grief for it, and hatred of it, in avoiding it, and in an expulsion of vicious habits and inclinations; but it should be observed, that the apostle is writing to persons that were already regenerate; nor does he ever exhort persons to regenerate themselves, which he would do here, if this was the sense; regeneration is a work of the Spirit of God, in which men are passive, whereas in the mortification here spoken of the saints are active, under the influence of the Spirit of God; besides, regeneration is done at once, and does not admit of degrees; and in and by that, sin, as to its being and principle, is so far from being destroyed, that it seems rather to revive in the sense and apprehension of regenerated persons: but it is a mortification of the outward actings of sin in the conversation, called, "the deeds of the body": and in the Claromontane exemplar, and in the Vulgate Latin version, "the deeds of the flesh": or as the Syriac version renders it, "the conversations", or manners of it, and so the Ethiopic version; that is, its outward course of life: and it signifies a subduing and weakening the vigour and power of sin in the lives and conversations of the saints, to which the grace and assistance of the Spirit are absolutely necessary; and such who are enabled to do so, "shall live" comfortably; they shall have communion with Christ here, and shall live a life of glory with him hereafter. Such a way of speaking as this is used by the Jews; say they (a),

"what shall a man do that he may live? it is replied, , "he shall mortify himself";''

which the gloss explains by "he shall humble himself"; walk humbly before God and men, in his life and conversation.

(a) T. Bab. Tamid, fol. 32. 1. Vid. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 63. 2. Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Exod. fol. 65. 3.

{15} 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.

(15) Another reason for the profit that follows: for those who battle and fight valiantly will have everlasting life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 8:13. Reason for Romans 8:12—“for so ye would attain the opposite of your destination, as specified in Romans 8:10-11.” The μέλλειν (comp. Romans 4:24) indicates the “certum et constitutum esse secundum vim (divini) fati.” Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 72.

ἀποθνήσκειν] The opposite of the ζωή in Romans 8:10 f.; consequently used of the being transferred into the state of eternal death; and then ζήσεσθε in the sense of eternal life (see Romans 8:17). Comp. Romans 7:10; Romans 7:24, Romans 8:6; Romans 8:10. This dying does not exclude the resurrection of the body (Rückert), but points to the unblissful existence in Hades before (Luke 16:23) and after (comp. Matthew 10:28) the judgment. If it were true that Paul did not believe in a resurrection for unbelievers, he would stand in direct antagonism to John 5:28 f.; Acts 24:15; Matthew 5:29 f., Matthew 10:28; and even 1 Corinthians 15:24 (see on that passage). Here also Philippi combines bodily, spiritual, and eternal death; but see above, on Romans 5:12. And here it may be specially urged against this view, that the dying and living are assigned purely to the region of the future. Oecumenius aptly says: τὸν ἀθάνατον θάνατον ἐν τῇ γεέννῃ.

πνεύματι] i.e. by means of the Holy Spirit, comp. Romans 8:4-6; Romans 8:9, and the following πνεύματι Θεοῦ; consequently here also not subjective (Philippi and others: “pneumatic condition of mind”).

τὰς πράξεις τοῦ σώμ.] The practices (tricks, machinations, see on Colossians 3:9; Luke 23:51; Acts 19:18; Dem. 126. 22; Polyb. ii. 7, 8, ii. 9. 2, iv. 8. 3, v. 96. 4; and Sturz, Lex. Xen. III. p. 646) which the body (in accordance with the νόμος ἐν τοῖς μέλεσι, Romans 7:23) desires to carry out. These we make dead (θανατοῦτε), when the Ego, following the drawing of the Holy Spirit, conquers the lusts that form their basis; so that they do not come to realization, and are reduced to nothing. Σῶμα is not used here for σάρξ (Reiche and others); Paul has not become inconsistent with his own use of language (Stirm in Tüb. Zeitschr. 1834, 3, p. 11), but has regarded the (in itself indifferent) σῶμα as the executive organ of the sin, which, dwelling in the σάρξ of the body, rules over the body, and makes it the σῶμα ἁμαρτίας (Romans 6:6), if the Spirit does not obtain the control and make it His organ. The term πράξεις, further used by Paul only in Colossians 3:9 (not ἔργα), is purposely selected to express the evil conception, which Hofmann (“acts”) without any ground calls in question. It is frequently used thus by Greek authors, as also πράγματα.

The alternating antithesis is aptly chosen, so that in the two protases living and putting to death, in the apodoses death and life, stand contrasted with one another.

13. ye shall die] Lit. ye are about to die; on the way to die. The phrase indicates a sure effect from the given cause.

through the Spirit] The Holy Spirit; see next verse, and note above on Romans 8:4.

mortify] put to death; an antithesis to the “death” just mentioned as the result of sin. The verb is in the present tense, and indicates a continued process of resistance and self-denial. For the metaphor, so strong and stern, cp. Galatians 5:24; Colossians 3:5.

the deeds of the body] the doings, almost the dealings. (“Praktiken, Machinationen;” Meyer.) On “the body,” as used here, see note on Romans 6:6. Cp. also the instructive parallel, Colossians 3:5, where “your limbs that are on the earth” = “the body of sin.”—This passage, and the parallels, shew how fully St Paul recognized the element of sinfulness as present still in the regenerate—so present as to call for intense resistance.

Romans 8:13.[91] Τοῦ σώματος) Others read, Τῆς ΣΑΡΚΌς. Baumgarten defends the former, I leave it undetermined.[92]—ζήσεσθε, ye shall live) He does not say, μέλλετε ζῇν, you are about (thereby) to obtain life, but ζήσεσθε, you will remain in life. In the repentance of those, over whom the flesh had dominion, and in the temptations of those, over whom the spirit reigns, the flesh and the spirit are, so to speak, evenly balanced; grace preventing [i.e. in the old English sense of prevent: going before, so as to give a good will to] the former, sin, preventing [going before, so as to get the advantage over] the latter; to whichsoever side a man turns himself, from it he receives his denomination. Beginning with this passage, Paul entirely dismisses the carnal state, and now that he has finished that part, which he had begun at ch. Romans 6:1, he describes the pure and living state, which is the inheritance of believers.

[91] γὰρ, for) the flesh repays with the worst retribution [or is a very bad paymaster]: and is there a man, who would wish to owe anything to it?—V. g.

[92] ABC Orig. 1, 616a; 721b; 732b; 3, 591b read τοῦ σώματος. But (Δ) DGfg Vulg. Orig. 2, 26b; 3, 170b Iren. and Cypr. read τῆς σαρκός.—ED.

Romans 8:13Ye shall die (μέλλετε ἀποθνήσκειν)

The expression is stronger than the simple future of the verb. It indicates a necessary consequence. So Rev., ye must.

Mortify (θανατοῦτε)

Put to death.

Deeds (πράξεις)

Habitual practices. See on Romans 7:15; see on John 3:21.

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