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Sermon #3146

The Way of Sanctification

A Sermon on Romans 8:12-13


Romans 8:12-13 ESV KJV
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you 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. (ESV)

Sermon Description

The apostle Paul often reasons with the Christians to whom he is writing. He does not merely state facts, but engages them with truths based upon the gospel so that they might understand how to live the Christian life. While Paul reminds the Romans of their condition apart from Christ, he also presents them with the truth that if they have faith in Christ, they have the Spirit to indwell them. Based upon the work of Christ, they are indeed justified before God. From here, he forces them to consider how foolish it is for them to continue to live according to the flesh. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues in this sermon on Romans 8:12­–13 titled “The Way of Sanctification” that Paul’s admonition to mortify the flesh is based upon the logic of the gospel. In other words, as one realizes the truth about their standing with God in the gospel, they put the truth into practice and mortify the evil deeds of the flesh. In short, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, this is the way of sanctification. Listen and grow in understanding of Scripture as he works meticulously through this passage and traces the doctrine of sanctification throughout the New Testament.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul teaches that sanctification comes through realizing the truth about ourselves as Christians and then putting that truth into practice.
  2. Sanctification does not come through passively handing things over to God or through a crisis experience. Rather, it comes through actively and continuously mortifying sin by the power of the Spirit.
  3. Paul argues for sanctification through logical reasoning and deduction, not through prescribing an experience. He calls us to understand what is true of us as Christians and to live accordingly.
  4. We are not debtors to the flesh. We owe the flesh nothing. We were once under its power but have now been freed from its dominion. We are now debtors to God and His grace.
  5. To live according to the flesh is illogical and inconsistent for the Christian. We are no longer in the flesh, under its control, or belonging to its realm. We now belong to the Spirit.
  6. Sin remains in our mortal bodies, but we are not to live for the flesh. We are to live for the Spirit, which has given us new life. Our bodies will be redeemed, so we should not be controlled by their present sinfulness.
  7. Living according to the flesh leads to death. As Christians, we belong to the realm of life, not death. We should not revert to the realm we have been saved from.
  8. Living according to the flesh grieves the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. The flesh and the Spirit are opposed to one another. We cannot live for both.
  9. When Paul says "if you live according to the flesh you will die," he is not teaching that our eternal life depends on our works. He is teaching that living according to the flesh characterizes those who are spiritually dead, not those who have been made alive in Christ.
  10. We are called to actively mortify the deeds of the body through the power of the Spirit. This is something we must do, not something we passively receive. Mortification must be continuous, not a one-time event.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.