If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
The Puritans had a word for what we call the doctrine of sanctification–they called it holiness.
Romans 8:12-14 says, “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
There are three important insights to understand about holiness. First, holiness is the goal of every true Christian. God did not send Christ to die for you just to take you to Heaven one day. He sent Christ to die for you so that you can become more and more like Jesus Christ. Second, holiness is the result of obedience to God’s laws. In Romans 8:4, Paul described those who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Life is like walking on a path. You are either on a path leading to Hell, or you are on a path leading to Heaven. Along the path we stumble and fall occasionally. But there is a difference between stumbling while still being on the path, and crossing the boundary and no longer being on the path. The Bible says holiness is the result of obedience to God’s laws. As long as we are obedient, we are becoming more like Jesus Christ. Third, holiness is a cooperative effort between God’s Spirit and us. If you are not a Christian, then there is no amount of effort that you can exert to be saved. Salvation is “the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is God’s work alone, but holiness is a cooperative effort between God and us.
Paul said in Romans 8:13, “If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Who is supposed to put to death sin in our body? It is you empowered by the Spirit.
Paul continued, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (8:14). Did you know the Bible says there are some spiritual paternity tests you can use to discover if God in Heaven is truly your Father? That is what Romans 8 is about. Here are some tests to determine whether God is truly your Father and you are truly His child. First, do you really love God with all your heart? Do you love not just the idea of God, but do you really love God? Second, are you drawn to the things of God? Are you drawn to the Scriptures–to read them and apply them? Are you drawn to God’s people? Third, are you in the process of becoming more like Christ? Which road are you on right now: are you on the road that is making you more like the Savior or are you on the road that is making you less like the Savior? The Bible is clear: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (8:14).