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Romans 8:5-13 (NIV)
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
Today we learn about our third great resource for fighting sin, the activity of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Luther liked to describe it like this. He said we are like a horse. We think we are free, and can do what we want, but the truth is that we always have a rider. We are either being ridden by Satan and doing his work, or we are being ridden by Jesus and doing God’s work. When Paul talks about the “sinful nature”, he is referring to how Satan’s lies sneak in and lead us into sin. The best cure is to let our minds be controlled by the Spirit. This happens when we “set our minds” on what the Spirit desires (v. 8:6), and “put to death the misdeeds of the body” (v. 8:13). We are to be intentional and make plans and priorities to fight sin. As we do this, it is actually the Spirit working through our wills to purify us.