In our article on Romans 7:9-11, we discussed what Paul means by ‘life’ and ‘death’ in such passages. Real life is to live in the way that God wants us to live (John 10:10). Therefore, ‘death’ means to live only for our own natural and selfish desires (1 Timothy 5:6).
That may seem an unusual way to use these words. However, what we usually call life and death (the life and death of our body) are the result of this choice (Genesis 3:17-19). So are the life and death of the spirit; in other words, whether we go to heaven or hell (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
No person’s body can be dead and alive at the same time. No person’s spirit can go both to heaven and hell. However, the forces that bring about life and death are constantly working in us during our lives on earth. The only force that truly gives us life is the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Both by our nature and because of our evil deeds, the forces that bring death are working in us.
God has made the most wonderful change in the lives of his people (2 Corinthians 5:17). He gives them life that never ends (John 6:40). That promise is not just for the future. Already, God’s Holy Spirit can direct their lives (Galatians 5:16). When they allow the Holy Spirit to do that, they are receiving life from him (8:13). They also receive his peace: the calm and confident attitude that comes from a right relationship with God.
However, some Christians care too much about their own feelings and desires. They are thinking in the way that brings death into people’s lives. God will still save those Christians, if their relationship with him is genuine. However, they must lose much that they considered precious (compare 1 Corinthians 3:11-15). They are missing many of the benefits that God wants to bring into their lives by his Holy Spirit (James 1:6-7).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.