If our bodies are dead, we might consider ourselves totally without hope. However, God causes dead people to live again (4:16-19). He does that when people believe him (Hebrews 11:8-19). If we are in Christ, then we too believe him (4:23-25). Therefore, we do have hope - and it is a certain hope (Hebrews 6:19). God has even given us his Spirit as proof (2 Corinthians 1:22; Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit, who alone gives life, has given life to our spirits.
Paul is not of course writing for people who are physically dead. He writes to living people, but he calls their bodies Ďdeadí. They are called dead because of sin (our wrong and evil thoughts, words and actions). Death is the only possible result of the sin in our lives (6:23). That has been the state of everyone ever since the first people chose not to obey God (Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22). Now, it even seems part of human nature to desire and to do wrong things (7:24).
We might, still, not expect Paul to describe Christians in that same manner. Because of Christís death, God has forgiven their sins and he has given them a new life (John 3:3-6; Romans 5:8). However, that new life does not allow Christians to continue in their former sins and wrong attitudes. In other words, Christians cannot use the natural feelings and desires of their dying bodies as an excuse for sin. Their bodies will die - in fact, it is as if they have already died with Christ (6:1-11). They have new life that never ends because of Christís righteousness (goodness) - Romans 5:17-21. At the present time, only their spirits have received that new life. However they have the wonderful promise that, in the future, God will give that new life to their bodies too, (Romans 8:11-23; 1 Corinthians 15:12-57).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.