Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

Let's Pay Our Debts 

Therefore, brethren, 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.   Romans 8:12-13


A test of a person’s character is his faithfulness in the paying of his debts. Most believers place a high priority on paying debts and paying them on time. When necessary, they will sacrifice to do so.


The verses above are in a larger passage contrasting walking in the Spirit with walking in the flesh. With his statement that we are not debtors to walk in the flesh, by implication Paul is saying that we are debtors to walk in the Spirit. The passage is not specific about those to whom we are indebted.


In two other statements about indebtedness in the Book of Romans, Paul gives specifics about indebtedness. In Romans 1:15, Paul says that he has placed himself in debt to all people to share with them the message of salvation through Jesus—“Greeks, barbarians, wise and unwise.” Paul also tells the believers in Rome to put themselves in debt to love each other with the words “owe no one anything except to love one another (Romans 13:8).


Since the statement in Romans 8:12 does not mention those to whom we are indebted to walk in the Spirit, we must permit Scripture to tell us those to whom we are indebted.


We are in debt to God the Father because we provide Him another body to live through on planet earth. We are in debt to Jesus because we honor Him by living out what He made possible. We are in debt to the Holy Spirit because of His unceasing ministry to fill us with Himself. We are in debt to the unsaved because God has called us to get the gospel to them. We are in debt to other believers to show them what a Spirit-filled life is like.


We also are in debt to ourselves to walk in the Spirit. A study of the context in which this passage is located reveals the grief we bring upon ourselves if we walk in the flesh and it shows the abundance of life God provides us when we walk in the Spirit. 


The choice is ours. When we choose to live out our union with Christ, we walk in the Spirit. When we choose to live out of our own point of view, we walk in the flesh.