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Thought for February 2020

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“If by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom 8:13)

Paul holds in one phrase what it is so easy to set as mutually exclusive opposites: the new work of God in the believer’s life by the Holy Spirit, on one hand, and human action, on the other. He sees no contradiction in the fact that we “put to death” our misdeeds and that it is simultaneously “by the Spirit”. This is one of the mysteries of our new life in Christ: I act and God’s Spirit acts in and through me, and the two are not in competitive tension. Paul is supremely uninterested in the theological quibbles that we use to separate ourselves from fellowship with one another, all the while failing to actually put any misdeeds to death.

Let us rejoice that God’s grace is so vast and fathomless that He is able to work in and through me even I work with all my effort also. All our strength comes from Him, and so our working is His working anyway.


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