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 8:13)
Paul said to “spiritual Christians” that if we live according to the flesh, we will die, for we are nurturing that which is corrupt. All you get is corruption when you live according to the flesh.
There is total opposition between the flesh and the Spirit; there is no reconciliation between them. God’s plan of redemption is to put to death the old, fleshly nature and bring into being a totally new nature by His Holy Spirit within us. Although God has made total provision for this transformation, we have to work it out in our lives. We have to put to death the deeds of the body. God does not do it for us; He has given us the legal right, authority, and power, but we must exercise them.
Scripture says, “But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He [God] gave the right [authority] to become children of God” (John 1:12). We receive authority when we are born again. But authority is useless unless exercised. The new birth is just a potential—the opportunity to develop into something wonderful if we will exercise our authority. If we never take steps to exercise authority in a scriptural way over the problems and sins that confront and beset us, we will make no progress at all.
We must move out of one way of thinking—the area of the flesh—into a totally different one. We need the help of the Holy Spirit. “For as many as are [being] led by the Spirit of God, these [and these only] are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).