Can a person be alive and dead at the same time?

Paul stated rather bluntly in Romans 8:10 that “your body is dead because of sin.” So the body we live in can be fully alive physically, but fully dead at the same time. We’re living but we’re dead. It’s like living in the body of a zombie. Like some awful living corpse in a horror movie we stagger through life in a trance-like state. We’re just walking dead people – “because of sin.” 

It’s a horrible picture of what sin has done to us, but as Paul explains in verse 13, “if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die.” It’s the sinful nature in us that’s the problem. While our sinful nature controls what we do in our bodies, that’s what kills us.    

But, Paul adds, “if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” God has given us the ability to stop what our sinful nature is doing to us. “By the Spirit” we can come out of our zombie trance-like state, and live like the real human being God designed us to be instead.

So how do we know if we’re “living by our sinful nature” or “living by the Spirit?”

Simple. Our sinful nature has no desire to obey God (verse 7). Fortunately, Jesus dealt with that by offering his own body “as a sin offering,” which “condemned sin in sinful man,” verse 3. Jesus died to shatter the power of our sinful nature. God then “raised Christ from the dead” to “give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you,” verse 11. The same power that gave life to Christ’s dead body gives life to our dead bodies. And Paul calls that power “the Spirit of Christ,” verse 9, so it’s really Christ living his nature in us.

In verse 10 Paul puts it this way, that “If Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” verse 10. Our spirit lay dormant and lifeless while it was controlled by our sinful nature, but when Christ died he freed us from our sinful nature and sent the Spirit to fill us with his nature instead. So now we’re alive just like he is alive, with his nature in us – and his nature loves God and everything about him.

And there’s our evidence that we’re “living by the Spirit.” and we’ve come alive from our zombie-like state – in this life now. With Christ’s nature, or Christ’s Spirit, in us, we can and want to obey God and trust him, and live by every word of his, just like Christ did. 


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