New American Standard Bible (NASB)
6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.Dead. That is such a harsh word. A final word. Yet it is one that Paul comes back to over and over to paint the picture of our life in the flesh, without Christ. In fact, it’s the harshness, the finality of the term that makes it just the right choice to describe our condition in sin apart from Christ. We are dead. Dead people can’t do anything about their condition, and try as we might, neither can we about our condition in sin. We are helpless. Our efforts, useless. If you have ever tried you know that Paul’s not kidding. He’s not overstating the problem. Our best efforts just end up tanking every time. We may make what we feel like is a dent in our sinful nature for a short time, but how many times do we flop right back into it. Paul even understood our efforts- he found his to have the same results, “15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate,” (Romans 7:15). Wanting to conquer the flesh by our own effort, and actually doing itare two very different things. Unfortunately, in God’s economy, our intentions don’t make us right with God.Truth is, you can’t. I can’t. And we never could. We aren’t even supposed to be able to. If in the end, it was just that it took some Herculean effort that we just couldn’t muster to “clean ourselves up” or bring us to life, then we wouldn’t need Christ. But we do need Him. Exclusively. It is only by Christ, and the power of the resurrection that we have life. It’s only because of His perfect life and the willing sacrifice of that life that we can have life. It’s the great exchange, our sin for His righteousness, our broken, hostile, life for his perfection. We deserve death, but the power of the resurrection means we have life.