For if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Romans 8:13 (HCSB)
If we take the time to meditate on this verse in depth, we will realize that there are two conditions, the first leads to death and the second to life. But the most important thing is that it is not one or the other of the “If” conditions that causes the result “Life or death”, because the results are already there. It is our attitude that will lead us towards one or the other. In other words, these conditions are rather an exhortation to avoid one and choose the other.
When Paul mentions the flesh in his writings, he is not talking about our physical bodies, but rather about our sinful nature, the evil desires and lusts that lead us to sin against God. However, this verse shows us that we can avoid sin. To live according to the flesh is to sin continually without ever feeling regret or admitting it. On the other hand, if we let ourselves be guided by the spirit, we will live. For, He will guide us according to the will of God.
We should notice four things in this verse. (1) There is a responsibility, that of putting to death the actions of the flesh; (2) There is the person to whom this responsibility is entrusted, which concerns you and me; (3) There is He through whom we can put to death the flesh, who is the Holy Spirit; (4) and finally, there is a promise that accompanies this responsibility, which is eternal life. Which means that when God asks us to put the flesh to death, He knows that we cannot do it alone. This is why the Bible exhorts us to call on the Holy Spirit to help us overcome evil desires, because it is through Him alone that we can overcome sin.