Lesson 31—Romans 8:5-13

The Conflict of the Spirit with the Flesh

In Chap. 7 we witnessed the struggle between the two “I’s” the old “I” and the new “I.” The new “I” gave up in despair, for the old “I” was far too strong for him. Now we see another combatant enter the scene. The Spirit of God displaces self in the struggle and gains the victory for us over the flesh.

At Calvary the Lord Jesus gained the victory for us. The Holy Spirit wins the victory in us. “Thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle,” David’s elder brother said to him. That is exactly what we will do. We will look at

1. The Combatants, vs. 5

They are two. The one “The Flesh,” a veteran in the struggle, the victor in many a battle, Satan’s mightiest general.

The other “The Spirit” the Holy Spirit of God “mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor. 10……

2. The Armies, vs. 5.

Following the leadership of these two generals are the two armies. “The things of the flesh” and “the things of the Spirit.”

In the things of the flesh are included money, pleasures, power, influences, the lusts of the eye, the lusts of the flesh and a mighty host of other such like things.

The “things of the Spirit” on the other hand are all from above, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” Gal. 5:….. and all “the things above where Christ is.” Col 3:………

3. The Background, vs. 6.

The battlefield on which the conflict rages is the mind. Each general seeking to gain control. Under the dominion of the Spirit the mind is the scene of joy and peace; the affections are at rest in Christ. But under the rule of the flesh the issue is death.

4. The Struggle, vs. 7-11

In verses 7, 8, it is self life. In verses 9-11 it is Christ life.

“Ere whiles I dwelt within myself
A straitened, drear abode
And found no liberty to walk God’s road.
Bound down by what I saw, or thought or felt
God broke me down, and left a ruined place,
But ere I sought the fulness of His grace
I tried with tears to build it up again
I failed, and then God’s message came so plain,
‘Come forth from all thou art, and dwell in Me.’
And I in thee.”

5. The Outcome, vs. 12, 13.

The Holy Spirirt gains the victory in us. It is powerful, when submitted to, to “make dead” all that would raise its head against God. The flesh in us is defeated and we are free to live in the full enjoyment of this victory gained.


1. Fill in blank references.

2. Who are the two “Generals” in the conflict referred to in this lesson?

3. Name the two armies.