Haldane on Putting to Death the Deeds of the Body

Romans 8: 12, 13 — Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13.For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Robert Haldane—This is a consequence drawn from what the Apostle had said with reference to the state of enmity against God, and of the death of those who are in the flesh; and likewise from what He had been showing to be the great privilege of believers, as being not in the flesh but in the Spirit; as having the Spirit of God dwelling in them; and securing the future quickening and raising of their bodies. From all this he infers their obligation to live a holy life, in walking according to the Spirit in the character which he had shown belonged to them. They were not then debtors to the flesh — the state in which they had been by nature, which is a state of corruption, guilt, and weakness — to live after the flesh, either to expect life from its best efforts, or to obey it in its lusts. The ways of the flesh promise happiness, but misery is their reward. On the contrary, it is implied that they were debtors to God, to whom they were under so great obligations as being redeemed from the law of sin and death, to serve and obey Him, in walking according to the Spirit

Galatians 5: 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus HAVE CRUCIFIED the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.

Take the deeds of the body out of the equation, that’s living the gospel, that’s walking after the Spirit

This is not to deny that we are to obedient to the law of Christ, that we are to be moral

But our obedience is not acceptable to God unless and until we take our obedience out of the equation to get assurance or blessing

Our morality is not acceptable to God until and unless we take our morality out of the mix by which we have assurance that we are walking in the Spirit

Romans 8:4 Walking in the Spirit is believing the gospel, and our believing the gospel is not what fulfills the requirement of the law.
We are believing that Christ has fulfilled the requirement of the law

Anybody who thinks walking after the Spirit in part satisfies God’s law is in fact walking after the flesh, “has confidence in the flesh”

The apostle Paul warned the Galatians that more is less, more is NOTHING . If you add more —– ,“Christ will be of NO profit to you.”

Galatians 2:21—if any part of our salvation is by our works, then Christ died to NO purpose.

So you are not obligation to live according to guilt

If you know that you have been imputed with Christ’s righteousness, then you will be living a life of putting to death legal fear. No, we have not “stopped trying” (as the Keswick antinomian soundbite puts it). We are still trying to please God, but only as those who have already pleased God in Christ’s death.

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6 Comments on “Haldane on Putting to Death the Deeds of the Body”

    • markmcculley Says:





      regeneration before faith does not prove that great moral change is inevitable


      If we convey the impression that there is a definite, normative pattern to which all conversions must conform, anyone whose experience is different may well lose all assurance of salvation, either because she did not begin where others began or because she never experienced the terrors of the law as others did. We then lose sight of the fact that all that matters is whether we have come to Christ. How we started or why we first set out or by what route we travelled is of no consequence. What matters is that we have come to the Son, not relying on the depths of our own experience, or on the fact that it corresponded to that of others, but on what Christ did for us on Calvary and on what he promises to continue to do through his Holy Spirit. The so-called ‘preparatory work’ can itself become the basis of a dreadful delusion, but the true believer will never have a high view of his own spiritual experience or even of his own conversion narrative. What matters is that he has a high view of Christ.

      There is a danger, too, of linking repentance too exclusively to the law. In the very nature of the case the law by itself can produce only a legal repentance: one in which fear of punishment predominates and in which there is no inducement to return to a heavenly Father. Such a repentance may certainly be an element in the journey to faith, but not an inevitable one. Not all Christians experience it, and not all who do experience it become Christians. In fact, there is no pre-conversion (outside-of-Christ) state from which there is a guaranteed progression to the one place of safety, ‘hid with Christ in God’ (Col. 3:3).

      Evangelical repentance always includes a turning to God, and as that great Puritan compilation, The Marrow of Modern Divinity, insists, it is a result of faith, not a preparation for it. In David’s case, for example, his broken heart (Ps.51:17) comes after God’s declaration of forgiveness (2 Sam. 12:13) and reflects his confidence in God’s mercy and steadfast love (Ps. 51:1). The Shorter Catechism sounds this same note (A. 87): the sinner turns to God not only ‘out of a true sense of his sin’, but also with ‘apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ’. His mercy is there before our repentance; and it is because we have faith in his mercy that we cast ourselves upon it. As Evangelista points out in the Marrow, ‘Sorrow and grief for displeasing God by sin, necessarily argue the love of God; and it is impossible we should ever love God, till by faith we know ourselves loved by him.’ It is that love itself, and our unworthiness of it, that makes us weep bitterly (Lk. 22:62).

  1. markmcculley Says:

    The introduction of the works of Sandeman into the seminary at Glasgow gave umbrage to the Haldanes, who protested against it, and it was one of the reasons for the transfer of the seminary to Edinburgh. https://faithalone.org/journal/2002i/makidon.pdf

    Sandeman contended that faith in Christ is not all that different from any other faith that man has, for all faith is based upon testimony and comes through man’s assent to facts

    John 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest their works should be exposed. 21 But whoever LIVES BY THE TRUTH comes to the light, in order for it to be clearly seen that their works have been carried out in God.”

    Ephesians 4: 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to … the practice of every kind of impurity…. 20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard about Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus.22 You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth

  2. markmcculley Says:


    S M Baugh—Paul’s image is based on his metaphor of the Christian warfare as a “wrestling match” . Christians are not engaged in a theocratic conquest of the world for geopolitical dominance, but in a spiritual fight for its existence:

    For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Cor 10:3–5)

    “Standing” and “holding ground,” then, occur throughout this passage as the goal in our struggle 11–14), during which “the gates of hell” will not prevail against the assembly of God’s people, which Christ is building ([S. M. Baugh, Ephesians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary,, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 542–43.]

    In 10:1 Paul is quoting what his opponents were saying about him. He replies (v. 2) by asking that, when he is present with them next that he need not be bold with those “who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh” ). We are bodily (“in the flesh,” which he uses generically here to refer to being embodied human beings rather than in the ethical sense) but (v. 3) “we do not war according to the flesh…” As he explains in v. 4, the weapons of our warfare are not “of the flesh,” or by ethical common sense Rather, the weapons of spiritual warfare are “divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses

    the Canons of Dordt–: “When God … works true conversion in his elect, God not only sees to it that the gospel is proclaimed to them outwardly and enlightens their minds powerfully by the Holy Spirit so that they rightly understand the things of the Spirit of God, but, by the effective operation of the same regenerating Spirit, God also penetrates into the inmost being of man, opens the closed heart, softens the hard heart, and circumcises the heart that is uncircumcised. God makes the dead will alive, the evil will good, the unwilling will willing. God activates the will so that, like a good tree, it produces the fruits of good deeds.”

    • markmcculley Says:

      Romans 8:12 So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh ………………………………………………………….Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.
      Ephesians 2:3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
      Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh
      Galatians 5:13 For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.
      Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity…

  3. markmcculley Says:

    p 265, Smeaton, Apostles Doctrine of the Atonement

    “Whether the allusion is to the world’s attractions or to its legal righteousness, in both respects the world was crucified and influenced the apostle Paul as little as a dead man could. …

    p 266–Paul’s object was not so much to describe what the world thought of him. The second clause, and I to the world, seems rather to say that because the cross rectified his relation to God, he was dead to the world. The former clause affirmed that the world . as surveyed from the cross in which he gloried , was metaphorically a dead object in his esteem. The second clause sets forth that his heart was dead to the world BECAUSE ANOTHER OBJECT (the cross) HAD WON HIS HEART

    He saw how alien the world was to the aims of one who glorified in Christ crucified, and who was himself crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20)

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