Scripture Reference

Romans 8: 5 – 7 (KJV)

5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Summary

I would argue that these 39 verses in Romans chapter 8 are as critical to us today – in 2021, as they were in 60 A.D. so many years ago when Paul wrote them.

This is our third week in this study. Hopefully by now your appetite is whet with curiosity and you are finding out that Romans chapter 8 is arguably one of the most powerful, prophetic, and promised-filled chapters in all the Bible.

As mentioned, this letter to the church is Rome was regarded as Paul’s masterpiece. In it, Paul was writing to Christians who were beginning their season of struggle and suffering. Although Romans was doctrinally deep; it was also meant to give them a message of hope and inspiration that they could survive in tough times like this. This is why the book of Romans, in particular chapter 8, becomes so relevant to us – and we need to hear and understand it:

  • In times when truth is covered over in the midst of lies.
  • In times of trying to find hope in despair.
  • In times of anxiety, stress, frustration, and depression.

Romans chapter 8 provides some spoiler alerts for us about the way we live our lives

 Things may not be going the way you want – spoiler alert! In moments like this we need to be reminded that “All things work together for good to them that love God…”

  • We are overwhelmed with bad news and data and statistics – spoiler alert! In moments like this we need to be reminded that “if God be for us, who can be against us?
  • Everything that we do, everything that we experience, every pain that we endure, every tear that we shed is significant – spoiler alert!
  • Think about how critical it is for us to embrace verse 18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
  • Now more than ever we need to be reminded, “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
  • When we are being pulled in every direction…tested, tempted, torn and worn out – spoiler alert!
  • And how important it is for us to be reminded, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans chapter 8 is critical for our daily living

Last week we got into Romans chapter 8 and journeyed through verses 1- 4 where Pastor Dunn reminded us as he opened up this chapter with the bold declaration – that I’m free. You and I are free right now not tomorrow – right now you are free from the penalty of your sin.

  • We are free in Christ from the penalty of sin – there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus and if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved.
  • We are free in Christ from the power of sin – think about it this way; the landlord is out, the property is paid for –get out! This belongs to him. This is for his glory now. I don’t have to do what you say anymore. You are free from sin’s power over your life because you are ‘in’ Christ Jesus.

To fully understand this, we have to get into Paul’s Pneumatology or the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to be in Christ Jesus according to Paul?

  • According to Paul, to be in Christ Jesus means that we live in, under and according to the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Not gone but broken – that’s why he uses the analogy ‘free…’ We are free in Christ and therefore the prerogative of sin. Now I have a choice; I can choose. I am not owned by sin. I am owned by God.
  • We are free in Christ from the presence of sin which was in my life BIG time but when I came to Christ, sin is supposed to be in my life less and less and less. I am supposed to be growing in grace more and more. You may ask why? We find the answer in Romans – because, “Now therefore there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Today, as we get back to Romans chapter 8, I want to journey with you a little bit further into the chapter spotlighting verses 5 – 7.

 There are four things in these verses that I want to draw your attention to:

  1. The Christian is alive

Notice in verse 6, “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” And among other things that Paul is saying here is that, he’s drawing a contrast between death and life. There is death, and there is the life of death, and there is the mindset that belongs to that life of death. Then there is life, and the mindset of that which belongs to life in all of its fullness.

The New Testament uses three picture words or picture metaphors, to depict what it means when life” is being used.

John chapter 3, for example where he used the concept of “rebirth.”  You remember the conversation with Nicodemus, “Unless a man is born again…” or perhaps more literally, “born from above,” and the emphasis is not on the “again” part, but on the sovereignty of that birth. You should experience a birth that is sovereign, a birth that comes from above, a birth that is outside of your ability to do anything to accomplish it.

The New Testament speaks of a rebirth – being born again. You remember that Nicodemus had some difficulty with that. He said to Jesus, “I don’t understand what it is that you’re saying,” and Jesus had already said, “Unless you’re born again, you cannot understand the kingdom of God.” What Nicodemus was really saying was, “I’m not born again, because I don’t understand what you are talking about.”

Remember that Nicodemus was a Bible teacher. He was perhaps the greatest Bible teacher in Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. This goes to show that someone can be a preacher, a teacher, a missionary, and be involved in Christian work and still not be regenerated or not been born again.

  1. The Christian lives for God

A second picture that the New Testament uses is that of creation and recreation especially Paul in 2 Corinthians 5 and verse 21, where he said, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.”

Let’s go back to verse 4, “In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”

So there is a difference between those who are dead and those who are alive – and the difference is that someone who is alive, someone who is born again, someone who is a new creation in Christ, someone who is resurrected in Christ:

  • Demonstrates an obedience to the law.
  • Demonstrates a love for the law.
  • Demonstrates the fruits of the Spirit, to use the metaphor that Paul uses in Galatians.
  1. The Christian is at Peace

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

Peace – not in the objective sense, “being justified by faith we have peace with God,” but in the subjective sense where we experience peace. We have a peace of conscience: that condemning conscience – that burden of the sense of guilt and that restlessness is gone.

Think of a text in Isaiah 57, “The wicked are like the troubled sea. When it cannot rest, its waters throw up mire and dirt.”

That is a picture for you:

  • Sea in the midst of a storm and it’s throwing up waves, and foam;
  • Restless and heaving back and forth.
  • It reminds us of how Augustine in his Confessions spoke of how he first came to experience the peace of the gospel in those famous words, “Our minds are restless. Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”

Some of us experienced these before we became Christians. We were in this world perhaps for many years and we didn’t know Jesus. We had this burden of guilt, and life wasn’t fulfilling. There was a spirit of Ecclesiastes that all is vanity.

  1. The Christian is spiritually-minded

Those who live according to the sinful nature, the flesh, and those who live according to the Spirit…” And he works that contrast, “Those who live according to the flesh and those who live according to the Spirit.” He draws the contrast in the way that affects you. Notice, the mind not so much the body – but the mind, a mindset; a way of seeing things and as a way of perceiving things.

Listen again carefully to these descriptive terms. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh…”

The Word of God answers the question – What does it mean to be in the Spirit? Here is your first characteristic:

  • People who are in the Spirit are spending their time thinking about the things of the Spirit; and people who are in the flesh are spending their time thinking about the things of the flesh.

Hence, we need to ask ourselves these questions:

  • What is it that the Holy Spirit minds?
  • What is it that the Holy Spirit thinks about?
  • What’s on the mind of the Holy Spirit?”

These questions are pertinent as there ought to be something spiritual on the minds of those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit and those who are indwelt by the Spirit as the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ.

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. — Romans 8: 6 (KJV)

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