Scripture Reading: Romans 8:5-8
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 5:7,8)
Unbelievers walk according to the flesh because they have their minds set on the things of the flesh. The “mind” in our passage refers to our thoughts, our understanding of things, and it also refers to our affections, emotions, desires and objects of pursuit. The “flesh” refers to man’s fallen nature. It is human nature before the Spirit of God does His regenerating work.
Notice what we are told about a mind set on the flesh. First, “the mind set on the flesh is death” (6a). It produces a spiritual state of death — “You were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). It means being dead to spiritual things, being dead to God and being dead to the message of the gospel.
Second, “the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God” (v. 7a). This explains why the mind set on the flesh is death. Look at the response of some unbelievers when they hear talk about the uniqueness of the Christian message, that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They get hostile.
Third, the mind set on the flesh “does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot” (v. 7b). Paul explains this in his first letter to the Corinthians — “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (I Corinthians 2:14).
Fourth, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (v. 8). Here is the bottom line — one whose mind is set on the flesh cannot please God; it is impossible to do so.
The good news for believers is — “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you” (v. 9a). Believers have God’s Spirit living in them. We have a different mindset — one that is set on the things of the Spirit. We will look at this tomorrow.
O Holy Spirit, thank You for setting my mind free from its bondage to the flesh. Thank you that I can set my mind on the things of the Spirit. Grant me the will and the power to do so this day.
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