Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5
January 22, 2017
6 For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
1901 ASV Translation:
6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:
7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:
8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
- I. The Perennial Tension.
- A. Throughout the entire corpus of New Testament letters there is a tension between what "believers" should be, and what their actions actually are.
- 1. Even Paul, the majority author of those letters, freely admits that he was not "already perfect" and that he did not "count" himself as having "apprehended" that for which he had been "apprehended" by Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-13). Indeed, he goes on to say that a part of the expectation of himself and fellow believers is that they are not everything they ought to be so that they can expect that God "will reveal" their flaws to them as they progress in their living according to the faith (3:15).
- 2. Even in his letters to the Corinthians he frankly declares that "growth" is the objective, not "attainment of perfection".
- B. In this text/context Paul argues from what the theologians call "positional truth" (what we are as totally identified with Jesus Christ as our Second Adam) and existential reality. He writes of "those who are", using the participle of the verb "to be", as the actual reality in the context of Romans 6 and the "in Christ" reality of those "baptized into Him" as well as the "those who are" who have no such reality because they believe not and are not "in Him". He goes so far in this context as to say that the critical factor is the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God and Christ (8:9). That this presence does not automatically override the behavior problems is an essential aspect of the text, yet it is presented as the foundation to resolving all of those issues.
- C. Thus, our thinking about this text/context must be guided by the reality of our "true" identity as united in Christ/with Christ along the lines of "if I do what I wish not, it is no longer I who am doing..." (7:17 and 7:20).
- D. In all of the letters of the New Testament we find this fact: anyone who attempts to determine who is, or is not, justified before God on the basis of behavior is setting him/her self up for failure. The cynic will magnify even minor faults that appear and the polyanna-ist will gloss over even the most heinous of activities; no one can really discern who is and is not a "justified believer". Even Paul and John agree that, ultimately, it is the Spirit of God Who provides us with the knowledge of our redemption (Romans 8:16 and 1 John 3:24 and 4:13) and, significantly, not someone else's. The apparent reason for this is that the human propensity for self-delusion is so great that there will be many "in that day" who think they are acceptable to God and will find out that they are not (Matthew 7:22).
- II. Paul's Claim.
- A. He is dealing with the connection between the "thoughts of the mind" and the condition of the soul.
- 1. There are, he says, those "who are" steeped in fleshliness and there are those "who are" steeped in spirituality. This is the chief distinction between those who are regenerated and those who remain dead in their trespasses and sins.
- 2. The "mental" connection is pervasive: those "who are" think consistently along with their being.
- 3. This pervasiveness means that the unregenerated human being is completely wrapped up in the fleshliness of being self-absorbed. However, at this point, those "who are" spiritual are not as consistent. These have a split reality wherein the Spirit of the Life dwells in a body that also contains all of the necessary components to empower wickedness on a fairly significant level. It is this split reality that answers the questions as to why the indwelling Spirit of God does not totally dominate the behavior of 'believers" at all times and in all circumstances. Though "The Law of The Sin and The Death" is totally dominant wherever the Spirit of God does not indwell, "The Law of The Spirit of The Life in Christ Jesus" does not have as pervasive an impact even though the Spirit of God indwells the bodies of God's children.
- 4. Thus Paul's "those who are" thesis has a very narrow identification of the actual "I" who is involved as we already pointed out in I.C. above.
- B. He is also setting forth the outcomes of the "mindsets".
- 1. Fleshliness in thought leads to Death.
- a. "Death" must be defined. Its essential root is the absence of "Life" and that essential root is "the presence of Joy". Thus, "death" is the absence of the Joy of Life.
- b. The reason that fleshliness in thought brings "death" is that it is totally at odds with God so that He cannot/does not share life with those with such high walls around them. Thus, in his next breath Paul writes "the carnal mind is at war with God".
- 2. Spirituality in thought leads to Life and Peace.
- a. There is such a genuine reality.
- b. People at peace are so because they have joy within themselves.
- 3. Who wouldn't prefer the latter?
- III. Paul's Conclusion(s).
- A. The mind-set of the flesh [is] enmity toward God.
- 1. This obviously means that "war" with God is automatic to a fist-clenched intention of pursuing one's own agenda.
- 2. It also obviously means that "war" with God is automatic to a stiff-necked determination to pursue whatever the agenda is according to the standards of fleshly means.
- 3. Thus Paul declares that these have not been ranked under the Law of The God because they simply do not have any capacity whatever to rank themselves there. God's purpose is that the righteousness of The Law will be fulfilled by those who are empowered by His Spirit, so this "being ranked under" is automatic to This Spirit of The Life without the hangups of self-pursuit of legal righteousness.
- B. Those being "in" flesh are unable to please God.
- 1. This inability is absolute.
- 2. This inability is all about "pleasing" The God and without the faith that gives the Spirit the leverage to act, God cannot be pleased.