Life or Death?
Being a Christian is more than saying you agree with certain
Christian teachings about sin and salvation. One is a Christian because he has been
born again. Those who have received this spiritual birth by the Holy Spirit
have their minds set on what God desires. Being a Christian is not having arrived at a
certain standard of conduct for Christians. Again, it is to have a change in ones
thinking that affected the way we live.
The born again believer in Christ has an internal transformation by
the Spirit of God. This dynamic change has affected his way of thinking. The born again
Christian has his mind habitually set on the things of God and is pleasing Him. The
unbeliever is set on the things of this sinful, selfish flesh.
The law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2) regulates and
controls the Christian (v. 4). The Christian lives under a new controlling principle of
his life. The Holy Spirit applies the finished work of Christ to our lives. We are not
under the law because Paul tells us, we have been put to death to the law through
the body of Christ and have been discharged from the law (7:7, 6).
The power of sin and the flesh ruling the believer has been once and
for all decisively judged. The authority in the believer is now God the Holy Spirit. Jesus
Christ has set us free from
the enslaving power of sin.
The apostle Paul does not say we fulfilled the
law's righteous requirement. That is impossible. "The righteous
requirement of the law is fulfilled in us." That is the work of the Holy
Spirit in the believer.
When we came to saving faith in Him we received the indwelling Holy Spirit,
and He makes it possible for us to live in a manner we could never
attain in our own strength. In the full sense only Christ has
fulfilled all the laws requirements, but when we are in Him we in our measure begin
to live the kind of life that God would have us live. "Christ lives in
me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the
Son of God. . ." Before we came to know Christ we were continually
defeated by sin. Now we have a choice.
The fulfillment is in us who walk according to the
Spirit. Thank God that the believers are not left to live the
sanctified life in their own strength. "Christ lives in me."
The contrast Paul brings out in Romans 8:5 is those whose minds are
preoccupied with the flesh, who concentrate on the flesh to the exclusion of all else. The
things of God do not dominate a mind set on the flesh.
When we look at life are we concentrating on the worlds
perspective, or do we see it from Gods point of view? Are we bound by the standards
of this life? Is the flesh the focus of your whole life? We get a whole different view
when we bring God into the picture. Is what the Holy Spirit does your absorbing interest?
When we are "walking in the Spirit" we delight to
do what the Spirit chooses to do whenever He chooses to do it. It is the
very opposite of a concentration on oneself, even on the service one
renders to God.
Are you preoccupied with the things of the flesh? Such a mindset produces death. When the mind is set on, intent on,
occupied with the
Spirit there is life and peace. What am I concentrating on? When our
concentration is on the the kingdom of God we respond to the leading of
the Holy Spirit.
Actions reveal the heart. "As a man thinks in his
heart, so is he." What you think on reveals itself in your
The flesh brings death. The Spirit brings life. This fresh peace
pervades the whole of life (5:1). Since we have the peace of God, reconciliation with Him,
there is now no condemnation. The Holy Spirit produces a holy hush over the soul.
When the mind is set on the flesh it produces death because it is
hostile to God and cannot please Him. The mind set on the Spirit produces life and peace.
Are you hostile to God, or do you seek to please Him with all of your
heart and mind? The unbeliever cannot please God (v. 8). Death
describes the non-Christian. The unbeliever is dead in trespasses and sins.
The Christian has been made alive in Christ, the Holy Spirit. The Christian hungers
and thirsts for righteousness." Have you been made alive in Christ?
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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