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Walking in the Flesh

“The sinful mind is hostile to God” (Romans 8:7).

It is impossible for a person who does not know Jesus Christ as their Savior to please God.

Two different mindsets have two entirely different end results. One produces peace with God and the other hostility toward God. Everyone needs to ask a critical question of ourselves: Is my mind dominated by “sinful nature,” or is it under the control of the Holy Spirit?

The sinful mind is hostile toward God. That is the result of total radical depravity. There is no way it can possibly please God.

The apostle Paul said, “They that are in the flesh cannot please God” (v. 8). “The mind of the flesh is enmity against God” (v. 8). It is hostile toward God. It hates God. It is impossible for anyone who is dominated by the flesh to gain divine approval.

It is the total inability of the natural man to be well-pleasing to God or to do what is well-pleasing to God. "Enmity against God" is nothing other than total depravity and "cannot please God."

The governing principle of the mind of the flesh is “enmity toward God.” All sin is against God.

Underlying all activity of the “mind of the flesh” is opposition and hatred of God.

“After the flesh” (vv. 4, 5) and “in the flesh” (vv. 8, 9) have the same effect of the human nature that is corrupt, directed, and under the control of sin.

On the other hand “after the Spirit” (vv. 4, 5), and “in the Spirit” (v. 9) are of the same effect as one is under the control and conditioned to the Holy Spirit.

“The mind of the flesh” (v. 5) is to have the things of the flesh as the preoccupation of thought, interest, affection, and purpose. 

“The mind of the flesh” includes the cognitive activities of reason, the emotional responses, and volition controlled by the sinful flesh.

“The things of the Spirit” (v. 5), “after the Spirit,” “in the Spirit,” “the mind of the Spirit,” and “walking in the Spirit,” or “after the Spirit” takes in the opposite direction with completely different principles. It is to be under the habitual control of the Holy Spirit.

The outcome of both principles is also very clear. “The mind of the flesh is death” (v. 6). It has the effect of separation from God. The “mind of the Spirit is life and peace” (v. 6). It produces fellowship with God. When we are at one with God we experience His deep, deep peace. The opposite of enmity and death is reconciliation.

Are you walking in the sinful flesh or in the Spirit? This is a very serious question. It is not something in which we can be careless. Eternity hangs in the balances. Only you can decide as the Spirit of God speaks to your heart. But the Holy Spirit will never contradict the written Word of God, and will always lead in ways that conform us to the likeness of Christ. He will never lead us into sin or compromise behavior.

Are you a saved person? Have you been born again? Do you have the testimony of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit? What is in habitual control of your life? Is it the “sinful nature” or the Holy Spirit? If our minds are set on “sinful nature” we had better ask some serious questions about our relationship with Jesus Christ. Do you have spiritual life? Are you responsive to the things of God? What is your response to the pricking of your conscience by the Holy Spirit? Are you alive spiritually or spiritually dead to God just as if you were physically dead?

The Christian has his mind “set on what the Spirit desires.” Is this your habitual thinking? Do you desire to please Him? The unbeliever has his mind set on what the “sinful nature” desires. The action of one is spiritual life and peace, whereas the other is spiritual death. Have you passed from death to life? Have you been born again?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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