Spiritually-Minded

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

As God’s children, we think godly thoughts. We enjoy life and peace now, and we’re looking forward to life and peace with our Father for eternity. We understand we still have choices. We believers don’t lose our free will even after surrendering the throne of Competitionour lives to our Lord Jesus. We choose the focus of our thoughts. We’re also very much aware of the huge implications and repercussions of our choices. Our heavenly Father doesn’t spoil His children.

I pray that this won’t be an issue of intrigue; my prayer rather is that it will be a thought to at least ponder on. Jesus has already borne the penalty of our sins on the cross. In fact He Who knew no sin was made sin for us. That Jesus has taken the death penalty for us is an absolute truth. What is this death then that results from being carnally minded? It’s easy to choose one and reject the other. In doing so, others explain away whatever they prefer to reject.

Forbid the thought that they would question the efficacy of the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, so the trend is to deal with the death that results from carnal-mindedness. We’ve heard others interpret and teach that as death of a physical kind. And there’s no doubt, some sinful or even wrong choices can reap physical death as a consequence. But although there’s truth in it, it also misses the fact that physical death also comes even to the spiritually-minded people.

On the other hand, if the consequence of our godly thinking is life of the physical kind, what’s the necessity since we’re already physically alive? Unless it simply means continuation of our physical existence in our present condition, the other and I believe the more logical conclusion is that it also refers to life of spiritual kind. This becomes obvious when looking at the context of the passage. The entire chapter deals very much with our spirits. Without disrespect or preference of any denominational distinctive, we can safely conclude: 1. It’s absolutely and undeniably true that Jesus paid the sin-penalty of death; 2. It is also absolutely true that to be carnally minded—having our sinful nature control our mind—is or leads to death.

Whatever each of us believe; we may not all agree on one line of understanding, but the non-negotiable mandate or exhortation we can all agree and focus on is this: shun sinful nature that produces sinful thoughts, and yield to the precious Holy Spirit Who produces good, spiritual, right, and godly thoughts.

Living in the Spirit

Romans 8:9   (KJV)   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.

We are not in the flesh—we’re not controlled by that part of us that desires sin. What a wonderful affirmation!!! Praise the LORD!!! The reason why we’re not controlled by the flesh is the Holy Spirit; He’s the new force, power, or influence Who is in control of us. For romans-8-9-living-in-the-spiritthose of us who have received the Holy Spirit through our faith in the Lord Jesus, it’s a very encouraging guarantee: He’s now in control of the wheels, no longer our sinful nature.

This sounds very interesting; it’s almost like we don’t have to do anything about it because it’s automatic. But to clarify, we have a part here. We are also urged to make righteous choices. I pray that my humble short exposition adds clarity to those who may have a small question regarding the seeming irreconcilability between God’s Sovereignty and our free will. Does God sovereignly control us to live in the spirit, or do we make that determination? It’s both.

If there’s any consolation to us who may have to exert a little more effort in understanding Paul’s teachings especially in his letter to the Romans, we’re not alone in this; even the Apostle Peter pointed out the fact that parts of Paul’s letters are hard to understand. Praise God, we have the mind of Christ; we can understand. “Hard to understand” doesn’t mean impossible to understand. Regarding the outworking of God’s Spirit in us and us choosing to live in the Spirit—both are true as I wrote above.

The apostle Paul affirms this repeatedly. We as true believers are the ones in whom the Holy Spirit lives. We in whom the Holy Spirit resides, the Holy Spirit takes control of. We who the Holy Spirit takes control of, mind the things of the Spirit and choose to walk after the Spirit. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have the ability to choose otherwise; it’s just that we are now new creations, with new nature, who now desire thus choose to live freely in righteousness and life, and no longer as slaves to sin, flesh, and death.