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.

We’ll be Prepared

1 Thessalonians 5:23   (KJV)   23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s commonly known that we’re a tripartite being—consisting of three parts: body, soul, and spirit.  Our body is the material, tangible, and visible part; our soul is composed of our intellect, emotion, and volition (or will); our spirit is the part of our being that 1 Thessalonians 5.23-24 - We'll be Preparedconnects with God.  Prior to our salvation, our bodies and soul catered much to sin, and our spirits were dead; we were separated from God.

When we placed our faith in our Lord Jesus, when we placed our full dependence on Him for our forgiveness and salvation, when we surrendered the throne of our lives to Him, we were made alive; our spirits were reborn. We’re become new creations; the old “us” are gone; the new has come.  We’re now experiencing and enjoying eternal life, seated with our Lord in heavenly places (the full meaning and implications of which He alone knows).

This doesn’t mean we’re now in our full heavenly state—no, not yet. Our bodies and souls still show signs of many flaws and imperfections.  Although, we’re slowly changing even in these areas—from glory to glory, He’s changing us into the image of His Son—our dear Lord and Savior Jesus.  I’ve heard it often, “we’re not sinless; we just sin less.”  Not to be used as an excuse or in pride, but the statement is true.  We humbly admit: we’re not perfect—yet.  But we don’t fear.  We have different levels of maturity and different rates of growth, but when our Lord returns, we’ll all be made ready. We who despite our “working out of our salvation,” and despite our “striving” and wanting to be holy for our Father in heaven is holy, still mess up, will be “qualified” because: “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (v.24).

Word, Power, and Character

1 Thessalonians 1:5   (KJV)   5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

Words are innately powerful.  Combine that with the Holy Spirit, the power becomes infinitely multiplied (really hard to come up with the appropriate description because each of them is already infinite in their power).  Most probably, the context refers to a 1 Thessalonians 1.5 - Word, Power, and Charactermanifested and/or demonstrated and/or visible power.  Imagine the effectiveness and the credibility of a ministry that possesses both.

And even more, we have genuine lives—messengers who are full of integrity.  This shows us why a ministry becomes unquestionably effective, efficient, and expansive. These three powerful factors working together as we serve each other and reach out to the needy and “hopeless” is much better than missing even one of them.  God loves us greatly as His children that we are lavishly graced with all of them.  God loves those who we serve greatly that He wants them to have undeniable proofs of His reality so that they would turn to Him and also live the best life anyone can ever live—the life of a believer.

 

Redeemed from Death

Psalm 49:15   (KJV)   15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.

Everyone needs redemption—physically and spiritually, except the saints who will be alive when our Lord Jesus returns. There are at least two major pernicious human conditions that Jesus alone can remedy: sin and death; one is a result of the other. God alone can Psalm 49.15 - Redeemed from Deathforgive and erase our sins. He already paid for them through the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross. In and through Him, although we die, we will live again,

We’re not the ones without hope and assurance of forgiveness and salvation. Although it’s true that there will still be times when we sin, even as believers, even as saints, we’ve already placed the hope for out eternal salvation in Him. He’s perfect and will forever be perfect. He loves us so much that He gave us His Son Jesus Who willingly let go of His glorious existence to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death—for us. We continue to depend on Him and Him alone.

We have peace because we know our Lord won’t fail. When the time comes, He will call us from the grave, and up from there we will rise to die no more. That’s a reality based on His dependability. Our total and absolute redemption through our bodily resurrection is more valuable than anything this world offers. Others pursue riches, fame, relationships, and even the fountain of youth. They even succeed in some. But everything here is fleeting—like a flower: no matter how pretty, they eventually wilt away.

We don’t envy them; those things may be important from the perspective of a temporal life, but we possess the greatest riches in eternity, or shall we say, the true riches.

Crucified Flesh

Galatians 5:24   (KJV)   24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Yes, our inner struggle against sin is constant. This is true even among the saintliest of saints among us. This is not in any way an attempt to undermine our brothers and sisters in Christ who believe in sinless perfection, that we can attain total sanctification while galatians-5-24-crucified-fleshwe’re still here on earth. Bless their hearts if this is a real experience to them. As for me, and in my humble personal understanding of God’s Word regarding this issue, our struggle will ultimately end when this flesh is completely done away with.

And praise God; that day will come. But we don’t have to wait for that day for us to live in victory. There will be battles against our flesh, but these battles can turn to one victory after another. This is possible because true, genuine believers—followers of Jesus—we, have nailed our flesh and its affections or passions, lusts and ungodly desires to the cross. We render our flesh dead. We follow the Spirit’s leading.

When we allow God’s precious Holy Spirit to take lead, and we follow His guidance, we avoid doing the detestable dictates of our sinful nature. Evil desires become abhorrent to us. As we continue to grow in the Lord, as we continue to taste and see His goodness, we lose our appetite towards ungodliness. We experience the beauty and wonder of a life of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. What’s better than that?

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.

A New Heart, A New Spirit

 

Ezekiel 38.31 - New Heart, New Spirit

 

Ezekiel 18:30-31   (KJV)   31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

God wants everyone to be saved. The last thing He wants is to hurt us, His much loved creation. Why hurt someone you love, unless doing so will ultimately be for their best? That’s the reason why He wants us to put away our sins. Contrary to what Satan or our flesh tells us, sin destroys us. Yes, it’s most often pleasurable, but the damage it creates is indescribably worse. Sin results to death. Do we really want this? Of course not, and God is so strongly opposed to it also.

When God tells us to get rid of something, it’s all for our good, for our best. We never think for a moment that He’s a bad Father, or worse, a sadistic one. He doesn’t delight in our pain. Our disobedience will cause exactly that – pain. Just because we don’t see the immediate result doesn’t mean we get away with it. God patiently gives us time and opportunities to humbly come to our senses and wisely take the next best step, that is, to repent.

We have to have a new heart, a new spirit. That’s the key to avoiding death. With it, we live. We can’t proudly go on doing what’s wrong, ungodly, and sinful, and expect God to just look away. It’s not love to just leave us walking the path of destruction without doing anything to ensure that we don’t end up ruining our lives. He runs quickly towards us to stop us before it’s too late. Isn’t that what He did when He left heaven and came down to where we are? He came to rescue us; otherwise, all of us would have kept walking the journey of destruction without any hope.

Life is beautiful; we love life. And praise God, we live and we will live forever—in bliss, beauty, and glory. For now, we get rid of all attitudes and acts of rebellion against God. That’s what real living is. What a wonderful life.