Lesson 25


The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

8:5 For those who are after the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 8:6 For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; 8:7 because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to Godís law, neither indeed can it be. 8:8 Those who are in the flesh canít please God. 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man doesnít have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his. 8:10 If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 8:11 But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.


 Today's Lesson 

In Today's Scripture Paul contrasts a division that exists within the human race. He calls one group of people "of the flesh" and the other "of the Spirit." Paul frames this discussion around what occurs in the mind of each of these two groups.

 

"Those who are after the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh." "The mind of the flesh is death." "The mind of the flesh is hostile toward God." "The mind of the flesh is not subject to God's law, neither indeed can it be." "Those who are in the flesh can't please God." These things are the opposites of the mind of those who the Spirit of God indwells. "Those who are after the Spirit," have their minds set on," the things of the Spirit. "The mind of the Spirit is life and peace."

 

Paul concentrates on the mind because the mind is the real battleground of the Christian life. What we think and what we believe is the point of division between the redeemed and the lost. One can only be saved by the action and the initiative of God. We are all lost, but God acts and some are saved. It is His sovereign will at work that saves man. But, He has declared that He will save on the basis of faith. If we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and we trust in Him we will be saved. It is the mind of man that God seeks to impact. It is with the mind that we believe.

 

Paul declares that the mind of those whom God has saved is set on the things of God. The minds of those who are lost are on the flesh. Our minds would be on flesh were it not for the saving act of God. No man would even consider the things of the Spirit if the Spirit of God did not intervene in their lives. But if God chooses to live within you He first cleanses you. "If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness." God forgives all of your sin on the basis of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. All of your sin: past, present and future.

 

I recognize that we are faced with a dilemma. We feel that our own lives are full of sin, even after coming to Christ. We wonder if we are saved at all if this is true because surely it is true that our minds are not always set on the things of the Spirit. In the best of men that I have known it seems as though their minds are set on the things of the flesh with regularity. Without faith, the skeptic concludes that none are saved and that salvation is a farce.

 

But no man will ever be worthy of God's salvation. God does not act to save the worthy. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. God asks us to believe that he will rescue us even though we DO NOT deserve it. He offers salvation to anyone who believes even though they will never deserve it.

 

This is the sort of person that the Spirit of God lives in. God lives in those that are humble enough to know that they will never live up to the great honor that He bestows on them. To the self-righteous and the self-sufficient he gives nothing. God cleanses those who desire to be clean; He purifies those who desire to be pure.

 

Believe in God. Let your mind be set on the things of the Spirit. Trust in the saving power of Christ even when everything around you seeks to deny Him.

 

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