Questions for Littles: According to what are you living, if you set your mind on the things of the flesh (5a)? According to what are you living, if you set your mind on the things of the Spirit? What is it for us if we are fleshly (“carnally”) minded (6a)? What is it for us if are spiritually minded (6b)? Why is being fleshly minded enmity against God (v7)? What can’t those who are in the flesh do (v8)? What else is true about someone, if he does not have the Spirit of Christ (v9)? If we are in Christ, are we controlled by our dead flesh or His alive Spirit (v10)? Who dwells in us, if we belong to Christ (11a)? What did God do with Christ’s physically dead body? What will He do with our spiritually dead bodies? Through whom will God do this (end of v11)? What are we, according to v12a? To whom (v14)? What will happen if we live according to the flesh (v13a)? How can we put to death the deeds of the body (13b)? What will happen then? What is true of every one of the children of God (v14)?In this week’s Epistle reading, we heard about the same battle as in 7:14-24, but with one great difference: the struggle is now being considered in light of why it is a struggle for the believer.
Believers struggle against sin because we have been made alive by the Holy Spirit to hate it, and we are living with that mindset. Our sin bothers us—including the sin of not bothering us enough. The reason that it bothers us that our sin doesn’t bother us as much as it should is because of the Holy Spirit!
Now, if we are primarily frustrated that the sin is making us feel guilty, or that its consequences are inhibiting our pleasure, or that we are not able to sin as much as we would like… that is to have the mind set upon the flesh. In that case, battle is not because we are saved, but it is a false battle precisely because we do not have our mind set upon the Spirit.
Now, let us not miss an important connection in 8:6-8… the spiritual man’s mind is subject to the law of God. The law is the clearly defined description of what pleases God, and it is precisely because the fleshly minded don’t care to keep it that they cannot please God.
Here then, is a great work of God the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers: He works in us a resurrection (v11)—He takes hearts that were dead to God and His law, and makes us alive for battle against sin… alive for obedience to God’s law… alive for pleasing God.
Who enjoys this marvelous work of the Spirit? Every single believer, from the moment he becomes a believer (9b, 14). Praise be to God!
What sin are you struggling against? Where do you see your love for God, His law, and pleasing Him?Suggested songs: ARP119M “O How I Love Your Law!” or HB310 “Take My Life, and Let It Be”