Monday, July 10, 2023

2023.07.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 8:5–8

Read Romans 8:5–8

Questions from the Scripture text: What sort of person does the apostle mean by “those who live according to the flesh”—what is their mindset (Romans 8:5a)? What sort of person does the apostle mean by “those who live according to the Spirit—what is their mindset (verse 5b)? What does fleshly-mindedness show (Romans 8:6)? What does Spiritual-mindedness show? How does the fleshly mind relate to God (Romans 8:7)? What isn’t it subject to? Why not? What aren’t they able to do (Romans 8:8)?

What can you tell about a person by the way that they are? Romans 8:5–8 looks forward to the sermon in the upcoming midweek meeting. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the way that we are, the mindset that we have, shows whether we are at peace with God or enmity against Him. 

Two possible mindsets. The word translated “live” in Romans 8:5 is actually just the “to be” verb. It refers not just to behavior but to being. There are only two states of existence possible in this life: being in the flesh and being in the Spirit. And the condition of the soul is expressed in the intent of their thoughts, their mindset. Literally, it is what they set their minds upon. I wonder, dear reader, what you are aiming your existence at? What you set your mind upon?

Diagnosing the condition of your soul. One great problem with continuing to be fleshly-minded is that it shows that you are still dead. Maybe you “made a decision” or had a spiritually or emotionally intense experience once, and you have been clinging to that for your eternal safety. But if you are still fleshly minded, you have been misdiagnosed, for you are dead. But if your heart and mind want what the Spirit wants, this is a symptom of being alive; this is an indicator of being at peace with God.

Determining the state of things between you and God. The fleshly mind is hatred toward God, enmity toward Him. It is not merely brokenness or inability. It is hostility. If we treat God as anything less than God, then we are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. If God is God, then we must obey His law. But how can someone be obeying God’s law if they have their mind set upon the flesh? This is to violate the first and greatest commandment. 

So, either we have peace with God, as indicated by having our mind set upon the things of the Spirit, or else we are His enemies who cannot even begin to obey His law truly. What can such a man do? Nothing good. He is completely powerless to please God. His only hope is the God who reconciled enemies through the death of His Son (cf. Romans 5:10). This is the way to have peace and life and to begin living with mind that is set upon the things of the Spirit.

What is your mind set upon? What are you aiming at in life? What does this say about the condition of your soul? What does it say about the state of things between you and God? What is your hope?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You that while we were enemies, You reconciled us to Yourself by the death of Your Son. And we thank You that Your Spirit has given us not only life and peace with You, but also that living to please You and obey You which shows that we have life and peace. Keep cleansing us from all unrighteousness, by Your Spirit, we ask through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH335 “Praise the Savior Now and Ever”

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