Romans 8 - Part 2
Romans 8:6 "For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace": "Mind of the flesh"-"To set the mind on the flesh" (Nor). "Fleshy thinking and striving" (Vincent p. 90), or the person who loves the things of this material world, more than God(1 John 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:4). "Is death"-spiritual death (for even faithful Christians experience physical death). Remember the "mind of the flesh" includes more than the gutter life. It includes good moral neighbors that refuse to serve God and it also includes self-righteousness and religious hypocrisy (Matthew 6:1-4). "Mind of the Spirit"-"Spiritually minded" (KJV); "Whereas to set the mind on the Spirit brings life and peace"(Nor), or those who allow themselves to bring their thinking into line with God's thinking (2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 2:5; 3:15; 4:8).
Romans 8:7 "because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be". "Because"-the reason why "setting the mind on the flesh results in death". "Enmity"-hostility; by implication, a reason for opposition, enmity, hatred. "Because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God" (NASV). "This is because the fleshy mind hates God" (Beck). Colossians 1:21 "formerly alienated and hostile in mind". "Personal animosity, hatred, dislike, and opposition directed against God" (Lenski p. 506)."This verses makes it very clear that all who minimize sin are doing God no favor. They are doing no one any favor. Sin sought to annihilate God. God came into our world and showed Himself plainly in Christ and sin sought His utter destruction. Sin, manifesting itself in decadence and religious corruption; sin manifesting itself in love of money (Judas), self-preservation at any cost (the council of John 11:47-53), lust after political success (Pilate)..sin sought to annihilate God!"
"For it is not subject to the law of God"-"For it does not subject itself to the law of God" (NASV); "For it refuses to obey God's law" (Gspd). "Present tense here means continued insubordination" (Robertson p. 373). This verse infers that the "mind of the spirit", to be spiritually-minded is to subject oneself to the law of God (1 John 2:4-5). "Neither indeed can it be"-"It does not mean that a person who lives a worldly life cannot turn from it and himself become subject to the law of God; but it does mean that a person cannot live for the things of this life and at the same time be subject to God" (Matthew 6:24; James 4:4). Minding the flesh and serving God are two things that cannot be made to harmonize! So much for those that claim "Christianity has nothing to do with my personal life". Many people fool themselves into thinking that they can serve God acceptably, and yet hold on to a mental perspective that is filled with immoral and godless thoughts. Paul says, as long as a person allows their heart, love, mind and affections to be centered on the things of this physical world, there is no way that such an individual is going to subject themselves to the law of God. Therefore, how ridiculous to say that my gospel teaches that Christians can continue in sin!
Romans 8:8 "and they that are in the flesh cannot please God". Obviously, the term "flesh" does not refer merely to the physical body, but rather is a mindset that is hostile to God and the things of God.
Romans 8:9 "But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His".
"But"-"You can please God, for you are not in the flesh". Note: "In the flesh", means something different than being subject to temptation or having the ability to sin, for Christians still experience that (1 Corinthians 10:23; 1 John 1:8-10). "In the flesh" is the "mind set on the flesh", i.e. serving the flesh, letting the flesh be your master. "But in the Spirit"-a mind set on spiritual things, the things revealed by the Holy Spirit. "If so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you". "Dwelleth"-this verse brings up the topic of the indwelling of the Spirit. Specifically how does the Spirit dwell in one? Many advocate a personal indwelling, and yet, we need to recognize that all of Deity is said to dwell in the Christian (8:10 "if Christ is in you"; John 14:23. Commenting on John 14:23, Robert Turner says, "Does this necessitate the conclusion that after we have loved the Lord, and kept His words, then, as a third happening, the indwelling takes place? Could not the love, the obedience, and the indwelling be inseparable?" That is, doesn't God dwell in the faithful when His word is influencing the way they live? Compare Ephesians 5:18 "filled with the Spirit"; and Colossians 3:16 "Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you".
"But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ"-this verse confirms to me that the "in-dwelling" in the context is to be understood as the person who is allowing themselves to be influenced and regulated by the message from God. For the man that hath the "Spirit of Christ" in the context is the man who is minding the things of the Spirit, who has his mind set on spiritual things, or the man in whom God’s word has a place (John 8:37). But if the "indwelling" is personal, something apart from the Word of God, then some serious questions arise: "When we conceive of the Spirit "directing, leading, or influencing" apart from the word, sinner or saint, there is more at stake than differing opinions of "good men". Does the Holy Spirit direct regardless of the human will? Is man left free to accept or reject that "direction"? Is the "influence" irresistible, or can man say "No!" to the Spirit? If the leading is irresistible, then free agency has been shot down. If the alien can resist, because of the 'old man' "in" him, but the saint cannot resist the indwelling Holy Spirit...then the spirit of Satan is stronger than the Spirit of God. How strongly do we believe in free will or free agency? But that isn't all. If we hold to the free will of man then the "leading" of the Spirit must come in some way EXTERNAL to the mind of man. Man must be able to approach the "lead" objectively, understand it, and respond positively or negatively. That "leading" or "influence" then becomes a form of teaching--in essence, revelation of divine will in addition to the written word. Certainly we should not allow indwelling concepts to contradict clearly taught Bible truth" (Plain Talk, Robert Turner). This all brings us back to the written word of God, the all-sufficient revelation that God has given (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3). Deity is said to dwell in me when I am allowing the message from God to rule my life.
Romans 8:10 "And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness".
"The body is dead because of sin"-"THOUGH the body is dead" (NASV); "although your bodies must die because of sin" (Wms). "The body, it cannot be denied, is dead because of sin: the experience we call death is inevitable for it" (Gr. Ex. N.T. p. 646). "Has the seeds of death in it and will die' because of sin" (Robertson p. 373). "The usual understanding of the phrase is that it is condemned to die (as a consequence of sin entering the world-Genesis 3). It already has the 'seeds of death' in it so Paul calls it dead". But Paul may have something else under consideration. The body which was used as an instrument for sin (6:16), has been put to death (put out of commission) "because of sin" (in order to stop it) by those who belong to Christ (Galatians 5:24). "But the spirit is life because of righteousness"-it seems that spirit here means the "human spirit". "Your spirit is full of life" (Mon), because you have been made righteous. Paul's point here could be the same as in 2 Corinthians 4:16. Even though the physical body will die (as a consequence of sin), the souls of those in Christ are flourishing and enjoying spiritual life.
Romans 8:11 "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you". "Shall give life also to your mortal bodies"-there is some discussion here concerning what resurrection is under consideration. Whiteside argues: "But does our resurrection from the dead depend upon the Spirit's dwelling in us? Do not the Scriptures plainly teach that the wicked, as well as the righteous, will be raised? (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15). He had just stated that the body was dead because of sin--no longer an instrument of sin. But is it to remain altogether inactive? It is not to be brought into any kind of activity in the life of the Christian?" Both resurrections are found in this section (8:23; 6:6,12-13).
Romans 8:12 "So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh".
"So then"-a summation, and an answer to those that would claim that Paul's gospel led to immoral living. "Debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh"-"We owe nothing to" (TCNT); "We owe a duty--but it is not to the flesh!" (Mof). Paul's gospel taught a moral obligation, BUT IT WASN'T TO THE FLESH! (1 Peter 4:3). Paul isn't teaching that Christian's couldn't sin (they could-8:13), rather, that Christians have NO MORAL RIGHT NOR OBLIGATION TO SIN. So much for those that claim, "I know it's wrong, but I just needed to do something for myself, I just needed to let off some steam."
Romans 8:13 "for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live".
"Ye must die"- die spiritually. Remember Paul is talking to Christians. "Are Christians capable of dying spiritually? Of course! If anyone sows to the flesh (Gal. 6:8) he reaps corruption. Some would go back to depend on their moral capital (Gal. 3:3)--that means death. Some would go back to live sinfully (2 Timothy 4:10; 2 Peter 2:20-22)..that means death. The death here cannot be physical since however a person lives he will die physically." The same truth was taught in the O.T., (Ezekiel 18:24). Therefore the "indwelling of the Spirit" in Romans 8 isn't some kind of "enabling power" that keeps the Christian away from sin, or removes all desire to sin. It's not a "leading" of the Spirit that violates or OVER-RULES free-will. "By the Spirit"-it is the teaching delivered by the Spirit that reveals what "deeds of the body" we must remove (Colossians 3:5ff; Ephesians 4:25-5:11). "Put to death"-is present active, "to continue to put to death". "The Spirit doesn't do the killing for the saint as a sort of substitutionary work. Sanctification involves the sinner." (1 Peter 1:14-16). "Ye shall live"-can the Christian treat sin in a casual manner? Certainly not! Spiritual life is conditional.
Romans 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God".
"Led"-"and how does the 'Spirit of God' lead or guide? Through the word of God, of course. We can recognize no activity as pleasing or displeasing to God except by the Spirit's teaching. We can have no sure knowledge of the way in which we ought to go unless there is a foundation of special revelation". "These are sons of God"-here is the test, regarding who are the sons of God. Only those who allow themselves to be led by the Spirit's teaching, period. Jesus agreed (Matthew 12:48-50; 7:21-23). Jesus said that sonship is determined by who a person is allowing to influence their life (John 8:37-44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.."). "Show me one who lives in sin and I will show you one who is not guided by the Spirit. Show me one who is not guided by the Spirit and I will show you one who is not a son of God. THIS HOLY SPIRIT LEADS NO ONE INTO A LIFE OF SIN THAT GRACE MAY ABOUND."
Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/503-644-9017