Setting our Minds on the Things of God

Romans 8:1-8 ESV

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Verse 1 in the KJV: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Whether you prefer the KJV or a more modern translation, they are pretty much all just translations. There is nothing more sacred of one over the other unless you get into some of the more loosely translated versions, “The Message” being one of those which I highly do NOT recommend. My personal favorite is the NIV84, but that one is not available online. I like the NASB, but I find it a little bit too scholastic (over my head) as I have slow reading comprehension. So, I settled for the ESV primarily, but sometimes the NIV or the NASB or the KJV are more accurate, and so I will use them.

Okay, I said all of that to say that I don’t know with any certainty if the second half of this first sentence was in the original manuscripts in this particular verse or not, but it fits here, because it is repeated for us again in verse four in the same context, and it is what the New Testament, overall, teaches, which is that those who are in Christ Jesus, by genuine God-given faith in him, are those who walk (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. So, I will not debate the KJV over the ESV, but I just want you to know that the KJV and the ESV are both correct.

Why? Because they both state that being in Christ means we walk (in conduct) no longer according to (in agreement with) our flesh but according to the Spirit of God. For, the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who what? Who walk NOT according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For… if we walk according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, then what? We are condemned because our minds are set on the flesh and not on the things of God, for to set the mind on the flesh is what? DEATH! We need to get this!! If our minds are set on the flesh, we do not have life!

For, the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God. Do you hear that? We can’t be for God and be worshipers of God, of Jesus Christ, if our minds are set on the flesh and not on the Spirit. And our behaviors, i.e. our daily practices and the words that we speak are what give evidence as to whether our minds are set on the flesh or on the Spirit. And if our minds are set on the flesh we cannot submit to God’s law. Do you see what this is saying? We are to submit to God’s law under the New Covenant. And it is also critical that we live to please God which we can’t do if our minds are on the flesh.

This is not legalism. This is not works-based salvation being taught here, or else Paul taught works-based salvation, and so did Jesus. And yet if this is what we teach, we get accused of being legalistic or judgmental or negative or of teaching works-based salvation. But our salvation from sin requires that we walk in obedience to our Lord and that we forsake our sinful practices, and that we live holy lives pleasing to God. For if we do not, then we are condemned with the wicked and we won’t have eternal life with God, so we need to take this to heart. Our eternal life depends on it!

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]

Romans 8:12-14 ESV

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

This is the central message of the gospel of our salvation all throughout the New Testament. For Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. He died that we might be delivered from our slavery to sin so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but now to live as slaves of God and of his righteousness. And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our lives (with our bodies).

Basically, what we need to understand here is that our salvation is not a one-time experience in our lives that secures us forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God no matter how we live our lives from that moment forward. The Scriptures are real clear on that subject that our salvation is progressive sanctification, and that it won’t be complete until Jesus returns for us, his bride, and on the condition that we continue in Christ until the very end in walks of obedience to our Lord and in the forsaking of our sins. And here are some verses which teach this:

[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25]

So, what this means is that if you are proclaiming Jesus as your Savior and Lord, but you are still living in deliberate and habitual sin, regularly and consistently denying Jesus as your Lord, refusing to obey his commands, and choosing to defy him by willfully living in sin and not according to the Spirit in walks of obedience to the Lord, you do not have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. But if you walk (in conduct, in practice) in the power of God in daily dying to sin and to self and in walks of obedience to the Lord, then you have the hope of eternal life with God.

Songs in the Night

An Original Work / December 18, 2013

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84

Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.

I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!

Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.

I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!

Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.

Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!

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