The Things Our Minds Are Set On - As Seen On Sunday
I confess that I have been guilty of saying that I have a mind that is on the Spirit when my mind was on things of the flesh.
Forgive me for not submitting to you.
Forgive me for not reflecting you to others.
I’d be terrible if I didn't start out talking about “what's the therefore, there for.” So just looking at chapter 7:14-25 Paul is expressing his frustration with not being able to be as obedient as he would like to be. He expresses our opposing natures: the fleshly sin nature and the spiritual. This is where he says that he does the very things he hates and does not do the things he wants to do.
Considering all this, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
First of all, what is condemnation? It shows up often in the bible as requiring punishment and holds a legal connotation of pronouncing the judgment or verdict over someone. I think is shows guilt. This fits properly with Paul’s use of two laws.
"2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death."
Commentaries seem to agree that “the Spirit of life” is the Holy Spirit. I almost skipped over this, but I kept coming back to it. Why is this called the law of the Spirit of life? Well, this ‘law’ is in comparison to the law that leads to death. The law that leads to death is attached to righteousness that cannot be achieved, so the law of life is one that is written on our hearts as we are transformed by the Holy Spirit.
In the very next verse, it says that Jesus was sent in flesh in order to condemn sin so that the righteousness required by the law could be met. It is not our own righteousness but Jesus’ that sets us free. There is no condemnation for us in Jesus yet Jesus condemned the very thing that was supposed to condemn us.
I found it fascinating that the trinity is represented here in these verses. It says God sent His Son. That is God the Father sent God the Son and the Spirit of life that is God the Holy Spirit have all set us free in the spirit. It's not just the father or just the son or just the Holy Spirit. All three working in perfect unison saved us from the law of sin and death.
I felt as if at this point there was a natural transition between the first 4 and the next 4 verses. At verse 5 Paul now changes from what God has done for us to the difference between those living according to the flesh verse those according to the Spirit.
"5 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. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 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. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
So what is the difference between a mind on flesh or a mind or Spirit? We are given that a mind set on the flesh is hostile to God and does not submit to God. This is where there is a difference between trying to be righteous through actions and having a heart that is turned towards God. This one is seeking moralistic actions that can be devoid of true obedience. This mindset seeks what the actions can do for ourselves while obedience is only after what God wants.
Paul says that this heart cannot submit to God, not just that it doesn't but that it cannot.
This really made me stop and go “woah.”
I think about myself and those things that I do not give over to God and here we read “a mind on the flesh cannot submit to God” and it makes me realize that my mind is on the flesh in those areas and it cannot submit to God.
I think that all of this is why “being a good person” does not work. being a good person assumes that you know what is good and if God happens to exist He’ll recognize that you knew what was good and sometimes did those things. There isn't any obedience to God since we are doing as we see fit. It really takes God out of the equation and certainly does not submit to God. In fact, this thought process submits God to us. Maybe this is why those who are in the flesh cannot please God because it is all about themselves rather than God.
Therefore there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus because within the Spirit is power for a changed heart. This is the conviction vs condemnation debate. Conviction is there to let us know that something is wrong whereas condemnation says that it is too late. Conviction says that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is enteral life. Condemnation says all of your sin is too much to save. There is no condemnation because Jesus’ righteousness has been counted as our own.
Take one thought that is on fleshly things and write down the inverse of that thought. I thought of the example that I am worthless and then I would write down that I am loved and valued by God. Maybe even find a Bible verse that is relevant to.