We read of the blessing one receives while living under the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus in the Book of Romans. Throughout Romans Chapter Seven Paul discusses the reasoning behind the fact that using one's flesh to live the Christian life is impossible. Paul referred to his own experience to prove that.
Paul was satisfied with explaining the futility of living for
God by the flesh. He then revealed the wonder of the Life available
through yielding to God. Romans Chapter Six touched upon the need
to YIELD to the Spirit.
There is a life in the Spirit to which God has made every Spirit-baptized believer fit to inherit. The mind of the flesh is the enemy which hinders that life. It does it in pure lack of awareness of the proper method through means of promoting self energy. The "flesh" is independent self. Always think of "independent self" when you read of "flesh" in the Bible, for that is what is implied. It is referring to "self" trying to improve "self" without going to God for that help. Remind yourself of the plight of Adam due to his independence of God when you read of "flesh".
Now, let me make it clear that the literal flesh we all possess is not evil. Gnosticism would tell you that it is evil. Gnosticism is wrong. But when the Bible refers to "flesh" it is not referring to the literal skin covered body we possess. It refers to the natural state since the fall of Adam into sin.
We are born with an addiction to walk by self energy. The drug in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil seeped into the bloodstream of Adam and it induced him to act in this self-willed manner. We are therefore born with the addiction of self-promotion.
The life in the Spirit is ours to enjoy. And one of the greatest battles we will face on our way to this "land" of Spiritual life is that of the carnal mind.
Romans Chapter Eight explains that we will suffer condemnation
as Paul suffered it (as described in Chapter Seven) if we try using the
We must not depend upon the flesh for this victorious Spiritual Living. If we do, we will fail, and thereby suffer condemnation for not succeeding. A life of sin will be our lot.
The Law never attained the goal with mankind that it tried to achieve.
Jesus Christ came to fulfill that goal. The whole reason for the
law's failure was the flesh of mankind which had SIN in it.
Roma 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
It is most interesting to see that He could deal with all men's flesh. How could this be possible? Romans Eight and Verse Three tells us that the means by which Jesus accomplished this was through condemning sin in the flesh. He took upon His flesh the sin resident in all of humanity. The inherent sin element previously strangled the flesh from righteousness. Sin was in the flesh of all men. This resulted in the bondage of life under the law of sin and death.
Sin was in the flesh. Notice this reason for our bondage. If this caused all men to live under the law of sin and death could not God reverse this principle? Why could not Jesus dwell in our spirits, as sin dwells in man's flesh, and give us ability to rise above sin?
This same thought applies to man's fall. One man, Adam, could hurl all of mankind into sin by his act. Why could not another man, Jesus Christ, redeem all mankind by His act? If the first was possible, then the second is definitely possible.
It was sin that conquered man in Eden. Romans Six Verse Six states that men are either servants of sin or servants of obedience. And sin leads to death. Obedience leads to righteousness (Verse Sixteen). The goal of the law was this righteousness. The goal of sin was death. And sin was the element that achieved its goal. Sin had a head start with you and me because we were born with sin in our flesh. And while sin was in the flesh, man could never reach righteousness.
There was nothing wrong with the law's desire to fulfill righteousness
in us. The means Law encouraged man to use to fulfil that
righteousness was the problem. The law looked to the flesh which
contained sin, and told us to make ourselves righteous through fleshly
exertion of good works. And instead of producing righteousness, the
law caused us to produce death. If you try to use the flesh to do
anything, sin, which lives in flesh, will work. And it happened that
sin used the law and by it worked the death into man which it produces.
The only way the Law could work was for it to be given to a sinless man.
In fact, the reason God sent such a law to sinful humanity was to show man that he did have sin in his flesh. Man didn't believe it. Many still do not believe it. And because man could not keep that law, man was shown to need God's mercy. The law showed no mercy.
The law wasn't the problem. Sin was. And since sin was in the flesh, and still is in the flesh, we must leave the flesh alone. Sin still lives in the flesh of the believer also. By that I mean there is an inclination to slip into the law of sin and death. If the believer tries living to please God through the power of the flesh, the believer will sin.
God gives us a fresh start by putting His Spirit within us.
Without His Spirit within, how can we expect to live a life led by the
Spirit? That is the only way to live the Christian life. How can
you be subject to obedience to the Spirit if the Spirit isn't even in
you to speak direction for you to obey?
Leading of the Spirit is the work the Spirit accomplishes through the vessel of the Spirit-baptized believer. It is an inward leading. The Spirit within lives through us and leads us. We learn to yield to the force of God's Life itself within us. He is in us - not just His power, but Him! And He is there to speak to us and guide us into all truth. This is where obedience unto righteousness comes in.
Baptism is the illustration of taking the old man, in which dwells sin, and burying it. The old man is that lifestyle of living in self-energy. We must keep it buried. Baptism is a figurative expression of keeping the flesh down. When you bury something it is meant to stay buried. You do not dig up a corpse. The dead body is useless now. And we must look at our flesh as being as useless as a corpse when it comes to using it to live righteously. It is useless in trying to use flesh to live for God. So bury it and leave it buried.
Many believe we cannot separate baptism from repentance and Spirit and study it for what it, in itself, does in our salvation. Yet it is possible. In fact, Romans Chapter Six does just that. It explains the part that baptism alone plays in our salvation. It is only a part of salvation though. Not only does this prove that the study of baptism alone is possible but we have another point. If we cannot separate baptism and observe it as accomplishing a work then why do people get Spirit-baptism without water baptism? If the three go together as an inseparable experience, then you cannot get Spirit-baptism unless you have been baptized. But we know that is not true. May have received Spirit baptism before they were water baptized.
Baptism deals with the element of the flesh. This causes God to bury the flesh. We signify that we choose not to use it or live by it. We comply with the need of Spirit leading by undergoing baptism. God states very clearly in His Word that flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God. So, flesh cannot enjoy the blessings of leading of the Spirit. The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Ro. 14:17).
The carnal mind is enmity with God. The carnal mind is the fleshly-oriented mind that cannot conceive realities that are unseen and non-tangible to the physical. When the Bible says we must look at the things which are not, that are eternal, and not at the the things which are seen that are temporal, it is saying we must realize there are indeed spiritual realities, though they cannot be sensed with our physical senses. The mind that cannot conceive the reality of the existence of such unseen things is the carnal mind. We cannot relate to God in our carnal minds alone since God is a Spirit and is unseen. Carnal people have a hard time relating the truth of God's existence to their way of living. Carnal mindedness is the lifestyle that stems from only being able to live according to what we can physically sense. For example, when carnal believers face a crisis, they cannot settle with asking God to help and then waiting for the miracle to arrive. They cannot see God and they cannot see Him hearing their cry for help. So they do not act upon the fact that God hears prayer. Instead of waiting with trust that God has heard and will answer their need, they run in frenzy trying to solve it all themselves.
Though He try, God simply cannot convey spiritual truths to the carnal
mind. And the carnal mind is not subject to God's law. The
law we are discussing apart from Moses' law, is the law of the Spirit of
Life in Christ Jesus. This is the idea throughout Chapter Eight.
Our realization of Christ's dealing with the sin element in the flesh qualifies
us, or rather, renders us capable of living under the higher law of the
Spirit. Yet we must understand something else after realizing this.
The carnal mind can only think of fleshly means of doing whatever
one needs to do. And if the matter at concern is living righteously,
the carnal mind immediately begins conceiving processes to accomplish that
end. The law of God is not compatible to the carnal mind. We
cannot obey the Law by the carnal mind. That which makes the mind
a carnal mind is the mindset of thoughts that focus upon flesh. We
cannot subject the carnal mind to a spiritual law.
Only the human spirit can relate to it. And for this to be possible,
God must resurrect the human spirit from the dead. Since Jesus rose
from the dead, He will send His Spirit (that raised us from the dead) to
dwell in us if we let Him. And that Spirit will quicken and energize
our bodies with immortal power, though our bodies yet be mortal.
It was by the Spirit that Jesus rose from the dead. And it is that
same Spirit that quickens us today if we understand how it works.
There just is no way for the law of the Spirit to work when we are acting
in the flesh and trying to solve our problems using fleshly energy.
Although we have a choice, we hold that life of living in the
Spirit in suspended animation within us. That is, we are not enjoying
it. We lock it within us as long as we continue to give attention
to the flesh to live for God.
Such is certainly not the case. This same reaction was taken
to Paul due to his teaching on the subject of grace.
There is a place for the animation of our fleshly
bodies in the work of God. Yet we must not remove it from that place
into a position which jeopardizes our faith. That proper place is
OBEDIENCE. We act according to what God speaks to us to do.
As the Spirit leads, we obey. The Spirit leads us inwardly to move
in whatever direction of work He pleases.
We jeopardize our faith when we put it aside and attempt to live
not by it's means but by fleshly sight. Our faith will not grow in
this situation. And our faith alone will please God! What we
are not to do is act presumptuously to assume that God desires something
without having instructed us about it.
Now, God has already instructed us to do certain acts. We need not wait for the Spirit to speak to us about certain issues. Many instructions are already in His Word. Repentance and baptism are acts of obedience to God's Word. Even these, though, are useless until we exert faith along with them.
We must receive a revelation of God's desire in those actions He tells
us to make. It simply is not enough to do the action.
We must understand the reason for the action. The reason is that
which supplies you the element to have faith in. To be baptized simply
because the Bible says we must be baptized is not what the Bible is trying
to convey to us what we must accomplish. Philip told the eunuch that
he could get baptized if the enuch believed that Jesus Christ is
the Son of God (Acts 8:36-37). Without that faith there was no sense
in baptizing the eunuch. (That is why infant baptism is useless and
We must never have faith in the action itself. No physical movement can affect spiritual realities as if by a form of magical gesture.
There is no spiritual blessing in the physical "water" itself used in baptism. And to believe otherwise is making Christianity a form of paganism.
The mind of the Spirit belongs to those who see the difference
between simple works and outright faith.
The carnal mind cannot see that difference. It cannot understand the elements within the law of the Spirit. The carnal mind is so fleshly attentive that it does not see the spiritual aspect of various commands of Gods. And when people promote such spiritual recognition, and we limit the outlook of the need of physical effort to mere obedience, the carnal mind becomes fearful.
Such carnal believers feel they would be in grave error should
they grasp this line of thought. They immediately assume one can
sin under such a dogma. And we find their reason for this assumption
in their outlook, which happens to be in error. They feel that by
occupying the flesh in enough good works, they will not leave room for
the flesh to sin.
This is not liberty. It is yet a form of bondage. There is no freedom in such a life from sin. The adherents may have all the liberty at their disposal due to their salvation. They do not know it, however. They may see it in the Word. They misunderstand how one experiences it, though. They look at their standing as an area into which sin is ever invading and attempting to rule. And they feel they must exercise continual fighting to ensure safety. Such fighting is to be done by self, they imagine. They do not consider God to be able to keep one aloft above the law of sin. They do not even know what the law of sin is anyhow. If they did, they would not fight. Such people find the element they fear the most comes upon them again and again. They sin. And they will continue to sin as long as they continue to fight.
Others fight their own flesh. And it is the same as fighting sin, because sin is in the flesh.
We simply must let go of self-effort. Then we must
begin to exert faith in God's power to work. Leave the old man in
the grave. Do not resurrect him through thinking your flesh can please
God sees the sinful fleshly attempts at improving self as filthy. And as long as we drop our old inclinations to use our flesh, God sees it as out of the way. He can then fellowship with us. Begin to walk in the flesh again, though, and you alienate yourself from God once again.
That is the reason fleshly tribulations draw us to God.
The only way God can get through to fellowship with us is through having our fleshly efforts buried. It must be out of sight. He actually sees it as out of His sight. He actually sees it as out of his sight after a minister baptizes us. And tribulation only hurts our flesh. It does not damage the part of us that relates to God. So, tribulations area a means of bringing us to where God wants us. And all of us go through trials. We cannot help it.
What a way to draw us to God!
Such situations force us to exert faith when we experience tribulation.
Faith frees us from our trials. The more carnal and faithless we
are, the more we suffer in trials. So when we let the flesh dies
away we realize we can bear trials easier. And through this, trials
actually help us to become more spiritual. No wonder Paul gloried
People who desire spiritual growth will also glory in tribulation. Tribulation hurts the flesh. And the suffering of the flesh allows the spirit to rise in strength. Those who realize this, will give place to tribulation.
Tribulations upset the carnal believers who regard flesh in great
admiration. Tribulation attacks their whole world of desire.
They love fleshly things. And tribulation strikes a blow to what
they love. This renders the objects of their love hurt.
The law of the Spirit is an enemy of the fleshly believer. And the Law of God is an enemy of the flesh also. Now, Moses' law was what Paul called the Law of God in Chapter Seven. Verse Twenty-two says that the mind desires the Law of God and agrees with it. Yet such a mind does not find the fulfillment of the law of God due its ignorance of how to see it fulfilled. This is the mind of a person who thinks one must exert will-power to stay above sin..
In Chapter Seven Verse Twenty-five Paul sums it up by saying that the mind will serve the Law of God. One's desire as a Christian ios to please God. But the flesh will not serve it. And the flesh cannot. Only the human spirit can relate to it. And that requires a born-again experience. Chapter Eight Verse Seven says that the carnal mind is not subject to the Law of God. This is referring to the Mosaic Law. And the people in the flesh have no possible way to fulfill that law and please God. Our position in Jesus Christ already fulfills the law for us. Peter said it was a yoke no man could bear (Acts 15:10). It was too hard for sunful flesh to obey. We who believe in Jesus must not walk after the flesh.
The law of the Spirit is an enemy also to the carnal mind. It speaks of the need for us to put the flesh under. And anyone living in a world of pride and of "put-on" will detest such a law. It is amazing to observe how "works" are so important to a carnal believer. When the Bible speaks of works it is referring to physical acts accomplished in order to bring about victory in the spirit. Such works cannot accomplish that end.
Those who become upset at relinquishing their system of works are most
carnal. They've found a way to disguise the flesh in religious robes
and let it continue to thrive. Oh, if they only knew of the greater
value of the spiritual life! If they only knew of the opportunity
to experience true joy. Such is attained through rendering the flesh
inactive and giving way to the Spirit of God within.
You really can experience joy in your human spirit. Some feel the only joy that exists is in the flesh. And, for them, to forsake flesh is to forsake any further hope of ever having pleasure again.
There is joy of the spirit that actually surpasses fleshly joy.
It's more eternal and lasting. Fleshly pleasure is so temporal.
Spiritual joy is therefore more fulfilling.
It's like trying to enjoy imitation sugar when we enjoy fleshly pleasure. If all we knew was imitation sugar, we would truly believe it to be most satisfying. Upon experiencing real sugar one will truly have one's eyes opened. Try convincing that to people though - especially since they have never seen real sugar before.
Spiritual people can see far ahead in any matter. They can
wait for an answer to come while trouble carries on all around them, since
they have asked God in faith for help. They do not frantically "jump
the gun" by acting in the flesh and forgetting about God's help.
The Word of God has disciplined them. It requires discipline of self
to render the flesh inactive. We can find carnal people jumping to
conclusions and deciding issues at the spur of the moment. Patience
is a product of the Spirit - a fruit. Let the Spirit thrive and watch
People choose to ignore such teaching on law of the Spirit. And they supposedly try staying safe where they are. Such people are actually making an excuse for a lack. They are making an excuse for their lack of being able to be led of the Spirit. Pride causes them to make such an excuse.
We cannot ignore leading of the Spirit and think we can get by successfully. We will not succeed.
Patience is a virtue, people say. And they urge you
to be patient when they say that. That is an inference that your
flesh can produce patience. The flesh can produce so much of patience,
but whatever the flesh produces is detestable to God. How can flesh
produce what the Bible calls Fruit of the Spirit? If it is of
the Spirit then it is the Spirit that produces it. Natural patience
is of no spiritual benefit, due to it's origin.
God regards one's natural qualities as unfit before Him, as far
as requirements for righteous standards goes. Such people are not
carrying God's will out in natural qualities. His major desire is
to live through us and touch the world. And a product of such flowing
is the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit are not the goal, but
are blessings that come with God's work in us. God's goal is intimate
fellowship with man. He also desires a chance to reach others with
that fellowship in mind for them.
The carnal mind will ever misunderstand the principles of a life
led by the Spirit. It's like apples and oranges. The two cannot
go together. They are of different worlds.
The first step in making your mind compatible with God's ways is to realize the flesh is going to suffer. We must remove our hearts away from any longing for fleshly elements. Be willing to give any love in this fleshly realm up. If God might ask for us to relinquish a certain fleshly item, then we must be willing to surrender it. That goes for anything in this world. Anything you may own in the physical can never hold you to itself, as though you cannot be without it. If you feel you simply cannot let go of a certain worldy item, then you are too worldly-minded. We must not hold to anything in this world which we would not relinquish, should God require us to do so. We should have the ability to let go of anything in this world for ever, should God will.
Next we must understand the need to put our treasures in heavenly places. Your heart can still love, though you remove it from loving anything in this present world. Direct your heart towards spiritual treasures in heaven. Jesus recommended the desire of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. His recommendations should be our emphasis.
Even the longing for the mansions and the street of gold is somewhat carnal. Those things are elements which the carnal mind can yet relate with. The carnal mind cannot relate with the unseen righteousness of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. Though we cannot see the mansions at this moment, we do not have them right now either. Yet we can have Jesus' righteousness right now. And we can have the kingdom of God now as well as later. Notice that Jesus recommended two elements we can have both now and later! The Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
People made the statement that some are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good. They think of people dreaming of mansions and so on. That is a valid remark to make of such dreamers. It does not apply to those who desire the righteousness of Jesus, though, and that is yet heavenly-mindedness. We can have these elements and be of much earthly good. So not all heavenly mindedness renders us to no earthly good.
In fact, regarding the desire for a mansion and a street of gold
as heavenly mindedness is in itself carnal. True, higher heavenly
mindedness is desiring righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost
(Ro. 14:17). Heavenly things include spiritual virtues.