Rom 8:7-8                           Enmity Against God                            8/25/2002    

 

#1.            Walking After the Spirit (Rom 8:1-5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Carnal Mind (Rom 8:7-8, John 6:44)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       We Are Debtors (Rom 8:12-14)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 8 (2X). We are now entering a section in this Epistle to the Romans where God shows us the battle and the contrasts between the Spirit and the flesh. The word "flesh" refers here to the body of the natural man. It is the way we come into the world, as sinful sons of Adam. And since our brain is part of our body, and our mind lodges in our brain, our mind also belongs to the flesh. That is why the title of the Sermon today is: "Enmity Against God" (2X). The principle here is: Our flesh is at enmity against God. This was already the issue in Romans chapter 7, where we see the battle between the Law of God and the flesh. Who was the winner there? The flesh. On the other hand, in chapter 8 the Spirit refers to the Spirit of Christ, or God the Holy Spirit. In this chapter God describes the battle between the Spirit and the flesh. Who will be the winner here? Let us find out as we read in Rom 8, beginning at verse 1,

#1.            Walking After the Spirit (Rom 8:1-5)

Romans 8:1 ¶ There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Romans 8:4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

This section describes a man who walks not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. What does it mean to walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit? The walking refers to our lifestyle, and our lifestyle reflects what lives inside us. Our lifestyle reflects if the soul that lives inside us is still the old Adamic soul, or if it is a new soul that God the Holy Spirit has given us when we became "Born Again".

For example, a person who walks after the flesh has the attitude "Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die". On the other hand, a person who walks after the Spirit has the attitude "Let us eat and drink to make friends with people who need to be warned, for tomorrow we die and then there is no more opportunity to warn them. For this reason Christ has left us in the world, that we should warn people that there is a Judgment Day, and that God will not pass over any sin.

The person who walks after the Spirit is not catering to satisfy the desires of his body, but his desires are to do those things that are pleasing to God. Verse 1 says that this is a person who is "in Christ Jesus", and verse 10 says "If Christ be in you". Verse 1 says that there is no condemnation for those who are "in Christ Jesus". Why no condemnation? "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". But there are other people, who are:

Romans 8:5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:7  Because the carnal (fleshly) mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

What is the "carnal mind"? The word "carnally" and "carnal" in verses 6 and 7 is the same word that has been translated "flesh" in all the other verses. Now the literal flesh, such as the flesh that covers our arms and legs, is not sinful in itself. Our flesh only becomes sinful because there is a mind controlling the flesh. It is really the mind that is wicked to the core. But our mind is part of the body that we have inherited from our forefather Adam. We were conceived and born into this world with a sinful mind, which is also called a carnal mind. Therefore we were born with a sinful body, and we continue in this sinful body until the day that our body dies.

Why is it that we were created with such a sinful mind? Why did God create us this way? Well, God created Adam good, and we were all in the loins of Adam in the Garden of Eden. But Adam chose to rebel against God, just like the angel Lucifer chose to rebel against God. What a dumb thing to do: A creature rebelling against his Creator. But, if we had been there we would not have done any better. The Lord Jesus explained sin in this way: "Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin". Therefore when Adam sinned he continued in sin. And when he begat children he begat them in his likeness: All his posterity was conceived and born in sin. Yes, the Bible talks about those cute little babies. We were conceived and born in sin, and by nature we mind only the things of the flesh.

Does God know that we are by nature sinners from birth? Of course God knows. But do we know that too? To make sure that we also know that we are sinners from birth, God added law, after law, after law in the Bible, to remind us that we are by nature violating the Law of God. God also gave all these laws as a deterrent to sin. Was that sufficient? No! For example, God gave only one law in the Garden of Eden. God said that they could not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but they were allowed to eat of the Tree of Life. What was the result? They did not eat from the Tree of Life, but they did eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, even though God warned them: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die". Did Adam and Eve die on that day? They died instantly. No, they did not die a physical death, but spiritually they died instantly. God does not lie. And all their posterity therefore was also born spiritually dead, unable to obey God. This is the meaning of spiritual death: Natural man, as a son of Adam, is unable to obey God or to please God.

Romans 8:3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh,

The Law is holy and just and good. There is nothing wrong with the Law of God. But the Law was not designed to change sinners into saints. The Law was not able to give sinners a fear of God so that they would no longer sin. The Law was not able to stop sin from occurring. The Law only made sin become exceeding sinful. That is how the Law of God becomes the Law of sin and death.

When we violate the Law, which is holy and just and good, we then become subject to the spiritual death and to the 2nd death that God has demanded for violating His Law. Just one sin makes us slaves of sin. Therefore one sin leads to another sin, and another sin, and so on. And that is why "we all were by nature dead in trespasses and sins", and "we all were by nature the children of wrath, even as others". From the moment of our conception we are held captive in that condition of spiritual death, which came upon us through Adam's sin. As long as we are held captive in this condition as slaves of sin, we are powerless. We cannot even see the Kingdom of God. We do not want to believe the Bible, and we cannot come to Jesus, because as a natural man we do not even understand the things of the Spirit of God. We are so alienated from the life of God that even our understanding has been darkened. When we are told in the Bible that a sinner is "dead", we do not understand that "dead" means to have no power, no strength, no ability, no capacity and no desire at all to cast away our own ego, and take up the desire to serve Jesus instead. "Dead" means not to be partially alive, but it is the absence of all life. This is the word used in the Bible for those who are spiritually dead. That is why "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh", because they have no appetite for the things of the Spirit. They are at Enmity Against God. We are by nature enemies of God. It requires an act of God, it requires a miracle done by God, to bring spiritual life in the soul of the natural man. May God have mercy on us that He will perform such a miracle on each one of us. Only then are we able to do those things that are pleasing in God's sight.

If God indeed has mercy on us, then we can say: "What the Law could not do",

Romans 8:3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

What did God do? God sent the Lord Jesus Christ "in the likeness of sinful flesh". In other words, Christ adopted a human body "in the likeness of sinful flesh". He never had sinful flesh. He appeared to have the same kind of body that other human beings have, but He never had a sinful mind that controlled His flesh, because He had to be "the spotless Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world". He was laden with the guilt of our sins on His Soul, but He could not have sinful flesh, because that would disqualify Him from being the spotless Lamb of God.

Rom 8:3 also says: "and for sin". The word translated "for" is the Greek word "peri", which does not mean substitution. What is substitution? The Lord Jesus Christ became a Substitute for His Elect. He gave His life in the place of their life. That is substitution. But Christ did NOT become a substitute FOR sin. The Greek word "peri" does not allow that. I have already talked about that 3 weeks ago. Christ was the antidote concerning sin, but He was not a replacement for sin. He was the sin offering for us, meaning that He made atonement for us, in our place, but He did not replace our sins.

You may think that I am falling over some unimportant technicalities. These are not trivial matters. We must at all times lift up and hold high the Name of our Redeemer, since He is almighty God. We cannot compromise on the fact that He was and remained the spotless Lamb of God, even when He bore the guilt of our sins on His Soul. We cannot compromise on the fact that He was our perfect substitute, but He was never a substitute for our sins. God sent His Son concerning sin.

Then we read in Rom 8:3, "God condemned sin in the flesh". What happened there at Golgotha on that Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33? Did God condemn all sin in the flesh for everyone in the whole world? No! We have seen that repeatedly in the past three sermons. Whose sin in the flesh did God condemn there on the cross at Golgotha? Only the sins of all the Elect were taken care of there at the cross. God passed by all other people. The Lord Jesus Christ did not touch the sins of everyone else. The Reprobate will have to pay for their own sins. But for all His Elect God sent His only begotten Son to the cross, and God condemned the sins of all the Elect by pouring His wrath on His Son, because He, as our representative "bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness". He was treated as if He had been a sinner. He suffered as if He had committed those sins Himself, in order that we might be treated as if we had not sinned, that is as if we were righteous. How much did the Lord Jesus Christ have to suffer if He had to endure the wrath of God as if He was a sinner? He had to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Only the equivalent of an eternity in Hell would be sufficient to satisfy the righteousness of God. Christ gave this satisfaction for the sins of all His Elect, and He gave this as a gift to us in order that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us. He satisfied for us the legal requirements of the Law.

All for whom the Lord Jesus suffered there on Golgotha will in their lifetime hear and believe this Gospel. But not everyone in the world will hear and believe, because: "they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh". They continue to pursue the things of this world. They still have:

#2.       The Carnal Mind (Rom 8:7-8, John 6:44)

And then we read those frightening words of Rom 8:7-8,

Romans 8:7  Because the carnal (fleshly) mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Why is it that so many people claim to have made a decision for Jesus? Why is it that so many people claim that they have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior? Why is it that so many people believe that they are "Born Again" because they have let themselves be baptized in water? Why is it that so many people believe that they are saved because they feel this burning in their bosom? These are all actions that come out of the mind of men. Those people have not read the Bible. God says in the Bible that the feelings and the mind of men cannot be trusted. God says here in Rom 8:7 that the carnal mind, which is the mind we have by nature, is Enmity Against God. And why is the carnal mind enmity against God? It is "because it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed CAN be". The person with the natural mind cannot submit himself to the Law of God. God is not on the throne of his heart, but SELF is on the throne. Therefore out of our own free will we cannot make a decision for Jesus; this is contrary to our nature and it is contrary to the teaching of the Bible. Out of our own free will we cannot accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior; this is contrary to our nature and it is contrary to the teaching of the Bible. Out of our own free will we cannot make ourselves be "Born Again" through an act of baptism or through any act of our own; this is contrary to our nature and it is contrary to the teaching of the Bible. The words "Born Again" literally say: "born from above". How can anyone make himself be "born from above"? It is impossible! God has to do this miracle. And is this not the teaching of the Bible, almost everywhere we turn. The Lord Jesus said in John 6:44,

John 6:44  No man CAN come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.

No one CAN come to Jesus who is the Word of God, the Logos of God, except God the Father draw him to Jesus. O, there are other idols that people are drawn to worship, but they are not the God of the Bible. People are drawn to worship a god out of their own free will, even though the Bible says that this is not possible. What do they do then with those verses in the Bible where God explicitly says that He is the One who must draw us to Jesus and this does not happen out of our own free will? They read it and then they reason themselves out of it. Or they claim that these are the deep things of God that we cannot understand yet. But then God adds these frightening words in Rom 8:8, "So then they that are in the flesh CANNOT please God". They may be "good people" from our point of view. Perhaps these are close family members and we do not want to see them go to Hell, and we have conditioned our mind that these people are good Christians. What we do in our minds does not change the plain facts of God's words in the Bible: The carnal mind is "Enmity Against God".

We cannot hide behind the façade that we did not know what God meant. We cannot hide behind our well-meant ignorance. We cannot hide behind our wishful thinking. We cannot hide behind the objection of so many Arminians that God did not create people to be just firewood. We cannot hide behind our inability to serve God. We cannot hide behind our own line of reasoning that God has created us with a free will, and therefore God wants us to exercise that free will. Don't fall into that trap. These are all arguments that come out of the human mind, and God says that the carnal mind is Enmity Against God! The carnal mind is proud, and it cannot please God. God hates it. God says that even "the plowing of the wicked is sin". And who are the wicked in the Bible? Every human being who is "not born from above" belongs to the category of the wicked, from God's perspective.

How can we know that we are no longer following our human reasoning, but we have become subject to the mind of God as stated in the Word of God? Read what God says in Rom 8:5-6,

Romans 8:5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

What does it mean to be spiritually minded? It means that we have an urgent need to do those things that are pleasing in God's sight. It means that we search the Bible, not to prove our own ideas, but we search the Bible to find out what pleases God. It means that we are subject to God's wisdom.

When will we be ready to let go of our human wisdom and let God's wisdom rule over us? The answer is: When God has given us a new soul, which is when God has made us "born from above". Only then will we be willing to be subject to the Word of God. Only then will we be subject to Christ.

For example, when young people in our congregation become eligible to marry, and they choose a mate from a different persuasion, they show by their action that they are not subject to the Law of God. Young people, remember this when you choose a mate from the opposite sex. Remember what God says in Rom 8:5-6. I cannot emphasize this enough.Is your mate also subject to the Law of God?

I am almost sure that you will try to argue with God to justify your actions, and you will lift verses out of context to prove that you are a special case. I am almost sure that you are not going to consult me about whom you are dating, although you would do well if you do so. I am almost sure that the mode of people becoming unequally yoked is the mechanism through which God will inaugurate Judgment Day, because this is what God did in the days of Noah. On the one hand we are not to judge people for the motives to their actions, but on the other hand the Word of God commands us to make a judgment in certain cases. For example, when you choose a mate, you must judge what kind of person your future partner is: Is he or she on the side of God, or is he or she still on the side of Satan. There is no middle ground. Parents, you must judge if your children are on the side of God, or are they still on the side of Satan. How can you know? Look at Rom 8:5. Let's move on to verses 9-11

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:10 ¶ And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.       (Rejoice!)

Romans 8:11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

What does God mean when He says in verse 9, "If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you"? God does not say, "If so be that you have accepted Christ", or "If so be that you have been baptized". If I may paraphrase, verse 9 states plainly: "We must examine ourselves, and see if the Spirit of God dwell in us". It is necessary to know on which side we stand. For example, do we rejoice in the Law of God and are we excited about it, or do we grudgingly obey it? How can anyone be excited about the Word of God, or about the Law of God? Do you have to be some kind of pervert to enjoy these things? No! God has to do a miracle in our soul, and then we enjoy those things. In fact, God says: "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his". If we do not find the evidence of God's presence in our souls, if we do not find that evidence in our lifestyle, then we do not belong to Christ. God is not speaking here about the evidence of speaking in tongues. That kind of evidence is a sure sign that we have never been saved. But if we do find the evidence that we want to learn more from the Bible, and we find ourselves meditating on Scripture, and we find ourselves witnessing for Christ using the Gospel of grace, and we find in ourselves an urgent need to obey the Word of God, then rejoice that your name is written in heaven. Paraphrased God says in verse 11, "Be exceedingly glad, because if the Spirit of God dwells in your soul, then the same Spirit of God that raised up Christ from the dead shall on the Last Day also raise up your mortal body and change it into a glorious immortal body, and then you will dwell with Him forever". How do we receive this Spirit of God? It is a free gift. It is not earned or deserved. Therefore God will give it to whosoever He is pleased to give it.

#3.            Therefore, We Are Debtors (Rom 8:12-14).

We received this gift, which we cannot pay. All we can think of is, "Thank You Lord". All we can say is, in the words of the Apostle Paul, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" And the answer God gave Paul was the same as He gave to the other twelve Apostles, and He gave the same commission to us: "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creation". This is what He gave us to do. Therefore, we are debtors. What is a "debtor"? Let us read about debtors in Rom 8:12-14,

Romans 8:12  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Romans 8:13  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Romans 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Here is where we apply the great news that we have received in the previous 11 verses of this chapter. We were slaves of sin and Satan. We were helpless and could not free ourselves. But Christ purchased us out of this slave camp, and then set us free. He also liberated us from strict obedience to the Law, which was our taskmaster in the slave camp. Now the Law of God is no longer our enemy, but our friend. In addition, God has declared us righteous in the sight of God, and God has adopted us into His household. Moreover, God's Spirit indwells our souls to guide us through our life in this Valley of the Shadow of Death. What is the evidence of all this? If we indeed have received the Spirit of Christ, then the inward evidence of the Spirit's presence is that we have a gratitude that knows no bounds. We lust after the things that please the Spirit of God. No longer do we live for ourselves, satisfying the desires of the flesh, but now we live and enjoy those things that the Spirit of God gives us to do. For example, some of us love to study the Bible in depth. Others love to bear personal witness of Christ and of the truths of the Gospel as it is found in the Bible. Others hand out tracts to strangers whom they never see again. Others bear witness of Christ over the Internet. Others are busy duplicating sermon tapes and distributing tapes. Others teach little children what the Bible says. And so on. These are not programs that the church has instituted. These activities were generated and filled by volunteers who stepped forward to do them. God promised this when He hinted at that in verse 14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God".

Actually, all of us are doing all of these things, but some are more experienced in some things than others. We love to do all those things, and we do them free of charge. The Lord Jesus said, "Freely ye have received, freely give". Do we indeed love to do these things? You know, this reflects:

Romans 8:15  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear the Law. If we live in fear and trembling that we might have broken one of God's laws, then we have not been saved, and the Law is still our taskmaster. I am not suggesting that we forget the Law of God and break it left and right. But if we truly have been saved, then we have also received new desires and a new nature, because of the presence of the Spirit of God. Our new nature brings forth a desire to obey the Law of God, and a desire to serve the Body of Christ. That is not what comes out of our own good heart, but it is a fruit of the Spirit, or a gift of the Spirit. The word "desire" is actually not the correct word. It is more like a heartfelt need, or an urgent need, to do those things that are pleasing to God. This is often called the process of sanctification, or growing in grace. Sanctification is not something that we do, but God also controls it. Remember, "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure".

When we have become saved God gives us gifts of the Spirit, which are various talents with which we can serve the Body of Christ. These are talents of administration, or talents of studying and understanding of the Bible, or talents of teaching the Bible, or talents of music, and so on. At the same time the Spirit of God also gives us fruits of the Spirit, which are called fruits because it takes time to let them grow. Fruits of the Spirit are more associated with character of the saints, like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control. Both the gifts of the Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit are given for the edification of the Body of Christ.

God says we have received the Spirit of adoption into the household of God. How do we know we have been adopted? God says, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God". How does the Spirit of God bear witness? He does that through the Word of God. He does that by making it clear to us that we are children of the Heavenly Father, by grace, through faith, and that faith is not of ourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. Therefore, being of the household of God, we have become:

Romans 8:17 ¶ And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him together, that we may be also glorified together.

This verse speaks of us as "heirs". If we have become heirs, it means that we are receiving an inheritance. Who left us a will, whose death is involved and what is the inheritance? It is the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God. The maker of the will died on the cross both bodily, and He also died the 2nd death in His Soul. Who are the beneficiaries of that will? Certainly not everyone in the world is named as beneficiaries, or else the meaning of Rom 8:17 will be totally mangled. The beneficiaries of that will are all the Elect of God. According to the Bible, the Elect of God have been chosen by the Father and given as Bride to the Lord Jesus before the foundation of the world. Then at the end of the world the Son and His Bride will inherit the NH & NE. But there is more: We will be heirs of God. We inherit God Himself. What greater inheritance could we receive? There is no greater and more glorious inheritance than that. Is this too good to be true? No! This is real. God does not lie!

Perhaps you remember the memory verse for the adults today, which is Tit 3:5. Is it not amazing that the passage beginning with Tit 3:5 matches so perfectly with this portion of Rom 8:1-17? God's gift of salvation and sanctification, and the result of becoming heirs with Christ is shown in Tit 3:5-7,

Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Titus 3:6  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This is not a coincidence. This only shows the harmony throughout the Word of God. If God has opened our eyes to it, then suddenly we see it everywhere.

The hymn we are going to sing says it also very well that we are justified by His grace, and that we are made heirs of the NH & NE by His grace alone. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us. Let me read to you the first two stanzas of this hymn:

Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul; not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole. Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God; not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load.

Thy grace alone, O God, to me can pardon speak; Thy power alone, O Son of God, can this sore bondage break. No other work save Thine, no other blood will do, no strength save that which is divine can bear me safely through.

                              Amen.                         Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.