End The War

You Might Be Hostile Toward God And Not Even Know It

End The War
Image Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2018 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).
Far too many Christians are in a battle against God and they may not even be aware of it! Let us look into a passage in Romans to find out how to fix that situation or avoid it.

Romans 8:5-9 mentions a hostility towards God, a hostility that should not exist in a Christian’s life. While our passage is actually a contrast between a saved person and an unsaved person, too many Christians permit various levels of fleshliness in their minds. Sadly, many do not realize this creates enmity between them an God. One reason why some are unaware of this is because a doctrine of cheap grace is being taught and lived by some. Another reason is that they do not read the Holy Bible or, if they do, they do not believe it to the extent of following it. Though one is saved by grace, one may fall from grace if they let this hostility between them and God exist.

Let us read those verses now.

“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”

As you see, “flesh” occurs quite often in our text. This is the main Greek word for flesh, “sarks”, which has a number of meanings and is defined by its context in a Holy Bible passage. Among other things, it can mean {1} just being human, the human body, the sensuous nature of man without any suggestion of depravity, the physical nature of man as subject to suffering, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God. Given the general preceding content along with its localized context, all of this comprises the meaning of the term in our passage.

Far too many who say they are Christian shrug off the fact that each true disciple should endeavor to walk in perfection before God by His grace. “I am only human” is just an excuse to live in the flesh and sin. Until a Christian learns to purposely and repeatedly obey Christ within and yield to the Holy Spirit, there will be spiritual battles, and it might just happen one will completely lose in the battle and fall from grace. Let us start with verse 7, work our way backwards for a little bit, and then finish with verses 8 and 9.

I. The Hostility Toward God Of A Fleshly Mind - 7

“because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,”

The moment any Christian senses a problem between them and God they ought to immediately correct it. It is good, and necessary, to mature to the point where every thought that pops into mind and every desire that whispers or shouts from the soul be immediately evaluated in the light of the Holy Spirit and firmly upon the written Word of God. No Christian, no matter how spiritually mature they are, is ever immune from influences to distract them from the perfect will of God.

A “mind set on the flesh" basically is the mind where self is lord and not Christ, and “self” in the natural really does not want God to rule. Starting with the thought of being basically human, a fleshly mind would include entertaining ungodly concern for the things of this life like what to eat, what to wear, money, material wealth (mammon), and so on. Of course, sexual thoughts outside of marriage are included. Thoughts and desires for vengeance and / or for power, and desire for attention certainly apply.

Any non-Biblical thinking is fleshly thinking, quite often in the sense of thinking like unredeemed humanity. Too many Christians or people that call themselves Christian speak of karma and good luck. Despite the fact the Holy Bible never okays divorce {2} and is crystal clear that any remarriage to someone else is outright adultery (Luke 16:18), you would think Christ is incapable of helping a marriage, and that Christ Himself is a hypocrite for telling us to forgive seventy times seven while also saying it is okay to divorce. Similar to this is when Christians parrot the worldly phrase, “lock him up and throw away the key.”

And be very aware of street talk from preachers and teachers. Recently I have heard more than one preacher use “hell” in a worldly way. For example, one teacher said something like “when you have been through hell.” No. The Word of God indicates the actual hell is worse than anything anyone has gone through in this world.

The Holy Bible has a few lists of what it means to be fleshly minded. One is found in Colossians 3:5-9. The whole counsel of the written Word of God points us to our need of thinking and forming desires that are aligned with the Word. If we do not, we are in danger of estrangement from God which leads to spiritual death. That takes us to verse 6.

II. The Results Of Your Choice - 6

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,”

There are only two choices, carnally minded or spiritually minded. Being carnally minded brings spiritual death. Spiritual death will occur now to the one who puts self first. One may be deluded into thinking they are at peace with God and have “life", but the entire counsel of the Word of God indicates living by the Spirit means living godly, as described by the Word of God. If they continue living according to the flesh they will spiritually walk into what The Revelation calls “the second death". There is no more hope once someone gets there. 

There is a great contrast for the mind set on the spirit, a real double blessing. First, such have real life. The particular Greek word for “life" here is “zoe" and was described in the previous article {3} as vibrant life with purpose. If one remains in Christ that is that type of life now and for eternity.

The peace mentioned in this verse is the peace of God which one can have despite outward trouble (John 14:27). A disciple needs to let go of self if they want to have that peace, especially in the midst of trouble {4}. In fact, when a disciple is going through trouble it would be good to seek God in regard to how that trouble can be used as a tool to glorify Him. And as we go through this earthly life if we set our minds upon things of the Spirit we will have His peace now and for all eternity.

I have been prompted by the Holy Spirit to add that the true peace of God means to HAVE true peace WITH God. Sin is dealt with according to the Word. Once we confess our sins, as we continue to repent in heart with evidence of the same in action, we grow in that peace. Such peace with God never means compromising our stance on the Word of God nor jeopardizing our relationship with Him in Christ.

To presently have “life and peace” is certainly a double blessing for having one’s mind set upon the Spirit. In Christ, if our mind is set upon the Spirit there is no need for us to continually live in a spiritual desert, hoping that perhaps somewhere down the road we travel there is an oasis. The world itself is a spiritual desert, but our relationship with God through Christ must not be. We should endeavor to be continuously blessed by some level of recognition of the presence of God every moment of our life {5}.

III. The Way Of Each Way - 5

“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

Verse 6 gave us a choice: Do we want death, or would we rather have life and peace? Again, one might be deluded into thinking they have life and peace, but if their life remains spotted with sin (sin as defined by the Holy Bible) then that is an indicator they do not have real life and peace.

As mentioned above, those living according to the flesh are putting self first. Jesus came against that mind set a number of times, one of which was when He admonished His hearers not to be concerned about what they will wear and eat (Matthew 6:31),  how they can get ahead (Matthew 20:23), along with everything else we have previously mentioned and all that we have not mentioned.

It must be kept in mind that setting our mind on the things of the flesh leads to spiritual death now and for eternity. One is actually in the grips of satan {6} who rules the present world system and is ready to be condemned with the world.

If we say we are a Christian, being born again, and we are dabbling in the carnal mind we ought to ask God to help us move to the spiritual and follow through with His help. This could very well include humbling oneself to rededicate themselves to God through Christ. To break away from living according to the flesh we must acknowledge we are foundationally a spirit being and we need to obey His written Word as well as His spoken Word to our heart.

It is good for every true Christian to follow the admonition in Romans 6:19, “I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness {7}, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”

Along with that we do well to also constantly follow Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

So, in setting our minds on the Spirit we are to focus upon the will of God and perform it, rejecting the flesh and following the Spirit. For example we are to endeavor to quit complaining against God and start praising Him, worshiping Him. Instead of listening to songs of the world let us listen to godly, Biblical songs. Instead of worrying we should trust Him, and if we have committed sin that would cause us to worry about something we are to confess it to Him, forsake it, and seek His direction on what actions we should take. As you can imagine, this list of contrasts can go on. Permit the written Word and the illumination by the Holy Spirit to guide you into all that needs to be corrected.

IV. Be In The Best Way To Be - 8 and 9

“and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”

No Christian is perfect in themselves but each Christian is called to perfection. While the grace of God gives some level of protection (1 John 1:8) it must not be considered “cheap grace” in that we can do anything we want and still remain saved. It is not that we are saved by works, but if we are truly saved then His salvation will produce His works in our lives and His works do not include sin nor do they tolerate sin.

It is these two verses, 8 and 9, that would indicate that by the Holy Spirit Paul was contrasting the unsaved person with the saved person. However, since by the Spirit he exhorts His readers to take a stand against sin and their sin nature in Romans 6:19 and 12:1-2, and given many other passages he was directed by God to write to Christians, we can see a warning to all of us to not even dabble in the flesh. We are to fully live in the Spirit.

Romans 8:1-4 describes to a degree how the life of Christ has conquered the flesh and how His life within each Christian will liberate them to think and live according to the Spirit. This passage begins with “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (v.1). As you can see, in order to avoid condemnation we are to be in Christ Jesus. This means to be surrendered to God through Christ, being born again, having Christ dwelling within.

Verse 2 states, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” “Law” in this verse should be thought of in the sense of something like the “law” of gravity, the “law” of buoyancy, and so on. The law of sin and death leads to more sin and further death, while the law of the Spirit of life in Christ brings more vibrant and purposeful life all of the time. With Christ within we are to let the law of the Spirit of life in Christ have its Way.

Verse 3 refers to the Mosaic Law, which could only lead us to Christ: “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,”. Galatians 2:20 points out we are then crucified with Christ and the life we now live we live by the faithfulness of the Son of God Who gave Himself for us.

Verse 4 states, “so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The perfect Jew dwells within each true Christian, so anyone who is truly saved has kept the requirements of the Law because those requirements were fully met in Christ. That means we are now liberated, and expected, to keep what the Law pointed to, a foundational aspect being whatever God says is what we are to follow out of love for Him. “Whatever God says” refers to the whole counsel of His written Word as well as His spoken Word (which will never go against the written Word).

“According to the Spirit” has been a key phrase in the text for our message. If we would continue reading in Romans 8 we would see a continued emphasis upon the Holy Spirit. Every Christian has a level of the Holy Spirit within, but not every Christian is filled, and not every Christian is filled to overflowing where it is evidenced by devotionally speaking in tongues accompanied by an abundance of the fruit of the Spirit.

A true Christian will want no hostility between them and God. Therefore we are encouraged to have more of Jesus and less of our self as we grow in Him each day. If there is anything in our life that indicates we are not walking completely in His Spirit then we are to say “no” to ourself and end the war.

Notes:

{1} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{2} See the Marriage Pages at https://oasisofhope.neocities.org/ma00.html for more Biblical information.

{3} Please see “Justice. Judgment. Jesus!" at https://newsandsociety.expertscolumn.com/justice-judgment-jesus .

{4} Please read “It Is Not About You Or Me. It Is All About God” at http://holybibletreasures.expertscolumn.com/article/it-is-not-about-you-or-me-it-is-all-about-god .

{5} Please also read “Get Into The Presence Of God” at http://holybibletreasures.expertscolumn.com/article/get-into-the-presence-of-god .

{6} Not capitalized on purpose. Experts Column gives me the freedom to express myself in that way.

{7} “Lawlessness” here means being without the law of God, not being subject to it. In a number of other translations “iniquity” used.

This article was written in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by February 25, 2018 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M485 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates and adding “(The Existing One)” to readily express the meaning of His Name without making repeated explanations in articles. * = For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.


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Let us decrease so that Christ may increase. I have been told time and again by Pentecostals that I do not have the Holy Spirit fully because I do not speak in tongues. According to them a person is fully filled with the Holy Spirit when they speak in tongues. I do not agree with them because that is not what I have read and understood from the Bible. Also, it is hard to have a conversation with them because they want to do most of the talking and tell you what you must do and how you must act and so forth, along with their interpretation of the Scripture. But they wont listen to what I have to say.

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