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.For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.(Romans 8:5-6)
Why is it that “there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”? One of the reasons is that those in Christ Jesus are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and live their lives by the Spirit of God.
In the last article we looked at Paul’s expression, “They that are after the flesh“, that is those who are unregenerate, and “in Adam”. These are not a ‘lesser category of christian”, these are the unregenerate, they have not been born again.
Here we look at what the same passage teaches us about those who live “after the Spirit”. What does the Word of God say about these, who are “In Christ”,living by the “law of the Spirit of Life” ?
* They are after the Spirit – The Christian has become spiritual, his life is now influenced by the Holy Spirit, He wants to follow a spiritual path, for he is now “Led by the Spirit” as verse 14 will tell us.
* They that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit- The mind, affections, desires and will of the christian have become spiritual, by the new birth. The Christian lives by new impulses, He sets his mind on the Spirit.
What are these things of the Spirit? They are the things that God, the Holy Spirit, puts into our hearts to seek after, and concern ourselves with.
For example, the christian cares about his own soul; its health, its relationship to God, it’s development. This doesn’t come naturally, the man who lives ‘after the flesh’ regards such concern as ‘foolishness’. But the Spirit ever draws our attention to the condition of our souls.
Connected to this Spirit inspired interest in our souls, is the desire to be free of and through with sin. Christians are made to care about victory over sin itself, and to have an interest in living a holy life.
Another of the things of the Spirit, that those truly saved ‘set their minds on’, is the desire to glorify Jesus in our lives. It would never occur to the man after the flesh to do so, this is a holy affection imparted to us by the Holy Spirit himself.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.(1 Cor 2:14)
The Christian finds himself grieved by things like blasphemy, the profanity of God’s name, the denial of Christ in himself and others by word and action. He desires to see Christ himself glorified because he is now truly spiritual, in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit!
The Spirit of God has been sent to glorify Jesus, as Jesus himself testified…
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.(John 16:14)
Another of the things of the Spirit, is everything about Salvation; the way of salvation, the truth about it, the sharing of the gospel of it, the distortion of it, these are concerns that christians have , which the man “After the flesh” would consider foolishness.
These are not mere academic concerns either, the Spirit causes us to care deeply about them. Spiritual men cannot be indifferent about the things of salvation, the Spirit within them won’t allow that.
The carnal man, yet” in Adam” cannot figure out why christians can’t just get along with each other, “why do they have to fight and split hairs over doctrinal issues?”.
Because they aren’t spiritual, they do not share the deep passionate concern for the “truth of the gospel” that the Holy Spirit imparts to all who are born of him.
There is no way they would ever ‘get’ the book of Galatians, Paul’s most vehement letter, written to christians who were ‘just adding a little Jewish tradition to the gospel they had received’.
The natural man would look at the situation and shake his head saying, ‘They still believed in Jesus, and used the scripture, and called upon the name of the Lord, whats the big deal? Can’t we all agree to disagree?”
It is the Spirit who burn in us a holy passion for the truth of the gospel, a concern about it; ours and everyone else that we meet. The Holy Ghost imparts to us , a holy interest in how we stand with our Creator, a desire to stay current with God, grief that God is not glorified in the world, a hunger for God’s truth. This is what it means to be spiritual, to set our minds on the Spirit.
The Spirit gives us an understanding, the lowliest christian actually knows what is wrong with the world, at least in essence. The Spirit puts the desire to worship and commune with God in our hearts as well.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.(I Cor 2:12)
What does it say about a person who is void of these things? Who just doesn’t “get it” and does not ever “set his mind on the Spiritual things? There are many who have only religion, they aren’t spiritual , because they have not truly been saved!
Having the yearning and desire for these things of God in our hearts is one of the most significant signs that one is born again of the Spirit, and living by the Spirit, this is what the text means when it proclaims,
They that are after the Spirit, do mind the things of the Spirit.