For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. I had no peace (Romans 5:1) when I was an unsaved man, I was at war with God, I was His enemy! Colossians 1:21. I wanted all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life 1 John 2:16 I didn’t want to please God nor did I have the capability to do so, for my mind was set on me and my flesh.
In the flesh… This the opposite of in Christ? Romans 8:9 says 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. Last week we looked at Romans 7:1-4 that we might bear fruit for God. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
What kind of fruit did we bear before we as believers were joined to Christ? These kinds of fruit… Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these! Galatians 5:19, 20 and 21. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. Romans 7:5.
In the flesh sarx has many nuances so we must make sure we get the correct context of each use of sarx… The range of meaning extends from the physical flesh both human and animal, to the human body, to the entire person, and even to all humankind!
It can refer to humans controlled by sin and its passions.
The expression “in the flesh” refers to the condition of a person in the absolute control of the evil nature, as is clearly seen by a consideration of Paul’s words in 8:9, where he says, “But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God, dwell in you.” That is, in the case where the person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, that person is not in the control of the evil nature. That individual is a saved person. Consequently, the one who is in the flesh is an unsaved person, the flesh here referring to the fallen nature.
These sinful passions which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. When we were unredeemed and dead in our trespasses and sin we walked according to this world with all its lust and indulging the desires of the flesh. Ephesians 2:1, 2 and 3.
Paul say this in Romans 8:6, 7 and 8… 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.
Paul reminds us who are in Christ that we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6.
We have died to the Law… Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. Romans 7:4. We now have a new relationship with Christ in His death and we are now joined to Christ in His resurrection, Christ suffered the penalty of death that the law demanded. We are now joined to Him, we are now “In Christ” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law Galatians 3:13.
I love Kenneth Wuest translation of Romans 7:6 “But now, we were discharged from the law, having died to that in which we were constantly being held down, insomuch that we are rendering habitually a bondslave’s obedience in a sphere new in quality, that of the Spirit, and not in a sphere outworn as to usefulness, in a sphere of that which was written.”
John MacArthur writes in his Romans commentary “As believers, we are dead to the law as far as its demands and condemnation are concerned, but because we now live in newness of the Spirit, we love and serve God’s law with a full and joyous heart. And we know that to obey His law is to do His will and that to do His will is to give Him glory.”
It was Paul who said in Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
Cloth yourself with Christ
and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria