by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 1 Study # 7 July 10, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
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.
1901 ASV Translation:
7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:
8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
I. The Key Reason for Death.
A. Where there is antagonism toward God, there is Death.
1. The fundamental mechanism of Life is Peace.
2. The fundamental mechanism of Death is Conflict.
3. Antagonism toward God is the driving force of conflict.
4. Cooperation with God is the driving force of peace.
B. The fundamental issue of antagonism toward God is the lack of submission to the Law of God.
1. The driving force of insubordination to the Law of God is "the 'mind' of the flesh".
2. The insubordination is not wilfully deliberate; it is inescapably 'knee-jerk'.
a. Paul clearly declared that "the carnal mind" cannot be subject to the Law of God.
b. The reason for such impossibility is the absolute commitment to the methodology of "life" that involves self-love.
1) When pushed, Jesus said that "all of the Law and the Prophets" hang upon the commands to "love God" and "love thy neighbor" (Matthew 22:39).
2) If "the Law of God" is succinctly summarized in terms of "other-Love", then the "mind set upon the flesh" cannot submit to it because it's fundamental method of life is to put oneself first.
3. The conundrum here is this: the threat of death is only of value to a person who is sufficiently self-interested to be moved by it; yet, to be moved by self-interest is to be dominated by Sin. Even the Gospel's promise of eternal life finds its appeal in the issue of self-interest.
C. The root of "the 'mind' of the flesh" is unbelief.
1. There are only two reasons why anyone does anything.
a. There is the "love" reason: for whatever reason, something is considered sufficiently valuable to dominate one's choices.
b. There is the "faith" reason: for whatever cause, something is "believed" to be sufficiently true to guide one's choices about the "pursuit" of the "beloved".
2. Paul declared unequivocally that "Sin" sponsors "unbelief" by means of "deceit" (7:11).
a. This has to mean that if a person was "undeceived" he would be free of the dominion of Sin.
b. That raises the most crucial question: how is it that "deceit" is persuasive?
1) In the first place, "deceit" has to do with the reality of information being inserted into an already-on-going "love/belief system" that already has its foundations laid and its superstructure in place. No one "thinks" in a vacuum of love or belief. By the time "thinking" is possible, certain issues have already been put into place and those things are being reinforced daily.
2) This "already-in-place" system is the direct result of what is often called "the nature of a thing", "creation pre-programming", or "instinct" -- the way a thing has been designed to function. John the Baptizer and Jesus both addressed this issue head-on: John accused his audience of being "vipers"; and Jesus pointedly said, "You can't hear Me because you are not 'of my sheep'." Thus, the most necessary issue is "regeneration" so that there is a "change of essential nature". Being "born again" is not some light-weight, "fluff" doctrine; it is the essential method of coming into being as a "natural" child of God.
3) Information is always evaluated according to the standards that are already in place. Few, if any, concepts slip by unnoticed for the way they "fit" into the developing system.
c. However, there is another reality that enters the picture: lack of attention. Deceit thrives where there is no competition and competition is often simply not allowed to even enter. People quickly learn to "shut off" the information flow.