“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 8:5)
Romans 8:5-8 shows us certain distinctions between those who walk after the flesh and those who walk after the Spirit. We saw in Verse 1 that there is no condemnation to those which are in Christ Jesus, and those who are in Christ Jesus were further defined as those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Those who walk after the flesh are those who are not in Christ Jesus, that is to say, those who have not trusted in Him for Salvation.
The first thing we see about those who are not in Christ Jesus is that they mind the things of the flesh. The unsaved sinner’s attention, desires, agenda, and motives are wholly and entirely focused on satisying his own urges. To walk after the flesh is to live a lifestyle centered on one’s self and the achievement of one’s own goals with no regard for God or His plan and will. This assessment does not in any way fit the Christian who falls occasionally into sin. Those who are lost, those who walk after the flesh, have no desire to follow God, no unction whatsoever to walk after the Spirit. The true child of God may stray from time to time from his Lord, but the yearning of his heart is to follow after Him.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7)
Those who have not come to faith in Christ have absolutely no capacity for the things of God. In fact, the lost sinner despises the Lord Jesus Christ and His Law and Word. The carnal mind is enmity against the Lord; it cannot be convinced, persuaded, or “talked into” understanding the things of God. It amazes me how the same words of healing that bring peace and joy to the believer can anger and embitter the non-believer. A quick look around the Internet at some of the comments found on websites and forums focused on Christian topics reveals a deeply embedded hatred in the soul of many lost sinners toward their Creator. The heart separated from God sees God as their enemy and has no inclination to view Him otherwise. Except the Holy Spirit draws us, none would ever seek to come to Him.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
We have the tendency to often look at our efforts to share the Gospel as if we are making a sales pitch, attempting to convince our listeners to “buy our product.” No, we may not do this consciously, but we sometimes think that a person’s willingness to accept the Good News rests upon the quality of our presentation. We must remember that, whenever we are witnessing to a lost sinner, we are preaching to a mind that is at odds with the Lord Jesus and is, by nature, hostile toward the things of God. This does not mean that they can never be reached, but it does mean that it is the Holy Spirit Who must do so. If the Spirit of the Lord is at work in their heart, drawing them toward Jesus, then the words of the Gospel will ring true. But so long as a person continues to harden their heart and resist the Word of God, then they remain at enmity against God and cannot be persuaded otherwise.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,