There are two groups of people contrasted here, the same two races from the antithesis of early Genesis: the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. We were all seeds of the serpent until as Ephesians 2 says, “You He made alive” that is, we were the children of wrath on the Devil’s side with animosity towards God. Romans 8 reveals that we have a new Father. We were born again into a new race, a race with God as it’s Father.
Because there are only two groups of people, there is no such thing as a carnal Christian. There are distinguishing characteristics between those who are under condemnation and those who are not.
First, there are differences in how we live. It is our conduct, not our creed, which distinguishes. Which is characteristically in control in my life- my flesh or the Lord? At one time we were all controlled by the fallen inner man.
Second, how do we think? What is our posture towards others, towards loving, towards Christ? We have a hard time classifying people like God does and sometimes we struggle because we are sentimental. We all know people who seem favorably disposed towards God, but who are not Christians. God puts them with the carnally minded, with those who are under condemnation, until they surrender to Christ. When Jesus told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” Peter was being carnally minded.
Every person who is not spiritually minded has a frustration in their heart. There are three things true about the carnal mind:
1) It is at enmity with God.
2) It is not subject to the law
3) It is not capable of submitting to the law of God.
What does this mean? Those of the flesh cannot please God, says verse 8. Paul tells us, however, that we are not of the flesh, but of the Spirit, verse 9. Christ redeemed me. Declared me righteous. Paul’s purpose here is to tell us that we are not under condemnation because we are not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. We have to make these principles personal. These indicatives empower us to do the imperatives. That is, when we know that we are not under the Lord’s condemnation, we have the peace to love the Lord with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves.
What was your sermon about this week? How do you like to style wool skirts?