We’re continuing our study through Romans. Paul is explaining how to apply the victory God’s given us over the flesh. Following a set of rules is not enough.
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Once again Paul repeats the fact that the law was powerless because it was weak through the flesh. Now for the Good News. The Son of God came resembling sinful flesh. Christ may have looked like a normal human being, but His flesh had no sin nature.
By His life, the Lord pronounced a sentence against sin in the flesh. He did this for a reason. So that the righteousness of the law would be fulfilled, completed in us. So, is this righteousness totally completed in all of us? Not exactly.
Paul qualifies it by saying that righteousness is only fully completed in those who don’t walk after the flesh, but who walk after the spirit.
We need to understand that Paul isn’t talking about the position of righteousness here. Anyone in Christ is righteous in the eyes of God. Many people are confused over this point. This position of righteousness gives us total access into God’s presence.
There is, however, another level to righteousness. That’s the walk of righteousness. This is what Paul is referring to.
He tells us that we can’t attain to a fully completed walk of righteousness by working with the flesh. Trying to follow a set of rules – right and wrong, good and evil. This doesn’t work.
The only road to victory is by cultivating our spiritual walk. This includes things like prayer in the spirit and renewing the inner man. The fact is, that if you cultivate the spirit walk, God will never hold you accountable for the written law.
Paul goes on to explain further.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Simply put, if you’re all about concentrating on the flesh, then your life is flesh driven. If, on the other hand, you direct your mind toward the spirit, you’re cultivating a spiritual walk.
So, in essence, it all starts with the mind. This is the key and I want to go into this in more detail. But, to do so we need to understand how the Apostle Paul viewed himself.
As I’ve said before, many people erroneously think that Paul was always falling into sin. They base that on some of the things he said in chapter 7. They miss the fact that he was merely speaking from a baby Christian’s perspective.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11
Paul definitely sees himself as a spiritual adult. To get there, he had to progress like anyone else. That means he had to go through infant-hood, childhood, and adolescence.
There are no free rides in the body of Christ. Paul is perfectly suited to show us the road to maturity. He actually writes about it in many of his letters. In my next post, I want to look at Paul’s description of this spiritual journey.
Question: Why is our mindset so important in the Christian walk?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi