Doctrinal Thoughts

“Doctrinal Thoughts,” as posts or articles at Preaching Christ Crucified, are teachings, commentaries, and expositions from the Bible; that is, taking the Bible’s text from a particular passage of scripture and expounding upon that passage.

The posts and articles included in this category are written from a perspective that some may consider Reformed or Calvinistic. The posts and articles are typically, but not necessarily, written from a Particular Baptist point of view.

For additional understanding as to my beliefs and perspectives with regard to doctrine, here is a brief summary of my statement of faith:

I am in general agreement with the early English Baptist confessions, such as the 1st London Baptist Confession of Faith (1644/1646) and 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith (1677/1689), as well as the early American Baptist confessions, such as the Philadelphia Confession of Faith (1742) and the New Hampshire Confession of Faith (1833).

Additionally, by God’s grace, in matters of faith I strive to be Reformed in theology but not exclusive; Calvinistic in bibliology but not fatalistic; evangelistic in soteriology but not pragmatic; amillennial in eschatology but not dogmatic; puritanical in praxeology but not legalistic.

Carnality Offensive to Christ

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:6-8 

Preaching Christ CrucifiedIn the first clause of Romans 8:6 we are told that “to be carnally minded is death;” that is, having the reason, understanding and affections set upon those natural things has no life in it whatsoever. Certainly, of those who are unsaved, who are only natural and have nothing of the Holy Spirit in them until the day they die, shall suffer eternal death and will be cast away from the favor of God forever. The second clause of Romans 8:6 gives the stark contrast to death: life and peace. 

The first thing that we should note is that we, who are saved, have life. Not only do we have eternal life in Christ, whereas once we were dead in sins (Ephesians 2:5), but we are now alive unto Christ. We are awakened to the truth of what He has done: that Christ has died so that we might have life; that Christ made an open show of sin through His sufferings upon the cross, and therefore, we rejoice in the life He gave us and recoil at sin as being so offensive that it required God to become a Man so that sin could be dealt with. 

Second, as we are awakened to truth by life in Christ, we are also awakened to the truth that we have peace with God. The next verse presents the truth that explains this: 

“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). The carnal, fleshly, natural, unsaved person, who has his mind set upon carnal things, whose reason, understanding, affections and inclinations are upon SELF, is the enemy of God; and that man’s reprobate being, with all his wicked inclinations are at war against God’s will. The law of God exposes the carnal man’s sin for what it is, but cannot bring him under subjection to the law, because it is the Spirit that gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). 

Therefore, we, who have been saved, have peace with God, as it is written in Romans 5:1

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

The reality of our justification by God’s grace is manifested in our sanctification, having peace with God, when we were once His enemies; and the evidence of that is that our minds are being renewed by His Word; and walking after the Spirit, we have, by God’s continuing grace, our minds set upon spiritual things. Our thoughts and desires grow in obedience to God, lining up with God’s will revealed in His law, and not warring against it or being at enmity with it. So, the apostle caps it off with the truth of our next verse: 

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). The soul that walks according to the Spirit is awakened to the truth that the things of the flesh are not pleasing to God, and this truth is monumental. For those who are unsaved and “in the flesh” are not only unpleasing to God, but basically unaware of the truth that they are displeasing to God. Sure, some unbeliever might say, “I know this is wrong;” or “I know that God doesn’t like this;” but it’s just an academic acknowledgement; the reality of its gravity and seriousness is not there, nor can it be, because that soul is dead to spiritual things. That I can actually please God is a truth that comes by supernatural revelation, and that, by the Spirit of God to the ones He has saved and regenerated. Are all the saved made immediately aware of this? Sometimes, because of the brightness and holiness of Christ’s righteousness, the understanding of my being pleasing to God may be subdued, overshadowed, or overlooked. Yet, with every believer that has been saved by God’s grace, I believe that there is an awakening, at least to some measure or another, that God takes real delight in His creation, and His creatures in particular. And when we grasp that incredible truth of God’s delight in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, then it becomes an utterly awesome thought to consider: that God receives pleasure from those souls in whom He has redeemed. Why? because our redeemed lives magnify and glorify Christ!

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.

Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 8:1-10,Walking After the Spirit,” on December 20, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

Read the previous article in this series, “Which Way to Walk” (Romans 8:5).

Which Way to Walk

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 

Preaching Christ CrucifiedCarnality, that is, living a life that is generally characterized by habitual sin, is offensive to Christ; and why wouldn’t it be? Last week, we saw specifically in Romans 8:3 how that Jesus, in His own body, endured the cross, suffering God’s wrath for our sins to redeem us from our sins. He died that we might have life; are we then to a look at sin lightly? Are we to casually wink at sin when such a sacrifice of infinite worth and eternal value was offered on my behalf, on your behalf? Certainly not. 


We’ve just read in Romans 8:5 that “they that are [according to] the flesh do mind the things of the flesh” in other words, before we were saved, we were just as any other unregenerate soul, having an inclination toward carnal things, having our reason, understanding and affections motivated by carnality; that is to say, “the self.”

Before we were saved, we set our minds upon the flesh; we set our moral compasses upon carnality.


In contrast, the soul saved by God’s grace through Christ’s holy and righteous sacrifice is inclined toward spiritual things, having our reason, understanding and affections motivated by Christ; the is to say, “Spirit.”.

We have set our minds upon the Spirit; we set our moral compass to go in the direction of Christ. 


In the past several articles, we have been examining that there is a struggle that exists in the believer’s life through the process of sanctification: a struggle between sin and the law, between licentiousness and legalism, between the flesh and the spirit. There are two dangers wherein we must be aware: (1) to think that we never do sin or can never sin and have obtained an entire sanctification in this present life; and (2) to think that to behave in carnality is good and acceptable as long as “I’m saved,” even though I may be living as a “carnal Christian.” Both of these doctrines are erroneous. Both actually appeal to the flesh. Why? because they both dismiss sin. 

The first, entire sanctification, which says that now that I’m saved, I don’t sin anymore.[i] This doctrine is dangerous because it doesn’t keep us clinging to grace and to Christ’s righteousness in its disregard for the seriousness of sin in its reality. This sin removes humility. 

The second, the doctrine of the “carnal Christian,” which says that, though I’m saved, I can sin willfully without grief of soul and vexation of spirit. It’s dangerous because it doesn’t cling to grace or Christ’s righteousness at all in its disregard for the seriousness of sin in its ramifications. This sin removes holiness.

[i] There is another branch of it that says that there is a point in your walk when you’ve “arrived.” This is contrary to scripture as well (Philippians 3:12).

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.

Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 8:1-10,Walking After the Spirit,” on December 20, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

Read the previous article in this series, “Walking After the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).

Walking After the Spirit

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:4 

Preaching Christ CrucifiedFirst, to walk after the Spirit, literally walk according to the Spirit, is a general condition of our newness of life. It means that since we are saved by the blessed grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus, our manner of living is spiritual now; our general behavior is on a course of holiness. God commands us to be holy because He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Therefore, because we are alive unto Christ, we have a desire to please God in holiness, a desire to please God in shunning sin and eschewing evil, a desire to please God by yielding to the Spirit to produce in us His fruit and righteousness unto the gospel of Jesus Christ. Does it mean that we won’t sin? That would not only contradict what we have learned in Romans 7, but it would contradict a great number of passages from various texts in the Bible. Henry Mahan described it similar to this from a sermon he preached on the same text: it’s like the Mississippi River; its general direction is south, but there are points in the river where it flows east and west, and even some points where it actually flows back north; yet, it’s general direction is south, with its ultimate end in the Gulf of Mexico. This is what it means to walk after the Spirit. 

There is also a term in Galatians 5:16 that says, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” This, walk in the Spirit is different from our walk according to the Spirit. The phrase in that Galatians 5:16 is not a description of our general condition as believers, but instead, a direct command to believers in overcoming situations and particulars we face in our walk according to the Spirit. 

One final and concluding thought concerning our walk after the Spirit is this: it means that the manifestation of the righteousness of the law in our lives, and its supply to carry out that righteousness, has its source in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, its stay in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and must ultimately, its end in the atoning sacrifice of Christ. What do I mean by that? As we have seen a bit from our text in earlier articles, and as we will continue to see in our texts in the articles to come, the truth of manifest righteousness, of apparent sanctification, is being produced in the Christian believer’s life. In the last days, however, there will be such a deception surrounding the church, and that deception desiring to close in on it, I believe that the only way to discern the difference between the original and the counterfeit is by the truth of God’s Word, and specifically as it pertains to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are many people today that are full of good works and deeds that the Bible commends. They are against abortion. They are against same-sex union. They are for religious freedom, to worship according to conscience. They desire to find cures for AIDS and cancer. They want to feed the poor, heal the sick, and educate the ignorant. Yet, they preach a gospel-less message. They promise care without the Christ; hope without the Holy One; redemption without repentance; and Jesus without justification by grace alone through faith alone. Those good deeds they do, viz a vis, feeding the poor, healing the sick, clothing the naked, &etc., are not to them a means by which they may preach the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For them, the good deeds are the end, rather than the goal being the glory of God and enjoying Him forever. 

What we do springs from who we are; who we are comes from one thing alone: Christ, and Him crucified. The law fulfilled in me must begin with the cross and end at the cross, the whole time proclaiming the good news of the cross as we live by the truth of the cross..

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.

Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 8:1-10,Walking After the Spirit,” on December 20, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

Read the previous article in this series, “The Law’s Righteousness Fulfilled in Us” (Romans 8:4).

The Law’s Righteousness Fulfilled in Us

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:4 

Preaching Christ CrucifiedThere are some differing views on this passage; but rather than going through those, let me just tell you what I believe the scriptures are conveying in this First, we should understand what it isn’t saying. It’s not saying that the sacrifice of Christ needs you and me to accept this truth for the law to be completely fulfilled. To suggest that would be to suggest an incompletion or insufficiency in Christ’s finished work; and we know that “It is finished” (John 19:30) and that Jesus Christ is “the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Realizing what it’s not, let’s look at what it means when it says that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. I believe it means two things primarily: (1) a Manifestation of Christ’s Righteousness; and (2) the Provision for Christ’s righteousness. 

Number 1A Manifestation of Christ’s Righteousness. Although the Greek word used here can mean “to complete” or “to satisfy,” it can also mean “filled” or “to fill.”  John 12:1-3 says, 

1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

As the scent of the perfume filled the room, the room was merely the vessel by which the scent was manifested to everyone there. As Christ is the perfect and sufficient fulfillment of the righteousness of the law, fulfilling the law both actively in His righteous life, and passively in His obedient and submissive death, the certainty of its truth and assuredness of its fulfillment was in His bodily resurrection after three days and nights in the earthen tomb. Likewise, as Romans 6:5 tells us that if we are in Christ by faith, we have identified with His death and burial, “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection:” Following our “resurrection” by the grace of God, we walk now in newness of life (Romans 6:4), no longer serving sin (Romans 6:6); therefore, through our resurrected lives we are manifesting to the world the reality of Christ’s righteous fulfillment, completion, and satisfaction of the law. This is the reality of the regeneration that takes place in our salvation, resurrected from the dead unto life in Christ: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:16-17). That which was wrought in Christ has been written in our hearts and minds. 

Number 2The Provision for Christ’s Righteousness. Although we have been regenerated and are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we know from our recent studies in Romans 7:14-24 that the nature of humanity that is still present with us causes us, at times, to sin when we desire to please God; that Galatians 5:17 says that the flesh is a contrary adversary to the spiritual life. Therefore, we need supernatural provision; we need a supply of empowerment. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). The words shall supply is the same Greek word as “fulfillment” in Romans 8:4. Now, you may say, “Wait a minute Brother Jon; it’s pretty clear from the passage in Philippians 4:16-19, in its context, that Paul is speaking of material provision.” 

Philippians 4:16-19 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. 18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 

Yes, though it is true that the Philippians supported him while he was in Thessalonica (Philippians 4:16), and that they did so again through Epaphroditus while he was in Rome (Philippians 4:18). Yet, on the surface, that’s what it says, but we have to look closer to see what God means. Actually, in Philippians 4:18, Paul uses the same Greek word translated fulfillment (Romans 8:4) and shall supply (Philippians 4:19) when he says, “I am full.” His material needs have been provided for by the Philippians so that he may be full, fulfilled, supplied with encouragement by them, comforted through them, and strengthened to carry on the work for which he was called. It is an “odour of a sweet smell” (Philippians 4:18): a manifestation of Christ’s sacrifice that fills his life, just as the sweet perfume filled the entire room when Mary anointed Jesus with that costly fragrance. When Paul tells the Philippians that God shall supply all their need, he is speaking of the supply that manifests Christ’s righteousness in them as a church of God, and in each one of them as individuals in Christ. The means by which they extended Christ’s righteousness, in this particular case, was by material provision to the apostle unto the furtherance of the Gospel, even while he was in prison; however, the supply came by the empowerment sourced in Christ’s enabling for those “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.

Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 8:1-10,Walking After the Spirit,” on December 20, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

Read the previous article in this series, “Sin Condemned by Christ” (Romans 8:3).

Sin Condemned by Christ

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” Romans 8:3 

Preaching Christ CrucifiedThe law was weak through the flesh. This is not to say that the commands of God are weak in and of themselves. These commandments come from God and are holy, just and good (Romans 7:12). Then, how is the law weak? Apart from its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the law is weak because it could not save men; and not only was it incapable of saving men, but it also condemned them; “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me” (Romans 7:11). When we were unsaved, unbelieving sinners, the commandments of the law condemned us and killed us; that’s how the law was our schoolmaster leading us to Christ, because the law left us with no hope except that it be found in Jesus Christ, and in Him alone.

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, [Jesus Christ], born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4, ESV);sending Him forth “in the likeness of sinful flesh” because Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), and “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He lived a holy and perfectly righteous life as a man, though He was also very God, and fulfilled the law completely and obediently as a man; and as that perfect man, having flesh and blood as a human, offered His soul as the perfect, atoning Sacrifice upon a Roman criminal’s cross. He suffered the shameful condemnation of a holy God for the condemnation rightly due you and I; and because He was sinless, through His Sacrifice, He “condemned sin in the flesh.”  

Jesus Christ bled and died to buy my pardon, to buy your pardon; and as for those who are yet unsaved, natural, sinful men, this gospel grants saving faith for sinners to repent of sin; to turn to God; to believe and trust in Christ’s atoning work for salvation and eternal life. THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD! 

By His sacrifice, Christ condemns sin in all flesh. Though we are not condemned, the sin “that dwelleth in [us] (that is, in [our] flesh,)” (Romans 7:18), is condemned by Christ; and by His righteous life and perfect sacrifice as flesh and bone man, Jesus Christ in the flesh, stands as the height of all goodness, righteousness and holiness among all men, and therefore, justly condemns sin in all men, including those who have rejected Him and turned from God. For in Christ’s fulfillment of the law, He elevated the law to a geater majesty, and therefore its weakness to save men, as well as its condmenation of men apart from the grace of God in Christ Jesus, further magnifies the just damnation of sinful cavilers and Christ rejectors.

Hebrews 10:5-17 is an excellent parallel passage for the perfect sacrifice of Christ: 

5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.

Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 8:1-10,Walking After the Spirit,” on December 20, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

Read the previous article in this series, “No Condemnation from Christ” (Romans 8:1, 2).


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