“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 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, 6
The Christian who walks after the Spirit is the general course of direction for one who is saved. This spiritual walk means a desire for holiness for Christ and righteousness in Christ because of the believer’s desire to please God. Does that mean we never sin? All the text we have read since Romans 6 would have been ridiculous in exhorting us to newness of life if salvation meant that all sin was eliminated from our lives when once we’ve been regenerated. These two doctrines, (1) absolute perfection; and (2) unrestrained, unrepentant sin in the Christian’s life, are both lies of the darkness of this age. How do we combat sin as we walk according to the Spirit? The answer to that is to walk in the Spirit, according to Galatians 5:16, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
“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
Carnality, 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 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.
“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
The 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). So, how is the law weak then? 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.
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” —Romans 7:14
As mentioned in the last article, there is a shift from the use of the past tense to the present tense: “…the law is spiritual… I am carnal.” Not only do I believe that this verse is key to unlocking the truth in the verses to follow, but that the tenses used in this verse are a key to unlocking the truth in this verse.
“Those who go off to fight, boasting that they can do it, will return with their banners trailed in the dust and with their armour…