Everybody is looking for life and peace. Everybody wants to live life to the fullest and be satisfied with what they have done. Not everybody agrees on how to accomplish it. We, who are Christians, understand that only Jesus can give real life, and only Jesus can provide real satisfaction.
Verse 1 of this chapter, says that there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. So, the first step toward life and peace is to be in Christ Jesus. Being one who is in Christ is not something you can do for yourself, but it is something that God will do for you if you have it in your heart to desire to turn to Him through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. If you are not saved, you have no right or reason to expect that you will experience a real lasting degree of life and peace, but if you are in Him, you are on a journey that just keeps on getting better with every passing day.
Sadly, there are many people who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. They profess to know Him, yet there is nothing in their life that would indicate that they do. This is what we would call, “practical atheism.” A Gallop poll says that 90% of Americans say they believe in God, but on any given Sunday, less than 30% of those professed believers will be in church.
Verse 5, in our text, speaks or setting our minds upon either the things of the flesh, or the things of the Spirit. The word flesh means sensual things, or things that are experienced through our 5 senses. Spiritual things are the things of God, unseen things that are based upon His promises. The mind is of the utmost importance, because every attitude and every action is first processed through the mind. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he..” The devil’s primary business is to see that we have a carnal mind, as is spoken of in verse 6. It is his work to try and capture people’s minds in things that take them away from centering their minds on God. Consider most of the television programming, the secular music, and the trends in the educational system of our day. One who has a carnal mind really isn’t interested in spiritual things. You might be able to get him to come to the church for a fish-fry, or an ice-cream supper, but it’s not likely you will be able to get him to come prayer meeting. Verses 7-8 say that the reality is, this person is an enemy of God, and is not and cannot be subjected to God, and he cannot please God. That’s pretty bad, isn’t it?
Thankfully, there is another kind of mind, the mind that has been invaded and transformed by the presence and power of God, the spiritual mind. This person experiences life and peace, according to verse 6, and this is the exact opposite of the experience of the carnal mind. This person is eternally connected to God. Since God owns everything and can do everything, that’s a very good connection!
In verses 9-11, we see how this connection to God makes the believer different from the unbeliever. I want to show you five differences from these verses:
1. The Holy Spirit dwells in the believer. That’s the real difference between a saved person and a lost person. It’s not just a difference of ideas, but it is that the believer has become indwelt by the supernatural presence and power of God.
2. The believer is in the Spirit. How can it be both ways? Someone said it’s like a glass in a sink full of water. The glass is in the water, and the water is in the glass! Being in the Spirit means that we can’t get away from the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit. A backslidden Christian is the most miserable person on earth, because he can’t enjoy his relationship to Christ, and the Holy Spirit will not allow him to really enjoy sin.
3. The believer belongs to Christ. The latter part of verse 9 makes it very clear that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ do not belong to Christ. Isn’t that plain speaking from God’s word? Shouldn’t everybody be able to understand that?
4. The believer is Spiritually alive. Verse 10 says it’s because of righteousness, but of whose righteousness is this speaking? It is not our own righteousness, but it is that which He has counted to us through the substitutionary death of Christ. In chapter 10, verse 4, the Apostle Paul is going to say, “For Christ is the end of the law to everyone who believes.”
5. The believer’s mortal body will be raised and glorified. Many times I have stood with families beside the open grave of their loved one, as they were committing that body to the earth. I’ve also experienced with my own family members. What a difference it makes, when we know that one of the marks of God’s goodness is that one day He will call the elements back together and resurrect these bodies, then in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, He will change them into a wonderfully glorified bodies that will never bread down or become sick.
Eternal life doesn’t begin when a believer dies, but when he believes. If you are born again, eternal life is your present possession, and there is no condemnation; not now, not ever! That’s life, and that’s peace.