Summary: Last week I mentioned that we’re not all God’s children; we’re all his creation but in order to become a child of God you need to be born-again. Today I’m going to expound on that and highlight some things that identify us as a COG-Child Of God.
LIFE AS A COG
INTRODUCTION: Last week one of the things I talked about was that we’re not all God’s children; we’re all his creation but in order to become a child of God you need to be born-again. Today I’m going to expound on that and highlight some things that identify us as a COG-Child Of God. It’s not just about making a commitment and being baptized-it’s about what happens after that. So let’s see what identifies us as a COG.
1) We have the mindset of the Spirit (5-8). Paul is highlighting the difference between someone who is a COG and someone who isn’t. And we see what it boils down to-what controls our minds. If my mind is focused on things like prayer, bible study, looking for opportunities to serve God, thinking of reasons to praise God, then my mind is set on what the Spirit desires. But if it’s focused on looking for opportunities to sin, dirty, foul or sinister thoughts then my mind is being controlled by the sinful nature.
However, these verses aren’t saying if you think about sin at all then it means you’re not a Christian. Just read the previous chapter to realize that. If it was about perfection then Paul himself didn’t have the Spirit of Christ in him. In fact, if there’s a battle going on in your mind it’s an indicator that you are a COG.
Rom. 7:21-25. There is a war going on for control of our minds. One of the ways we can tell we are a COG is because we have a war going on inside our heads.
Galatians 5:17, "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." The mind of the one who is not a child of God does not have this battle going on within them. They aren’t contemplating doing God’s will; they aren’t thinking about how to please God; they aren’t concerned with what his will is.
Eph. 2:3 says that before we were saved we were gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Before we were saved we were focused on following the desires of our hearts, not following the desire of the Lord’s heart. Now that we are saved we will have to contend with making up our minds to resist temptation and instead set our minds on what the Spirit desires.
And we see in verse eight that in our old nature we cannot please God. No matter what we do that would appear as good, if it’s apart from Christ God is not pleased with it. Since we are not born again we are hostile to God and therefore not pleasing to him. It might not seem that way; when I wasn’t a Christian I didn’t feel a hostility toward God but since my life wasn’t about pleasing God I was therefore, by default living in hostility toward him.
We please God when we accept what Jesus did on the cross as the way to salvation; the way to having the hostility removed; the way to being reconciled to God; the way to having a relationship with God-the way to being able to please God. Once that happens, then I can be in a position to continue to please God. And that brings a COG joy-knowing I can do something that pleases God.
Think of it-when you were a child you wanted to do things that got your parents’ recognition; do things that made them proud; do what pleased them. What joy it brought when you knew they were pleased with you-when you got good grades or when you cleaned your room without being told-stuff like that. Now, with God as our heavenly Father, we can have the joy that comes from knowing we’ve done something that pleases him.
2) We have the Spirit of God in us (9-11). If we’re a COG, there might be a battle going on but our lives will be dominated by and controlled by the Holy Spirit. “If the Spirit of God is in you.” Without the Spirit of God living in us we have no ability to live a life controlled by the Spirit. We might do spiritual things now and then and we might have some godly qualities but that doesn’t mean we have the spirit of God in us.
We receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when we put our faith in Jesus. After Peter preached the gospel at Pentecost the people asked what they needed to do and he replied in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Being influenced by the Spirit and having the Spirit living in us are two different things.