Summary: In explaining the spiritual nature of the true believer, Paul asserts three important FACTS.
The Believer’s Two Inclinations
1. Here is a true story from Patrick Grilliot: We Uber drivers never know whom we’re going to end up with as a passenger. One day, I was driving over a new bridge, the design of which was very confusing. Completely confounded, I muttered, “I’d love to meet the genius who designed this mess.” With that, my passenger extended his hand in my direction and said, “Well, today is your lucky day. My name is Mike, I work for the county engineer’s office, and I’m the genius who designed this!” Surprisingly, he still gave me a tip.” —
2. We all adjust our behavior depending upon who we are with. Sometimes, like this man, we are surprised and have to eat humble pie. But things are much darker than that. You see, there are two side to us. There always have been, but the duality differs for believers.
Main Idea: In explaining the spiritual nature of the true believer, Paul asserts three important FACTS.
I. The True Believer is CHARACTERIZED by Pursing the Things of the Spirit (5-7).
A. What do we mean by the believer’s two INCLINATIONS or natures?
1. How is the believer’s two inclinations different from the average person’s two inclinations?
2. The “flesh” is not really our body, but the sinful nature that comes along with our body. The flesh of our body is visible, our sinful nature is not.
3. Flesh (not body, but nature) vs. conscience is the natural man’s duality.
4. Flesh vs. the new nature (a spiritually fortified conscience) is the believer’s duality.
• Conscience is altered, for better or worse, by social trends or other influences.
• The New Nature, on the other hand, educates the conscience by means of the Word of God, the Bible.
5. We are divided. Psalm 86:11 reads, “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.”
B. The things of the Spirit are those that NURTURE our faith: edification.
1. Reading, studying, meditating upon, memorizing, and enacting the Bible.
2. Worshiping God in Prayer, song, communion, and with fellow believers
3. Fellowship with other believers and showing love to one another
4. Confessing our sins as we are made aware of them
5. Looking for opportunities to share the Gospel
6. Encouraging missionaries and praying for the persecuted church
7. Educating ourselves in the things of God
C. The thinks of the flesh are those that PULL US AWAY from godliness.
1. Pay attention to how things, situations, or forms of recreation affect you.
2. Do certain movies or music leave you depressed or discontent with life? Do certain forms of entertainment take your mind toward lewd thoughts?
3. Are you depending upon approaches toward life that are based on worldviews contrary to the Gospel and God’s Word?
D. Those whose lives are not characterized by the Spirit evidence that their destiny is eternal SEPARATION from God (7)
II. Those “In the Flesh” CANNOT Please God (8).
A. Lost people can be very GOOD in their social behavior because they are still in the image of God and have a conscience, though that image is FALLEN (marred).
1. Nothing trips us up logically more than the fallacy of the undistributed middle. All women are people, therefore all people are women.
2. Same fallacy: all true believers do good works, therefore everyone who does good works is a believer.
3. We have to define what “good works” include. For example, one amazing good work is telling people how they can be saved by believing in Jesus, not something an unbeliever would generally do.
4. Some people who do not know the Lord can do more good works, I believe, than some people who do know the Lord.
5. Good works w/ profession of faith in Christ evidence genuine conversion. Good works without a profession of faith in Christ do not evidence genuine conversion.
6. The purpose of salvation and the Gospel is not to get people to behave. It is, rather, to make them right with God.
B. In God’s EVALUATION, good works do not contribute toward meriting salvation.
1. Pleasing God here suggests earning His approval.
2. God is pleased when a person repents and trusts Christ. And when a person is right with God, God is pleased with his good works.
3. True believers will go to heaven, and, in addition, will be rewarded additionally according to their works.
4. Unbelievers will spend eternity in hell, but their punishment will likewise be determined according to their works.
5. God desires for all people, whether saved of lost, to do the right thing in any given situation.
C. The sinful nature is HOSTILE toward God.
1. It is natural to believe in God or gods of some sort. We are spiritual beings.