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Romans 8:5-13


Intro: Romans chapter 8 marks a major shift in the thinking of the Apostle Paul. In this chapter, he introduces several aspects of how life is transformed by the Spirit of God. This chapter is all about the new life of the Spirit

In the first four verses, Paul spoke about the deliverance of the Spirit life, now, in the verses we have read this evening, he writes about The Differences Of The Spirit Life.

It is my estimation that this is one of the greatest and most important passages of Scripture in all the Bible. Why? Because it addresses the matter of the mind. The Bible is clear in its teaching that how a man thinks determines what manner of man he really is, Pro. 23:7, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..." The mind is a very important thing! Whatever a man focuses his mind upon is what that man reproduces in his life! Think evil thoughts and produce evil actions. Think godly thoughts and produce godly action. That is why the Word of God is so clear when it speaks about the change that is needed in the minds of men. Notice Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." And, Phil. 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"

The changes that the Spirit produces in the mind and the resulting changes in every area of life are the focus of this passage. Let's spend a few minutes this evening looking into these verse as we consider The Differences Of The Spirit Life. By the way, if these differences are apparent in your life, they ought to serve to give you assurance of your salvation. If not, well...


A. V. 5 The Desires Of The Mind Are Changed -The first thing Paul addresses is the contrast that exists between the natural mind of man and a mind that has been transformed by the Spirit of God. The whole idea here is that the natural bent, or orientation of the natural man's thinking is always directed toward the things that pertain to the flesh.

In other words, the carnal mind focuses on the physical, material and other selfish concerns. It may think about religion, but it will be a religion based in what he can do for himself. There may be thoughts about God, but that will be thoughts about how to approach God on his own terms. Generally, however, the carnal mind is filled with thoughts that center around ways to gratify the flesh. Of course, this is what the Bible teaches us about the lost man and his mind set, 2 Peter 2:10, "But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities." ; Phil. 3:19, "Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things."

But, what a change is manifested in the lives of those who have been redeemed! While the saved do falter from time to time, their minds are filled with thoughts of heavenly things. These are people who love God and all the things that pertain to Him. They love His Word, His people, His house, His worship, etc. The Spirit of God redirects the thinking of those redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

(Ill. A good question to ask ourselves at this point is, of what character are the thoughts that fill our minds? Depending upon how we answer that question, we can learn a lot about ourselves!)

B. V. 6 The Directions Of The Mind Are Changed - In this verse, Paul is stating a fact! If you have a carnal mind, that is, a mind focused on the things pertaining to the flesh, you are dead! He is not talking about a potential, he is merely stating an equation. To have a carnal mind means you are lost and dead, Eph. 2:1-3.

However, to have a mind that is focused on God and things above is to prove that you are indeed saved by grace and walking in the Spirit! It is a genuine indicator of the state of the soul, Col. 3:1-4.

(Ill. While the primary focus of this verse is the here and now, the future is also in view! To possess a carnal mind means that you are lost in sin and will eventually find yourself in Hell forever separated from God. On the other hand, to be controlled by the Spirit is evidence of an eternity that will be filled with life and peace in the presence of the Lord in Heaven some day!)

C. V. 7 The Devotions Of The Mind Are Changed - Paul tells us that the carnal mind is really the enemy of God. Why is this true? Because the carnal mind desires to be God! It is bent on the overthrow of God and is determined to enthrone itself as God in the unbeliever's life. As a result, it refuses to walk in the will of God. In truth, the carnal mind is so filled with evil that it cannot walk in the will of God. The lost, carnal mind is totally opposed everything having to do with God. What may appear good in the life of a lost person is still tainted by the sin in his heart. His motives and his sin tarnish all that he does. Even on his best day, he is still God's rival and God's sworn enemy!

What Paul does not say, but what is true nonetheless, is the fact that the spiritual mind, or the mind of the saved person finds itself drawn away from the things which please the flesh and drawn toward the things which please the Lord. What the flesh cannot produce in us, the Holy Spirit does produce! The saint of God finds that he can live a life that is pleasing to the Lord and that he can produce good by the power of the Spirit of God. What a difference! What a Savior!

(Ill. This is not to say that the believer has been absolutely perfected. However, when Paul refers to the sin of the believer, he is quick to point out that sin occurs in the sinful, mortal body and not within the redeemed, new inner nature, Rom. 7:15-25. When we were saved, there was a part of us sealed off forever. Our spirits were sealed against sin and are incapable of sinning any longer, Eph. 4:30. Our flesh, on the other hand, is as evil as it has ever been and we are locked in a never ending battle with it. The believed will not be free from the flesh until we go home to be with the Lord! While we are here, we must fight! While the fight is real, it is a fight that we have been empowered to win, Gal. 5:16-17. The flesh is strong, but the Spirit of God within us is stronger, 1 John 4:4. Therefore, we must prove the reality of our claims of salvation by living a life that is devoted to the Lord God and His perfect will!)

(Il. Considering what Paul has already said about the changes that happen in the mind of one saved by grace, how does your life look? Can you see the evidence of a new, changed life?)

I. A Difference In The Mind Of The Believer


A. V. 8 The Charge Against The Flesh Life - We have already touched on what is clearly stated in this verse. Those who are controlled by the flesh, who live for the flesh, who walk in the flesh and who have their minds centered on the flesh simply cannot please the Lord God! They are so far removed from all that God is that they cannot possibly please Him.

(Ill. According to the Bible, Hebrews 11:6, the only way to please the Lord is by exercising faith. Faith is one element of the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22-23, and is evidence that the Spirit is in residence in the life of a believer. All this means is that what the Spirit produced in man cannot be duplicated by the flesh! Since the flesh cannot produce that which is spiritual, it stands to reason that the flesh cannot please the Lord.)

B. V. 9 The Change Apparent In The Spirit Life - Now Paul contrasts what he has been saying with those who have been saved. He is telling us that when we received Jesus as our Savior, we changed realms of existence. We were taken out of the flesh life and placed into a new life in the Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:13. Therefore, we are placed in a position from which we can serve the Lord and live lives that are pleasing to Him. The bottom line here is that those who are saved by grace and are walking in the Spirit will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, Gal. 5:22-23. That is the difference Paul is trying so hard to get across. We are no longer what we were, but now we are literally a new creature, 2 Cor. 5:17, in the Lord Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Ill. The last sentence in verse 9 is interesting. It tells us that the believer will demonstrate the reality of his new birth by exhibiting the Spirit of Christ! While this verse speaks to the new life the believer should live in Jesus, it is also a reminder to us that we receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion. Of course, this is contrary to what many groups teach in our day. However, if you do not have the Holy Spirit you are not saved! That is why we are counseled to put our faith to the test to be sure we are children of God, 2 Cor. 13:5! If you are saved, you possess the Holy Spirit, the key to becoming that person who is pleasing to the Lord is allowing the Holy Spirit to possess more of you, Eph. 5:18.)

I. A Difference In The Mind Of The Believer

II. A Difference In The Motives Of The Believer


(Ill. The Spirit of God changes how we think. He changes how we are driven as we go through life. These verses go on to tell us that He changes how we act. There are definite changes that happen on the inside, but those changes will also make their way to the outside. That is the focus of this section.)

A. V. 10-11 A Change In Our Members - These two verse fit together to teach us that when the Spirit of God moves into our spirit, He will produce changes in the way our body acts. Anyone who claims Jesus as his or her Savior and yet manifests no changes in the way they live life is probably not saved at all!

That is not to say that believers do not sin. I think it is clear that we do. However, if salvation is a reality, there will be a new desire to honor God by the life we live and when we do fail, there will be a sense of sadness and remorse that will drive the child of God to repentance before the Lord, 1 John 1:9.

What Paul is trying to teach us is the fact that the Spirit of God will make us to become vastly different than we are by nature. Our flesh will flee the things it used to run to and will seek the things it used to shun. The Holy Spirit will reproduce the life of Christ in the life of the saint, "which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:", Col. 1:27.

B. V. 12 A Challenge To Our Members - This verse serves to remind us that we are not obligated to live after the flesh any longer. In fact, we are dead to the flesh and alive to the Spirit of God. If we wish to discharge a debt, let it be the debt we owe to Christ for the price He paid to deliver us from the bondage of sin and the sentence of judgment. Let us therefore live for the Lord Who suffered and died for us on the cross!

Our flesh has done nothing for us but condemn us. The debt we owe is to the Spirit of God. Let us honor Him by living the kind of life that brings honor to Him. It is a challenge that we can all live up to!

C. V. 13 A Caution To Our Members - Even though we are saved, we still have the potential to live after the flesh. Anyone who tells you that Christians cannot sin is a liar! I think the Bible is clear that we are as capable of committing sin as we ever have been, 1 John 1:8-10. However, we must be aware that living substandard Christ lives brings with it death. We cannot go to Hell, but we can feel the chastising hand of our Heavenly Father, Heb. 12:5-11.

However, because we have the Spirit of God living within us, we have the power to mortify or put to death, the deeds of the flesh. If we do this, we can be assured of living lives that honor God. Ours will be lives that will please God. They will be lives that will show a lost and dying world that Jesus Christ makes a difference in every life He touches by His great power. If we live these lives, we will be blessed and we will exhibit the characteristics of life.

(Ill. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding! A life that is touched and changed by Jesus will be a life that lives a new kind of life. If there is no change, there has been no conversion! When Jesus moves into a life, everything changes!)

Conc: I think we all need to closely examine our lives this evening. Can we take and honest inventory and truly say, "I have been changed! I am not perfect, but I am different! I don't think like I used to think. I don't act the same. I want to honor God now, where I used to want to honor myself. I can see where Jesus has made a difference in my life."? Has your life been changed? If it has, thank God, because only He can produce real spiritual change in the lives of men. If not, it can be changed if you will come to Jesus for salvation.

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