Reflections of Our Savior
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5 NIV2011)
Last month we looked at Romans 8:1 which reminded us that there is no condemnation for you. You are in Christ Jesus. This is the solution for our struggle against sin that the Apostle Paul described previously in chapter 7. This is your power and strength to fight temptation. God’s grace in Christ gives you a daring confidence to struggle all the more. Our struggle against sin and temptation is not just necessary, but it is good and honorable and pleasing to our Heavenly Father. It marks us as Christians, with the Holy Spirit living in us.
Yet, how easy it is to not struggle, to give up, or to give in to temptation. “Living according to the flesh” means giving ready ear to the voice of the devil, who says what I want is best for me. “Living according to the flesh” means being allied with the whims of the world around us with its man-centered, self-indulgent desire to satisfy the cravings of human nature. “Living according to the flesh” means finding daily guidance from one’s own sinful conscience to live for today’s comfort, convenience, and pleasure. Yes, “living according to the flesh” means having our mind set on our own sinful desires.
“Living according to the Spirit” is exactly the opposite, isn’t it? When we have been set free from sin’s condemnation through the gospel of our Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit, and he takes up residence in our hearts and minds for our soul’s benefit. So we have our mind set instead on what the Spirit desires.
So we seek the Spirit’s guidance in God’s Word. We listen to the Spirit’s voice in the Holy Scriptures. We ask God in his Word, “Lord, what do have for me today?” He gives his answer: “Do my will. Keep my commands.”
What a confidence and joy we have to look back at that holy law of God, the Ten Commandments, not as condemned sinners, but as children of our Heavenly Father, as opportunities to serve him and one another. We do this in love: First, motivated by our Savior’s sacrificial love for us. Then second, as our response of love to our gracious God. All because, there is no condemnation for you. You live by the Spirit.