“5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Romans 8:5-8 (ESV)
In this short passage, the Apostle Paul sets before us a simple but very clear contrast. He explains to us that there are two kinds of people; those who live according to the flesh (their natural state from birth), and those who live according to the Spirit (their state since the ‘new birth’). Paul further stipulates that there is a mental state (mindset) that controls how they live; a mind set on the flesh which is ‘death’, and a mind set on the Spirit, which is ‘life and peace’.
In other words, Paul is saying that the unbeliever is controlled by his nature at birth (mind set on the flesh), while a believer in Christ is controlled by his new nature (mind set on the Spirit). This does not mean that the Christian doesn’t sin, but it does mean that the controlling influence in the life of a believer is the Spirit of God living within him/her.
It doesn’t get much clearer than that. Paul goes on to describe the natural mindset of each and every one of us from birth:
1. It is hostile to God.
2. It does not submit to God.
3. It CANNOT (is unable) to submit to God.
That describes the natural state of each and every unbeliever in relation to the God of the Bible.
So, here’s THE big question: “What has to happen to change someone who CANNOT please God into someone who CAN please God?
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again (regenerated) he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Might it be necessary that spiritual regeneration to precede an act of faith that would please God?
I’ll just leave that tight there so you can think about it.