Text: Romans 8:5-8

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they
that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is
death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.Because the carnal mind
is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed
can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

We saw last week that the unregenerate possess a carnal mind due to their
fallen nature. Their thoughts, understandings, desires and affections are held
captive by sin. Man is conceived in sin and continues living in sin. They are
fixated on earthly temporal matters. They love the things of the world – the lust
of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

On the other hand, the Christian is supposed to have a spiritual mind. Romans
8:5-8 also makes it clear that this spiritual mind stands in direct opposition to
the carnal mind of the unregenerate. While the carnal is habitually fixated on
earthly and temporal things, and is constantly driven towards evil designs and
sensual pleasures, so the spiritual mind continually gravitates toward things
which are spiritual, eternal, holy and good.

Now we must be clear that one can only have such a spiritual mind if he is born
of the Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, man cannot begin to discern spiritual
things, much less to be fixated by them, “Now we have received, not the spirit
of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things
that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the
words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;
comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can
he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:12-14).

However, when a man is born by the Spirit, his eyes of understanding are now
enlightened (c.f. Eph. 1:18). Having now these spiritual senses, they will now
exercise it to prove all things, so that they may hold fast to that which is good
and to abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:21-22).

What then are these spiritual things which a Christian must be devoted to?

Firstly, a spiritually minded man will be devoted to the Word of God. Christ
declared in John 6:63, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and
they are life.” Thus, a spiritually minded man will want to feed incessantly on
these spiritual Words. They will confess with the Apostle Peter, “Lord, to
whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and
are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69)

What then shall we make of the man who never reads the Bible or just reads it
in a mechanical and academic fashion? And this is but the first step, for when
one is reading God’s Word, he must receive it as it is and to live according to
it. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye
received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word
of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also
in you that believe.” (1 Thess. 2:13) A spiritually minded man is thus one who
is not only quick to proclaim the doctrines of VPI (Verbal Plenary
Inspiration) and VPP (Verbal Plenary Preservation), but is quick to follow
VPO (Verbal Plenary Obedience). He is a sincere lover of the Scriptures.

Secondly, a spiritually minded man will be devoted to worship God. Being
indwelled by the Spirit, believers are now capable of presenting spiritual
sacrifices unto the Lord, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual
house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God
by Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5) They will now desire to worship God in spirit
and in truth (John 4:23-4), which they were unable to do so in the past. In fact,
their whole life is a life of worship unto the Lord, “I beseech you therefore,
brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacri-
fice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (i.e. wor-
ship).” (Romans 12:1) A spiritually minded man would want every moment of
every day to be lived to the praise of Christ Jesus. He will be a prayerful man.
Consider the Lord’s assessment of the Apostle Paul once he was born again,
Behold, he prayeth.” (Acts 9:11). And so much more for those who are
spiritual men and women.

Thirdly, a spiritually minded man would be full of the fruit of the Spirit, “But
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23)
This is a topic that warrants further examination, of which we hope to do so in
future editions of the church weekly.

Lastly, a spiritually minded man would be fervent and careful in ministering
spiritual things to other men. He is his brother’s keeper, desiring to provoke
one another unto love and good works (Heb. 10:24). He who have been
quickened by the spirit of life will be means by which God will also enliven others.

Now we ought to examine ourselves sincerely if we are minded of the things which
are described above, for the Scriptures gravely warn that there be men who have a
form of godliness, yet lack the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). In other words, they
may have an outward veneer of spirituality, yet lack the truth and power of it. Be
sure that we are not a pretentious show of religion, but rather being a genuine child
of God, have our minds focused on the things which are pleasing unto God.

The reward of spiritual mindedness is peace, “For to be carnally minded is death;
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6) As one is walking
right with God, there is peace with God. This is a peace that passes all
understanding (Philippians 4:7) which the world cannot have. Let us then strive to
be spiritually minded, for it is such a mind that stands in the approval of our good

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew


“If you and I, or any of us, have received the things of the Spirit of God, we ought to
look upon that as comfortable evidence that we have been born again. What say you,
my hearer? Does your faith lay her hand this morning upon the head of Christ, and take
him to be your Saviour, your teacher, and your all? If so, blessed art thou, for flesh and
blood have not revealed this unto thee. Or does thy spirit this morning not only agree to
the truth of divine election, of assured redemption, and of the finished work and
immutable love of Christ; but dost thou love the truth in thy heart as well as agree to it
in the head? If so, the natural man receiveth not these things, therefore thou art no
natural man; but the Spirit of God has brought thee into his kingdom; because he has
enabled thee to receive his truth. Precious is faith indeed, because it assuredly
evidences to us what is beyond the reach of our senses. You can’t tell whether you are
born again or not, except by your faith. There will be no difference in your face, there
will be no difference in your flesh, nor even in your mental characteristics; you may
remain to a great extent the same man as far as mind and body are concerned; but faith
— that which was not there before — faith is the grand symptom which betokens
returning health; it is the flag hung out upon the castle of the soul, showing that the
King is the secret tenant in the state-room of the soul; it is the light which shows that
the sun has risen; it is the morning star which heralds the full illumination and meridian
sunlight of eternal glory. Prize your faith; ask for more of it; but look upon it as being
an evidence that you have passed from death unto life.”

From “Natural or Spiritual” in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Volume 7