“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”
(Romans 8:7, ESV)
We have to look back at verse 6 to understand why it is impossible for a mind set on the flesh to submit to God’s law. Romans 8:6 says “to set the mind on the flesh is death but to set the mind of the spirit is life and peace.” A mind set on the flesh is a spiritually dead person who has not been made alive in Christ. This person cannot have a mind set on the Spirit because the Spirit is not dwelling in them. It is the Spirit that is effective in shaping our minds toward life and peace (v. 6) because the Spirit is alive. It is the flesh that shapes our minds toward hostility, disobedience to God’s law, and death. We are hostile toward God because we do not submit to his holy and perfect law. In our flesh, the very moment we are born, we are in open rebellion against God and his ways. As verse 8 says, “the flesh cannot please God.” We love independence and self promotion, we care nothing for God and prefer anything and everything over Him. We are unable to submit to His Law because we are dead in our trespasses and sin.
The only way for our minds to change is to have the Spirit of God work in them. Our hope is here in Romans 8:1-4 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” In order to have life and peace in the Spirit we must be made right with God by the forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ. It is only then that we are enabled to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2). Jesus clearly tells us the greatest commandment is that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Mark 12:30). May we be a people who love God with our minds through the memorization, study and meditation of his Word. Set your mind on the Spirit so that you may have life and peace.