Romans 8: The Sinful Nature
Good morning and welcome back!
I trust that everyone has had a good week.
While the children are getting settled in Children’s Church I’d like for you to start turning in your Bibles back to .
This morning we are going to be continuing our series in , and in just a few moments I will be reading from .
If you will recall last week we talked about there being no condemnation in Christ and also the flip side of that being the fact that if we are not in Christ, or if we have never received Jesus Christ as our Savior then we are already condemned.
We looked at Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus and even if you did not make a decision last week, the fact that you are here today means that it is not too late.
So, as we go through today, if you feel the Holy Spirit tugging at you, please come and make things right with God.
However, the other point I wanted us to get out of last week’s message was the fact that if we are in Christ, we are not condemned.
We looked at how Satan will try and deceive us and convince us that we are all alone and give us the sense of hopelessness and dread.
Which is nothing more than a lie of Satan.
However, while Christ saves us and removes that condemnation from the equation, we also began to touch very briefly on our subject for today.
If you will recall I mentioned that we commonly refer to Jesus as our “Lord and Savior,” but we do so not really fully understanding what we are saying.
We refer to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, meaning that Jesus saved us and removed all condemnation of God from our lives, but the reality is that is just 1/2 of God’s intended work in our lives.
That covers the “Savior” part.
However, God requires more. God requires that Jesus also be our “Lord,” or our “Master,” meaning that we dedicate ourselves fully to Jesus Christ and grant him full control of our hearts and our lives.
Because it is only when we do this that we gain victory in this life.
It is only when we are completely under God’s control that we realize the fullness of what it means to live a life free from condemnation.
Which brings us to our scripture focus for this morning, so if you have found in your Bible, I’d invite you to stand with me as we read.
Again that is , Paul writes . . . .
5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
The Sinful Nature
The Sinful Nature
So, the last part of last week’s passage deals with the saving work of Jesus Christ and in verse 4, Paul actually tells us that living according to the Spirit is necessary.
And the reason it is necessary is because it is the indication that we have been changed by God.
We often talk about the evidence of salvation, and here it is.
The evidence of salvation is a marked change in us that is only possible by the work of the Holy Spirit.
And this is necessary.
Once Paul has set this precedent he begins to explain some things about the contrast between the sinful nature and living by the Spirit.
Paul starts out in verse 5 . . .
5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
So, immediately we see the contrast between the sinful nature and the Spirit.
Those who do not have the Spirit within in them set their minds on whatever the sinful nature or the flesh desires.
And Paul tells us what those things are in and listen to these . . .
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
And the reason the sinful nature has such a strong desire for these things is because those living according to the flesh or the sinful nature have been blinded and deceived by Satan.
Satan has convinced them that these things are “good” and “fun” and as long as they want to do it then it is okay.
It doesn’t matter who they hurt or how awful it is, as long as they are satisfied then they can do whatever.
And in our world today we see people doing whatever.
Literally whatever they want to do.
Our world to be honest is in total chaos because there are so many people being blinded by Satan and living their lives according to the flesh and the sinful nature.
Because if more people were living according to the Spirit they would be exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit, which Paul explains . . .
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
If people were truly living their lives according to the Spirit then they would have real love, not this false shallow “love you today and hate you tomorrow love.”
There would be peace in our world.
People would be patient with one another and genuinely kind to one another.
Instead of hate and violence we would see goodness and gentleness.
People would be faithful to God and faithful to one another.
They would exhibit a measure of self-control instead of knee jerk reactions to everything.
But here is the kicker, those of us who claim to belong to Jesus Christ, should already be doing these things.
Again, Paul explains in . . .
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
If it is crucified then it is dead and it has no control over us.
So, if we are claiming to belong to Christ, have we crucified the sinful nature?
Are we living according to the Spirit?
Or does the flesh and the sinful nature still reign supreme?
We need to be asking ourselves these questions, because if we want to see things change in our family, our community, our nation, our world, it has to start with us.
It has to begin with us living our lives according to the Spirit and us setting the example for everyone else.
Because the honest truth is, we can’t share what we don’t have.
Meaning, if you don’t have Jesus you can’t share Jesus.
If you don’t have the Spirit, you can’t share the Spirit.
So this morning, who controls you?
The sinful nature or the Holy Spirit?
Look at what Paul explains next in our passage . . .
6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
When the mind of the sinful person is so consumed by Satan and so controlled by Satan it turns dark and turns to nothing more than death and destruction.
That person is under so much condemnation and hopelessness that they honestly want to make everyone just as hopeless as they are.
Their goal is to do nothing but evil.
The sinful mind is hostile to God and everything God has created and everything God is.
Nothing in the sinful nature can please God.
And I point this out because we have a huge problem in this country.
And that problem is denial.
Our people are in complete and total denial about the root cause of all of the evil and problems that go on in our nation.
All of the death and destruction that is happening all around us.
They want to blame the evil on guns and pass more gun control laws.
They want to blame it on Mental Illness and pass more legislation on what the mentally ill can and cannot do.
-By the way, research has shown that less than 1% of the mentally ill are violent. Let that sink in a minute.
And I am not advocating for or against any laws or legislation, that’s not my role and that’s not what God’s pulpit is used for.
What I am saying is that the reason they are doing all these things is because they are diverting attention from what the real problem is.
Because the real problem in this nation is the sinful human heart.
And until the sinful human heart is dealt with and changed by God, nothing in our nation will change.
We could round up every gun and every bullet there is and it would change absolutely nothing.
Because the sinful heart is bent doing evil and evil will continue to persist.
So, what I am telling you, as a Christian if you want things to change, then you do two things.
#1-You submit yourself fully to God and allow the Holy Spirit full control and full access to your life.
#2-You start sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with other people.
We cannot legislate or force people to change, but when we live a changed life and we share how God has changed us people embrace it and they change, and they influence others who change, and before you know it we’ve changed the world.
And the reason behind it is because people are miserable and they desire change, they just don’t know how.
And that is why we have to be the ones who step up and provide the way of change to them.
Changed by the Spirit
Changed by the Spirit
Look at Paul says next . . .
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
Which takes us right back to where we started.
If we claim to belong to Christ the the Spirit of God must live in us.
And if the Spirit of God lives in us, then we will be different.
We will be changed from what we were before Jesus saved us.
6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
Because God has broken the control that the sinful nature has on us.
So, the question is, are you changed?
Are you different from what you used to be?
If the answer is “no,” then the Spirit of God is not living in you.
If the answer is “no,” then either you never received Jesus as Savior or you have turned away from God rejecting the Spirit and are living in a backslidden state.
Either way, you are not right with God and if you continue to live this way, you have condemned yourself.
And if we take it a step further, you also have no ability to help others.
You can’t give others a gift that you don’t have.
But many, many people will fall into the trap of “if I do enough good, then I’ll be alright” camp.
Folks, we cannot do enough good to save ourselves or anyone else.
The only thing we can do is repent and turn from our sins, accepting Jesus Christ as our savior.
However, when we have received Jesus Christ, then Paul writes . . .
10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
And here is the best part of it all . . .
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
Do we understand that this morning?
Hope and life here and now, but also hope for eternal life.
And not just eternal life but eternal life in glory with God.
That is what we hope for.
So, what are we waiting for?
Do we want to be changed?
Do we want our family, community, nation and world to be different?
If we do, we have to be consumed by the Holy Spirit.
We have to be living according to the Spirit and not the sinful nature.
This is the first step and then we have to take it a step further.
We have to share who Jesus is to us with others.
We have to share what Jesus has done in us with others.
We have to share the hope that is found in Jesus Christ with others.
Are we prepared to do that?
Are we prepared to take the necessary steps in our lives so that we can help others?
Just like anything else in life, it is our choice and our decision.
No one else can make it for us.
This morning, what will our choice be?