Romans 8:5
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.
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(5-8) Further description of the antithesis between flesh and spirit in regard to (1) their object, Romans 8:5; (2) their nature, Romans 8:7-8; (3) their end, Romans 8:6.

(5) They that are . . .—Those who not only walk (direct their conduct) according to the promptings of the flesh, but who are in themselves and in the whole bent of their dispositions the slaves of these promptings.

Do mind the things of the flesh.—Their whole mental and moral activity is set upon nothing else but the gratification of these cravings of sense. The phrase “who mind” is not confined to the exercise of the intellect, but includes the affections; in fact it includes all those lesser motives, thoughts, and desires which are involved in carrying out any great principle of action—whether it be selfish and “carnal” or spiritual.

Romans 8:5-7. For — Or rather, now; they that are after the flesh — The apostle having, Romans 8:1, described those to whom there is no condemnation, as persons who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, to prevent all mistakes in such an important point, here informs us what he means by walking after the flesh, and after the Spirit. The former, he says, is to mind the things of the flesh; that is, as the word φρονεω signifies, to esteem, desire, and delight in them; namely, the things that please and gratify our senses and animal appetites and passions, or our corrupt nature, namely, things visible and temporal; the things of the earth, such as pleasure, (of sense or imagination,) the praise of men, or the riches of this world, — to set our thoughts and affections upon them. But they who are after the Spirit — The persons intended by that expression; mind — Think on, relish, love; the things of the Spirit — Things invisible and eternal; the things which the Spirit hath revealed, or which he works in us, moves us to, and promises to give us. For — Or rather, now, as the particle γαρ should be rendered; to be carnally minded is death. The original expression, το φρονημα σαρκος, is literally, the minding of the flesh, the preferring and pursuing its interests; is death — A sure mark of spiritual death, and the way to death everlasting. “My whole employment,” said even a heathen, (Socrates,) who yet was not fully assured of a future and everlasting life, “is to persuade the young and old against too much love for the body, for riches, and all other precarious things, of whatsoever nature they be; and against too little regard for the soul, which ought to be the object of their affections.” But to be spiritually minded Φρονημα πνευματος, the minding the Spirit, that is, the setting our thoughts and affections on spiritual things; is life and peace — A sure mark of spiritual life, and the way to life everlasting; and attended with peace, namely, peace with God; opposite to the enmity mentioned in the next verse; and the peace of God, which is the foretaste of life everlasting. In this verse, therefore, the apostle sets before us life and death, blessing and cursing; and thereby furnishes us with a third motive to holiness: all who live after the flesh shall die eternally, but all that live in a holy, spiritual manner shall obtain eternal life. Reader, to which of these art thou in the way? Because, &c. — Here the apostle assigns the reason of the doctrine contained in the foregoing verse; the carnal mind — As above described; is enmity against God — Against his holiness, his justice, his truth, his power and providence, his omniscience, his omnipresence, and indeed against all his attributes, and even against his existence. For the carnal mind would wish that God had not the perfections which he possesses; that he were not present in all places, acquainted with all things; so holy as to hate sin, so just as to be determined to punish it; so mighty as to be able to do it, and so true as certainly to fulfil his threatenings, as well as his promises; and, in fact, that there were no such Being. For it is not subject to the law of God — To the moral law in general; not even to the first and great commandment of it, which indeed comprehends all the commands of the first table, namely, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, &c.; that is, Thou shalt be spiritually minded; shalt set thy affections on God, and things divine and heavenly; a law this, to which those who are carnally minded, and continue so, in the nature of things neither are nor can be subject.

8:1-9 Believers may be chastened of the Lord, but will not be condemned with the world. By their union with Christ through faith, they are thus secured. What is the principle of their walk; the flesh or the Spirit, the old or the new nature, corruption or grace? For which of these do we make provision, by which are we governed? The unrenewed will is unable to keep any commandment fully. And the law, besides outward duties, requires inward obedience. God showed abhorrence of sin by the sufferings of his Son in the flesh, that the believer's person might be pardoned and justified. Thus satisfaction was made to Divine justice, and the way of salvation opened for the sinner. By the Spirit the law of love is written upon the heart, and though the righteousness of the law is not fulfilled by us, yet, blessed be God, it is fulfilled in us; there is that in all true believers, which answers the intention of the law. The favour of God, the welfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things of the Spirit, which those that are after the Spirit do mind. Which way do our thoughts move with most pleasure? Which way go our plans and contrivances? Are we most wise for the world, or for our souls? Those that live in pleasure are dead, 1Ti 5:6. A sanctified soul is a living soul; and that life is peace. The carnal mind is not only an enemy to God, but enmity itself. The carnal man may, by the power of Divine grace, be made subject to the law of God, but the carnal mind never can; that must be broken and driven out. We may know our real state and character by inquiring whether we have the Spirit of God and Christ, or not, ver. 9. Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Having the Spirit of Christ, means having a turn of mind in some degree like the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and is to be shown by a life and conversation suitable to his precepts and example.For they that are after the flesh - They that are under the influence of the corrupt and sinful desires of the flesh; Galatians 5:19-21. Those who are unrenewed.

Do mind the things of the flesh - They are supremely devoted to the gratification of their corrupt desires.

But they that are after the Spirit - Who are under its influence; who are led by the Spirit.

The things of the Spirit - Those things which the Spirit produces, or which he effects in the mind, Galatians 5:21-23. This verse is for the purpose of illustration, and is designed to show that the tendency of religion is to produce as entire a devotedness to the service of God as people had before rendered to sin; that is, that they Would be fully engaged in that to which they had devoted themselves. As the Christian therefore, had devoted himself to the service of the Spirit, and had been brought under his influence, it was to be expected that he would make it his great and only object to cherish and cultivate the graces which that Spirit would produce.

5. For they that are after the flesh—that is, under the influence of the fleshly principle.

do mind—give their attention to (Php 3:19).

the things of the flesh, &c.—Men must be under the predominating influence of one or other of these two principles, and, according as the one or the other has the mastery, will be the complexion of their life, the character of their actions.

For they that are after the flesh; i.e. that are carnal and unregenerate persons, in a mere natural state.

Do mind the things of the flesh; either such things as are absolutely evil, and are called, the works of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-21; or else such things as are occasionally evil, as riches, honours, pleasures, &c. These are also called the things of the flesh, and are such as carnal persons mind; i.e. they savour, affect, and take delight in them.

But they that are after the Spirit; i.e. that are spiritual and regenerate, in whom the Spirit dwells.

The things of the Spirit; i.e. they mind spiritual and heavenly things, they relish them most of all; see Psalm 4:7 73:25.

For they that are after the flesh,.... By flesh is meant the corruption of nature; and they may be said to be "after" it, not all that have flesh in them, for the best of saints have it in them; regenerating grace does not remove it from them; there is a difference between being in and after the flesh, and flesh being in us; but such who are as they were born, who have nothing but flesh, or corrupt nature in them, in whom that is the governing principle, whose minds are carnal, and whose whole walk and conversation is, such, are here meant: and these persons

do mind the things of the flesh: not merely things corporeal, belonging to the welfare of the body; or things natural for the improvement of the mind; or things civil, as riches, &c. which may be minded and sought after in a lawful way; but things sinful, the lusts, works, and sins of the flesh: which they may be said to "mind", since they judge them to be good; the bent and application of their minds are to them; their affections are set upon them; they are solicitously careful to provide for them, and savour and relish them: nor is it to be wondered at, since these are natural to them; they are opposite to God and so agreeable to them; they have no mind, thought, affection, or relish, for anything else; and it is entirely owing to mighty grace, that any mind the things of the Spirit:

but they that are after the Spirit; not such who follow the dictates of their own spirits; or are outwardly reformed; nor all that have spiritual gifts; or profess themselves to have the grace and Spirit of God; but such who are born again, are renewed in the spirit of their minds, in whom grace is the governing principle: the work of the Spirit is begun in them, though not perfected: the Spirit himself dwells in them, and they walk after him; their minds and conversations are spiritual, though there may be a great deal of carnality in their hearts, thoughts, words, and actions, which is matter of grief unto them: these mind

the things of the Spirit; the graces of the Spirit; spiritual blessings; the doctrines of the Gospel; spiritual sacrifices and services: these have some understanding of, can discern the difference between them and carnal things, judge and approve of them as right; have a great esteem and affection for them, and taste a sweetness in them. They have no mind naturally to these things; nor is the bias of their minds altered by themselves, nor could it; this is wholly the work of the Spirit of God; and these things are minded only because, and as they are agreeable to the spiritual part, the inward man.

{6} For they that are after the {m} flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

(6) A reason why walking after the flesh does not agree to those who are grafted into Christ, but to walk after the Spirit agrees and is proper for them: because, he says, those who are after the flesh savour the things of the flesh, but those who are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

(m) They that live as the flesh leads them.

Romans 8:5. The apostle regards the description just given, τοῖς μὴ κατὰ σάρκα κ.τ.λ., as too important not to follow it up with a justification corresponding with its antithetical tenor. This he bases on the opposite φρονεῖν of the subjects, according to their opposite moral quality, so that the emphasis lies, not upon ὄντες and φρονοῦσιν (Hofmann, “as the being of the Ego is, so is also its mental tendency”), but, as shown by the antithesis οἱ δὲ κ.τ.λ., simply on κατὰ σάρκα and κ. πνεῦμα. The ὄντες might be entirely omitted; and φρονοῦσιν is the predicate to be affirmed of both parties, according to its different purport in the two cases.

οἱ κατὰ ς. ὄντες] A wider conception (they who are according to the flesh) than οἱ κ. ς. περιπ. The latter is the manifestation in life of the former.

τὰ τῆς ς. φρον.] whose thinking and striving are directed to the interests of the flesh (the article τῆς. ς. makes the σάρξ objective as something independent); so that thus, according to Romans 7:21 ff., the fulfilment of the law is at variance with their efforts. Comp. on φρον., Matthew 16:23; Php 3:19; Colossians 3:2; Plat. Rep. p. 505 B; 1Ma 10:20.

Romans 8:5. The meaning of the sentence “is not contained in the repetitions of γὰρ by which it is hooked together” (Jowett). οἱ κατὰ σάρκα ὄντες are those whose nature is determined simply by the flesh; their “mind,” i.e., their moral interest, their thought and study, is upon τὰ τῆς σαρκός: for which see Galatians 5:19 f. οἱ κατὰ πνεῦμα are those whose nature is determined by the spirit: for τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος see Galatians 5:22.

5. they that are] This “being after the flesh” is the state of which “walking after the flesh” is the exhibition and proof.—St Paul here, and in a measure to the close of Romans 8:11, expands and illustrates the difference between the past and present state of the Christian.

after the flesh] i.e. obeying it, (as the organ of sin;) making it their rule, in spite of their knowledge of right and wrong.

do mind] Same word as Colossians 3:2, where E. V. has “set your affection on.” It means far more than to “like,” or “care for;” it indicates the full preoccupation of thought and will with a chosen and engrossing object.—Such, according to St Paul, is the natural state of men, as regards any real bias of will and love to the true claims of the true God.

the things of the flesh] All things that the unregenerate nature prefers to the “things above,” whether in themselves guilty or innocent.

they that are after the Spirit] Ruled and determined by His awakening, regenerating, illuminating presence; characterized by the fact that He dwells in them.—It is plain (a) that St Paul regards the two classes as mutually exclusive, and together exhaustive of mankind; (b) that he makes the “being in the Spirit” to be a strictly supernatural state, the result of a Divine Indwelling once unknown to the soul, but now real and living; and (c) that this state is, in his teaching, an absolutely necessary condition of the true “sonship” of men towards God. Further, he does not mean by it a state of unnatural exaltation, (for nothing can be more practical than his view of daily life and duty; see ch. 12. &c., &c.,) nor of freedom from trial, (Romans 8:17,) nor of absence of inner conflict with sin (Romans 8:13). He means a state in which the will is decisively roused to that conflict, by the knowledge and love of God.

Romans 8:5. Οἱ γὰρ, for they that) From this passage and onward Paul primarily describes the condition of believers; and secondarily, for the purpose of illustrating it, what is contrary to that state.—ὀντες, who are) This refers to a state, or condition.—φρονοῦσι [mind] have a feeling for) A feeling which flows from the condition.

Verses 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 the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. Because the mind of the flesh 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. These verses are added for explanation and enforcement of the condition demanded at the end of ver. 4; pressing the fact that "the infection of our nature" - "the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos" (Art. 9.) - with its antagonism to the Law of God, and its deadly tendency, remains even in the regenerate, and that hence we are still in danger of succumbing to it; but that if we do - unless the Spirit within us prove in practice the stronger power - the condition required for our individual redemption is not fulfilled. οἱ ἐν σαρκὶ ὄντες, in ver. 7, evidently does not mean those who are still in the body, but the same essentially as οἱ κατὰ σάρκα ὄντες in ver. 5; ἐν denotes the element in which they live (see verse following). The δὲ which connects ver. 8 with the foregoing has its ecbatic, not its adversative sense. So then, in the Authorized Version, though not strictly equivalent, seems sufficiently to express the general idea. Romans 8:5They that are (οἱ ὄντες)

Wider in meaning than walk, which expresses the manifestation of the condition expressed by are.

Do mind (φρονοῦσιν)

The verb primarily means to have understanding; then to feel or think (1 Corinthians 13:11); to have an opinion (Romans 12:3). Hence to judge (Acts 28:22; Galatians 5:10; Philippians 3:15). To direct the mind to something, and so to seek or strive for (Matthew 16:23, note; Philippians 3:19; Colossians 3:2). So here. The object of their thinking and striving is fleshly.

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