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  • Ed Hlad

True?

This may be the last blog of mine that you read. I have been studying Romans 8 and I came across a long quote that I have been meditating on ever since. There is one line in the quote that has really been the focus of my meditation. It has been used by the Spirit to remind me of what is at stake. You may struggle with more than just the one line but I would encourage you to also meditate on what Paul is saying and be reminded that there are only two ways to live.

Paul: “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. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 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. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:5-8

R.C. Sproul: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will begin to believe it, and they not only will believe it, but they will also defend it as a truism. Our culture is permeated with the idea that there is no war between man and God. We hear, ‘God hates the sin but loves the sinner’. We hear that God loves everybody unconditionally, but that is the biggest lie of our day, because he does not. At the last judgment God will not send sins to hell; he will send sinners to hell. Even though sinners enjoy the blessings of God’s providential love, his filial love is not their desert.”

He continues: “The Scriptures are graphic in describing God’s attitude toward impenitent, carnally minded people. God abhors them. Nobody talks that way any more-except for God in his Word. To set our minds on the things of this world is death. God is the supreme obstacle to people’s finding happiness in their desires of the flesh. God is always standing in the way. The life of the flesh is lived not in neutrality but in opposition to God, which is Paul’s point. To be carnally minded is to be at enmity with God.”

You have to agree with Paul. You do not have to agree with R.C. Sproul. I think, when we hear something too many times, we get too comfortable with it, interpret it in our own way, and we lose the point. We are OK with the idea that apart from God we are acting as his enemy. It is when we begin to talk about our enmity with God being on his part that we begin to bristle. That does not fit with our picture of God that we have painted today. But is our painting the real God of the Bible or one of our own making? To give a poor illustration, it is like when you are going to break up with the one you are dating. You go to talk with them and they break up with you first. You are hurt, angry, and want to get back together...just so you can break up with them. We are OK with not desiring a relationship with God but when we learn that he hates the wicked (Ps 5:5-6; 11:5-7; Prov 6:16-19) our hearts are rattled. We just always believed that God was like a little puppy that just wanted to be with us. God does desire to have a relationship with you but it is always on his terms. We must repent of our sins, trust in the life-giving work of Jesus on the cross, and seek his forgiveness. We became enemies of God when Adam sinned. God was the offended party. He abhors the wicked. But he also loves enough to provide a way back to him...Jesus. Do not be fooled into thinking that you can live any way that you please and that God is good with that. He is not. He warns us that when we choose to live in the flesh, we choose death. Only through the Spirit that we can have life. Do not mistake God’s care for his creation as the same love that he showers on those who have been adopted into his family. Sobering thoughts.

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