“The Carnal Mind”

In some degree, all are carnal, for as one who cannot “take fire into his bosom” without “being burned” (Pro 6:27), so cannot man, in possessing the sinful nature be completely void of carnality. Because of the “old man,” even the greatest of man’s wisdom is “foolishness with God” (1 Cor 3:18), thus, any heavenly wisdom which proceeds from man originates from God. This is not to the intention that a believer can be “carnal minded” (Rom 8:6, 7), who being regenerated can be carnal in maturity (1 Cor 3:1, 3) but not carnal minded.

Being carnal minded defines an unregenerate, an unbeliever who “minds the things of the flesh” (8:5), e.g. whose ways continue to be dominated by the sinful nature, resulting in an absent desire for God. This involves being in “enmity against God” (v 7) resulting in “death” (v 6), neither of which concerning the believer will again be encountered.

The word “mind” in this text defines desires, intents and purposes, thus to be carnal minded identifies one whose main desires are to gratify the sinful nature, rather than pleasing God—which defines one who is “spiritually minded” (v 5)—and occurs only through regeneration (born again; rebirth; translated).

Therefore, if a vessel is not being “conformed” (Rom 8:29), the Conformer has yet to begin His work, which cannot fail (John 6:37). It is of enduring encouragement to know the “irrevocability” (Rom 11:29 NKJV) of the grace of God which has wrought a work within the life of a believer, therefore regardless the level of the opposition (Satan, self, society) His work will unfailingly continue—“until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Eph 1:14).

The believer has been redeemed in his spirit and soul and now awaits the redemption of the body (Rom 8:23), which is “of the saints, of the church of God, who are bought with a price, and are purchased with his blood; and who, as they were redeemed from sin, Satan, and the law, when they were purchased, so will be redeemed again in the resurrection morn, which is called the day of redemption, Ephesians 4:30.

“Which will be a redemption of them from the weakness, corruption, and mortality of the body; from their present state of absence and pilgrimage; from the body of sin and death; from all sorrows and afflictions, both inward and outward; from the reproaches and persecutions of men; from a tempting devil, and an unbelieving heart; from all doubts and fears; and from death and the grave.

“The Syriac version very justly renders it, "until the redemption of them that are saved." Now till such time, the Spirit of God abides as an earnest, even until the whole felicity is enjoyed both in soul and body; and this shows the perpetuity of the Spirit's inhabitation, and grace, the final perseverance of the saints, and the security of the inheritance to them.” -J G

The manifestations of regeneration are realized as “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God,” and in the dichotomy that “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Rom 8:16; Gal 5:17); an opposition of which is nonexistent in an unregenerate.

Colossians 3:5 admonishes to “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” The “members” hereto referred are contained within what is said to be “the body of sin” (Rom 6:6) which is the “old man,” and realizing the mortification process in the saint is performed “through the Spirit” (Rom 8:13) most clearly explains the relationship between the believer and the old man.

The Spirit’s work here is best understood in His opposition to “the flesh” within the believer (Gal 5:17), which is the sinful nature and “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom 8:7). This is demonstrable in the outward actions called “the deeds of the body” (Rom 8:13). As the Spirit’s conforming (not conforming self but “being conformed” – Rom 8:29) work continues, the works originating from the old man progressively decrease, thus glorifying God by manifesting the fruit (work) of the Spirit through the believer.

It is when the saint is brought to the end of himself (old self) that it can be most clearly seen that love to God cannot manifest itself more than in the desire to “love one another,” which should be remembered to be the designated goal in all things (John 13:34, 35; 15:12, 17; Rom 13:8; 1 Thes 4:9; 1 Pet 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 23; 1 John 4:7, 11, 12; 2 John 1:5; Gal 5:13; Eph 4:2; 1Th 3:12; Heb 10:24; 1Pe 3:8).