“That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 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, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Overseas mission is effective when done through literature, which is what we are doing right now. We are blessed when we read the Word of God and our faith grow because we believe in His Word.
People have been suffering for the past five centuries, deceived by such false doctrines as the Doctrine of Incremental Sanctification, the Doctrine of Justification, and others that claim that redemption is possible through prayers of repentance.
Romans 8:3 tells us that God did what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh. God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned sin in His flesh, and judged Him to deliver us from all our sins.
Today, we turn to Romans 8:4-11 for God’s truth. Romans 8:3-4 says, “He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The question, of course, is this: what does this mean?
First, what does it mean to not live according to the flesh?
This means to not seek the profits of the flesh. It is to discriminate between the wishes of the Spirit and the lusts of the flesh, and to stay away from those who do not obey the word of God. Verse 5 states, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh.” What does “the things of the flesh” mean? This means that there are those who, even as they attend church, seek after their own desires.
To put it simply, Christians should not go to church for the purpose of profit-seeking businesses in the world. This is living according to the flesh. These people go to churches with large congregations to introduce and advertise their businesses, in the hopes of acquiring regular and loyal customers. They attend church and believe in Jesus for the sake of their own flesh.
There are others. Those who teach sectarianism within the Christian community, and those who teach their followers to pursue only material blessings are also the ones who live according to the flesh and who have set their minds on the things of the flesh.
We can easily encounter sectarianism in our Christian community. Who are these sectarians then? These are the people who deceive themselves with their misplaced faith in the superiority of their denomination. They say that their sect was established by so-and-so, that they have such-and-such theologians, that they are this big and greatly known over the world and have this strong a tradition, and so on. All these boastings are what make up the vanities of these people and build up their own faith. There are many with such faith in this world.
Sectarians believe in Jesus for the benefits of their own flesh. Those who live according to the flesh still boast of their churches and of having been materially blessed by attending their large churches. Some churches have such common community goals as “love your wife.” But this is what “those who live according to the flesh” means. Should churches set their eyes on loving one’s wives as their goal? They should not. Am I then saying that we should not love our wives? Of course not! But such goals, however nice and attractive, cannot be the fundamental purpose of our Church.
Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh. Too many ministers today have turned themselves into such people by being interested only in increasing the size of their church membership, offerings, and building—these have now become the main purpose of their faith. Build a bigger, taller, and larger church has become their greatest goal. Even if they outwardly say that gathering more followers is to lead them to Heaven and offer other such excuses, their ultimate purpose is to raise more money in order to build bigger church buildings.
To make their churches to follow the things of the flesh, they had to turn their followers into religious fanatics. Some pastors have built their success on their ability to turn their congregation into fanatics, half-crazed, delusional, and utterly misguided.
Those who live according to the Spirit of God
However, there are those who really live according to the Spirit of God among the Christians. These who live according to the Spirit live according to the Word of God, believe what is written in the Scriptures while denying their own thoughts, do as God pleases, and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The Bible states that those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. If we have been forgiven for all our sins by believing in God’s righteousness, we should not live thoughtlessly, but live meditating on the work of the Spirit. Those who live by the Spirit think spiritually and set out to do the things of the Spirit by faith. Happy are those who pursue the things of the Spirit. These are the people who please God, save others from the sins of the world, and live by faith. We have been forgiven for our sins and therefore must set our minds on the things of the Spirit and live according to Him.
The goal in our lives is to fulfill the work of the Spirit, which is to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We should set our minds on the things of the Spirit. How much have you set your mind on the things of the Spirit? We are waging a spiritual warfare and must practice the things of the Spirit by believing in God’s righteousness and by preaching it. We must always think of what pleases the Lord and challenge the work of the Spirit by setting our minds on God’s work, even if we may be weak and full of shortcomings. When a particular work is done, we must yet strive again for more work that would please the Lord.
We are now preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the whole world through literature. About 200 to 300 persons receive our free Christian books and e-books daily by visiting our website. By striving with faith for the preaching of the gospel of the water and the Spirit to everyone in every country in the world, we are serving the gospel with you in His Church. If we had not set our minds on the things of the Spirit, we would not have been granted these fruits of the Spirit. We should carry out His work one by one with our minds set on the things of the Spirit. Then we will please our spiritual bridegroom, Jesus Christ, like the virtuous wife found in Proverbs chapter 31.
Verse 8 states, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” This refers to those who have not received the forgiveness of sins. “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8). As such, sinners who do not have the Spirit in them can neither do God’s work nor please Him.
Sinners do not subject themselves to the Law of God. Nor do they subject to the righteousness of God. They cannot please Him. This is because they cannot understand what the will of God is, as the Holy Spirit does not dwell in them. What pleases the Lord is to forgive all the sins of humankind with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He is not pleased with the praise and worship of sinners.
God is not pleased when sinners praise Him. No matter how much sinners raise their hands to praise Him and shed tears in worship, they cannot please Him. Sinful Christians try to please God by being intoxicated with emotions. They cannot please the Lord. Those who are with sin cannot please the Lord because they are sinners. No matter how much they try, sinners can never please the Lord. It is not a matter of how willing they are to please the Lord; it is a matter of how impossible it is for them to please Him.
Would God be pleased if people built bigger churches? He would not. If it is necessary to move into a bigger church building, by all means a bigger church should be built. But building a bigger church just for the sake of building it does not please God at all.
A church in my town, for instance, recently spent over US$3 million to build a new church building, even when the previous building was standing right next to it and still in excellent shape and accommodations. When the size of the congregation was only 200-300 at most, was it really necessary to build such a church? God’s church is not built of bricks. God tells us that we are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in the hearts of the righteous.
It is right to build a bigger church as a necessity, but does building bigger churches by itself give glory to God? No, it does not. Does gathering more people into a church give more glory to God? No, you cannot please God by just doing that. Those who are in the flesh cannot please the Lord.
Sometimes, there are even righteous people who pursue only the profits of the flesh. These people cannot please the Lord. Among the righteous, there are some who are still bound by their thoughts of the flesh like sinners. These people cannot please God. They, in reality, are not unable to lead a healthy life of faith in the church, complain, and resent God’s church, and eventually leave the church.
Therefore, we who are righteous should lead a life that is righteous and pleasing to God, not a life that seeks only the profits of the flesh. We should think on the works of God and His righteousness, serve the works of His righteousness, and use our bodies, minds, and belongings as the instruments of the righteousness of God. We should lead a life that is pleasing to God.
Those who are in the Spirit of Christ
Let us read verse 9 together. “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”
This passage, according to Paul, means that if we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit—in other words, if we believe in God’s righteousness—and have been redeemed from our sins, we are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit. If anyone has the Spirit in his/her heart, this person is in Christ, and if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person is not His.
We are, therefore, not in the flesh but in the Spirit. We, who are in the Spirit and have been delivered from sin through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, should not forget that we are the soldiers of righteousness, who have the capacity to please God as the righteous in Christ. We should not despair at the weaknesses of our flesh, but please God with the faith that, although we are weak, we are His and we are in Him, and that therefore we are His workers.
We must know that it is not allowed for us to pursue only the profits of our flesh after we are born again. We should live knowing that the righteous are destined to live only for the righteousness of God. Verse 10 shows us how Christians should live: “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
In truth, we, our bodies, were crucified and died with Jesus Christ because of our sins. We have been saved from all our sins through the righteous act of God. Because of this righteousness, the spirits of the righteous thus have eternal life. Eternal life! We should know that those who have been justified are no longer allowed to live only for their own flesh. Those who do not live for the righteousness of God after being born again are far from His blessings.
We were destined to live for God’s righteousness. Maybe some of you, after being born again of water and the Spirit, have thought in desperation, “The Bible says that those who are in the flesh cannot please God. I must be one of them.” But this is not true. God has regenerated us to live as the soldiers of His righteousness.
Some people think like that probably because they have misunderstood the Bible. Even if some of the righteous think that they cannot live according to God because their bodies live according to the flesh and because they are weak, the truth is that those who have the Holy Spirit in them rejoice by doing God’s works. Doing God’s works make them happy, glad and well. On the other hand, a life without doing God’s works is a life without motivation and purpose, a cursed life.
After we have accepted the gospel of the water and the Spirit and dwell in God’s righteousness, the Holy Spirit dwells in us. The Holy Spirit comes upon and dwell in anyone who has received the redemption. What happens to those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells? They are destined to serve the righteousness of God and do His righteous work.
In short, those who have received the forgiveness of sins and have been justified should live only by faith. The righteous can keep their faith only when they live by faith and do God’s works. If you think that you will live this world by your flesh despite having been justified, this is because you have not realized that you have received the forgiveness of sins and that your destiny has already changed.
The destiny of the righteous has changed. Before they were born again, they had lived for the world and for their own purposes and had been happy while living for their carnal desire. However, after being born again, it is impossible to live like that again. We have received the forgiveness of sins. Would we be happy even if we made a six-figure income? When we have to devote ourselves to delivering other souls from this world, how could we be satisfied with only material things?
I am, in other words, asking you to think hard about the things of the flesh and those of the Spirit. You do not have to do those things in order to know them; all that you have to do is to give some serious thought to this matter.
I have so far preached on Romans chapters 1 through 6 in my previous sermon book on Romans, and from chapter 7 to 16 in this book. These two sermon books, the 5th and 6th volume of my Christian book series, will be delivered to Christians worldwide for their reading. I am sure that many people will get to know God’s righteousness through my Christian book series. Through the previous three sermon books of mine, I have talked about the fundamental teachings on God’s salvation. The first volume talked about the gospel, the second volume discussed theological issues, and the third volume was on the Holy Spirit and what the correct way to receive the Spirit is. And these fifth and sixth volume on Romans talks in depth about how wrong many of the theological doctrines are, why sins do not disappear even when Christians believe in Jesus, and how the gospel of the water and the Spirit is revealed as the righteousness of God.
I believe that the gospel will spread more widely over the world through this book. There has been a remarkable progress in the preaching of the gospel when we published the third volume compared to the times when we published the first two volumes. Now, after the third volume, more and more people are asking for the first and second volumes of my Christian book series.
After these two books are published, we will know how great the power of the gospel of water and Holy Spirit is. I pray that many blessings will be abundantly bestowed by God to those who come to know His righteousness. They will know how to understand the Book of Romans, that it is to be understood by the faith in the gospel that contains the righteousness of God.
We are all working together for the gospel. Are you not also doing God’s work? You are supporting the ministry of preaching the gospel to save sinners from their sins. When we are faithful in our parts and serve the gospel, so many souls all over the world will be delivered from all their sins. How, then, can we forsake this precious work for the sake of worldly work?
I want to make it clear to you that we, the righteous, are destined to no longer live only for our own flesh. Now, our destiny has been set to accomplish the righteousness of God, to save souls, and to live for this righteousness. You must know this and live the rest of your lives for God, for the true gospel, and for the salvation of the souls lost in sin.
This is what the Book of Romans is talking about in this part. Let us look at the verses 10 and 11. “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
The above passage means that we, our bodies, have long been dead because of our sins. But our spirits are alive because of the righteousness of God and faith. If anyone believes in God’s righteousness, he/she will gain a new life. We have gained new lives by believing in God’s righteousness.
Verse 11 says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” This means that He will resurrect us at the end of the world. The life with which we had lived long ago only for our flesh and sin has now passed away, and our destiny has changed to live the rest of our lives for God and His righteousness.
You may be bored with the lives of the righteous, thinking, “No doubt the righteous will gather often to say what they say.” However, even hearing the yawn of a born-again believer sitting next to you or even listening to their praises and voices will renew your minds if you stay in the church. This is because the Holy Spirit works in God’s church and in the hearts of the believers. Your mind will become renewed and you will gain new strengths in your heart, be fed by the spiritual bread of life, and obtain spiritual duties to go out and perform the spiritual works.
You can be refreshed at the gathering of the believers. The fact that you become separated from the world shows that your destiny has changed. That is why those who live according to the flesh have set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, on the things of the Spirit. We, who have now become justified, no longer live according to the flesh. The righteous no longer want to be slaves to sin. We want to at least live according to the Spirit and set our minds on the things of the Spirit. The righteous do the things of the Spirit, the work of winning souls to Christ.
We must work hard for God’s work, deny our own thoughts for it, and set our minds on it. We must now live the rest of our lives in this way. Your destiny has been changed to live only for the righteousness of God, because you have received redemption by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I hope that you know this truth.
I am sorry, but you can no longer return to the world and become a slave to sin anymore. If you return to the world now, it would mean your own death. To be carnally minded is death. Your spirit will die, your mind will die, and your body will die, if you still remain pursuing your carnal desires. Israelites did not return to Egypt upon their exodus; nor could they be happy in meeting an Egyptian after crossing the Red Sea. Likewise, we who have been justified can no longer return to Egypt, nor be happy in meeting a spiritual Egyptian.
If a righteous, born again person goes out to the world and lives with the sinners of the world, he/she would go crazy for wanting to go back to God’s church. He/she would miss God’s church. Let us therefore live with our minds set on the things of the Spirit.
What do the things of the Spirit of God mean? Are they not the things of God? Are they not the things of serving the gospel of God? And yet are we not weak and imperfect? You are weak, and so am I. But have you not received the forgiveness of sins even when you were weak and imperfect? Of course you have! Does the Holy Spirit then dwell in you? The answer is an emphatic yes!
Are we, then, capable of setting our minds on the things of the Spirit or not? Of course we are—we are all capable of setting our minds on the things of the Spirit. Do you know that God has changed your destiny so that you would do the things of the Spirit? Do you believe this?
Our minds have now changed. If you do not know that your mind has changed when in fact it has, it spells only trouble for you. You must set your mind steadfast to the righteousness of God. The church of God will then be your home, your fellow believers will be your brothers, sisters, parents—your family, in other words—in the same Spirit. Everyone in your church will become your family. If you have not thought so before, now is time to reconsider and give some serious thought to this teaching.
Do not think that only the family of flesh and blood is your family. Here is your home and every born-again person’s home. You are all a part of the family of God. That is why we must live according to the Spirit. We must live for God, for to be spiritually minded is to gain peace.