Principle for Bible Reading
The Bible often presents two ways for us to live. In Romans 8:5–6, Paul describes two different lives, two different mindsets, and two different conditions. This lab carefully traces the serious differences in order to cause us to look to Christ.
What the law could not do, God did. He did two things:
- He condemned our sin in Christ’s body, so that we are rendered not guilty.
- He fulfills the law (“the righteous requirement of the law”) in us by the Spirit.
Romans 8:5: Where Is Your Mind? (01:34–04:49)
- A life lived “according” to the flesh produces a mind “set on” (given over to, preferring, enjoying, etc.) the flesh. And it is the same with a life lived according to the Spirit (Romans 8:5).
- The flesh is anything minus (without) God, or anything not done in reliance on him or for his glory (cf. Matthew 16:23).
- The things of God/the Spirit are anything in life seen in relationship to God — to their beginning with God, being sustained by God, and existing for the glory of God.
Romans 8:6: Why (“For”) Is Your Mind? (04:49–07:49)
- To set the mind on the things of the flesh is to reveal the presence of the power of death (Romans 8:6).
- To set the mind on the things of the Spirit is to reveal the presence of the power of life.
- The life lived according to the flesh inevitably produces a mind given over to the things of the flesh, because it reveals the presence of death (deadness to God and to spiritual things). Therefore, that mind and life default to the things of the flesh.
- The life lived according to the Spirit inevitably enjoys/prefers/focuses on the things of God or the Spirit, because it reveals the presence of life and peace (an awakening to God and to spiritual things).
- The law could not fulfill the law (it could not cancel our sin or produce love) (Romans 8:3–4).
- Because the flesh is the presence of death in us (Romans 8:6).
- That death is a deadness to the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:6).
- Therefore, we are left loving and preferring the things of the flesh (Romans 8:5).
- What might it mean to set your mind on something (the things of the flesh or on the things of the Spirit)? What are some synonyms for “set one’s mind on”?
- Explain the “For” at the beginning of Romans 8:6. How is verse 6 grounding (“for” or “because”) Romans 8:5?
- In your own words, summarize the major things you have learned from Romans 8:3–6 so far in the series.
‘The Greatest Chapter’ Series
This lab is part of a series through Romans 8. Taking a verse or two at a time, John Piper unfolds the other-worldly realities in these thirty-nine verses, all along pointing out general, practical principles for understanding and applying the Bible’s meaning. Visit ‘The Greatest Chapter’ series page to see all the labs in this series.