The Mind Against God Is Dead

Romans 8:7–8

Principle for Bible Reading

Romans 8:5–8 gets down to the bottom of our sin, untangling the reasons we rebel against God. Pastor John highlights the meaning of two “for” statements to show the relationship between sin, hostility to God, death, and worldliness.

View the outline.


Introduction/Prayer (00:00–01:09)

Observations (01:09–06:08)

  1. The mind set on the flesh is hostile to God (Romans 8:7). That is, we resist God, don’t like him. We prefer ourselves to God.
  2. We are all hostile to God by nature.
  3. Our hostility to God expresses itself in an unwillingness to submit to him and his word.
  4. Apart from the saving work of the Holy Spirit, people only displease God. They are in bondage to self.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Summary (06:08–08:28)

  1. We are all born in the flesh. That is our nature.
  2. Therefore, we have an inability to please God (because we were born in bondage to sin).
  3. That inability expresses itself in rebellion against God.
  4. That rebellion is revealed by a deadness to spiritual things — that is, to the things of God.
  5. That deadness produces a mind focused on the things of the flesh — that is, on the world minus God.

Study Questions

  1. Does the “For” at the beginning of Romans 8:7 communicate cause or evidence for what comes before? What about the “for” in the middle of the verse?
  2. Read 1 Corinthians 2:14. How does that verse help you understand what Paul is saying in Romans 8:7–8?
  3. Take these four ideas in Romans 8:5–8, and — using Paul’s argument — describe how they relate to one another: sin, hostility to God, death, and worldliness (setting on our minds on the things of the flesh).
Piper: “Christ died for us so that, despite all our depravity, we might love one another.”

‘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.