Christ-like obedience – 2
The most unfortunate thing is that many people choose to be incorrigible and stiff-necked. They tread the well-worn perilous path of disobedience to God, which best exemplifies their carnal mind, with all seriousness. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
The carnal mind is stubborn, rebellious and always in disagreement with God. It rejects control, correction, counsel or directive from heaven, the scriptures and Christ. Therefore, those with carnal minds have a propensity towards evil and cannot be “subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be…they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Besides, carnal people do not readily accept correction. They always have an excuse and give seemingly good reasons for their bad conduct. They are intelligent enough to disobey God, but not submissive enough to obey the Lord. Although they are responsible for their disobedience, they always shift the blame to others. The first King of Israel, Saul, best displayed these attributes when Samuel accused him of failing to obey the voice of the Lord.
In reality, disobedience, whatever the excuse one may give, is linked with a mind that rejects God. People with carnal, unregenerate minds are not born again. If they were born again at all before, they have now walked back or backslidden from their earlier commitment and consecration to the Lord. They do not obey or retain God in their knowledge; they love to “do those things which are not convenient.” Their liberty, happiness and desires conflict with that of other people that love the Lord, and they “walk in the vanity of their mind.”
In order to avoid the perilous end of those who reject Christ, sinners and backsliders must repent and believe in the Lord for salvation. Whatever they offer to the Lord in worship or service will only amount to “the sacrifice of the wicked (which) is abomination…” until the heart or mind is transformed through the spiritual experience of sanctification. After salvation, the converted persons must also seek the second work of grace to be accomplished in their lives. This is a spiritual operation through which the Lord purifies and takes away all the carnality of the heart. This is what enables them to show priestly, steadfast obedience to the Lord through their crucified mind.
The crucified mind is priestly, steadfast and obedient to the Lord who now lives in him and motivates everything he does. As priests unto the Lord, we “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God,” and are devoted and steadfast unto Him in obedience. We become “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that (we) should shew forth the praises of him who hath called (us) out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Carnality, depravity or the old man cannot now rule over us because the second work of grace has been accomplished in our lives. This experience makes us peculiar and different from the people of the world. We also “live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved (us), and gave himself for (our)” transformation. Transformed, we now receive “the word (of God) with all readiness of mind,” and go forth with new grace and strength, as well as the mind of Christ to declare the totality of the gospel message to all that are in our community.
• Further reading (King James Version): Philippians 2:3-5,8. Rom. 8:5-8; 1 Sam. 15:19-22; Pro. 21:27; Titus 1:16; Rom. 1:28-30; Eph. 4:17; Jer. 7:31; 19:5; Hebrews 2:1-3,9-11; 1 Peter 2:5,9; Galatians 2:20; Rom. 6:6; Acts 17:11; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 Sam. 2:35; Rom. 15:5,6; Philippians 2:2-5.