#DailyDevotion Your Natural Self Cannot Please God
Romans 86What the flesh thinks kills; what the spirit thinks gives life and peace. 7This is so because the fleshly mind hates God. It refuses to obey God’s Law because it can’t obey it. 8Those who are in the flesh can’t please God. 9You are not in the flesh but in the spirit if God’s Spirit lives in you. But anyone who doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ doesn’t belong to Him. 10But if Christ is in you, even though your bodies are dead because you were sinful, your spirits are alive because you are righteous. 11And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He Who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also make your dying bodies alive by His Spirit living in you.
This is some crazy stuff that goes against our fallen nature and can only be believed and known from Holy Scripture and by revelation of the Holy Spirit. What the flesh thinks kills. It kills because while it is only focused on the law of God it refuses to keep the law of God. Not only does the flesh refuse to keep the law of God it cannot obey the law of God. Those whose minds are only focused on the law of God break it and die because the one who sins dies. If you are in the flesh, i.e. you are only focused on the law, you cannot please God. Sin dwelling in your flesh as St. Paul says in chapter 7 uses the law to stir up your passions and rebellion and fight against God. The flesh hates God. But people won’t tell you that. We all like to look like we love God—it’s religion we really hate. Well that’s not true either. Those who walk according to the flesh love religion. They just hate the one true faith. Christians become atheist and join other religions because their minds have departed from Christ or never knew Christ. All they know is the law and well if that is what God is all about, they’d rather not have anything to do with him, i.e. the Christian God. Unfortunately for such poor souls, they are not really hearing about Christ either because Satan snatches the word from them or they simply cannot bear the truth of the one true faith or never really hear it–Jesus Christ is the only and solely way of the Spirit.
The Spirit gives life and peace. The way of the Spirit gives life and peace because it is focused on what Jesus has done for us. When the Father has the word of Christ preached to us, namely we are sinners who are damned but Christ, the son of God, has redeemed us, ransomed us with his blood and freely gives us his life as a gift, he also gives us the Holy Spirit to believe it and receive the gift. The Holy Spirit has our minds focused on what Jesus did; he obeyed, he died, he rose again, and he ascended to the right hand of God for us. Such faith Jesus tells us many times in the gospel of John gives us eternal life. Believing Jesus and his word makes us pleasing to God the Father.
The faith God gives gives us the Holy Spirit and makes Christ dwell in us with his life. This faith declares us righteous and makes us righteous. The Spirit makes our spirits alive through this gift of faith. Yes, our bodies are dead because of sin but our spirits are alive, born from above through baptism and we have been made the temples of God. So now we do not fear the law or are driven to obedience by the law but rather delight in it and freely do what God commands because we believe the good news of Jesus Christ. Because the Spirit who raised Christ from the dead lives in you, he also going to raise these dead bodies to immortal bodies on the Last Day.
Merciful God and Father, continually give us your Holy Spirit so our hearts are ever fixed on Jesus and by this faith be righteous and pleasing in your sight and have your peace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.