Romans 8:6
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
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(6) Translate, For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. To think of nothing but the gratification of the senses, is in itself death—that dead condition of the soul which issues in eternal death; and, on the other hand, to have the thoughts and affections governed solely by the Spirit, brings with it that healthful, vital harmony of all the functions of the soul which is a sure pledge and foretaste of a blissful immortality. Death and life are here, as elsewhere, most frequently in St. Paul, neither spiritual death and life alone, nor eternal death and life alone, but both combined. The Apostle does not here draw any distinction between the two things.

8:1-9 Believers may be chastened of the Lord, but will not be condemned with the world. By their union with Christ through faith, they are thus secured. What is the principle of their walk; the flesh or the Spirit, the old or the new nature, corruption or grace? For which of these do we make provision, by which are we governed? The unrenewed will is unable to keep any commandment fully. And the law, besides outward duties, requires inward obedience. God showed abhorrence of sin by the sufferings of his Son in the flesh, that the believer's person might be pardoned and justified. Thus satisfaction was made to Divine justice, and the way of salvation opened for the sinner. By the Spirit the law of love is written upon the heart, and though the righteousness of the law is not fulfilled by us, yet, blessed be God, it is fulfilled in us; there is that in all true believers, which answers the intention of the law. The favour of God, the welfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things of the Spirit, which those that are after the Spirit do mind. Which way do our thoughts move with most pleasure? Which way go our plans and contrivances? Are we most wise for the world, or for our souls? Those that live in pleasure are dead, 1Ti 5:6. A sanctified soul is a living soul; and that life is peace. The carnal mind is not only an enemy to God, but enmity itself. The carnal man may, by the power of Divine grace, be made subject to the law of God, but the carnal mind never can; that must be broken and driven out. We may know our real state and character by inquiring whether we have the Spirit of God and Christ, or not, ver. 9. Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Having the Spirit of Christ, means having a turn of mind in some degree like the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and is to be shown by a life and conversation suitable to his precepts and example.For to be carnally minded - Margin, "The minding of the flesh." The sense is, that to follow the inclinations of the flesh, or the corrupt propensities of our nature, leads us to condemnation and death. The expression is one of great energy, and shows that it not only leads to death, or leads to misery, but that it is death itself; there is woe and condemnation in the very act and purpose of being supremely devoted to the corrupt passions, Its only tendency is condemnation and despair.

Is death - The penalty of transgression; condemnation and eternal ruin; Note, Romans 5:12.

But to be spiritually minded - Margin, "The minding of the Spirit." That is, making it the object of the mind, the end and aim of the actions, to cultivate the graces of the Spirit, and to submit to his influence. To be spiritually minded is to seek those feelings and views which the Holy Spirit produces, and to follow his leadings.

Is life - This is opposed to death in Romans 8:5. It tends to life, and is in fact real life. For to possess and cultivate the graces of the spirit, to be led where he would guide us, is the design of our existence, and is the only path of happiness.

And peace - Note, Romans 6.

6. For—a mere particle of transition here [Tholuck], like "but" or "now."

to be carnally minded—literally, "the mind" or "minding of the flesh" (Margin); that is, the pursuit of fleshly ends.

is death—not only "ends in" [Alford, &c.], but even now "is"; carrying death into its bosom, so that such are "dead while they live" (1Ti 5:6; Eph 2:1, 5) [Philippi].

but to be spiritually minded—"the mind" or "minding of the spirit"; that is, the pursuit of spiritual objects.

is life and peace—not "life" only, in contrast with the "death" that is in the other pursuit, but "peace"; it is the very element of the soul's deepest repose and true bliss.

In this verse we have an account of the different end of those that are carnal and spiritual, as in the former we had a description of their different carriage and disposition.

For to be carnally minded is death; i.e. to be of that temper before described, Romans 8:5; to mind and affect the things of the flesh, doth cause death, or will end in it: the second or eternal death is chiefly intended.

But to be spiritually minded; i.e. to mind and savour the things of the Spirit, to find a sweetness and excellency therein, so as that the bent and inclination of the mind shall be thereto.

Is life and peace; it is the way to eternal life hereafter, and to a sound peace here, Psalm 119:165 Proverbs 3:17 Galatians 6:16.

For to be carnally minded is death,.... The phrase the apostle here uses, includes the best part of corrupt man; the mind, the understanding, the judgment, the will, the affections, the thoughts, the reason, and reasonings of man; and may be rendered, "the wisdom", or "prudence of the flesh"; so called, to distinguish it from that wisdom which is from above; from that natural and civil wisdom, which is laudable; and it shows that the wisest part of man is but carnal: all sorts of persons destitute of the grace of God are concerned herein; or this is applicable to them all, as the sensualist, the worldling, the proud Pharisee, and the wise disputer of this world. This wisdom of the flesh, or carnal mindedness, "is death"; not that it is conversant about death; or that such persons are thoughtful of it, endeavour to make it familiar to them; or are desirous of it, and esteem it as a privilege; this only spiritually minded men do: but the sense is, that this issues in death; death is not the object, but the end of carnal mindedness; carnal mindedness, so far as it prevails in the saints, brings a death upon them. It is true, indeed, they cannot die a spiritual, or an eternal death; yet sometimes they are very dead and lifeless in their frames, in the exercise of grace and discharge of duty; which is frequently owing to their carnality: and the effect of this must needs be death in carnal men; since it alienates from God; it renders them transgressors of the law, and obnoxious to its curse; it sets the soul against, and diverts it from Christ the way of life; and if grace prevent not, must be the cause of, and issue in eternal death; because it is sin and sinful, it is enmity to God, it disqualifies for life, and makes persons fit companions for the heirs of wrath:

but to be spiritually minded, is life and peace; spiritually minded men are the only living persons in a spiritual sense, for all that are in and after the flesh are dead; and so far as carnal mindedness prevails in professors, there is a deadness in them as to all spiritual exercises; and oftentimes as to outward appearance, there is no difference between them and dead men: but spiritually minded men are evidently living persons; they have a spiritual discerning of spiritual things; they breathe after them, savour and relish them; they talk of spiritual things, and walk in a spiritual manner; they are not only alive, but lively in the exercise of grace and discharge of duty; and are the means of enlivening others; and their end will be everlasting life; which is certain from the declared will and promise of God, and from the grace of life and Spirit of life which are in them. "Peace" also is another effect of spiritual mindedness; such enjoy peace of conscience: this is a fruit of the Spirit; a part of the kingdom of grace the are possessed of; and the things their minds are conversant with are productive of it; which is the gift of God, passes all understanding, and is of more worth than all the world: such men are also of peaceable dispositions in commonwealths, in neighbourhoods, in families, and churches; induced thereunto by the noblest arguments; and their end will be peace, which will be perfect and eternal.

{7} For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

(7) He demonstrates what follows from his argument: because whatever the flesh savours, that brings about death: and whatever the Spirit savours, that is conducive to joy and everlasting life.

Romans 8:6. A second γάρ. The former specified the reason (Romans 8:5), this second is explicative (namely); a similar repetition and mutual relation of γάρ being common also in Greek authors. Comp. Romans 11:24; see on Matthew 6:32; Matthew 18:11; and Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 340; Kühner, II. 2, p. 856.

The striving of the flesh, namely (comp. νοῦς τῆς σαρκός in Colossians 2:18), tends to bring man to (eternal) death (through sin), but the striving of the Holy Spirit to conduct him to (eternal) life and blessedness (of the Messianic kingdom). The explanation: the striving … has death as its consequence (Rückert, de Wette, and many others), is right as to fact (comp. Romans 6:21), but fails to bring out the personifying, vivid form of the representation, which, moreover, does not permit us to introduce the analytic reflection, that the enmity against God is the desire of the flesh “of itself,” and that it is death “on account of God” (Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 563). That death is God’s penal decree, is true; but this thought does not belong here, where it is simply the destructive effort of the σάρξ itself that is intended to be conveyed, and that indeed, in accordance with the prevailing concrete mode of description, as a conscious effort, a real φρονεῖν, not as an impulse that makes the Ego its captive (Hofmann), since the same predicate φρόνημα applies to the σάρξ as well as to the πνεῦμα. On εἰρήνη, blessedness, comp. Romans 2:10. Understood in the narrower sense (peace with God), it would yield a hysteronproteron, which Fritzsche actually assumes.

6. For] The reference of this “for” is not clear at first sight. Probably the sequence of thought is that the difference of carnal and spiritual preferences is profoundly real; for the former involves death, the latter, life and peace. And it is implied that the respective persons cannot possibly therefore interchange their preferences.

to be carnally minded] Lit. the mind of the flesh. The noun rendered “mind” is cognate to the verb rendered “do mind” in Romans 8:5. See note there. The idea includes choice, engrossment, affection towards a congenial object. See Art. IX. of the Church of England, where “the wisdom of the flesh” is the only phrase not admissible in a strict explanation. The E. V. here gives the sense as well as is possible, perhaps, in a brief form.

death] Is this legal or moral death? On the whole, we explain it of legal death, i.e. of doom. This idea implies the other, for the soul which is incurring the Divine Sentence cannot be morally “alive to God” in the sense of peace, love, and purity. But the connexion makes the idea of doom more prominent: see Romans 8:7, where antagonism to the Law is specified as the inevitable state of the “carnal mind.” Thus the words here mean that to have the choices and affections of unregenerate humanity is to lie under God’s sentence, and to be on the way to its infliction.

to be spiritually minded] Lit. the mind of the Spirit. See last note but one.

life and peace] This (by analogy with the view of “death” just above) means a state of acceptance, in its aspect (a) of pardon and consequent glory; (see last note on ch. Romans 5:18;) and (b) of secure and loving intercourse with God, with all its attendant blessings. See on ch. Romans 5:1.—Here of course, in view of the argument of cch. 3 and 4 especially, we must note how the being spiritually minded “is” life and peace; viz. not as the procuring cause of these blessings, which cause is the Propitiation (accepted by faith) alone; but as the state of mind in which only they can be realized and enjoyed.

Romans 8:6. φρόνημα, [minding] feeling for, or of) Fr. sentiment. Corresponds to the verb, have a feeling for [mind] (φρὸνουσι, Romans 8:5).—θάνατοςζωὴ, death,—life) in this present life with its continuation in another, comp. ch. Romans 6:23.—ζωὴ καὶ εἰρήνη, life and peace) By the addition of the word peace, he prepares the way for himself for the transition to the following verse, where enmity is described.

Romans 8:6To be carnally minded (τὸ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς)

Lit., as Rev., the mind of the flesh. Fleshly thinking and striving. Similarly the mind of the Spirit for to be spiritually minded.

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