A Life and Death Matter – Romans 8:6

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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In 1983, singer Karen Carpenter died of complications due to anorexia. For many of us, this startling news was our first exposure to this eating disorder. Like others who struggle with this problem, Karen saw herself as overweight and unlovable. Consequently, she starved herself into massive weight loss. In 1975, at 90 lbs., she collapsed on stage. Family members then realized her improper diet was a life-and- death matter, and they tried to intervene. Unfortunately, Karen did not fully cooperate. Eventually, she died.

The Apostle Paul refers to a spiritual life-and-death matter when he wrote, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace” (Roman 8:6). Thankfully, no one who trusts in Christ alone for eternal life will ever lose his or her salvation. Once saved, we are sealed until the day of redemption, and nothing can separate us from the love of God or from our heavenly inheritance. However, if we choose to persist in a wayward walk from Christ, we can become effectively, spiritually dead while still having eternal life. Paul warns believers about the possibility of becoming so hardened in sin that we develop a seared conscience (I Timothy 4:2), becoming “past feeling”, and alienated from the daily “life of God” (Ephesians 4:17-19). This is why, in Romans 8:6, Paul urged believers to be spiritually-minded and not carnally minded. What Paul was specifically referring to, in this context, was the danger of continuing under the bondage of the Mosaic Law. It was a fleshly system of animal sacrifices, circumcision, and human works. In preceding chapters, Paul taught these saints that they were not under the law, but under grace. They were dead to the demands of the law. There was now no condemnation to those who left all the practices of the Law behind. Unfortunately, some were still so preoccupied, or “minded,” with the Law, they insisted on following it. Paul’s message to them was that submission to legalism not only brought bondage; it also produced spiritual death. Paul urged them to be spiritually-minded instead by embracing grace as their instruction for today and following these principles whole-heartedly.

Placing ourselves under legalism isn’t the only thing that can choke out our spiritual life. Persisting in sin, neglecting the Word of God, and not seeking daily spiritual transformation does too. Choose to be spiritually-minded by making your walk with Christ your highest priority today. “Life and peace” will follow.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."