According to our earlier examination of Romans 8:1, we saw that there was therefore no condemnation for anyone who is in or belongs to Christ Jesus. We determined that there were two groups, those who where in Christ Jesus, them being the believers, the saved, or the Christians and those who were not in Christ Jesus, them being the non-believers or the unsaved. We also found that many translations omitted this part of the passage, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Up on further examination, we discovered this omitted text to be vital in the understanding and interpretation of this passage. We can see from the omitted text that there be a qualifier for them which are in Christ Jesus. A qualifier is something that has the ability to restrict, limit, alter, or modify the meaning of something else. Imagine that, something in the word of God that actually restricts, limits, alters, or modifies the meaning of them who be in Christ Jesus. It appears that there just might be another group amongst those that are in Christ Jesus.
The word who begins the qualifier for them that belong to Christ Jesus. So, for there to be no condemnation for them which are in Christ Jesus, the them which are in Christ Jesus must meet some type of requirement. This means that them which are in Christ Jesus either meet the requirement or they do not. Because of the qualifier, there are now two classifications for them which are in Christ Jesus (believers, Christians, or those considered to be saved), those who walk after the flesh (sometimes referred to as carnal Christians) and those who walk after the spirit (the possible third group). Before we go any further, we would like to point out that this scripture shows a contrast between the human spirit (spirit) and the human flesh, not the Holy Spirit (Spirit). There is never a contrast made between the Holy Spirit and your flesh. It refers only to the spirit in the body that gives the body life. God will only deal with your spirit, never your flesh (Romans 8:16).
We see from the eighth chapter of Romans that those who are living according to the way of the flesh give their minds to the things of the flesh. They be controlled by their earthly natures and give their minds to earthly things. The mind that is given up to these things be carnally minded, which leads to death. This mind is in opposition to God. Such a mind does not submit to the law of God and is not able to do so. Those whose minds are given to the flesh cannot please God. This is why there is therefore condemnation to them, which are in Christ Jesus, who walk after the flesh.
We also see that those who are living according to the way of the spirit give their minds to the things of the spirit. They be controlled by their spiritual natures and give their minds to spiritual things. The mind that is given up to these things be spiritually minded, which leads to life and peace. And this is why there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk after the spirit.
However, since the Spirit of God resides in you, then you be not in the flesh but in the spirit. You are devoted to the spiritual things and are not devoted to earthly things, because the Spirit dwells in you. But if any man has not the spirit of Christ, he be not one of his and does not belong to him. Therefore, if Christ be in you, then your body be dead because of sin but your spirit has life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead be dwelling in you, then he who raised up Christ from the dead will in the same way, through his Spirit, which is in you, give life to your mortal body, which is currently under the power of death.
Then you be in debt, for it is not your lower nature, the way of the flesh that you are obligated to live under the rule of. If you live according to the way of the flesh, then death will come to you. But if you be under the influence of the spirit and have put to death the works of the body, meaning you have put to death your old bodily habits, you will live, for only those who are led and guided by the Spirit of God are the true sons of God.
Remember that finite line that we discussed earlier, with the two extreme endpoints. If you remember, we had the far left extreme endpoint representing them which are not in Christ Jesus. We considered those associated with this endpoint to be non-believers, but since this be an extreme endpoint, we need to consider everyone associated with this group to be the ultimate non-believers. By ultimate, we mean the most extreme non-believers possible.
And if you remember, we had the far right extreme endpoint representing them which are in Christ Jesus. We originally considered those associated with this endpoint to be believers, Christians, or those considered to be saved, but we later discovered everyone associated with this group were actually divided into two groups by a qualifier. Because of the qualifier, this group was split into them who are in Christ Jesus which walk after the flesh and them who are in Christ Jesus which walk after the spirit. We discovered from the eighth chapter of Romans that those who are living according to the way of the flesh, we need to consider everyone associated with this group to be carnal Christians. But what about those who are living according to the way of the spirit, with whom do we associate this group with? Since this be an extreme endpoint, we need to consider everyone associated with this group to be the ultimate believers. By ultimate, we mean the most extreme believers possible.
We can only imagine what the ultimate believers would be like. Using the information, we discovered in the eighth chapter of Romans as our guide, we can surmise that the ultimate believers would be those who are devoted to the spiritual things and are not devoted to things of the flesh. They would in no way be carnally minded nor would their minds be in opposition to God, for their minds would be given to pleasing God and not self. They would submit to the law of God and totally be able to do it. They would be completely under the influence of the spirit, living according to the way of the spirit and would give their minds completely to the things of the spirit. They would truly put to death the works of the body, meaning they have put to death their old sinful nature. They would be the quintessential believer, the purest and most perfect example of what God design us to be. We now believe this to be the correct definition of the very elect. We believe this to be the third group, the third classification, the third class.
Too many so-called believers still have pieces of their old sinful nature still living within them. While many have been able to put to death many aspects of their sinful natures, many choose to keep souvenirs, clinging to particular portions of their old life. And while there are varying amounts being kept, these tokens only serve as reminders of a life gone by, a life that was completely ruled by a sinful nature. The problem with keeping these souvenirs, these tokens alive, it gives opportunity for temptation to do its thing.
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:14-15).
For every man is tempted, but he is tempted by his own passions and by his own desires. His own lust serves as the bait for the temptation. Once the trap is baited, it is man’s lower nature, his fleshly desires that draws him away and entices him. Then once the temptation goes from the confines of man’s mind and he acts upon it, he then gives birth to sin. Once sin is born, it grows up, matures, and then brings with it, death.
Earlier we asked a question and we think it would be appropriated to re-ask the question again given our newfound knowledge. We had asked, Are you, by definition, one of the very elect? We know that some of you answered the question when it was first asked, contrary to the suggestion that you may want to think very carefully before you answered because it truly is a matter of life and death. Paul warns us in the twelfth chapter of Romans that we should not think of ourselves more highly then we ought to think of ourselves. He says that we are not to value ourselves unduly or have an overly high opinion of ourselves. This is not to say that we should not have a high opinion of ourselves but we should be of sound mind when we think of ourselves and base those thoughts on facts and rational thinking instead of speculation. Given this newfound knowledge, has your initial thoughts changed?
While it is not for us to determine whether you be the very elect or not, just know that the false Christs and false prophets will show great signs and do wonderful miracles, so much so that, if it were possible, these great signs and wonderful miracles could fool the very elect. These great signs and wonderful miracles will be so realistic that many believers will be deceived, tricked, or even seduced by them. Therefore, be very careful in your estimate of yourself and remember to be of sound mind when you think of yourself and base those thoughts on facts and rational thinking instead of speculation. As we said earlier, for us, since we do not consider ourselves to be the very elect of God, the possibility of being deceived was enough for us to re-evaluate ourselves and soberly seek the truth. We pray that the possibility of being deceived is enough for you as well.
Enjoy your blessings and remember to be a blessing to others – KW