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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
NetChaplain

Romans VIII Contrast

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The Eighth Chapter of Romans describes the identification of the two types of humanity: those who walk “after the flesh”; and those who walk “after the Spirit” (v 1). I think this discussion should begin with what Paul may have intended to mean by “walk after.” One might interpret this to relate to how one lives and another, how one desires to live, that is, we can seek to live according to the Spirit of God, but desire and do are not the same because the former leads to the latter.

 

Initially all reborn (since the days of the Apostles) are at the “babe in Christ” (1Cor 3:1) point of maturity and begin to grow into “Christ’s image” by manifesting the desire for “the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1Pe 2:2). Though the primary objective of redemption in the Lord Jesus is fully complete (salvation does not admit in degrees) at rebirth, “growing up into Him in all things” (Eph 4:15) is God’s work of “conformation” (Rom 8:29; 2Co 3:18) for the remnant of our earthly lives.

 

One who is reborn will soon become aware of an ominous presence “to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phl 2:13). Scripture teaches the reality of this presence (new nature or new man) is genuine in the fact that this overwhelming desire to please God, though repeatedly interrupted within believers, ever remains with them (Mat 24:13; Heb 10:38). Therefore, from rebirth to our rest or rapture, believers are continually manifesting by their lives a walk and desire after the Spirit.

 

Those who are unregenerate cannot “walk after the Spirit,” nor can those regenerated “walk after the flesh.” The intention of the word “walk” is in reference to that which one seeks above all things. Though there will be times of sin in the lives of the believers due to their indwelling of old man, their overall desire is to please God. This defines walking after the Spirit, which will be manifested in the lifestyles of the saints.

 

The Lord Jesus proclaimed that “a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Luke 6:43). He also indicated “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt (Mat 12:33). James reiterated this when he wrote that “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter . . . . So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh (3:11, 12).

 

Seeking to live according to the sin nature (flesh) reveals domination of the old man and therefore manifests one who has not been redeemed. Being free from the “reign” and dominion” of sin (Rom 6:12, 14) to me means the old man can no longer cause the believer to "sin willfully" (Heb 10:26), or intentionally “serve sin” (Rom 7:25).

 

The will and desire of the saints to please God supersedes the desires of the old man in them, for God considers them being after the Spirit, as they “are not after the flesh” (Rom 8:9). No believer can live after the flesh and after the Spirit.

 

I think most of the confusion here lies with the deceptiveness of imitation. One can appear to be after the Spirit, but cannot continue to do so permanently if not reborn! As it is known, “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light,” and that which false professors do will eventually be made manifest “according to their works” (2Co 11:14, 15).

 

If those reborn can “be carnally minded,” they abide in “death,” which not only conflicts with “to be spiritually minded is life” (8:6, 13), but also with the Lord’s declaration of “whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die” (Jhn 11:26).

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Interesting thread NetChaplin. I have meditated about Paul's "walk after" statements and concluded the following: Those that walk after the flesh are carnally minded. The carnally minded are those of the world that have an egocentric ideal that makes them greedy for the niceties of life. They have a get-take-mine mindset, ever fearful they might not have enough. The is the normal mindset of worldly people. They are usually envious of any that have more than they.

 

Once we give our lives to Christ, our wants and desires are set on the Kingdom of God. We find ourselves not trying to hoard the things we need and want. We turn to the love-give-cast mindset that is expounded in God's word. We learn to trust God to supply our needs and learn to share our prosperity with those around us. We can cast our bread upon the waters (prophetically people) with the expectation it will return. We are now walking after the spirit and living in faith.     :RpS_thumbsup:

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11 hours ago, deade said:

Interesting thread NetChaplin. I have meditated about Paul's "walk after" statements and concluded the following: Those that walk after the flesh are carnally minded. The carnally minded are those of the world that have an egocentric ideal that makes them greedy for the niceties of life. They have a get-take-mine mindset, ever fearful they might not have enough. The is the normal mindset of worldly people. They are usually envious of any that have more than they.

 

Once we give our lives to Christ, our wants and desires are set on the Kingdom of God. We find ourselves not trying to hoard the things we need and want. We turn to the love-give-cast mindset that is expounded in God's word. We learn to trust God to supply our needs and learn to share our prosperity with those around us. We can cast our bread upon the waters (prophetically people) with the expectation it will return. We are now walking after the spirit and living in faith.     :RpS_thumbsup:

Hi Deade, and thanks for your reply and comments! Sadly, those who choose to remain unbelievers (most - Mat 7:13, 14) enter into numerous lusts over many things. Your comments remind me of 1Tim 6:9: “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”

 

God bless, and God Be Blessed!

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