Romans 8 – Impossible Expectations

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

As I read this passage, the question that comes to mind is: If the sinful mind, that is the non-Christian mind, is unable to submit to God’s law or please God why do we who (presumably) have the mind of the Spirit expect them to?

Here is what I mean: No one can become a Christian or follow Christ unless the Sprit first gives them the revelation of who Jesus is (John 6:37). So to be a Christian and to have the mind of the Spirit, which is the mind to do good and God-pleasing things, God must first enable a man who is in sin to have an exchange of heart and mind. Until that time, not only do these men not please God and do not want to please God but are unable to please God.

So why do Christians try to make sinful man follow rules that we recognize that we ourselves cannot follow, even with the Spirit? Why do we try to legislate morality on the macro level, and expect personal interactions with sinful man to follow morals that stem from the Spirit, such as loving our neighbors as ourselves?

Should we simply pray for God to intercede in a friend’s life who is not a follower of God instead of trying to get them to change their actions? Is it a fruitless endeavor to try to change the actions of someone who is an unbeliever so that they act like something that they are not? Can that even work? Is it our job to get people to act like they are Christians?

What do you think?

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