Oh the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God in Romans 8! The first four verses are a sweeping declaration of God’s total victory over sin for those in Christ Jesus. The believer has no judgement passed to him. It was not because of something he did on his own, rather it was what God did alone. God stepped on the neck of sin and Satan and now the believer can walk according to the Spirit.
And to walk according to the Spirit is no small thing. It is not a throwaway religious phrase. Verses 5 through 11 talk about the implications of what it means to walk according to the Spirit versus the flesh. He begins with a logical progression of what this means and compares a life in the spirit with a life in the flesh.
If you are living by the flesh (your own way) your mind is being set on your own desires (v. 5). The mind is not taking delight in God’s awesome work through Jesus. The result of this mindset is death (v. 6). “For to set the mind on the flesh is death.” Lastly, to walk in your own ways apart from God is to be hostile to God (v. 7). The one who lives his own life for his own desires will never please God. Even the most charitable, selfless thing that person does will be seen as unpleasing to God because it is an act of his own pride. His heart is not submitted to God.
But those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on God’s awesome work through Jesus Christ. This is their delight and their identity (v. 5). The result of this mindset is life and peace(v. 6). “To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Lastly, verses 9 through 11 show what it means to live according to the Spirit. Our bodies are dead to sin and have the power of the Holy Spirit coursing through our soul because we are in right standing with God. Our identity is no longer in our flesh but in God’s finished work.