Because the carnal mind is enmity against God.–The word rendered carnal mind–or as it may be rendered, minding of the flesh, comprehends the acts both of the understanding and of the will. Some render it the prudence, or wisdom of the flesh–or the wise thoughts. The carnal mind in its wisest thoughts is rooted enmity against God. This is the reason why the carnal mind is punished with death. The mind of the flesh, or of man in his unconverted state, walking according to the flesh, in its best as well as in its worst character–however moral in conduct—whether seeking acceptance with God by its own services, or following altogether the course of this world in its sinful practices–is not merely an enemy, but enmity itself against God in the understanding, will, and affections. Every man whose heart is set on this world hates God, 1 John ii., 15. "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him," and the heart of every one who has not been renewed in his mind by the Spirit of God is set on this world. Such men hate the holiness of God, his justice, his sovereignty, and even his mercy in the way in which it is exercised. Men of this character, however, have no notion that they hate God. Nay, many of them profess to love him. But God’s testimony is, that they are his enemies; and his testimony is to be taken against the testimony of all men. This, however, does not suppose that men may not imagine that they love God. But it is not the true God whom they are regarding, but a God of their own imagination—a God all mercy, and therefore a God unjust; while they abhor the just God, and the Savior, who is the God of the Scriptures." He that comes to God must believe that he is."–Heb. xi., 6. He must believe that he is what he is.
For it is not subject to the law of God.–The carnal mind is not under subjection to the law of God. Whatever it may do to obtain salvation or avoid wrath, it does it not from subjection to the law. It has a rooted aversion to the spiritual law of God, and admits not its claim to perfect and unceasing obedience. All its performances in the way of religion spring from selfish motives, and a hope that, on account of these doings, it will be accepted; whereas the holy law of God utterly rejects all such service. So far from giving the law all its demands, the carnal mind gives it nothing. Nothing which it does constitutes obedience to the law. The law does not in any degree, or in any instance, recognize the works of the carnal mind as obedience to its requirements.
Neither indeed can be.–Not only is it a matter of fact, that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, but such subjection is impossible. Sin cannot be in subjection to the law. This would be a contradiction in terms. For, so far as it would be subject to the law of God, it would be holy. If, then, sin is essentially, and in direct terms, contrary to holiness, the sinful nature can never yield subjection to the holy law. Men may speculate about metaphysical possibilities; but whatever explanation may be given of the matter, the decision of the inspired Apostle determines that the thing is impossible.
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