Friday, December 29, 2017

The Law and the Gospel

The following commentary was published a few years back for another subject.  However, I think it applies to this week's lesson.  Let us read.

The Law and the Gospel
 Memory Text: "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3, 4, NKJV).

This verse presents a dilemma because depending on how you read it the emphasis could be on knowing Christ- (which would make keeping the law a fruit of knowing Him) or on obeying the law (which would make knowing Him a consequence of keeping the law).  Which one is it?

We could try looking at the verse closer and see where it leads us.  Let us start within the expression, "that we know Him."  In John 17:3, Christ stated that knowing Him (and His Father) is eternal life.  In John 6, Christ says that eating His flesh and drinking His blood gives life.  When we eat and drink we assimilate the food and drink - it becomes part of us.  So, although we do not think about it in this manner, there is an intimate relation between food and us.  What we eat and how we eat will eventually be revealed: this is akin to knowing someone, the more time you spend with them, the more the two assimilate each other.  In time it will be evident that the two spend a lot of time together.  To those around Peter, it became apparent that Peter was with Jesus; Peter now spoke like a Galilean (Matthew 26:73).  Peter in many ways acted like Jesus.  So, Peter's speech was evidence that he was with Jesus.  Peter did not go around speaking like Jesus to prove that he was one of them.  It just came out.  When the disciples preached many said that it was evident that they had been with Jesus.  There was a transformation.

The next expression is "Keeping the commandments."  Who are these that keep them? Paul identifies the just as those who keep the commandments (Romans 2: 13).  The words just and righteous are the same word in Greek.  Abraham was just.  How was Abraham just?  He believed God's words, and Abraham's belief was counted to him for righteousness (Romans 4:3).  Now, if Abraham's faith made him just, and the just keep the commandments, it follows that only those who hear God's words and believe them (since faith comes through Hearing and hearing through the word) keep the commandments (Romans 10:17).  The best way to know someone is to hear what they say and seek to understand them.

What are the commandments?  We could argue that they are the Ten Commandments.  We typically also call it the Law.  The Ten Commandments speak of things we would do for others, not ourselves.  Not one of the commandments says anything about how you are to treat yourself, but how you are to treat God and others.  Christ stated in Matthew 22: 37 - 40,
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

This is a summary of the commandments.  It says in essence, put God and others first.  This is what Jesus did; he put His Father and others first; so much that He went to die on the cross so others may live.  That is why the Father sent Him (Romans 5:8).  So, John puts it this way,

1Jo 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
In the Gospel according to John 15: 10 – 17, Jesus is quoted saying that this is the commandment He gives to us,
Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love…
Joh 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Joh 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Joh 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

And we see in this passage how laying down your life is related to abiding in Christ's love.  So, is love related to the commandments?  Paul gives the answer,

Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

How do we relate faith to all of these?  Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4).  Anything outside of faith is Sin (Romans 14:23).   So, anything outside of faith transgresses the Law.  We have concluded that the law, in essence, says to love God and others above yourself,  So, not loving God and others above yourself or loving yourself above others – is transgressing the law, and it is not of faith. Therefore it is a Sin.  So, if love fulfills the law and does not transgress the law, love is not Sin.   Thus love is of faith; this means that since loving God and others above yourself is laying down your life; then it follows that only those who lay down their life for others, as Christ laid His life down for us, are just or righteous; they keep the law.  So, how do we know you know Christ?  Because you willingly lay down your life for others as He laid His down for you.

So, the question remains, why was the law given?    Romans says it was given to make sin, sinful; so that Sin may abound (Romans 5: 20).   Galatians says that it was given because of transgression (Galatians 3:19).  What to transgression is it referring?  Based on this verse in Galatians and what Paul says in Hebrews, the transgression was the unbelief of the Israelites in the wilderness (Hebrews 3).  What Paul is saying is that the law was written on tablets because the Israelites refused to let God write the law in their hearts.  So, the inscribed tablets would be a reminder of what of what is righteousness and in contrast to the Israelites what is Sin.  Paul says in 1 Tim 1: 8,

1Ti 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
1Ti 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
1Ti 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
1Ti 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

So, for who is the written law, moral law, 10 Commandments? It is for the wicked, the sinner, the trespasser.  Why?  For who is the MRI? Is it not for those who are sick? Why? It is to diagnose; for what purpose? To condemn so, we can punish? No.  It is to convict so the person will go to the doctor for healing.

The commandments were given to expose sin and lead us to a Savior, to convince us of how terrible our condition is, and how we can do nothing to fix it ourselves, so we will stop trying and surrender to the One who has the remedy!  They were given to make Sin unattractive and grace attractive.  Had man been obedient there would have been no need for the law to be given.  Ellen White says,

If man had kept the law of God, as given to Adam after his fall, preserved by Noah, and observed by Abraham, there would have been no necessity for the ordinance of circumcision. And if the descendants of Abraham had kept the covenant, of which circumcision was a sign, they would never have been seduced into idolatry, nor would it have been necessary for them to suffer a life of bondage in Egypt; they would have kept God's law in mind, and there would have been no necessity for it to be proclaimed from Sinai or engraved upon the tables of stone. And had the people practiced the principles of the Ten Commandments, there would have been no need of the additional directions given to Moses. {PP 364.2}

Thus, the Gospel can be defined as the good news that through Jesus the law can be written in our heart and mind if only we allow the indwelling Spirit of God to do it.  This is God's desire.  Nothing will please Him more.  Will we let Him?

Raul Diaz

Friday, December 22, 2017

Living on the Altar

Living on the Altar

In Romans 12:1, Paul invites us to become living sacrifices.  Let us read the text, 

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Most animal sacrifices take place on an altar, and are too dreadful to consider even occasionally, let alone on a daily basis.  However, as gruesome as an animal sacrifice may seem, we modern readers need to become familiar with the Old Testament sacrificial system, as it accurately symbolizes various aspects of Christ's death on our behalf. The Greek word for 'sacrifice' or 'victim' is thusia: which is the noun form.  The verb form is thuo, which means to kill by fire or immolate, slay or slaughter. In addition, the word for 'living' in Greek is zao, it is the root word for zoe, the word used for eternal life. However, Paul uses another word for life in relation to Sin which is bios.  To become a living sacrifice as Paul suggests, these opposing ideas must be reconciled in our minds. A cursory reading of Romans 12:1, 2 can elicit the question, how can we live eternally while at the same time die daily? God's principle of living as a sacrifice, is stated in Galatians, and says, "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20).

Let us consider what this would mean if someone were the literal sacrifice. Once on the altar, we'd hope they would stay there until self was consumed. But unfortunately, we have all seen self rise in those who we thought were beyond that level of selfishness, such as when Moses struck the rock twice, or when King David took Bathsheba or how about when Martha had anxious care and reported her sister Mary to Jesus. Since we are to die to self daily, when we resist, others are negatively impacted, as is obvious from our previous examples. This reminds me of the warning Jesus gave regarding the choice to be sacrificed, "If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire" (Matt. 18:8, NKJV). In other words, if self rises through the members of your body cut them off and discard them. Jesus was not, of course, recommending amputation, but was using imagery to emphasize the importance of separation from sin.  

Instead of self-amputation, what the Lord requires of us is willingness to allow Him to remove objectionable selfish traits of character, much as a surgeon would -- with skill and precision, remove a diseased organ. Paul calls this our reasonable service. 

It is through this continual process of sacrifice that our minds are renewed, our characters transformed and we have the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2, Eph 4:23, Phil 2:5:1:6, 1 Cor. 2:16). This renewal gives evidence of the goodness, perfection, and Love of God, revealing His acceptable will. All those who have gone before us have endured this process: the patriarchs, the prophets, Christ's true followers, and even Christ Himself (Hebrews 11). All have been living sacrifices. Of Christ it is said," For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18).
In other words, the very process Christ allows us to be put through, He endured and is, therefore, our empathetic helper and comforter, empowering us to persevere as we die daily. Paul states in Hebrew 4:15, "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

The suffering Christ, who prevailed by faith, trusting to His Father's goodness-- gained the victory on our behalf. We who are actively watching His experience through the scripture may receive the same victories and may have heart transformation as did those who have gone before us. Like Isaac, we too can be willing to be placed on the altar. Ellen White sums this up well. Let us read,

"Greater is He that is in the heart of the faithful, than he that controls the hearts of unbelievers. Complain not bitterly of the trial which comes upon you, but let your eyes be directed to Christ, who has clothed His divinity with humanity, in order that we may understand how great His interest in us is, since He has identified Himself with suffering humanity. He tasted the cup of human sorrow, He was afflicted in all our afflictions, He was made perfect through suffering, tempted in all points like as humanity is tempted, in order that He might succor those who are in temptation" (YRP 131).

The Lord is wooing, and convincing us to allow Him to change us and thus our ways from the inside out. Unfortunately, not all answer the call. And out of those who do, many, once on the altar grow weary and discouraged by the length of the process. Gradually they free themselves from that which they consider as unnecessary suffering. But, it is not really the suffering that makes them leave: it is instead their distrust of Christ and unwillingness to be led by the Holy Spirit; it is unbelief. They are convinced of their need, but are unconverted. In the history of the Israelites, it can be seen that those who left the altar, left because they did not believe (Hebrews 3:19). They did not receive the Truth in the love of it, by faith. Instead they had a selfish kind of love -- pretending not to see the truth. In contrast, the Gentiles, who heard the word in faith, were gladly sacrificed on the altar and remained there until the work was complete. Paul warns us to be careful less we remove ourselves from the altar as did the Jews. Let us read the warning in Hebrews 3:12,
"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."

The question to us is, will we trust Jesus enough to remain on the altar? When the sacrifice of an animal took place, it was bound so that it would not flee. It had no choice in the matter. Contrast this with the willingness of our forefather Isaac, who allowed himself to be bound to the altar, and of Jesus Himself who was nailed to His cross. In light of this, will we allow the Lord to will in us to will and to do of His good pleasure?

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Restored Tools

The Restored Tools

The following story is found in the teacher's comments for this week lesson,

 One night, while the carpenter was away, the toolbox opened, and the tools began to discuss their existence and purpose. The screwdriver lamented that she quietly was used and seldom noticed. The saw also was disenchanted with his purpose, noting that other saws had gone on to become musical instruments and did not have to put up with the sawdust. The wrench complained that he outshined many hood ornaments and felt denigrated when used to work with nuts. The hammer boasted that she had the highest pedigree, being crafted of the finest hickory and stainless steel. Why was she subjected to constant contact with the common iron found in nails? Other tools spoke about their superiority or how the carpenter favored them. None, however, wanted to be used for the purpose for which they had been created. Eventually, many tools plotted their escape. In the morning the carpenter noticed that many of his tools were missing. Of course, this slowed his work. Months passed. Gradually, the carpenter found his tools. The hammer was rusty. The saw was dull, and the screwdriver was bent. The wrench never was located. Meanwhile, the carpenter had replaced some of the missing tools but was unwilling to throw the rusty, bent, dull ones away. He painstakingly restored them. One night the tools were overheard. There was sadness over the wrench, who never had come back, but more rejoicing over the carpenter who had restored the others to usefulness.

The story is used as a parable.   Each tool represents how we feel about our lives.  According to the story, most of us fall in one of the following categories: underused, overused or misused.   Like the tools we blame whoever represents the carpenter – boss, parents, teachers, coach, etc.   The Jews were no exception. 

Like the tools, in the story, the Jews somehow believed that they were underused, overused or misused.   They thought that God did not certainly mean for them to deal with Gentiles; indeed God chose them because of their superiority.  So they set out to prove, on their own, how superior they were to others.   Paul says of them in Romans 10:2-3,

Romans 10: 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
Romans 10:3  For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Like the tools that ran away and found that they could not live successfully on their own, the Jews found that it was impossible to be righteous.  Even so, they deceived themselves by establishing their own standards and rules to enforce those standards.  Even then they found that it was impossible for them.  So, they created loopholes in their laws so they could bend them while still keeping them.  Christ was very stern with them.  He said they were like whitewashed tombs (Luke 11:44).  They looked beautiful on the outside but only dead inside.  Christ also compared them to barren fig trees (Matthew 21:19; Mark 11: 13; Luke 13: 16 – 19).  They were looking as if they should have fruit even outside of the harvest season, but not once bearing any fruit.  No wonder Christ told the disciples that their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees (Matthew 5: 20). 

In Romans 9: Paul contrasted the Jews with the Gentiles who had accepted the knowledge of the Gospel (which the Jews rejected).  He says,

Romans 9: 30  What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
Romans 9: 31  But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Romans 9: 32  Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

Presented with the Gospel, many Gentiles realized that they were rusted, bent, and dull - something many Jews would not admit to themselves.  Those who accepted the Gospel God brought to His "tool shed" where He restored all who accepted the Gospel to their true purpose and proper usefulness.  They rejoiced in heartfelt appreciation over "The Carpenter" who rescued them and now cared for them.  Slowly "The Carpenter" got rid of the rust on the hammer, sharpened the saw, and straightened the screwdriver.  It may have felt painful, but in the end, the "tools" were grateful.  Would you be grateful to you "master carpenter" that he chose you to do his great work?  What will it take for you to know your Master Carpenter's good and loving character and His caring nature?  Again I ask the question: which tool are you?  I just pray we are not like the wrench.

Friday, December 8, 2017

God's Prerogative

God's Prerogative

In the late 1980's a young singer released a song called "My Prerogative."   Some the lyrics of the song, I believe summarized, the attitude of most in the world when it comes to how they make decisions about how they live their life.  Following are the lyrics I am referring to,

Everybody's talking all this stuff about me 
Now now why don't they just let me live 
Oh oh oh i don't need permission 
Make my own decisions oh 
That's my prerogative

It says, "How I choose to live my life is my decision.  I can do what I want to do, without having to answer to no one.  People should mind their own business."  That is what the word prerogative has come to mean.  The dictionary defines prerogative defined as a right or privilege exclusive to a particular individual or class; an exclusive or special right, power, or privilege.  Also, one belonging to an office or an official body, one belonging to a person, group, or class of individuals or one possessed by a nation as an attribute of sovereignty.  The word comes from the Latin praerogativa, which in turn comes from the word praerogare which meant to ask for an opinion before another or "to ask before others," (from præ-  "before" + rogare  "to ask").  So the word prerogative, used as a noun, originally referred to the one who was asked first.  It seemed that the ones asked first got used to it, felt important, and thought that this is the way it should always be.   You can see how if everyone is asking you for your opinion first, you can begin to feel as if you do not have to ask others for their opinion.  Therefore, they can do whatever they want without any repercussion.   However, they tend to do so irresponsibly, arbitrary and whimsically. 

In chapter 9 of Romans we see God stating that He acts according to His prerogative.  Let us read certain texts where God speaks of this,

Rom9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Rom9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Rom9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
God not only tells us that He acts according to His prerogative but in the following verses asks those who dare to question Him,

Rom9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
Rom9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Is it that God does not like questions?  Or, is it that God does not like to be questioned?  Is there a difference?  God wants to be trusted as the true and only "praerogativa."  He wants us to go to Him first.  The issue is not asking questions, but not trusting Him.  The issue is not so much that God does not like to be questioned as much as that when we do not trust Him we harm ourselves and others more than what we think.  As it says in our teacher's comments for this lesson, "When humans try to frustrate God's purposes, God never loses; only disobedient humans lose out. Therefore, when He chose to save our world, the outcome was never in doubt. Those who try to frustrate that pur­pose are the only losers."  Ellen White elaborates on this,

"No finite mind can fully comprehend the character or the works of the Infinite One. We cannot by searching find out God. To minds the strongest and most highly cultured, as well as to the weakest and most ignorant, that holy Being must remain clothed in mystery. But though 'clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judg­ment are the foundation of His throne.' Psalm 97:2, R.V. We can so far comprehend His dealing with us as to discern boundless mercy united to infinite power. We can understand as much of His purposes as we are capable of comprehending; beyond this we may still trust the hand that is omnipotent, the heart that is full of love."—Ellen G. White, Education, p. 169.

Paul echoes Ellen White's sentiments in Romans chapter 8, after telling us that we are in Christ in verse 17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…"  He then proceeds to tell us that, "if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8: 17 – 18).  Paul encourages us to trust God's purpose even if we do not understand it.  Paul reminds us that nothing will separate us from the Love of God.  We read in Romans 8:
Rom8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Rom8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Rom8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Rom8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In Christ God cast the first vote for us.  Let us cast our first vote for Christ.  Let us trust Him to finish His work until the end.

Friday, December 1, 2017

What's filling you?

What's filling you?

How is your freedom related to whom fills you?  To answer that question the teacher's comments on this week's lesson recommended reviewing the following story from last quarter's teacher's comments: 

Wind: Wake up, puppet head. You look like a pile of rags.
Puppet: I am a pile of rags, and I can't get up. The only way I can stand up is if someone wears me on his or her hand. Otherwise, I'm just what you see right now—a flop.
Wind: So?
Puppet: Well, I really don't want that grubby brat's hand to wear me again. I feel violated. He's always dirty and germy—never washes his hands. I'm already so filthy inside that I can't stand it.
Wind: Can't stand up either?
Puppet: It's horrible, and you don't have to rub it in. No, I can't stand it, and I can't stand. The only way I ever get up is when he's in control. Some choice: Whenever I get up and get noticed, it means he's in charge of my every move. It's nice hearing kids laugh, but deep inside I know I'm just getting dirty. Otherwise, I live like this, a total flop.
Wind: You don't have to.
Puppet: Oh, I used to think so. I used to think there was a way out. I saw another puppet, and he was free as a bird. He didn't need the help of a hand to stand up, and he moved through the air with the greatest of ease. He looked He looked so happy and free.
Wind: And?
Puppet: It was all an illusion. When I got closer I could see it. There was no grubby hand helping him stand, but he was all tied up. There were strings attached everywhere—mouth, hands, feet. I had such high hopes. I just crumbled back to the ground—shattered. There was no freedom after all.
Wind: But there is!
Puppet: Lies!
Wind: No, I mean it. My family business is setting puppets free to soar.
Puppet: (skeptically) Really? I can't even see you.
Wind: A little faith, how about it? What do you expect from the wind?
Puppet: Make your pitch.
Wind: A family member paid the price for all puppets to live . . . even while you were still flops. Now you can go anywhere you want.
Puppet: And how much does this cost?
Wind: Oh, it cost a ton! More than you could ever afford . . .
Puppet: Figures!
Wind: . . . but it's free to you. A grant from the family foundation took care of it.
Puppet: No! Really?
Wind: Really. And all you have to do is let me live inside you, and I'll clean out all of Grubby's dirty germs. . . . Don't worry, we only use nonchlorine bleach, since it's gentler.
Puppet: Really? Oh, I'll try anything. Do it! . . . Now! . . . Oh . . . I don't believe it . . . I didn't mean that—I really do . . . I'm filling up . . . I'm soaring . . . I'm free!

The puppet never had control, really.  But, he did not like dirty hands controlling him.  He also did not want strings attached to him.  To be free from the grubby hands and be cleansed from the dirt the hands left inside he had to let the wind fill him up and let the wind help him fly; this meant that the puppet yielded its will to the wind.  The wind was in control now.  Thus the puppet served the wind. 

Clearly, the Puppet represents us.  The puppet handlers could be said to be either Sin or the Devil.  Thus, The Wind represents the Holy Spirit (John 3: 5 - 8).  The Family is the Godhead. The other family member is Christ.  The money of the family foundation is the blood of Jesus.  

Before the Holy Spirit comes along we are just as the puppet, controlled (enslaved) by Sin.  As the puppet, we can neither cleanse ourselves nor free ourselves from Sin.  Our lesson asks, what frees a person from slavery to sin? Then asks us to read, Romans 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."

The expression "The law of the Spirit of life" in this verse means Christ's plan for saving humanity.   This law stands in contrast with "the law of sin and death," which Paul described in chapter 7 as the law by which sin ruled, the end of which was death. Christ's law instead brings life and freedom. So what does Christ's fill us with so that this "law of the Spirit of Life" become effective in us?   It is evident that it is the Holy Spirit.  This is whom Christ sent to us to give a testimony of Him and convict us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 15:26; 16:8).  It is this Spirit, our Comforter, who dwells in us to cleanse us from Sin and free us from the serving the Law of Sin and death.  

Paul elaborates on this concept in Romans 8,

Romans 8: 4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8: 5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Romans 8: 6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 
Romans 8: 7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Romans 8: 8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8: 9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Romans 8: 10  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Notice that in verses 9 and 10 Paul makes the indwelling of Christ and the Indwelling of the Spirit the same thing.  So, to be free from the slavery of Sin we must be filled with whom can free us from Sin, The Holy Spirit.  However, just as the puppet had to let the wind fill it, we must allow the Holy Spirit fill us.  Are you allowing Him?  Is He filling you?