[Ro 8:5-15]:

(v. 5) "For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

(v. 6) For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

(v. 7) because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,

(v. 8) and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

"The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. (v. 8) Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God." =


a) [Compare Jn 12:37-40]:

(v. 37) '''Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.

(v. 38) This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

(v. 39) For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

(v. 40) "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them."

Man has the capacity to obey God but his sinful nature has turned his will totally against the exercise of that capacity, hence he cannot please God because he will not.

Just as some individuals with the capacity and intelligence to do well in school cannot do well because they will not, i.e., they have an incorrigible attitude problem - they will not do homework, nor study, nor carry books, nor appear studious in any way because it would jeopardize their self-image and association with a peer group or for a number of other arbitrarily rebellious reasons;

so all unsaved individuals all of which have the capacity to trust alone in Christ alone unto eternal life, (otherwise God would not ask them to trust in His Son, (Jn 3:5-18, etc.), cannot please God by trusting in Christ as Savior because they will not, i.e., because they all have totally depraved natures that simply will not accept anything that God commands them to do. They cannot believe in Christ as Savior because they will not even accept the sovereignty of God in their lives over their eternal destiny.

Or consider the wife who in spite of the evidence presented cannot believe her husband has been unfaithful because she just will not accept the truth.

Since finite man has the capacity but cannot believe certain things relative to his temporal life because of prejudices, so it is indeed possible - which you have not ruled out - that man has the capacity to hear God with understanding and believe in the gospel but cannot because of his prejudice against God, i.e., his depraved will. He cannot because he will not.

[BKC, op. cit., pp. 319-320]:

"12:37. John from the beginning of his Gospel (1:11) had sounded the theme of national unbelief. John now explained that in spite of all Jesus' miraculous signs (sEmeia), they still would not believe in Him. Their unbelief was irrational, as sin always is.

12:38. The Jews' national, irrational unbelief had been predicted by Isaiah the prophet. The clearest Old Testament passage concerning the suffering Servant (Isa 53:1-12) began by stating that Israel would not perceive God's revelation in and through the Servant. Who has believed our message and seen His arm...revealed? implies that only a few have believed (quoting Isa 53:1).

12:39-40. Then John again quoted from Isaiah (6:10) to explain that the nation as a whole was unable to believe. Because they constantly rejected God's revelation, He had punished them with judicial blindness and deadened... hearts. People in Jesus' day, like those in Isaiah's day, refused to believe. They 'would not believe' (John 12:37); therefore they could not believe (v. 39). Similar illustrations of God's punishing of persistent sin by hardening are common (Ex 9:12; Rom 1:24, 26, 28; 2 Thes 2:8-12).'''

[Ro 8:9-15]:

(v. 9) However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

(v. 10) If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

(v. 11) But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

(v. 12) So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--

(v. 13) for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

(v. 14) For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

(v. 15) For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!' "

Verses 9-13 answer questions about verse 14 as to whether only true Christians will verify their salvation as sons of God by godly behavior. Although the believer may re-enslave himself to his sin nature and the world and the devil, he is still and ultimately under the control of the Spirit no matter what he does, (v. 9). Like a human parent of a rebellious child, the Holy Spirit is still in charge of His child and will only let the child of God go so far and then consequences of an unfaithful lifestyle will be brought to bear from mild to heavy discipline up to sin unto death which is referred to in verse 13. Notice that verse 12 indeed offers a choice to the believer to live according to the Spirit or according to the sin nature. Then verse 13 indicates an early physical death, i.e., sin unto death, (Jas 5:5), as a consequence of living according to the sin nature or living out the full quota of your years physically if you live by the Spirit. And the impetus by which one is to be motivated to do the latter is the gratitude one has out of recognition that one is indeed the recipient of the grand grace of God which has made one a Son of God and is destined to heaven. Sad to say most Christians are largely ingrates and although led by the Spirit usually find themselves out of fellowship and under the Spirit's discipline. So verse 14 is not demanding that one has to lead a holy life in order to prove out one is truly a son of God, i.e., born again. Being led by the Holy Spirit does not infer that believers will always obey the leading of their Master any more than being walked by a human master infers that a dog will always obey the leading of their owner and not strain at the leash. Most of the time Christians are indeed on a long leash of disobedience - out of fellowship with God - about to be reined in with one kind of discipline or another. Yet all are sons of God being led by the Spirit. When they do behave this gives testimony to their familial relationship to God but when they do not, this does not infer that they are not saved.