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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, March 15, 2009

“The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).

Here the Bible gives a clear accusation against man in his natural state. The mind of the flesh is the mind you were born with. Every child is born with this mind. Matthew Henry said, that “this speaks of a devil of a man. [He] is not only an enemy, but enmity itself…the opposition of the soul against God; it rebels against his authority, [opposes] his interest, spits in his face. Can there be a greater enmity?” Can there be a greater rebellion against the God that made you? (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996 edition, volume 6, p. 335; note on Romans 8:7).

“The carnal mind is enmity against God…” (Romans 8:7).

The Greek word translated “enmity” is “echthra.” It means “hostility.” It is translated incorrectly in the NASV and NIV as “is hostile.” No, “echthra” is not “is hostile,” but rather, “hostility” or “enmity.” The mind of fallen man is not merely hostile to God; it is hostility itself! The carnal mind is hostility against God! Dr. Lenski said

…[echthra]…means personal animosity, hatred, dislike, and opposition against God (R. C. H. Lenski, D.D., The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, Augsburg Publishing House, 1961 edition, p. 506; comment on Romans 8:7).

How different this is from man as he was originally created! In the beginning,

“God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27).

In the beginning man lived in perfect harmony with God.

“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15).

But Adam sinned against God, and thus brought ruin and guilt to all his posterity – to the whole human race because we all descended from him, not from Darwin, though the shape of Darwin’s face reminds me of a great ape. Perhaps his ideas came from looking in a mirror too long. But the Word of God says that our sin-nature was inherited from Adam at the beginning of human history.

“By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12).

“By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners”
       (Romans 5:19).

That is, the whole human race became sinners by nature and guilt – in that one man, Adam – “by one man’s disobedience” all human beings “were made sinners.” By Adam’s sin, mankind fell, and

“The carnal mind [became] enmity against God…”
       (Romans 8:7).

Well did Matthew Henry describe fallen man as “a devil of a man” (ibid.). The word Satan is translated from the Greek word “Satanas,” which means “adversary,” antagonist, enemy. When Lucifer sinned, he fell and became Satan, the enemy of God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:13-17). When man fell, he also became “enmity against God.” Spurgeon pointed out that the Apostle Paul used a noun, not an adjective. Thus, he does not say that man’s mind is opposed to God, but is “enmity itself…not rebellious, it is rebellion…not at enmity, it is actual enmity” (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God,” The New Park Street Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1981 reprint, volume I, p. 150).

“The carnal mind is enmity against God…” (Romans 8:7).

This evening I will bring out three facts from this text.

I. First, the truthfulness of having a carnal mind that is against God.

If you are honest with yourself, you may one day see that this is true. I don’t see how anyone can be truly converted without first admitting that he is against the God revealed in the Scriptures. But by grace you may begin to see that your unconverted mind is against God. Why, your mind even rejects God in your every day experience. You can read through the Bible chapter by chapter, and yet get only the mere meaning of the words, and so your Bible reading is of no value to your soul. The great Christians of the past read the Bible and “ate” it, as the Hebrews ate the manna that fed them in the wilderness. In Ezekiel 3:2 the prophet said, “So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll [scroll of Scripture].” The Apostle John said, “I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up” (Revelation 10:10). Dr. McGee said, “Eating the little book means to receive the Word of God by faith” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1983, volume V, note on Revelation 10:10). The prophet Jeremiah did the same thing. He said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jeremiah 15:16). The prophets and the Apostle John ate the Word of God and it was sweet to them. They ate the Scriptures like the Hebrews ate manna in the wilderness.

What do I mean when I say they “ate” the Bible like manna, and were fed from it by God? What does that mean? It means that these holy men in Bible times were satisfied by eating the Word of God, satisfied like the Hebrews when they ate manna in the wilderness. They found, when they ate God’s Word, that it fed their very souls. They found God present with them, feeding them from His Word, as they read it, and devoured what they read.

But you, with your carnal, unconverted mind, never feel that God is feeding you when you read the Bible. Why? The answer is simple enough – there is a vail covering your heart. As the Apostle Paul said,

“When Moses is read, the vail is upon [covering] their heart”
       (II Corinthians 3:15).

That “vail” was placed there, to cover your heart, by Satan, to keep your carnal, unconverted mind from feeding on the Bible, and receiving spiritual benefit by reading it. In the very next chapter of Second Corinthians we read that the Bible does no good to unconverted souls, and we are given the reason for this –

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

You see, the Devil puts that vail over your heart, so you get no spiritual good from reading the Bible. This is vitally important. If you are not converted, isn’t it true that you read the Bible mechanically, like it was just a task that you feel you must do? Isn’t it true that God never speaks deeply to your heart when you do your Bible reading? Isn’t it true that you merely read it because you are supposed to? Isn’t it true that God isn’t with you, speaking to your heart, when you do your Bible readings at home? And isn’t this a rebuke to you? Doesn’t it ever bother you? And isn’t this a real proof that your

“carnal mind is enmity against God”? (Romans 8:7).

The same could be said of prayer. Do you ever come close to God in prayer? Does God ever come down into your room and fill your heart with joy unspeakable as you pray? And if this is true of you isn’t this a real proof that your

“carnal mind is enmity against God”? (Romans 8:7).

Doesn’t this show that you do not enjoy God, as real Christians do? Doesn’t it show you that you are wrong inside? Wouldn’t a real Christian, at least at times, enjoy the presence of God in prayer? Yet you never enjoy that kind of joyful, wonderful fellowship with God in prayer, do you? In fact, doesn’t personal Bible reading and prayer seem dry and boring to you? And what can be the cause of this, if not the fact that you really don’t want to be close to God at all, that you really have no taste for the Bible, and you really don’t like to pray? Don’t you think of Bible reading and prayer as hard work that you really dislike? And if this is true, isn’t this proof that your

“carnal mind is enmity against God”? (Romans 8:7).

And when you go to evangelism, doesn’t the same thing happen? One girl left her church some time ago because, she said, “Evangelism is a chore,” hard work in which she found no enjoyment. How different she was from the early Christians who went out evangelizing, even though they were severely persecuted,

“Rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41).

Do you go evangelizing “rejoicing,” as they did – or does it just seem like hard work that you have to do, but never feel any joy doing it? If that is true, isn’t it proof enough that your

“carnal mind is enmity against God”? (Romans 8:7).

And when you come to church on Sunday, are you eager to hear what God will say to you through the preaching of His Word? Or do you come and look down at the floor, or off into space, not relishing or enjoying the sermons at all – not getting any spiritual food and enjoyment from them? And if this is true of you, isn’t it a proof that your

“carnal mind is enmity against God”? (Romans 8:7).

And when we get together to eat and have fellowship before the service in the evening and after the service in the morning, are you eager to have fellowship with the Christians? Are you eager to speak with the lost who are visiting our church? Or is your mind on other things, so you can hardly wait to get out of church and do something that is more pleasing to your carnal mind? And if this is true of you, isn’t this another proof that your

“carnal mind is enmity against God”? (Romans 8:7).

And if you come to the inquiry room after the service, are you very eager and very interested to hear what our deacon Dr. Cagan and I have to say to you? Do you lean forward to listen intently to our instructions concerning your conversion? Or do you argue with us in your mind, or turn off your mind and not listen, or do you listen to the words we say and then quickly forget them? And are not all these things strong proof that your

“carnal mind is enmity against God”? (Romans 8:7).

Why, if your mind were not hostile against God you would eagerly devour the sermons, listening as though your life depended on it! If your mind were not hostile against God, you would lean forward and take very seriously what Dr. Cagan and I say to you as we counsel you in the inquiry room, wouldn’t you? – if your carnal mind were not “enmity against God.” Am I not right? In your own sluggish and lazy way, don’t these attitudes prove that your

“carnal mind is enmity against God”? (Romans 8:7).

II. Second, the enormous guilt of having a carnal mind that is against God.

“The carnal mind is enmity against God…” (Romans 8:7).

The very words of the text are a full picture of the enormous sin of having a mind that is against God, are they not? The Hebrew people “murmured” against Moses as they travelled from Egypt through the wilderness.

“And the people murmured against Moses” (Exodus 15:24).

They didn’t come right out and say that they were against Moses at first. They just murmured to themselves in disgust that Moses had led them out of Egypt. They were enormously sinful for doing this, because they were actually murmuring against God, who sent Moses to deliver them.

My friend, do you not have the same feelings they had? Don’t you murmur to yourself about the strictness of our church? And all the evangelism you feel you must do for the church – doesn’t it make you murmur against God and wish that you didn’t have to do all this work of evangelism? And doesn’t the very murmuring in your heart show you the enormous guilt you have stored up in God’s record, because your

“carnal mind is enmity against God”? (Romans 8:7).

Is not your enmity against God a horrible and enormous sin in His sight? Aren’t you guilty in the sight of God for having such a sinful heart? The Bible says,

“The Lord God…will by no means clear the guilty”
       (Exodus 34:6-7).

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

“Then shall he say…Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire” (Matthew 25:41).

Why will these judgments come to you? They will come to you because your

“carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).

III. Third, Christ alone can deliver you from a carnal mind that is against God.

Yes, Christ can save you from bondage to Satan and the carnality of your sinful mind. But, in doing so, the chains of sin that bind you and hold you down as a prisoner must be broken. Only God can do that.

The way God breaks the chains of sin in your carnal mind is by showing you how evil and wicked your rebellious heart really is in His sight. That is the work of God’s Spirit.

“When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin” (John 16:8).

That is, God’s Spirit will reprove you of the sinfulness of your heart. God will generally make you feel very sinful. He will make you feel that your heart and mind have been hostile and rebellious toward Him. He will make you see yourself in horror – as a very “devil of a man” – in the words of Matthew Henry.

Only when you see yourself as a little Satan, opposing God with your carnal mind, spitting in the face of Christ because your heart is as rebellious, as monstrously evil, as was the heart of the chief priest who spat in Jesus’ face, and said, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” Only when you feel that your heart is as wicked as his will you be convicted, break down, and feel what John Owen called “the horror of darkness,” and the wrath of God hanging over you. Only then will you agree in your heart that your

“carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).

Only then will you break down, often in tears, and say,

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24).

And only then will the call of Jesus feel like a great relief to your sin-enslaved mind, when He says to you,

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Only in feeling the horror of your inbred sin will you reach out for Jesus, come to Him, and be delivered from your carnal mind, and cleansed from your sin in God’s record by His precious Blood. Only then will you know what it means to be saved by Jesus,

“the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”
       (John 1:29).

Only then will you come to Jesus and be saved by His Blood and Righteousness.

Let us stand for prayer. Please pray that this sermon will awaken and convert some soul here tonight.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Romans 8:5-9.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“I Am Amazed” (by A. H. Ackley, 1887-1960).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).

(Genesis 1:27; 2:15; Romans 5:12, 19)

I. First, the truthfulness of having a carnal mind that is against God,
Ezekiel 3:2; Revelation 10:10; Jeremiah 15:16;
II Corinthians 3:15; 4:3-4.

II. Second, the enormous guilt of having a carnal mind that is against
God, Exodus 15:24; 34:6-7; Romans 6:23; Matthew 25:41.

III. Third, Christ alone can deliver you from a carnal mind that is
against God, John 16:8; Romans 7:24; Matthew 11:28;
John 1:29.