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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, July 21, 2013

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8).

The Apostle Paul said, “to be carnally minded is death.” This describes the condition of those who are lost. The “death” he speaks of is spiritual death. He spoke of this twice in the second chapter of Ephesians. He said they had been “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). He said they had been “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5). The Scofield note on Ephesians 2:5 says, “Spiritual death is the state of the natural or unregenerated man as still in his sins, alienated from the life of God, and destitute of the Spirit” (The Scofield Study Bible, 1917 edition; note on Ephesians 2:5).

The Apostle contrasted the word “death” with the words “life and peace.” To be unconverted is to be spiritually “dead.” To be converted is to have “life and peace.” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones pointed out that “peace” is a key word in Romans chapter 8. Those who are lost do not have peace. And by that Paul means “peace with God” –

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1).

Why don’t non-Christian people have peace with God? The reason is given in verse 7 of our text. They have no peace with God,

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

The Geneva Bible of 1599 translates “carnal” as “flesh.” And its note on this verse says “by flesh he meaneth a man not regenerated.” The unsaved, unregenerated person “is enmity against God.”

If taken seriously, the verse gives us a terribly negative view of the human race in its unconverted state of sin.

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

Although very negative, this is a true description of mankind. Let us think of two points that come out of our text.

I. First, the text is an absolutely true description of the human race.

I was swimming at my gym last Sunday. I met a lady there whom I had not seen for several months. She is a very nice person with a pleasant personality. I was glad to see her again after many months. Of course she knows that I am a pastor. As always I tried to keep our conversation positive and non-confrontational. I don’t remember why, but we hadn’t talked for more than three or four minutes before she said she couldn’t believe in a God that allowed so much suffering in the world. Since there is so much suffering, she said she didn’t believe in God, and it was His fault. She would have believed Him if He had done things the way she thought they should be done! Well, of course, I defended God. I said it was man, not God who had brought so much suffering through his rebellion against God. But her eyes glazed over, and she wasn’t listening. I changed the subject and we had a pleasant conversation after that.

What that lady said was a perfect example of the way lost people think. “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” They don’t like the way God does things. They are annoyed with God. When they think about God, they are upset with him for one reason or another. “The priest molested me.” That’s a big one for Catholics. “If there was a God, He wouldn’t allow that,” they say. I answer, “Yes, but God had nothing to do with that. It was man in sin that did that!” Their eyes glaze over. They won’t hear you. They go right on blaming God.

“I saw hypocrites in the church.” That’s a big one for Baptists and Pentecostals. I answer, “Yes, but God didn’t cause that. Sinful man caused that. It wasn’t God that made them hypocrites. They made themselves hypocrites.” Again, their eyes glaze over and they look away from me. And so it goes with every single unconverted person I speak with. Each one thinks he is saying something profound and deep – as though no one else ever thought of it!!! Yet, their complaints are so common that they are virtually universal!!! Everyone who isn’t converted talks exactly like that about God. It’s like they all came out of the same cookie cutter! And their arguments are not only universal, but really quite childish. “I don’t like the way God does things – so I’ll punish Him by not believing in Him.” Nonsense! The only person they hurt is themselves. Pouting, like spoiled children, they pick up their toys and walk away when the game of life isn’t played exactly the way they insist on playing it!

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

Notice how man’s corrupted, carnal nature expresses itself in a church. Church splits are always caused by unconverted church members. I don’t think there are any exceptions – at least none I have ever heard of or known about. When things don’t go exactly the way they want them to go, they pick up their toys, say something in anger, and off they go! The tip-off comes when you try to reason with them, or show them Scripture. You say, “But God doesn’t want you to leave the church.” They can’t hear you. Their eyes glaze over, and they look away from you. I have never known a single person who could be reconciled after they decided to leave a church – not one! Why?

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

One of the girls who works as a teller at my bank told me she used to attend a little Southern Baptist church near my house. But she said her parents got mad and left – and she no longer felt comfortable there without them. I tried to reason with her, but her eyes glazed over, and she looked away. She thought her parents were right to split the church, even though they don’t go to any church now, she herself was blown away and no longer goes, and the church itself was so decimated that it barely exists – with only a handful of elderly ladies attending! When you try to reason with such people, and show them Scripture, they always react exactly the same way – like they came out of the same cookie cutter! Their eyes glaze over, and they turn away. Why?

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

Just one more proof! Talk with those who are not born again Christians. Give them solid evangelistic sermons. Give them powerful prayer meetings. Give them food, and fellowship, and great counselling – and what do nearly all of them do? They’ll find something to disagree with! They’ll find some excuse to be upset. It won’t be their fault! Oh, no, it could never be their fault! You can do everything humanly possible to keep them – and what will they do? Their eyes will glaze over, and they will turn away,

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

Yes, that text gives an absolutely true description of the human race in its unconverted state.

II. Second, the text shows the universality of this evil condition.

Nobody made that clearer than the Apostle John, who said,

“The whole world lieth in wickedness” (I John 5:19).

The whole world lies under the Adamic curse, and therefore,

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

H. G. Wells was an atheist who strongly promoted Darwinism. You can see it in all of the science fiction movies based on his novels, like “The War of the Worlds,” “The Time Machine,” “The Lost World,” and especially “The Island of Lost Souls.” I didn’t take time to read it, but I have seen the 1932 movie version twice. “The Island of Lost Souls” has been made into a movie three times, but the 1932 version is the only one worth watching. Movie critic Leonard Maltin gave it three and a half stars out of a possible four. It is the story of a mad scientist, played by Charles Laughton, isolated on a remote island, where he transforms jungle beasts into half-human freaks called “humanimals.” One of these creatures is played by Bela Lugosi, who played Dracula in the original movie version. Lugosi’s half-human, half-dog character attacks Laughton at the end, saying, “Are we not men?” As always, H. G. Wells’ story is replete with many references to Darwinism. If you watch a video of this movie be sure that little children do not see it. It was filmed in 1932, before the Hays Code went into effect. It is quite horrifying in several places, particularly in the final scene. “The Island of Lost Souls.” 

Shortly before he died, C. S. Lewis told a friend that he had come to believe that evolution is “the central lie of our time.” And he was right. Darwin’s theory was really only science fiction. Most people don’t realize that Darwin himself did not hold even a bachelor’s degree in science. His only degree was in Unitarian theology. His books actually read like Victorian science fiction, like Jules Verne’s stories. Yet his “theory of evolution” spawned many of the ills of the modern world, including Hitler’s Fascism, Communism, and the Abortion Holocaust. H. G. Wells was one of Darwin’s disciples.

Yet “The Island of Lost Souls” strangely describes the world we live in tonight! The human race is living on an “Island of Lost Souls.” But we didn’t get that way by evolution! There’s an old poem about two monkeys talking in a tree. One of them says,

“Yes, man descended, the ornery cuss,
    but brother, he didn’t descend from us!”

Men actually became “lost souls” when Adam rebelled against God in the Garden, at the beginning of time. And the rebellion of our first parent passed down to all his descendants. The Bible says, “By one man sin entered into the world” (Romans 5:12). And again, “by one man's disobedience many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19). Every human being is now born with a nature defiled by “original sin.” The 1599 A.D. Geneva Bible says, “By sin is meant that disease which is ours by inheritance, and men commonly call it original sin” (note on Romans 5:12).

I know that “modern” men hate the doctrine of “original sin.” But their very hatred of it only confirms the fact that it is true! I don’t suppose any doctrine in the Bible (besides Hell) is more hated than original sin, and its corollary, total depravity. And yet, as C. S. Lewis pointed out, no doctrine in the Bible is more easy to prove by observing mankind.

For instance, do you have to teach a child to be bad? Of course not! They are bad by nature. The Bible says that man is “a transgressor from the womb” (Isaiah 48:8).

Author William Golding depicted the total depravity of mankind in his celebrated novel, “Lord of the Flies.” It is the story of a group of English choir boys stranded on an island. At first they were very refined, and acted like little gentlemen. But in a short time they descended into madness and savagery. No one had to teach them to be savages. It came naturally, out of their depraved natures – out of the original sin they inherited from our first parent, Adam. By the way, the “Lord of the Flies” is the name the Bible gives to Satan, in the form of Beelzebub. The little English choir boys, when taken out of the restraints of civilization, quickly descended into savages under the dominion of Satan, the Lord of the Flies.

Anyone who knows children, and watches them in church, sees this phenomenon time and again. The children come in dressed nicely in their church clothes, with Bibles in their hands. But as soon as no adult is looking they do something rebellious – like telling a lie, or stealing something, or – well, you know what kids do! They don’t have to be taught to be bad and rebel. They do it by nature. Did you know that there was a hip hop group called “Naughty By Nature”? What a name! It is really a description of the human race – naughty by nature!

When little kids in the church see the pastor or a deacon, they often flinch, like they were caught! They react like that even when they aren’t doing anything bad at that moment! They shrink back with a startled look on their face – just the way their forefather Adam must have looked when God caught him in his sin, in the Garden.

The “nice” teenagers in my Sunday School class in the 1950s would smile and look sweet when an adult was present. But as soon as the adult was gone they would start telling dirty jokes. That really confused me at first, but then I realized (even before I was converted) that they were phonies, not real Christians at all. It takes the grace of God to see that. Most people never see it that way. So they go away saying that that the church is full of hypocrites. I hear that all the time, “I left because the church was full of hypocrites.” But that’s untrue! It really means that there are people in the church that aren’t Christians, people who have never been converted. I have come to believe that “hypocrite” is not quite the right word to describe most of them. They are just lost people. They are people who attend the church but have never been converted. And such people are “naughty by nature.” They can’t be anything else! They are trapped in sin! They can’t escape from it! Like the “humanimals” on “the Island of Lost Souls,” they can’t overcome their sinful, carnal natures! The “humanimal,” played by Bela Lugosi, said, “Are we not men?” They were so degenerated that they were more like animals than humans! What a picture of many decadent people in our world tonight! And, to a lesser degree, what a picture of unconverted people in our churches. I have sometimes seen such people really act more like animals than human beings!

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was a Lutheran minister who was tortured for Christ for fourteen years by the Communists in Romania. When he spoke before a committee in the United States Senate, Pastor Wurmbrand told the Senators,

Christians [were] tied to crosses for four days and nights. The crosses were placed on the floor and hundreds of prisoners had to fulfill their bodily necessities over the bodies of the crucified ones. Then the crosses were erected again and the Communists jeered and mocked, “Look at your Christ! How beautiful he is! What a fragrance he brings from heaven!” I described how, after being driven nearly insane with tortures, a priest was forced to consecrate human excrement and urine and give Holy Communion to Christians in this form. This happened in the Romanian prison of Pitesti. I asked the priest afterward why he did not prefer to die rather than participate in this mockery. He answered, “Don’t judge me, please! I have suffered more than Christ.” All the biblical descriptions of hell and the pains of Dante’s Inferno are nothing in comparison with the tortures in Communist prisons (Richard Wurmbrand, Th.D,. Tortured for Christ, Living Sacrifice Book Company, 1998 edition, pp. 36, 37).

This pictures the horrors that can occur because man has been poisoned by sin!

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).

Dr. Lloyd-Jones gave this insightful explanation of our text. Listen carefully – because it describes you, if you are unconverted.

The unbeliever is not only spiritually dead, but at the same time he is at “enmity against God,” his whole understanding of God is quite wrong. He regards God as an enemy; God is someone whom he [dislikes]. He may say he believes in God, but...he feels that God is against him, he wishes there were not a God. Obviously such a man cannot possibly please God, neither can the righteousness of the law of God be fulfilled in him. A second truth about the unbeliever is that he is not subject to the law of God; he hates the law of God. The world demonstrates that today. It hates even the very notion of law; it hates discipline, and what it describes as freedom is nothing but [lawlessness]. Man by nature, and in sin, wants to be a law unto himself, he wants to do what he likes to do, what pleases him...And he objects to every suggestion of law and discipline... The unbeliever is not subject to the law of God. Indeed...he is not even capable of being subject to it – “neither indeed can be.” Because he is what he is, because of the evil that is in him, because of the perversion, the power of sin in him, he cannot even desire to be subject to the law of God (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Romans: An Exposition of Chapter 8:5-17, the Banner of Truth Trust, 2002 reprint, p. 43).

And then, commenting on the same passage in Romans 8, Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “Before we become Christians we are fighting against the law of God; the moment we become Christians that fight ends, and there is peace” (ibid., p. 45).

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).

If you are unconverted, doesn’t this describe you, at least in some sense? Isn’t it true that you don’t really love singing hymns? Isn’t it true that you don’t really like sitting in the Saturday night prayer meeting, listening to Christian men pray? Isn’t it true that you really don’t like going to win souls? Isn’t it true that you would rather be somewhere else on Sunday – at least some of the time? Isn’t it true that you often think the church is too strict? Isn’t it true that you like to think about things you know are wrong – but you really hate to pray when you are alone? And don’t all of those things show you that you are a lost sinner, with a carnal, lost mind?

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).

Now, if any of that describes you, what can you do about it? There are really only two things you can do. It boils down to these two options.

1.  You can force yourself to keep coming to church for a while, and then leave. We have people leave from time to time for that very reason. They didn’t want to hear what God demanded of them, and they didn’t want to be under such strict rules in the church. So they left the church. This relieves them for a while. But “the way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21). In the end their hearts are restless and unsatisfied. As St. Augustine said to God, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.”

2.  You can pray for God to change your heart, and renew your mind. Only Christ can do that in you and for you! Only Christ can give you peace with God, and peace of soul. “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Only God can do that in you. Only God can bring you under conviction of sin, and draw you to Christ for cleansing in His precious Blood! Cry out to Him, for only He can save you. Only Christ can take away your carnal mind and give you a new heart to love God – instead of the rebellious heart you now have! “Why,” you say, “that would take a miracle!” You are right! It would take a miracle!

But when he saved my soul,
   Cleansed and made me whole,
It took a miracle of love and grace!
   (“It Took a Miracle” by John W. Peterson, 1921-2006).

Anne Steele (1760), a hymn writer of the First Great Awakening, said,

Oh change these wretched hearts of ours,
   And give them life divine!
Then shall our passions and our powers,
   Almighty God, be Thine.
(“How Helpless Guilty Nature Lies” by Anne Steele, 1717-1778;
      to the tune of “O Set Ye Open Unto Me”).

If you would like to speak with us about the new birth, and becoming a real Christian, please leave your seat and walk to the back of the auditorium now. Dr. Cagan will take you to a quiet room where we can talk and pray. Dr. Chan, please pray for those who responded. Amen.

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

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write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Romans 8:1-8.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“It Took a Miracle” (by John W. Peterson, 1921-2006).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8).

(Ephesians 2:1, 5; Romans 5:1)

I.   First, the text is an absolutely true description of the human race,
Romans 8:7


II.  Second, the text shows the universality of this evil condition,
I John 5:19; Romans 5:12, 19; Isaiah 48:8; Proverbs 13:15;
Isaiah 57:21; John 3:7.