What is Paul suggesting here? That the mind that is not renewed by the Spirit of God cannot possibly obey God’s law? So does that mean we are not breaking the law of God and therefore sinless before God?Absolutely, not!
The mind of man is broken. It is cracked. It does not think as well as it can.
At one time, the mind of man could think to its potential. However, when sin entered into the cosmos, everything shifted from eternal life to destiny of death. We know this because all of nature corrodes and dies. We know this because we drop a glass on a harden floor and it shatters into a thousand pieces. We know this because our bodies get older and weaker if we are so fortunate. For some, we are wrecked with sickness and disease. For some, we do not make it out of the mother’s womb alive.
If that is the case for all of nature and mankind, why it would not be so for our minds? Why wouldn’t our minds be just as broken?
Have we sat and thought about our thinking? Do we know how we know things? How do we know things?
For those who know God, how do you know God?
Is it through some sort of intelligence quotient? If so, what is the minimum IQ for knowing God? Already we see the absurdity of asking such a question, as though anyone with such little intelligence cannot possibly know God. But we know that God has taken the “foolish of the world in order to shame the wise.” 1
To that end, by the absurdity of such a question, we can easily dismiss any notion of studying or education in order to become a Christian. As C.S. Lewis so aptly says that “Christianity needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book that has astonished the whole world. 2
For the foolish and the wise, for the not-so-smart and the smart, and for the handicapped and the savant, our salvation rests not in our intelligence (which was given to us by God) but rather, rests in the finished work and person of Jesus Christ by the will of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit alone.
But we are born with these broken minds, are we not? Some have accepted this and take one step closer to knowing God. There are some who have been blessed with a wealth of intelligence, knowledge, or wisdom might find that truth pill a bit hard to swallow. But if the will can override the wealth that you have been given and swallow the truth, then you might find the poison of pride and arrogance starting to be purged from your soul.
Your understanding of the God’s law will not save you. Your understanding of the Scriptures will not save you.
For if you understood the Scriptures, you would know that they point to the only One who gives life after death:
John 5:39-40 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”
Our minds, apart from God, cannot think on God. Not rightfully so. The world and its greatest minds have tried to find another path to God either by denying him, saying the lack of proof that he is real, or proclaiming lies and half-truths about Him.
The truth is that there are an infinite number of ways to get to God but every single one of them goes through and suffers His incredible wrath. All paths lead to God’s wrath. But there is one singular way in which that wrath is absorbed by the person walking the and that is God Himself in Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.
Here is the incredible grace of God: if you accept that to be true, know that to be true, believe that to be true, and have staked your life on that truth, then my beloved, you have been given the Holy Spirit, which has given you the understanding of the gift of God. No studying, no books, no degrees and no amount of education could ever produce faith in God. For it is that the Holy Spirit gave you the ability to understand and now your eyes now see, your ear now hears, and your new heart now loves. 3
What kind of foolishness is that? That is love.