6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
The argument of verses five and six involves two ideas:
Disposition of non-Christians versus Christians
States of mind between non-Christians versus Christians
Verse six presents the reckoning of the two contrasting ways of life in the previous verses:
Mind of the flesh—Death
Mind of the Spirit—Life and peace
The word “for” here continues the argument of verse five. The flesh of non-Christians orients to the carnal mind, whereas Spirit-oriented believers walk by the standards of the Spirit Himself. Each is inclined to his sphere of being.
to be carnally [fleshly] minded [mind-set or affinity] is death,
“Death” here is spiritual death. Non-Christians are unresponsive to the God of the universe. They live their lives without divine authority.
The word “minded” occurs in the New Testament only in the eighth chapter of Romans (vv. 6, 7, 27). This word puts emphasis on the result of the action; it is the idea of “mind-set” involving both a fixed and resolute pattern of thinking. The mind-set is more than mere thoughts and refers to the worldview; it is their outlook on life.
There are awesome consequences that come from the non-Christian’s sphere of being. The mind-set of the flesh results in “death.” On the other hand, the mind-set of the Spirit leads to “life and peace.”
To have a carnal mind leads to death in knowing God. Non-Christians are totally void of life submissive to God. Their mind-set results in separation from God. The mind-set of the flesh has the characteristic of the epoch of Adam where the rule of death dominates. Death is the hallmark of this mind-set. This will become manifest as it works out the results of its thinking pattern.
To be bound by the flesh is itself death, a cutting off of oneself from life in the Spirit. These people are so constituted in the sphere of death that it will result in final death should they not believe in the work of Christ. This kind of person is an enemy of God. Since they are hostile to the God who gives life, they have to exist without His life. There is a ruin of the soul both in time and eternity. Those in the mind-set of the flesh might not recognize its fatal pattern before it is too late.
This is a spiritual reckoning, not a spiritual consequence. Since non-Christians are already spiritually dead toward God, their minds inevitably revolve around their state of death. From God’s viewpoint they are walking corpses.
Ep 2: 1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
Death here is not eternal death but a death experience within life. It is not the eternal death of going to hell. Death here is the opposite of “life and peace.” The person who orients to his sin capacity will experience separation from fellowship with God.
The essential nature of the non-Christian exists in a state of death, of separation from God.
Non-Christians do not have the life of God because they have never received eternal life from the Savior. Christians have eternal life at the point beginning with their salvation.
Jn 5: 24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has [at the point of salvation] everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed [at salvation] from death into life.”
It is possible for Christians to be temporally dead to God. That is, they can step out of fellowship with God. Christians deaden their spiritual sensitivities with activities and diversions in order to blunt the pain of being out of fellowship with God. When we do it is sin. We do it with church activities, hobbies, work. Whatever way we chose; it is sublimation for dealing with our problems. We are dead to fellowship with God on a moment-by-moment basis. We can “arise from the dead” by entering fellowship with God by confessing our sins (1 Jn 1:9).
Ep 5: 14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead [temporal death in time], And Christ will give you light.”
The death of the Christian in this verse has to do with his being out of fellowship with God in time. His need is to awake out of this deadness toward God. Christ’s forgiveness will allow us to fellowship with God’s light.