7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
for it is not subject to the law of God,
The word “subject” is a military term meaning to be under subjection to. The carnal mind is a mentality that cannot take orders from God. God’s Word (the law of God) is where we find our orders. The flesh will not accept God’s claims on its life. This is inherent animosity, a native antagonism toward God.
The core of the hostility by non-Christians toward God is an authority issue. They do not want to submit themselves to God’s law or Word. The proper place for the creature is to “subject” himself to “the law of God.” The finite creation owes submission to the Creator. This is the opposite of hostility against God.
The phrase “is not subject” indicates ongoing insubordination to God’s Word (present, passive, indicative). When the Word hits their hearts, they go into an insubordinate attitude toward it. These people do not want to surrender themselves to the authority of God.
The “law of God” is revelation of His nature and work. The Creator is absolute and must operate within His domain and not the domain of the creature, and this creates a tension for the rebellious creatures. Negative volition toward God creates hatred and hostility toward God (cf. 1:21-25). They do not “subject” themselves to God’s Word because the essence of their being is “flesh,” not a Spirit orientation.
Since the non-believer is set on a contrary course to God’s revelation of His will, there is no possibility for him to be open to God in that state. This manifests itself not only in overt wickedness but in simple shutdown to God’s plan for one’s life. We can seek the will of God only where He reveals it.
nor indeed can be.
The reason the non-Christian cannot submit to God is that negative volition toward Him rests or abides in the non-believer’s person, and he does not have the capacity to orient to God and His will. A person’s sin capacity is not capable of orienting to God but is completely depraved when it comes to capacity, because he is subjugated by the flesh.
The negative mind-set of the carnal mind reinforces itself and locks tightly to negative volition. It will take an intervention by God to disrupt this pattern of imprisoned thinking. Non-Christians do not have the capacity to do otherwise because the flesh is the sphere of their fundamental orientation about life. There is a problem with the essential being of non-Christians—they do not have the capacity to submit to God or please Him. Those “of the flesh” or “in the flesh” function according to what they are. They cannot do otherwise. The most noble of unbelievers cannot live their lives for God because they do not have the capacity to do so.
The sin capacity stands in a permanent state of rebellion against God’s Word; its nature is unable to do otherwise. It is hostile to the principles of the Word of God because it does not have the capacity to submit to God’s policies.
Either we have the Spirit and are Christians or we do not and are eternally lost.
Spirituality is not a matter of my devotion but of God’s devotion to me. We have nothing to offer God. To obtain what God has to offer is to understand and believe His promises in grace to us.
The carnal mind in its most moral, wise, or noble sense roots in hostility toward God. This is why it is death oriented. It is unconverted in every sense although it might appear altruistic to the non-Christian. All of it seeks God by operation bootstraps. Most non-Christians have no notion that they hate God. They may even believe themselves to be serving God, but it is a god of their own fancy. All their so-called service to God is self-oriented. None of it constitutes orientation to the God of the Bible. It is impossible to approach God other than on His terms found in the Bible. That is why religion is of the Devil and antagonistic to God. That is why Islam, Hinduism, and even empty forms of Christianity are an affront to God Himself.
The idea that non-Christians cannot subject themselves to the law of God might seem harsh to some. It is only so if they do not accept the premises of the Bible. Their will is free. If they accept God’s gracious offer, then He will embrace them freely, without charge. The problem is that they have a depraved inclination of mind. There is a natural distinction in nature between man and a machine. A machine does not have thought or volition, but man has volition. It takes God’s grace to draw men to Himself. The pride of man will not acknowledge this.
Ro 9:20, “No but, oh man, who are you to reply against God?”
Man carries an innate depravity whereby he cannot escape his sin capacity. It is a difficult thing for man to acknowledge the core depravity of his nature. Self-denial about this issue with God is a major stumbling block of truly coming to know Him in truth.
This is powerful information and shines a bright light on where we find ourselves as a nation. Thank you for the incredible amount of effort it must have taken to write these commentaries. I share this link with my friends and family and I have such a greater understanding of Romans. You make it so clear and persuasive. May God bless you and your loved ones.
Thank you Tom.