Category : General
Romans 8: 8 (KJV)
8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
It has been observed and noted, men’s happiness is to please them upon whom they depend, and upon whose favor their well-being hangs. It is the servant’s happiness to please his master, the courtiers to please his prince. Now certainly all creatures depend upon the Creator, “for in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Then of all things it concerns us most how to please Him, and if we do so we shall assuredly be happy, and it will not matter whom else we displease (Psalms 31:19; 36:7). But, on the other hand, how incomparable is the misery of them who cannot please God, even though they did both please themselves and all others for the present! Now, if you ask who they are that are such, the words speak it: “They that are in the flesh,” not they in whom there is flesh, for there are remnants of that in the most spiritual man in this life. The ground of this is chiefly two-fold.
The questions raised by this verse are important because they concern our life and relationship with God our Creator and Savior. “In the flesh” is here a reference to the condition that exists when the soul rejects its Creator, sacrifices all hopes of immortality and of the eternal world, and decides to make the present life of flesh its one and only concern. They that are in the flesh are the same who are said to be after it, Romans 8:5, and are there described. To be in the flesh is a still stronger expression than to be after the flesh, Romans 8:5. According to this latter, the flesh is the standard of moral existence; according to the former, it is its principle or source. Now, how could God take pleasure in beings who have as the principle of their life the pursuit of self? Is this not the principle opposed to His essence?
It is vitally important to understand that a man must be born of the Spirit before he can even begin to serve God. How non-scriptural and pernicious, then, is that system which teaches men to seek to please God by commencing a religious life, that God may be induced to co-operate with them in their further exertions. If the man who is not born again cannot please God, every act of the sinner before faith must be displeasing to God. An action may be materially good in itself, but unless it proceeds from a right motive (the love of God) and be directed to a right end (His glory) it cannot be acknowledged by God. Before a man’s services can be acceptable, his person must be accepted, as it is said, ‘The Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering.’ ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ It is by faith we are united to Christ, and so reconciled to God; and until this union and reconciliation take place, there can be no communion with Him. If, then, no man who is in the flesh (that is, in his natural or unconverted state) can please God, how dreadful is the situation of those who do not even profess to be renewed in the spirit of their mind! How many are there who discard the idea of regeneration!
Therefore to please God is and should be of infinite importance. Since He is omniscient and omnipresent, we cannot escape His observation: since He is Almighty, He has our life, and all things belonging to us, continually at His disposal, things that can make us happy or miserable in various ways. He is, therefore, the most dreadful enemy or the most beneficial friend we can have. Of what infinite consequence, then, to be in His favor. However specious may be the works of such persons in the eyes of men, they cannot please God; and not pleasing God, they must abide the condemnation that awaits all His enemies.
There is but one way out, and that is to have carnality destroyed, which is by the work of sanctification. If we do not please God, it is certain we will never get to heaven. If we please Him, we must obey Him. He commands us to be holy, and that means to get rid of depravity. For this he has made ample provision. Hence, we must obey and be holy, or disobey, remain carnal and displease God, thus making our bed in hell.
Have a Great and God filled Day