What is the mind? The mind is an element of boundless potential cohabitating with our limited body. Philosophers have long debated whether our minds are just the workings of our brains or whether our minds are much more. To reduce our mind to a consequence of the biochemical reactions in our brain and nothing else is a materialistic viewpoint that would be difficult to justify. Because, if our minds were nothing else, then our thoughts would be random accidents as well and hence not reliable. It is far more logical to consider our minds as a reflection of a greater, infinite intelligence, but subject to the will of man to be used (or abused) as he deems fit. It is like a piece of infinity, mysteriously contained within man that can be molded and used by man, but also that which ultimately determines his destiny.
Let us look at some verses written by Paul that analyze the mind, especially in the context of salvation.
The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:5-9)
First note the contrast between the mind of a person who is still lost, in Paul’s words, a ‘sinful man’ and one who has been regenerated by faith in Christ to receive the Holy Spirit.
The sinful man’s mind is death, whereas a regenerated man’s mind is life. Paul does not talk of death as a sequel to life, rather as a continuous reality. He does not say, ‘a sinful mind leads to death’, rather talks of the union of the sinful mind with death.
This brings us to the question, ‘What really is death?’ Death is generally understood by most as an event that happens at the end of life. But ‘death’ in reality is the absence of the presence of God and ‘life’ is union with the life of God or rather eternal life. So for natural man, who does not submit to God and the revelation through Christ, he is cut off from God because of his unaddressed sin. His mind, which by nature of creation, is a reflection of the eternity of God, has no real connection with God. This is the state of hostility of the mind to God as described by Paul. So while he does use his mind, he does so without the advantage of having life flow into it from God. And so Paul says, ‘the mind of sinful man is death’.
The first battle for the mind is to free it from the state of being cut off from God. When mortal man uses his will to accept Christ as Savior and Lord in response to the revelation he receives regarding his sinfulness and the divinity of Christ, his mind moves from being in a state of death to a state of life. What follows is a state of peace for the mind, which then is no longer controlled by the sinful nature with its adverse consequences, but rather by the indwelling Holy Spirit, enabling the mind to reach its full potential of useful creativity and stability.
- BY YOUR SIDE
- THE BATTLE FOR THE MIND-2