There are different types of “knowing.” We can “know” something because of a “feeling” we experience i.e. a sixth sense, an emotional “knowing” based upon a state of consciousness, and there is also a “knowing” because of our mental capacities of thought and reason.
Romans 7:23 (KJV)
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Strong’s Greek number for mind is 3563 meaning: the intellect, i.e. mind (divine or human; in thought, feeling, or will); by implication meaning: – mind, understanding. (Emphasis mine)
Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
“The law of my mind” spoken of by Paul refers to a person’s thoughts, feelings, or will. A person’s mind (thought, feeling, or will) cannot liberate a person from captivity which is brought on by the “law of sin.” The “law of sin” refers to the sin nature which dwells within both the believer and non-believer and the difference is that the sin nature should not have dominion over a believer as it does a non-believer. As believers we have a “will to do good,” but our “thoughts, feelings, and will” cannot overcome the sin nature. The sin nature will dominate us and bring us “into captivity,” therefore; “just knowing” is not enough when it comes to living a victorious life.
1 John 3:8 (KJV)
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
When we think of the sin nature the automatic response is fornication, adultery, lying, stealing, etc…, but these are just symptoms of a deeper problem. God cannot accept anything that men do through their own capacities. It has to be totally conceived by God, and if our faith is not exclusively on the cross of Christ then we will ultimately be trying through our own efforts.
In Romans 7:23 Paul uses the word “mind” and in the Vine’s it means: “mind,” denotes, speaking generally, the seat of reflective consciousness, comprising the faculties of perception and understanding, and those of feeling, judging and determining (i.e. reasoning or observation). Its use in the NT may be analyzed as follows: it denotes (a) the faculty of knowing, the seat of the understanding, … (c) the new nature, which belongs to the believer by reason of the new birth, Rom. 7:23,25, where it is contrasted with “the flesh,” the principle of evil which dominates fallen man. … (Emphasis mine)
Vine’s Expository Dictionary
As fallen human beings our perception and understanding is vastly limited when trying to comprehend Godly things. For example, our physical eyes perceive things around us in three dimensions: length, width, and height, but there is so much more to be seen. We should not limit God to our three dimensional reality. God, heaven, and the things of the Spirit cannot be measured. (Side note: heaven is so much more than four walls and a roof)
Jeremiah 31:37 (KJV)
Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured (by implication to measure (as if by stretching a line), and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.
The same principle applies when trying to “know” the things of God. We should not limit HIM to the seat of our reflective consciousness and knowledge. The greater and higher thoughts of God cannot be compared to our meager earthly knowledge, so why do we keep trying to compare the things of God with a fallen creation?
James 3:15 (KJV)
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual (“belonging to the psuche, soul” Vine’s; the English word used for psychic comes from the transliteration of the word “psychikos”), devilish.
Our will is very important. We must choose to come to Christ, “whosoever will let him come,” but after we have made the choice, our will should not play a role in the life of a Christian. Sadly, this is not the case for most believers. Even Christ stated hours before the crucifixion, “Luke 22:42 (KJV) …not my will, but thine, be done.” How much more so for you or I? When we try to grow in this Christian walk by the means of our own will, thoughts, or feelings, even though it is after the good things of God, is nothing more than “earthly, sensual, and devilish.”
Romans 7:18 (KJV)
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for the will is present with me (my desire; “willpower” although very important when choosing to come to Christ cannot overcome sin. The modern church believes it has the power to say no to sin, simply because they are trying to live for God); but how to perform that which is good (The law is holy, just and good) I find not (Outside the cross of Christ, it is impossible to find a way to do good).
Philippians 3:18-19 (KJV)
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
The Strong’s definition of “mind” means to exercise the mind, i.e. entertain or have a sentiment[a thought or idea based on a feeling or emotion; or a feeling or opinion prevailing among a group of people Microsoft Dictionary] or opinion; by implication to be (mentally) disposed (more or less earnestly in a certain direction); intensive (involving concentrated effort, usually in order to achieve something…) to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience) Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
People who group together because they have the same thoughts and feelings, does not make it any more truthful. There are millions today trying to live for God by their “obedience” through willpower, and it does not make it any more right. People’s opinions rule the day. There is only one truth and that is the cross of Christ.
Proverbs 3:5 (KJV)
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
The word used for “understanding” means to separate mentally (or distinguish), i.e. (general) understand: – … consider… diligently … discern, eloquent, feel, inform, instruct, have intelligence, know … Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
The modern church is trying to overcome sin and live a “more abundant” life by means of the “law of the mind.” We see this “law” being worked out within a believer’s ministry or life when their belief is that if a person experiences “falling out in the spirit,” speaking in tongues, prophecy, or some other “act” that we (humans) can do. Although there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with these things in and of themselves, but nevertheless that victory and abundant life that we all seek cannot be found through them. The “law of sin and death” is more powerful than our “will, feelings, or thoughts.”
The “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” is the only thing more powerful than the “law of sin and death.” The “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” has nothing to do with our “will,” or what we “feel” and “think.”
Romans 8:2 (KJV)
For the law (of a force or influence impelling to action; Vine’s) of the Spirit (the way the holy spirit works within the believer)of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free (total victory have been given) from the law of sin and death.
This law was devised by the Godhead in eternity past, and is “God’s prescribed order of victory.” Every time Paul uses the term or one of its derivatives “in Christ Jesus” he is referring to what Christ did at the cross, which makes abundant life possible.
The Pentecostal, Baptist, Charismatic, Independent, etc… believers are self-willed when it comes to the things of God. We cannot live towards God by what we think, feel, or our will even though we may have a heart towards God. When we were born-again our heart was changed from one that is after the world to being after God, but that in of itself is not the end of the process. Jesus said that we must “deny SELF” meaning what “I think, feel, or will.” Paul stated that all men were “lairs,” but who among us really takes this to heart. We cannot even admit to ourselves that our opinions or feelings could even be lies! Until we can objectively look at our own faith, how can we ever grow? God never waits for a “perfect” believer to work through; if he did he would be waiting for all eternity. We should never think because God is working through us that it is conformation of us.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith (i.e. obedience to the faith: Jesus Christ and him crucified); prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Total salvation is found in the cross of Christ. Abundant life is found only in the cross of Christ. Obedience towards God is only when our faith is exclusively in the cross of Christ.