Who are those who are “according to the flesh?” They are natural fallen people, unsaved, unelected and unregenerate. They are “in Adam” and not “in Christ.” What are the “things of the flesh?” They are, in this context, ungodly behaviors such as immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these. Who are those who are “according to the Spirit?” They are people who have been elected, saved and regenerated (born anew). They are “in Christ because God transferred them from the realm of darkness (in Adam) into the Kingdom of Christ. What are the “things of the Spirit?” They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So our first question, and one we will revisit as we work our way through the passage, is whether those who are according to the flesh do at times set their minds on godly things, even though their natural inclination would be set their minds on the things of the flesh. And the answer is verse 5 does not say. Why is the mind set on the flesh death? This refers to the result or outcome of such behavior. If we set our minds on the things of the flesh, ungodly sinful things, we will reap corruption, and become more hardened and that path leads to death. Why is the mind set on the Spirit life and peace. If we set our minds on the Spirit we will reap the rewards on following the paths of righteousness, i.e. the things of the Spirit including but not mentioned above eternal life. Paul provides a caveat later in the passage for this outcome. Thus Paul is contrasting our position – in Adam or in Christ – with the behaviors that go with those positions, ungodly behaviors with godly behaviors. Next, Paul addresses additional things that go with being in Adam and setting our minds of the flesh. First, the mind set on flesh, referring to the things of the flesh or ungodliness is (1) hostile toward God, and (2) not in submission to God’s law. Then Paul adds those whose mind is set on the things of the flesh are not able to either be devoted to God or follow the law. This is because they are doing just the opposite. It is impossible to be godly at the same time as being ungodly. And finally, Paul says those who are “in the flesh” cannot please God. Here we have a difficulty. In the flesh can mean in the natural fallen unregenerate unsaved state, or simply the condition of a person in either state, setting their minds on things of the flesh. However, here, I think Paul is saying in addition to points one and two, unsaved people cannot please God even if they set their minds on godly behavior because all our works of righteousness are as filthy rags. This view would bolster his argument for godly behavior of those in Christ, because we were created for good works. Here in verse 9 Paul shifts his topic from the expected behaviors of those who are according to the Spirit to the essential prerequisite of being “according to the Spirit” rather than striving to please God with godly behavior. Unless we have been born anew, and sealed with the Holy Spirit in Christ, such that we are in Christ and Christ is in us, our efforts at godliness will not please God. And if we continue reading in Romans 8 we will see that if Christ is in us we have God as our Daddy (Abba) and we are [spiritual] children of God. Now lets return to our unanswered question, does this passage say or suggest those who are according to the flesh, unregenerate and unsaved, cannot at any time set their minds on spiritual things such as the milk of the gospel. And the answer is no. In fact it suggests godly behavior cuts no ice if we are according to the flesh.