Corky continues to privde excellent fodder for a bit of intellectual cud chewing.
Does anyone today have "the spirit of Christ", of the "Holy Spirit"? Even if there is a chance they did, it would be impossible to prove, so the argument would be similar to the atheist's argument concerning God. Since there's no evidence of such a being, we can safely conclude that no one possesses any spirit of God, or spirit of Christ, or Holy Spirit today.
Corky brings up a solid point regarding Romans 8:7 Might as well quote it to get into the "spirit" of things.
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be".
And Corky quotes the next compelling statement: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his".
But who exactly is Paul referring to here? Who is "ye"? The qualifying statement here is "IF so be that the spirit of God dwell in you".
Notice also just below that in Romans 8:11: But IF the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you..."
Qualifying statements that lack definition. Paul refers to "IF" and then refers to "WE", as he writes about the "spirit of God" or the "spirit of Christ".
How would we even begin to possibly identify these people? IF the natural mind is enmity against God, what possible process would we use to know who is the "we" to whom Paul refers?
If you took my word for it, how would you know I was telling you the truth? If I took your word for it, how would I know for sure, since our natural minds are enmity against God? How could I possibly prove that "you" somehow have knowledge that "I" don't possess?
Corky gives pretty much the correct answer: you can't know. There is no way of knowing. And even if someone told you truly that he had the "spirit of Christ", it would be meaningless to you in any certain, definable terms.
If you follow Paul's argument from this point and you believe he's going to say, it's a matter of free will choice, you will be disappointed, because in verse 20 he begins:
"For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope."
Notice then that Paul refers to "ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the spirit..."
Paul writes of a group having "firstfruits of the spirit", and Corky seems to agree in principle with this by saying that if anyone claims to have the "spirit of Christ' he's a liar. I'll agree with that, except to say that, from any possible proof he might offer, he's VERY PROBABLY a liar.
Of course, if he told me, "I have the Holy Spirit, and you must follow me", I could say with authority, "You're a liar".
This is so because, as Corky pointed out in quoting Romans 8:9, the big word is IF. And how do we know who is in possession of this "spirit"?
Well, Paul gets to his big "gotcha!" in Romans 8:29-30:
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be comformed to the image of his son...."
So how do you know if "so be that his spirit dwell in you"? You don;t, since God seems to be the only one who makes the choice.
Paul closes off all avenues. First he says the natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God's laws, and then he takes it to the conclusion that God foreknows, predestines, calls, and glorifies his children. And to top it off, he knew who they were from the very beginning(Ephesians 1:4).
So, where is the "free will" or freedom in that? There is only one possible freedom that can be gained from it. You are free from the proposed religions of all humans. Paul's logic completely cancels all possibility, not only of you knowing by your process of reason which is the true church, but even if you could, God already knows who they are! Consequently, as Corky points out, you must be free of all religions!
In other words, any choice you make will simply be your choice, and that's the very best you can say about it. If you get a bunch of people to agree with you and they give you a lot of money, I applaud your salesmanship, but I'm not going to be following you, because I know better.
Paul declares this freedom from men in Romans 8:33: "Who can lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth".
Who ARE God's elect? Nobody knows! Nobody CAN know! Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable, by any standard you wish, to say, "I am born of God", and no government can say otherwise!
You're free from men and from the governments and religions of men!
You think not? Prove to me there is no God. You can't! I can't prove there is one, so, all I have to do is say I believe in God, and you cannot say other wise except by legalizing your authority with the force of arms, "mobocracy".
I am not bound to any humanly organized religion because Paul says it's impossible to know which is the true religion, and God does the choosing anyway. Jesus says if any man says "Here is Christ, or there, believe it not", so I don't have to accept anybody's statement that s/he represents God.
1 Corinthians 7;23: "ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men"
1 Corinthians 9:19: "For though I be free from all men..."
1 Corinthians 10:29: "...why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?"
Colossians 2:8 "beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ".
"After Christ"? What did he teach? Not to follow any man who said "here is Christ". No point in it, because you couldn't prove it if he did serve Christ.
Col. 2:16: let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, of of the sabbath days".
Oh, and here's one for the "nice" people: "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind".
Col 3:3: "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God".
Dead? No law can punish a dead man, neither human law nor God's law. That's total habeas corpus. No law can "have the body".
In terms of liberty, freedom, and free will, there is only one correct choice you can make: freedom from men, freedom from the ideas of men, freedom from the religions of men, and freedom from the governments of men.
How do you choose freedom from "God's will" when you can't even prove there is a God?
Answer me that.