The existence of the flesh
We need to realise that even though we can put to death the flesh and cause it to be annulled it nevertheless still exists. A very great mistake that people make is that they think that they have extinguished the existence of sin and have uprooted the flesh from within them. This kind of doctrine leads people astray. The regenerated life does not change the flesh. The crucifixion together with Christ does not cause the flesh to disappear. The Holy Spirit Who indwells our spirit does not force people to not walk according to the flesh. The fleshly nature always exists within the believer. Whenever the believer fulfills the condition for it to work, it operates right away.
Before we are separated from this body, we can never be separated from our flesh such that it has no possibility to operate again. Before the transfiguration of our body, which we received by birth from Adam’s corruption, we shall by no means have the flesh eradicated from within us. Our body has not been redeemed yet (Rom. 8:23). We have to wait until the Lord’s second coming to have this redemption (1Cor. 15:22-23, 42-44,51-56; 1Thess. 4:14-18; Phil. 3:20-21). Therefore, as long as we are in this body, we cannot avoid watching and guarding against all the activities of the flesh in the body. This was why Jesus admonished us to always “watch and pray.”
If a believer does not walk according to the Holy Spirit and still gives ground to the flesh, the flesh will exercise its dominion again. If the believer is still filled with the intention to incline to sin, this proves that he is still fleshly and has not obtained full salvation. The Lord Jesus will cause us not to incline to sin. Meanwhile, we still need to be watchful because, if we are contaminated by the world or tempted by Satan, there is still the possibility of sinning.
A believer should realise that, on the one hand, he is a new creation in Christ, having the Holy Spirit dwelling in his spirit, having the death of Jesus working in him, and having the sanctifying life, but that, on the other hand, he still has the sinful flesh and can still sense the existence of the flesh and its filthiness.
If a believer is under the control of Christ and does not make provision for the flesh, he will have a lasting experience of overcoming the flesh. Therefore, a believer should know that the flesh may regain its power at any moment. The flesh has not been eradicated from the body, but, because we have presented ourselves to the Lord (Rom. 6:13), the body has left the control of the flesh and has come under the control of the Lord. If a believer walks according to the Holy Spirit, no matter what sin devises, it cannot cause the believer to stumble. Rather, he is always free. In this way the body is not reigned over by the sinful nature and is free to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The way the believers obtain his freedom is the way he keeps his freedom. Because the believers answer God with the vital “yes” and answer the flesh with the vital “no” accepting the Lord’s death, they obtain freedom. Therefore, in this life, before the separation from the body, this “yes” to God and “no” to the flesh have to always continue. Not one believer at this time can reach a position of not being tempted. Therefore, good discernment, watchfulness, prayer, and sometimes fasting are necessary that he may know how to walk according to the Holy Spirit.
Christ Arsenal Retreat Centre. www.christarsenal.org email to firstname.lastname@example.org Phones: 08091112205-7
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