The fleshly Christian
To sin frequently after the manner of men is an indication that a man is of the flesh. If a believer still cannot overcome his temper and his peculiar temperament and is still selfish, contentious, vainly emulative, unforgiving of others’ trespasses, and short of love in speaking, then he is truly still of the flesh, regardless of how many spiritual truth he knows, how much spiritual experience he thinks he has gained, or how fervently and effectively he has worked.
Being carnal or fleshly means nothing other than to “walk according to the manner of men.” We should ask ourselves if we have completely ceased to walk after the manner of men. If there are still many things in our life that bear the semblance of the worldly people, then we are still of the flesh. We should not dispute over a term as to whether we are spiritual or fleshly. If we are not governed by the Holy Spirit, what profit is there, even if we are called Pastor, Reverend or Apostle? This is a question of life, not of title.
The manifestations of the flesh are known by all. In Galatians 5:19-21 the sins of the flesh are compiled in a list, so that there is no possibility for anyone to misunderstand. And the works of the flesh are manifest, which are such things as fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, divisions, sects, envy, bouts of drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.”
Anyone who would like to know whether or not he is of the flesh needs only to ask himself if he has done any work of the flesh. One who is of the flesh need not commit all the works enumerated in this list before he is reckoned as being of the flesh. If he does only one of them, it is more than enough to determine that he is of the flesh, for if the flesh were no longer in authority, from whence could this one have come? The presence of any work of the flesh is evidence of the existence of the flesh. The final verdict is: “…Those who practise such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
Since many believers do not understand God’s way of salvation, they try to overcome the flesh by making war against it. These believers proceed, on the one hand, to fight the war and, on the other hand, try to mend and improve the flesh, or to train and tame it. A believer in this state prays; reads the Bible; institutes a number of rules and regulations in the hope that he will be able to subdue, change, and control the flesh. He lays down many ordinances, such as touch not, taste not, handle not, and the like, unconsciously thinking that corruption of the flesh is due to the lack of set rules, culture, and education, and that since he has put it through such spiritual training, it will give no trouble in the end. Little does he know that as to the subduing of the lusts of the flesh, these rules and regulations are absolutely ineffective. (Col. 2:21-23) The reason we are fleshly is that we were born of the flesh. If we die, we are delivered from the flesh. “For he who has died is justified from sin” (Rom. 6:7). The flesh has to be crucified (Gal. 5:24). The predestined end of the flesh is death (Col. 3:5) and only by committing the flesh to death can we have salvation.
Christ Arsenal Retreat Centre. www.christarsenal.org email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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