How the Spirit sanctifies?
Thursday, April 19th, 2018
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Cor 5:17
As a sincere believer in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, we may say, ‘well, God said I am sinless, righteous and have victory over sin and Satan because of my union with Christ but yet it doesn’t come out that way in my daily experience.’ We wonder if there is something wrong somewhere! More than likely there is something wrong and it probably has to do with a failure to understand the difference between our new eternal position in Christ and our daily experience of living the Christian life.
One is what we are in God’s estimation and the other is what we are in practice. A clear distinction must be made between these two relationship which each believer has with Christ. Our new position or union with Christ is a legal status which we have with God and it becomes absolutely true of us the moment we believe in the baptism, death and resurrection of Christ.
Our day to day living of the Christian life here in this world is the experiential side of redemption. It varies from moment to moment, depending on whether we walk with the Spirit of God or let our flesh dominate us.
1. The Flesh Is No Friend Of God
The actual substance of the flesh is not what is usually meant by the references to it in the Bible. It generally refers to a principle of rebellion against God that is permeated all that we are in the Old Man. It is so unreformable that God did not even try to salvage it in the new creation. God simply pronounce it hopelessly rebellious and then proceeded to lay down the principles of how we could live in victory over it.
Whatever is wrapped up in the concept of the flesh, all men have it. It is only realm that unregenerate man can operate in, since soulish life is the only kind of life they have. The born again of the water and the Spirit has the flesh but it doesn’t have to live and operate in that realm because he is also alive in the realm of the spirit by virtue of his spiritual rebirth. Eph 2:1-3
God has a very dim view of the flesh whether it is believer or an unbeliever. This is because the flesh has a very dim view of God. In fact, Paul says it is hostile to God and anyone who operates consistently in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. Rom 8:7-8 A mind that is habitually controlled by the flesh is evidence that the person is still spiritually dead. Rom 8:6;Rom 7:18 It is obvious that these verses indicate that there is a ‘fallenness’ about us that is inherent in the flesh. This rebellious streak is sometimes spoken of as ‘sin’ as in 1 John 1:8. All men are born with this curse and it is not removed from us when we were born again, although victory over it is made available to us.
2. The Two Sides Of The Flesh
At the Fall, when our spirit died, the body and soul merged together to comprise this spiritual foe we know as the flesh. It includes the ‘attitudes of the flesh’ as well as the ‘works of the flesh.’ These two sides of the flesh continue to manifest themselves through the life of the believer to the degree that he allows his soul to dominate him rather than his spirit.
a. Attitude of the flesh
The ‘attitude of the flesh’ are all the ideas, plans, schemes, imaginations and good works which proceed out of the human mind without the Holy Spirit being the source of them. They can be either good or bad, as the world views such things but in God’s estimation they are all unacceptable because the flesh is the source of them not the spirit. This ‘attitude of the flesh’ are sometimes hard to detect because they deal in the realm of ideas and thoughts which often times seem so noble. However, this soulish activities always have self somewhere at the center. Self-confidence and self-reliance are two notable traits of the soul. The world applauds these and they seem like such admirable qualities but God says, they indicate a reliance on the flesh rather than on the indwelling Holy Spirit.
b. Works of the flesh
The ‘works of the flesh’ are often referred to as the ‘lust of the flesh’ and this refer to the sins which are stimulated by the fleshly drives and passions. These traits are easy to spot in a life because they are usually pretty gross and overt. Paul list some of them in Gal 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness and revelries…”
3. The Flesh Is Tricky
Where the believers of the Gospel Truth of God’s Righteousness get tripped up is in not realizing that the flesh is not only the sin tendency but also the self tendency. It is easier to spot the overt sins that originate out of the desires and demands of the flesh. However, the ‘attitude’ sins of the flesh are much more subtle and it often gets undetected in the Christian domain. That is because ‘only the Lord knows for sure’ what the source of the attitude is.
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