Triumph Over The Flesh |
The body is a tree that grows fruit. Without Christ we have carnal fruit... fruit of the flesh. i.e. Strife, dissensions, party spirit, envy.... immorality, impurity, licentiousness, carousing. (Gal. 5:19-21).
With us in Christ and His Spirit in us we have spiritual fruit. i.e. love, joy, peace, goodness, faith. (Gal. 5:22-23).
Picking off the fruit does not make it (what the fruit represents) go away. We must crucify the flesh... (Gal. 5:24). When we crucify the flesh we destroy the carnal tree at the root. The Holy Spirit does not reform the flesh. But He does enter to war against the flesh (Gal. 5:17). He gives life to our spirit... and IF we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal. 5:25).
You can pick carnal fruit all day long... only to find another has grown in its place. There is no chance for victory this way. This is why there are to be no works of the flesh.... but the flesh is to be crucified. There is nothing of the flesh that is pleasing to God. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Gal. 5:24). When we hear the gospel message we do not walk to the cross... we do not wash our body in water or take communion or be anointed in oil... we don't do anything. Instantly hearing the gospel and believing... in a twinkling of an eye... we are crucified (past tense). We are raised as He is raised... and we stand with Christ at the right hand of the Father until He is seated on His throne.
You may say you are a sinner... but God says you have been crucified! You are not to look at your experience... but hear what God's Word says. We are not individually crucified... but we are crucified together with Christ (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6). We do not try to crucify the flesh... but acknowledge that it has been crucified, not walking according to sight but according to our faith in the Word of God.
When we were living in the flesh... we were bearing fruit for death. But now we are dead (Rom. 7:5,6). We now can exercise our will to choose what God has accomplished for us... and the Holy Spirit works and takes the lead and we follow. We are told to put off the old man with our deeds and put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him That created us: (Col. 3:9,10). Because you have died then mortify... but to death what is earthly in you (Col. 3:5).
If you are just picking off the bad fruit the flesh becomes very active in trying to replace the fruit of the carnal self. We are not to rely on our deeds or our strength, but upon God's Word. Being crucified our spirit is made alive... and works with the Holy Spirit... in putting our members to death. (Col. 3:5). Scripture says: For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Rom. 8:13).
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Rom. 6:5-7). It is by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body (Rom. 8:13). You are under grace... your members are instruments of righteousness unto God.... (Rom. 6:13,14).
Sin dwells in the flesh... and we are still walking around with the flesh very much in our presence... pinch yourself... yes that is the flesh. Anytime the flesh has an opportunity... it will spring into action. Our body is not yet redeemed (Rom. 8:23)... it waits for redemption at the return of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 15:22,23,42-44,51-56; 1 Thes. 4:14-18; Phil. 3:20-21). Therefore we must not be asleep but remain watchful that the flesh does not break forth with its wicked deeds. Even though we walk in the flesh... we do not walk by the flesh (Rom. 8:4)... but after the Spirit. We are to live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved us, and gave Himself for us. (Gal. 2:20). The finished work of the cross is a continuing work of the Holy Spirit. God has saved us from not having the tendency to sin... but we are still able to sin. With the Holy Spirit in us we are equipped to lead a holy life. If we follow the Holy Spirit and maintain an attitude of not letting sin reign over the body (Rom. 6:12)... then we will experience victory. Triumph over the flesh is attainable by all believers... even though the flesh exists... it eventually loses resistance... IF you follow the Spirit and are willing to obey God's will.