Flesh. We are flesh. If one performs a Google search using just the term flesh they find what one would expect to find. Definitions of what the body is made of, tattoos, diseases of the flesh, and even a movie titled Flesh that is described as “A man desperate for money and no income, turns prostitute and interplays with a variety of clients and hustlers.”
“5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
If we are flesh are we automatically hostile to God? In short, yes. Even as I write this I tell myself no. I am not hostile towards my God! But the truth is that we are. This is not something that began with us. This goes back to creation. We are children of Adam and Eve and therefore sinners. The fall of man put us all at direct opposition with God. We are automatically starting out behind. There is good news to this though, we don’t have to catch up alone.
“9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'”
The Spirit of God, God himself, lives in us. Is there a greater hope than this? My last post dealt with the cleansing power of Christ and the Spirit in us so I won’t repeat it here, but honestly, how amazing is it to know that although we are naturally hostile towards God we are still forgiven and counted righteous through our faith and the grace of God? The ability to fall on our face and cry out to God in the midst of pain, joy, suffering, celebration is a gift we can never repay. Throughout the Psalms the writer cries out to God in many different ways:
3:1 “O Lord, how many are my foes!”
5:1 “Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning.”
13:1 “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?”
45:6 “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.”
61:1 “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;”
Anguish, requests, lament, praise. We can approach our God with all of it. There is even a difference between us and the psalmist. He was bound by the Law, we are freed from the Law and brought into God’s presence through the sacrifice of Christ. While he cried to God there was still a lack of connection. The gap of sin had not yet been bridged and the Spirit of God had not yet been given. How much more are we then privileged?
“16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
Titus 3:7 “…so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
We are considered heirs with Christ. Heirs to inherit glory and eternal life. Christ owns everything. EVERYTHING. John states this in his Gospel from the very beginning.
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
This talk about becoming heirs with Christ becomes ever more humbling when we begin to grasp what that truly means. Imagine for a moment you walk out to your mailbox one day and see a letter from a lawyer. Many things will probably start running through your mind, ‘Am I being sued?’ ‘What have I done wrong?’ or you may simply just be confused. Now imagine that you open that letter to find out that your mother had a brother that you never knew existed but he sure knew about you. Turns out he has always wanted you to have everything you ever wanted because he never had kid of his own. His everything then becomes your. His fortune, his home, his cars, let’s say he was so rich he even owned his own island that is now your island. Sounds like a dream come true right? Back to reality. That chances of that happening to you on this earth are extremely low. Now let’s focus on the truth. Everything that your rich uncle had wasn’t his, it was Christ’s. This entire earth is Christ’s. The universe. He made it all, he rules is all, and he is sharing it with you. The Lord of all creation is beckoning that we become co-heirs with him. The material things, such as this world, still don’t compare with the eternal life that he gives us, which, keep in mind, he still owns.
I could spend a lot more time referencing all the places in the Bible that talk about denying the flesh and living by the Spirit but I’ll let you read them on your own. I want to end this on this last note:
Revelation 21 “1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
The glory of God is unfathomable and never ending and he chooses to share that with us. Come, Lord Jesus.