Friday, February 1, 2019

The Flesh vs the Spirit

When you consider our life in Christ, it stands in stark contrast to life in the flesh as we once knew it. Living in the Spirit is drastically different than living under the Law. Let's see what the Scriptures says about this difference. In the following table, let's list on the left-hand side those things that pertain to the flesh, the Law, and the old life before Christ. Then on the right-hand side we'll contrast those things to the Spirit, and new life in Christ.



Flesh / Law / Old Christ / Spirit / New
"...you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ..." (Rom 7:4) "so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God." (Rom 7:4)
"For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death." (Rom 7:5) "But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter." (Rom 7:6)
We serve "not in oldness of the letter." (Ro 7:6) "We serve in newness of the Spirit." (Ro 7:6)
"I would not have come to know sin except through the Law" (Ro 7:7) "...apart from the Law sin is dead." (Ro 7:8) 
"when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died..." (Ro 7:9)

"...making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me." (Rom 7:23)
"...the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." (Rom 8:2)
"and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me;" (Rom 7:10) "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness." (Rom 8:10)
"So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good." (Rom 7:12) "...if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law." (Gal 5:18)
"through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful." (Rom 7:13) "...walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." (Gal 5:16)
"we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin." (Rom 7:14) "...the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Rom 8:4)
"...nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh..." (Ro 7:18) "...those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Gal 5:24)
"For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did:" (Rom 8:3a) "...sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh [of Christ]" (Rom 8:3b)
"Those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh..." (Rom 8:5a) "...those who are according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit." (Rom 8:5b)
"the mind set on the flesh is death..." (Rom 8:6a) "the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace" (Rom 8:6)
"...the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so," (Rom 8:7)
"those who are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom 8:8) "...those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Gal 5:24)
"...the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit..." (Gal 5:17a) "...the Spirit [sets its desire] against the flesh...so that you may not do the things that you please." (Gal 5:17b)
"...if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." (Rom 8:9b) "...you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you." (Rom 8:9a)
"...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." (Rom 8:11)
"...if you are living according to the flesh, you must die..." (Rom 8:13a) "...if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." (Rom 8:13b)
"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal 5:19-21) "...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Gal 5:22-23)
“I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.” (Rom. 7:14) “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves.” (Rom. 8:15)
"...a spirit of slavery leading to fear..." (Rom 8:15a) "... a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" (Rom 8:15b)
"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God," (Rom 8:16)

Compare and contrast each point in the left-hand column in relation to the point directly beside it in the right-hand column. Then consider each point in the left-hand column in relation to other points that are not located directly beside them in the right-hand column. As you do so prayerfully, open up and let the Holy Spirit teach you new things you hadn't understood before.

Putting it All Together
I hope you will take some time to meditate on the greatness and the wonder of what we have in Christ, as listed in the right-hand column above, compared to what we had in the flesh. They are as different as night and day, and what we have now is better by far than anything the flesh or living under the Law has to offer. We have exchanged death for life and bondage to sin for freedom in the Spirit. Instead of slavery to fear, we have adoption as sons of Abba, Father, and the Spirit testifies that we are children of God. Rather than being those who practice the misdeeds of the flesh, who will not inherit the kingdom of God, we bear the fruit of the Spirit, against which there is no law. In place of unrelenting condemnation under the Law, there is now no condemnation in Christ. Rather than the serving in the old way of the letter, we serve in the new way of the Spirit. Under the Law, sin became alive and we died, but apart from the Law sin is dead and we live. The Law could not reform us, since our flesh is weak and totally depraved, so the Law served to help us get to know sin. But now that we have died to the Law and to sin, the Spirit living in us is continually helping us get to know Christ better. Instead of being unable to please God, now the righteous requirement of the Law might be fully met in us.

Instead of walking the same old road for miles and miles, hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies, and trying to fill the same old holes inside, (as the lyrics go in the Chain Breaker song by Zach Williams), Jesus has made a way for us to be saved from sin and shame. He breaks every chain in our lives, opens every prison door, sets every captive free, and pours out His Holy Spirit upon us to fill all those empty holes inside. If you are still living in the flesh or under the Law, let me encourage you today -- there's a better life, and that is new life in Christ.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, copyright Lockman Foundation, used by permission. Flesh & Spirit image may be subject to copyright from 316Quotes. Used according to Fair Use Act for commentary and educational purposes only. Chain Breaker lyrics written by Jonathan Lindley Smith / Mia Fieldes / Zach Williams, copyright © Essential Music Publishing.

Author's note I encourage you to read the other articles I have written on this topic, especially the following ones, beginning with the first three articles in the left-hand column:

The Law of Christ 
Faith Works!
The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith
The New Covenant
Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross?
Righteousness by Faith Not Law
The Obedience of Faith
Righteous Deeds and White Robes
Doing What is Right
Partaking of the Divine Nature
Obedience by the Spirit
What Then Must We Observe?
The Law is Good if Used Lawfully

Also see You Must Be Born AgainThe Spirit's Law of Life, The Spirit of the Law, The Truth Set Me Free, and Baptized with the Spirit. You can access the Main Directory for Seeking the Lord, or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."  Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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