Hey y’all! Time to review an awesome sermon…
Still working to catch up on Romans. Here’s my summary of the one from December 15th, in which we explored the topic of the flesh in the life of the believer, working out of Chapter 7.
To review, throughout this book we’ve been learning that we no longer have a relationship with the law, but with Christ. That we cannot be married to the law in any portion of our lives and have spiritual victory there. This manifests in self-dependency and trying to rely on our own strength, more will power, and more rules. We have been divorced and died to the law. However, we are still in our carnal conditions. We daily struggle with our flesh. It greatly encouraged me to understand this better; I hope you are encouraged too.
Romans 7:15 speaks of Paul’s experience with the contradiction between his will to do and his actions. In Christ, we are given a new will, a will which wants to please the Lord and do good, but even as we will to do, our actions usually speak differently, don’t they? As he talks about this more, he comes to two conclusions. The first is that the law is good, vs 16, and second, then it is not him who does it, but sin which dwells in him. I’ve always stumbled through this verse because I thought Paul was excusing his sin and that maybe it was possible I’m not guilty, cause it’s really the sin that’s well, sinning. But, this false interpretation comes from an incorrect understanding of the war within ourselves. Paul is discovering here the very extent to which we as believers deal with indwelling sin.
We have three spiritual enemies:
1) The Devil. He is an invisible enemy, yet powerful and very real.
2) The world. We are constantly dealing with being enticed by external seductions.
3) The flesh in us. This is our internal traitor. Our own worst enemy is ourselves.
What is the flesh? Three things we know about it:
1) Romans 8:7 says, “the flesh is at enmity with God”. This implies that the flesh has it’s own way of thinking, reasoning. It has a mental capacity. It’s not just your muscles and ligaments that are your flesh… it’s just part of you.
2) Ephesians 2:3 says, “all once conducted themselves in the lust of the flesh”. This implies that the flesh has emotions and desires. It’s not just a logical thinking thing, it’s also a biased, dreaming thing.
3) Romans 7 alludes to the “will” of the flesh. It has a way to make decisions.
We all have this flesh in us. Few more things to note:
- Nothing good dwells in the flesh, says verse 18.
- Verse 25 says it is a slave to sin.
- Verse 7 says it is at enmity with God.
- and that it is not subject to the law of God, and our flesh cannot be cured.
The flesh will war with our minds, with the good things the Spirit is teaching us. When we desire to do right, we need to expect that our flesh will rise up and war with us. We can’t take this as a reason not to engage in the battle, nor should we go looking for a formula or cure that promises a holier life. There are always new theologies around that appear to take the flesh out of the equation. “Do this and this and this and it works this way and wow, you will be so much happier!” But these things will be let down after let down because they are not engaging in the battle with the flesh. A seminar or book does not have the power to save us! The article “10 Ways to Love Your Siblings” is not going to help when stubbornness and bitterness are rooted in your soul. We have got to be realistic about the real spiritual battle that is really going on with our internal enemy. Who will deliver me from this body of death? The law cannot. I cannot overcome my shortcomings with willpower. Only Jesus Christ can deliver me. And He did.
Plus, if my flesh is never going away, I might as well get started on the work He has given me to do instead of waiting until I feel like I’m mature enough. Since I can never be good enough, whatever comes about through my hands in ministry glorifies the Lord all the more, because it is not I who lives, but Christ in me.
What was your sermon on this week? I’m sorry I’m so behind in these posts! Blessings!