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 Sinful Flesh?

Much of the "theology" that we hear today seems to be nothing more then the traditions of men, (theological traditions) pasted down through the ages, rather then the actual revelation of God's Word. We need a THEOLOGICAL REFORMATION!

This is a post I made a little while ago that I have modified, added to, and turned into an article. I hope that this article will be one step in the right direction towards a theological reformation!

[b]“SINFUL FLESH” [/b]

What is meant when the bible uses the term, “sinful flesh”? In the King James Version the term "sinful flesh" is only found once - Romans 8:3.

The passage says Christ came in the "likeness of sinful flesh" and He "condemned sin in the flesh". This is not to say that Christ had a sinful flesh, but that He came and lived and looked like the rest of the world, a sinful world.

A misunderstanding of this verse, specifically this term “sinful flesh”, has caused much confusion in the theological world. It has lead some to believe that the physical flesh is evil and is sin itself; leading people to physical mortification and self inflicted bodily harm.

But what can this verse possibly mean?

[b]WHAT THIS PASSAGE DOES NOT SAY[/b]

I'd like to point out that this passage does not say, "In the likeness of flesh of sin". It does not say "flesh of sin" but rather "sinful flesh". Sinful flesh is very simply flesh full of sin, but not to be mistaken at all for flesh made out of sin.

It's one thing for your stomach to be "full of food" and a completely different thing for your stomach to be made out of food. It’s one thing to have a house “full of people” and a completely different thing to have a house made of people. The first is a possibility and the later an absurdity. So clearly it can be seen that it’s one thing to have a flesh full of sin and completely different to have a flesh made out of sin, that is to say, a flesh that actually was sin.

And notice how the same scripture goes on to talk about "sin in the flesh". But never does this verse mention flesh made of sin, or flesh that was sin, but is always talking about "sin in the flesh" or "sin-filled flesh".

[b]WHAT DOES THIS PHRASE MEAN?[/b]

So, how can the flesh be full of sin?

First, what is the nature of sin? Is sin a physical substance or deformity we are born with or is it a moral choice of the will?

[b]IF SIN WERE PHYSICAL[/b]

If sin were a physical substance, that all of us were born with, we could very simply have it surgically removed or at least put it under a microscope and have a look at it. If this passage meant "flesh of sin" rather then "flesh full of sin", then the man with one arm is less sinful then the man with two arms. The man with one leg is less sinful then the man with two legs. And the man with no arms or no legs is less sinful then all of them!

If sin were physical, then it could not be a moral choice, it could not be your own doing; therefore it could not be something you were guilty of or accountable for seeing it was out of your control. It would be like a man who is born with dark skin. His skin color was entirely independent of his choice, entirely independent of his own doing. That which is outside of a moral agents control must be outside of his responsibility, seeing that he can neither cause it nor stop it, therefore can have no personal guilt as though he personally did anything.

So sin being physical would make man the victim of sin rather then the criminal of sin. Sin being a physical deformity that all men are born with would make it impossible for one to "love" Christ and "keep His commandments" and would render "God's commandments" to be grievous, rather then "not burdensome". You would have to believe God’s laws are tyrannical rather then moral and just. You would have to disregard what God Himself says about sin and what God Himself says about His commandments if you were to believe that sin was some physical substance or physical deformity you were born with. Theologians may say such things, but God says no such thing!

Sin would no longer be a "moral" choice, but rather a necessity or causation. It would not be something that the scripture says sinners "yield" to or “let” “reign” in the “mortal body”. But sin would be the mortal body, independent of any “letting”. One cannot be guilty of choosing what he did not choose, nor can what be blamed for what was a necessity or something he was caused to do, without any possibility of performing the contrary.

Plainly put, the perspective of sin being anything physical strips man of responsibility as well as accountability for sin.

All this is not to say that man is not born with physical deformity, for indeed he is. But this physical deformity is not sin as some might claim. This deformity may incline a person towards sin, being a source of temptation, but it does not force a person to sin, as an undeniable or inescapable cause to an inevitable, unavoidable end.

The bible does teach a doctrine called “Physical Depravity”. 1 Corinthians clearly says that all who are “in Adam” inherit “death” just as a child can inherit the aids virus from its parents. We are victims of our inherited disease of death just as a child who inherits aids is a victim. We receive this “body of death” but we are not responsible for it. It was caused by actions outside of our control that were independent of our will.

However, “Moral Depravity” is not inherited through Adam, or transmitted through birth. The bible says we inherit “death” through Adam, but nowhere does it say we inherit “sin”. Sinful parents cannot birth sinful children anymore then holy parents can birth holy children. Both sinfulness and holiness consist in the voluntary submission of the will. Sinfulness and holiness, obedience and disobedience, is of a person’s heart, their personal intention. So “Moral Depravity” is entirely a moral agents own doing. He is a criminal because it was his own personal choice. He is entirely responsible for it. It was caused only by actions within his control completely dependent upon his will.

Sin, like holiness, is not a “thing” to be transmitted or inherited. Sin, or disobedience, is not constituted as the physical flesh, a physical deformity, or a physical nature. But sin (disobedience) is the exercise of the will towards the end of self-supremacy instead of God supremacy, an attitude of the heart of selfishness instead of benevolence, which inevitably selects means to the end, these means being executive acts and volitions of self-gratification. Sin and disobedience is nothing more then an immoral choice which each moral agent has the power to make for himself or not, but no moral agent has the power to make this choice for anyone else or the ability to transmit it to other person through blood transfusion or pregnancy.

[b]IF SIN WERE A MORAL CHOICE[/b]

Since sin is not a physical nature or a physical deformity, but is a moral choice, how can the flesh be full of sin?

[b]First,[/b] what is sin? 1 John 3:4 is a clear definition of sin. "Sin is transgression of the Law."

Others may like to use Romans 3:23, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" and say that sin is falling short of God’s glory. But I would contend that this is the universal application of sin, and the description of sin, but 1 John 3:4 is the actual definition of sin. Men fall sort of what standard? The standard of God’s law! Falling short is the description of sin, but transgression of the law is the definition of sin.

[b]Second,[/b] if sin is what 1 John 3:4 says it is, that sin is transgression of the law, the next question is what is the law?

Jesus answers the question for us in Matthew 22:40 where he says that to love God supremely and your neighbor equally is the essence of all of the law. God's law is very simply the law of love, the law of God’s nature.

Romans 13:8 - "he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law."

Romans 13:10 - "love is the fulfilling of the law."

Galatians 5:14 - "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love"

James 2:8 - "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love"

[b]Thirdly,[/b] if sin is transgression of the law, and the law is the law of love, what then is love?

John 15:13 - "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Love is having another’s best interest at heart without any contemplation of reward. It is a disinterested benevolence, willing the highest good of another without selfish motive. Love is a phenomenon of the will, not of the emotions.

[b]Fourthly[/b], if sin is transgression of the law, the law is the law of love, and love is benevolence, then sin can be concluded as the opposite of love, the opposite of benevolence, which is selfishness.

Love or benevolence is willing the highest well being of all, specifically God supremely and neighbor equally. Sin or selfishness is willing the highest well being of yourself supremely and everything else secondary.

Having all this understood, as to what sin is, what law is, what love is, we can now answer how someone can have a flesh that is full of sin.

Very simply, a sinful flesh, or more specifically a flesh full of sin, would be an inward will for sin, but not a physical deformity which is sin, or a nature that is sin. A flesh with inward sin would be an internal bad will, with bad intentions, but not an internal bad nature that constitutes sin. The physical flesh is never sin in and of itself. The physical flesh can be a source of temptation, inclining a person towards sin, but it is not a big chunk of sin itself. Christ said that all sin proceeds out of the heart, that is, the will. (Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21).

Men may have a fleshly bias towards sexual immorality because of the sex drive. This can cause temptation which leads to sin if not controlled rightly by the will. “When lust is conceived, it brings forth sin” says James. Lust is: desiring that which is forbidden. There is a physical desire in the flesh which is temptation. But it is nothing more and nothing less then temptation, no matter how strong or how weak it may be. And there is a willful desire, adultery of the heart, or the act of willing adultery, which is sin. If the desire of the will submits to the desires of the flesh, then and only then is a moral agent guilty of sin. But temptation itself is not sin. A former drug addict may have fleshly temptations for his former drugs if he is physically addicted, but this is not sin. This desire is only temptation unless he submits his heart to it. Then it becomes sin. Sin is not an emotion, a physical desire, nor a physical deformity. But sin is of the heart, that is, a submission of the will to what is known to be immoral, when the contrary could and should have been chosen.

Ultimately, one who is truly inwardly sinful is one who is inwardly selfish in his will as opposed to loving in his will. Scripture certainly does not teach anywhere that man has an internal substance of sin, some abstract thing that is independent of the will that is considered sin, or that man has a flesh made of sin. But rather the scriptures teach that men have a sinful flesh, a flesh full of sin, when they choose to willfully disobey God’s moral law and also that men have a inherited “physical depravity” because of Adam, and are thus are infected with death and have a natural inclination towards sin, but this physical depravity is not sin itself.

 2006/12/29 14:27
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: Sinful Flesh?

Quote:
This is a post I made a little while ago that I have modified, added to, and turned into an article. I hope that this article will be one step in the right direction towards a theological reformation!


I presume that by 'theological reformation' you really mean the theological traditions of Finneyism?

[color=0000ff]“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent his own Son, in likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin, has condemned sin in the flesh,” (Rom 8:3 DRBY)[/color]


Quote:
I'd like to point out that this passage does not say, "In the likeness of flesh of sin". It does not say "flesh of sin" but rather "sinful flesh". Sinful flesh is very simply flesh full of sin, but not to be mistaken at all for flesh made out of sin.

It's one thing for your stomach to be "full of food" and a completely different thing for your stomach to be made out of food. It’s one thing to have a house “full of people” and a completely different thing to have a house made of people. The first is a possibility and the later an absurdity. So clearly it can be seen that it’s one thing to have a flesh full of sin and completely different to have a flesh made out of sin, that is to say, a flesh that actually was sin.


Again, you may have been misled by the KJV here. The word 'sinful' does not appear in the original; it is simply the word for 'sin' in the genitive. The word 'flesh' is also in the genitive. Darby has the phrase translated literally above. It is not a solid foundation for theology to base your ideas on English idioms.


Quote:
The bible says we inherit “death” through Adam


What passage do you have in mind here? Are you thinking of [color=0000ff]“For as in the Adam all die, thus also in the Christ all shall be made alive.” (1Cor 15:22 DRBY)[/color]? "In Adam, we all die" is in the present tense, while the 'in Christ all shall be made alive' is future tense.


Quote:
First, what is sin?


Do you accept a distinction between Sin the condition and sin the transgression?


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2006/12/30 5:01Profile
Christinyou
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Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3703
Ca.

 Re: Sinful Flesh?

Great.

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Sin is a choice. Adam chose to believe Satan over God. That was not right. So sin passed unto all man. By one mans choice sin reigned over all man. By One Man's obedience all who choose to believe God are saved.

1Cr 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1Cr 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.

In Christ: Phillip


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Phillip

 2006/12/30 5:04Profile
Goldminer
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Joined: 2006/11/7
Posts: 1178
Alabama

 Re: Sinful Flesh?

"Men are free now not to sin."

Dick Benjamin


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KLC

 2006/12/30 9:19Profile
Christinyou
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Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3703
Ca.

 Re:

Praise God My Brother.

How long have you been punished for that truth?

The Christ that is birthed in us is perfect and how can we live a life in Christ and it not bring us to His life in the flesh. The Mind of Christ in us, done, renewing our mind to the mind of Christ being done. Amen.

Colossians 1:25-28 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

1 Thessalonians 1:3-4 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

Galatians 2:17-20 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

God bless you Dick Benjamin.
As In Christ always: Phillip


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Phillip

 2006/12/31 3:46Profile
mamaluk
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Joined: 2006/6/12
Posts: 524


 Re:

Praise God, brother Christinyou, for [i]all[/i] of your labor and love, sharing sound doctrine with the pure Word, in such a way

Quote:
1 Thessalonians 1:3-4 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.



Quote:
Galatians 2:17-20 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might [b]live[/b] unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless [b]I live[/b]; yet not I, but Christ [b]liveth[/b] in me: and the life which I now [b]live[/b] in the flesh I [b]live [/b]by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.



ahh, no more dying of our never-dying self, over and over and over and over again, far better to be living of our resurrected Christ (yes, all [i]done [/i]by that Finished Work), moment by moment..

How blessed we are indeed, what hope there is..

Praising God again!
IN Christ,mamaluk

 2006/12/31 11:38Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4794


 Re:

Gen. 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

Romans 2

4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;


Romans 1

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

Rom. 1:24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.


By suppression of the truth, men become fools, and their souls are cast into the Pit.

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2007/1/2 2:26Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
"Men are free now not to sin."


which men?


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Ron Bailey

 2007/1/3 6:11Profile
Christinyou
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Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3703
Ca.

 Re:

Those that are in Christ Jesus and He in them.


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Phillip

 2007/1/8 2:22Profile





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