Rightly dividing the Word of truth is almost an unknown comodity these days, or so it seems. I am on many web locations and forums. I read viewpoints from every which way. It is amazing the different view points, especially when it comes to a "right relationship" with God. So few really understand what happens to a person when they get saved, and every day there after. False prophets and preachers are everywhere. Even those who are sincere seem to have learned some "slant" from someone else,and that "slant" seems to dominate all they say and do. So the opening remarks of this thread by Tara is a refreshing breeze for sure. I would think it extremely healthy to continue discussing our daily walk and relationship with God.
I have one basic truth that I will share, that to me (notice I said to me) is the bed rock of my relationship with God, the Lord Jesus Christ and His church.
My only access to God is through the finished work of the sacrafice and death of Jesus Christ our Lord on Calvary. The cross is God's only access to me. In Him I live, and move, and have my being. To God be the glory now and forever amen.
Tara, your question about the flesh and spirit I think you answered very well. So many people look at that old corrupted body in the mirror each morning and deep inside, they believe that the person they see is still alive. What about being dead with and in Christ? God sees us as being dead to sin because He sees our flesh already crucified with Jesus. How can you be alive in Christ, if you have not died with Him? You are raised from the dead in His resurrection. That is why Paul could say in Ephesians that we are already seated with Christ in heavenly places. The spirit of the born again man is perfect the moment we believe and place our hope for eternal life in Christ Jesus. It's way is always God's way, regardless of how much or how little one knows of God's Word. The Holy Spirit moves in, that makes the difference.
How one progresses in his/her life in Christ will depend greatly on how much they learn of God, how much they listen to God, and how much they allow the Holy Spirit to teach them. I believe that is why a broken and contrite heart is so dear to God. That is a heart that has died in Christ, and lives to serve God regardless of cost, events, or circumstances. When God sees us, He only sees Jesus. When we walk after the flesh, and not after the Spirit, we are chastised by our Holy Father, not disowned. Some think that God would take out our birth certificate and erase our name off the line. Do you do that to your children when they don't do what they should? Of course not. Neither does our loving Father. He chastises and He prunes. Oh that pruning is quiet another subject and worthy of it's own expansion. But God leads and guides. Sometimes believers get tangled up in the affairs of this world, even seem to go off the deep end in the world, but the Holy Spirit never gives up. Our Father in Heaven never gives up. We should never give up either. We should never give up on those who have strayed.
Dead flesh cannot sin. This dead flesh we live in will never be perfected, it can only be overcome. It's desires, it's lusts, it's very nature are alien to God and His way. That is what the sin nature is. Jeremiah said that the heart of man is infinitely wicked, who can know it. Ever read the few verses just preceeding these. If my memory serves me correctly, it's about chapter 15. Read the few verses just preceeding this one. There is absolutely no connection. To me it illustrates how cut and dry the difference is between the born again new man in our hearts and the old man that our new man lives inside. When we become born again, in God's eyes the old man, the flesh, and all it's deeds good or bad dies. Unfortunately, it's still living in our world, and must be battled on a daily basis. I am of the contention that our flesh is a far bigger hinderance in our walk with God than the devil. The devil just coorperates with our flesh and plays on it's weaknesses to entice us. But James said we are drawn away by our own lusts. So we need not blame others for the sinfulness of our flesh. It is naturally sinful, has been since Adam, will be until it breathes no more.
Spirit and flesh become opponents of war, the moment we believe for the very first time. They will be at war till our flesh dies. Only the spirit is alive to God. But to us, the flesh must be battled day and night. That is the fight of the believer, to win over the flesh.
Paul said, and rightly so, that sin shall not have dominion over you. Why? Because of the Holy Spirit of God that is the promise of the One who died for us all has taken up residence in you. He supplies the will and the desire to do the good pleasure of God. But that does not mean that we are no longer tempted and tried. Oh no.
So if you seem to be constantly losing "the war", let me conclude with one simple reminder. In a war, who usually ends up victor? Is it not the one who is best trained, best equipped, best supplied, best fed? I think the answer is obvious that this is so. It is the same in your own personal life as well. If you sew to the flesh, it will rule and riegn in your life. If you sew to the Spirit, it will rule and reign in your life. So who are you equipping for this battle in your heart, the flesh or the spirit?
Reading our bibles, fellowship here and at the local church, fellowship with God in that secret and quiet place, being about our Fathers business in our service to one another, all of these things compete for our time. Who get's what's left? The enemy, our flesh.
So if you're walking around feeling defeated, maybe you should take a look at the battle on the inside. Which side are you supplying, training, and equipping? When that battle is won, what is going on around you will seem to pale in light of the glorious Gospel that lives in you, reigns in you, and gives you life......eternal life. Alleluia. Thank You oh sweet wonderful Jesus. Beloved, you are perfect, pure, holy, sanctified, and totally righteous in the Father's eyes. How else could we be welcomed to approach the throne of grace so boldly? It's all about Jesus. He fought the fight, He won the battle. Just get in Christ, and let Christ get in you. Make Him your all in all. Get to the place where you can say like Job, "though He slay me, yet will I praise Him". Then what goes on in this world, really won't matter all that much. If you have fine, if you dont' fine. If you are employed fine, if you are destitute, find. The world and it's cares will not matter. You will be lost to it, and it to you....lost in the loving arms of such a great and wonderful loving Father. Psalm 91 will be your sanctuary of hope and promise. Isaiah 58 and Matthew 25:31-46 will be your guide for service. You will radiate the image of Christ. His love will spill out of all you say and do into a world that is so thirsty for it. Let the Holy Spirit fill you afresh, even as you read this. I know He is longing to be your all in all. His work is to prepare you to meet Jesus one day soon. He wants us to be totally His.
If you have been losing the war, rest. Rest in Christ. Seek in Him the power of victory you need. It only comes by faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Surround yourself, fortify your defenses with God. God in the morning, God in the evening, God when the sun goes down. Get some praise and worship tapes, get your bible, steal every available minute in His presense and love. Remember, James said that if we resist the devil he would flee? Most people over look the first part of that verse, "turn to God". Turn around, right now. Let go of all that baggage that has hindered your walk with God. Let God be the centerpeice of all that you are, all you say and do. Make a joyful noise, for God and His angels are rejoicing. He does't have a switch (a tree branch to whip you with) for you beloved, He has a robe and a ring. He's in that celebrating frame of mind. His Spirit is calling out to yours......"come on home. I'm watching out the widow for you. Come home, live in my house, let me love you." What will you trade brother and sister, for a love so gracious and kind. What will you trade for so great a riches. What is more important than fellowship with God? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nothing will seperate you from His love, that is His promise to us. What is your promise to Him. What will separate Him from your love? It's one of the most important questions you can ask yourself as a believer.
Well, I know I tend to run on. But I can't help myself. I just get going and don't know when to stop. But I can tell you that even as I write this, the Spirit of God is swelling in my heart. My eyes are filled with tears. They are not my tears but His. He longs for each of us beloved. He's like that faithful mom that waits up all night until the last one is safely home. He's waiting up for you right. If you are not home, why not turn around right now. I promise from the depths of my soul, it will be the best thing you could possibly do. Get God working in your life again. Get His aide, His power, His Spirit moving in your defenses. Oh I pray that you do. I pray so very deeply, that one saint who has lost his way reads this to conclusion. Not because I write, but because I know that I know, that God is longing for you. I'm just operating the keys here, God is calling someone with grief of a parent who's child is missing. Come home, come home, it's supper time.
with a trembling heart in Christ Jesus,