Flesh in the Church, the great deception - Copyright 12/24/99 by Dan Sharpe.

Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society
Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Galatians 3:2-5
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law,
or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit,
are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you,
doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Our Christian existance, which begins in the Spirit when we are Born Again and become New Creatures, doesnt then shift over into works of the flesh. Observance of the Law is diametrically opposed to the Spirt. It is FLESH. We have been decieved to think of only carnal desires as being FLESH. Or at least to think of them primarily when we think flesh. The truth is that FLESH is far broader, and one very important truth is that when we trust in works, when we seek to obey the Law, when we believe that righteousness is based on self effort of any kind we are IN THE FLESH. Just as much as if we committed adultery, or if we yielded ourself to other carnal desires.

Galatians 5:16-26
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

If we walk in the Spirit, and not in works, self effort, or the Law, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Flesh and Spirit desire contrary things, therefore Law, and Self Effort and Works will NOT free us from the flesh, it will train us to serve the flesh. We can not "DO" what we choose merely because we chose to do it. We can only yield to the Spirit or succumb to the Flesh. We have free will, and our self will is torn by the contrary desires we are exposed to. If we are led by the Spirit then we are not following Law, we are not Selflead (self effort and self direction) and we are not doing dead works. When we are LEAD by the Spirit we are simply living in the Spirit, we are following Him, our focus is on Him. We are alive BY the Spirit (we have begun in the Spirit) let us always seek to walk in the Spirit (let us therefore finish in the Spirit). Lets not seek vain glory (self righteousness) provoke one another (judging by the Law) and envying one another (elevating works over faith and grace).

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We are God's work, litterally a work of spoken word (poema in the greek). Created to do good works that He already made fully possible. We only need follow Him. These works can not be done by self effort, nor be legislated by an external Law, God already built the Law of them into our hearts and is writing it in our minds as we are renewed by the Gospel.

Romans 2:14+15a (NIV)
Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, [15] since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts

Hebrews 10:16 (NIV)
"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."

We are a Law unto ourselves, because the "law" of our new covenant is a law of nature, of OUR nature. You dont have to legislate that electricity work. It works because of the laws of nature, the laws of CREATION, and we are new creations, with a new law that is the nature of our SPIRIT, and is being written on our SOUL.

Colossians 2:8-14
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world,
and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Our faith in what God did yeilds a true death burial and resurrection. Which takes place when we are born again. One in which our flesh and the law are nailed to the cross, and we are circumcized not in the flesh but OF the flesh of the death of our spirit. And we are made alive and Born Again as New Creatures because God the Father raised Jesus from the dead. Our Born Again nature is one of the spirit. Our SPIRIT is made alive eternally when we are BORN again, our Soul (which is our mind, will and emotions) is renewed by the Gospel in an ongoing process of GROWTH, and lastly when we have all been brought to a state of maturity of the Soul our bodies will be TRANSFORMED when Jesus comes back for a bride without spot or blemish.

Works and the Law can not transform our Soul they did NOTHING to give is new BIRTH and can do nothing to make us GROW. Faith in the Gospel, yielding to the Spirit, and focusing on God and not on human effort or human failure is that makes us GROW.

If we focus on works/law/self effort we are focused on flesh, on that which is destined to fail. If we focus on God, on what He did, on who He is, on who we are IN Him, and on what He gave us, then even when we fail, we will dust ourselves off and go forward with Him leading. But if we focus on the deceptions of the flesh, that we should accomplish things by human effort, when we fail we are more apt to lay there in dispair.

We are NOT under the Law, nor are we under the Levitical Priesthood. Christ is our High Priest, we have a New Covenant, a New Priest, a New Creation, and are free from the bondage of the Law.

Hebrews 7:11+12 (NIV)
If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come- -one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.

The Law was a failure, it made nothing perfect. The new covenant is not based on the Law, nor on the works of men. It is a BETTER Hope by which we worship God.

Hebrews 7:18+19 (NIV)
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

Colossians 2:16+17 (NIV)
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Hebrews 10:1
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Christ is the reality, the Law, Self Effort, Works - FLESH - is the deception that holds us in bondage. Those who serve the Law are serving a shadow of the New Covenant, they arent walking in true light and can easily stumble, and easily fail to see clearly what they have become in Christ. The Gospel is a mirror that reveals who we are in Christ, reveals our NEW nature. So that we can grow up into conformity with the IMAGE of the new covenant believer.

In 2 Corinthians we see that the law and the glory of God that was upon Moses when he came out of the tent of meeting fades. But that the Glory of the Gospel we have received doesnt EVER fade, and it is this glory which transforms us. Not works, not flesh, not self, but the Spirit. It transforms us because we discover who we are, what our nature is, what the Law God built into us is. And this process of selfdiscovery in the mirror of the Word is the TRUE process of Christian Growth.

2 Corinthians 3:11 (NIV)
And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

2 Corinthians 3:17+18 (NIV)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.