Tuesday, January 13, 2009
THE SPIRIT versus THE FLESH
''This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh'' Galatians 5;16]. These are the two antithetical ellements of life, the two opposing resources upon which life must depend. If we are living OUR life, it's flesh; if we are living HIS life, it is Spirit. These are the basic terms of our identification with the human family and with the divine family. ''In Adam'' we all inherit the flesh; ''In Christ'' we all inherit, by covenant right, the Spirit. The flesh has its way of living and expressing itself. The Spirit has His way of expressing Himself. The two are ''contrary.'' Now our antithesis becomes a sharply drawn antagonism. These words are addressed to Christians, to those who have undertaken to live the Christian life, for only believers have the Holy Spirit; but such, also have the fllesh--persistently so. IT IS EXPLAINED THAT ''THESE ARE CONTRARY THE ONE TO THE OTHER.'' Their aims and purposes are diametrically opposed. eACH SAYS ''No'' to the other. Each checkmates the other's moves. The result is a stalemate for the Christian--''ye cannot do the things that ye would''--until this problem finds a solution. Evidently, in one sense, the Christian has a harder time than other folks. If I am an unsaved man and want to do a thing, I go ahead and do it. If I am a saved man, I may want to do it, and the Spirit may say,''No, you are not to do it.'' WHAT A MISERABLE WAY TO LIVE. . . Is there no solution/ The solution, our way out is, ''Walk in the Spirit.'' Give the Spirit a free hand, the full right of way. Let YOUR life be the practical day by day expression of HIS life. ''Flesh'' is the Bible's word for human nature. Leaving off the ''h'' and spelling it in reverse, we have ''self.'' Flesh is the self-life. It is what man is, left to himself. At times self behaves itself very commendably; again, it behaves very SELFISHLY. When not well in hand it shows itself off. evening TV NEWS reveals that human nature is out of hand much of the time. Man tries to educate it, to train it, to discipline it; he passes laws to compel it to behave. But God/--God unsparingly condemns it. He says it is incurably bad. The flesh has a mind of its own and that mind is ''not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be'' [Romans 8;7]. God makes clear that He has no confidence in the flesh. Therefore His children are described as those who ''have no confidence in the flesh'' [Philippians 3;3], but rather join Him in self- condemnation, saying, ''I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing'' [Romans 7;18]. It is a great thing for a Christian, especially one reared in the church, Who has never been, as we say, ''deep in sin,'' when he humbly and whole-heartedly accepts God's estimate of his inheritance ''in Adam,'' thus to be thrown in complete dependence upon the Spirit, his inheritance ''in Christ.'' His gain is that, being now ''Led Of The Spirit'' and under His control,he has no need of being ''under the law'' [5;18]. The Holy Spirit has come into his life to take the self-life in hand and keep it under complete control. [TO BE CONTINUED].