Old and New
You can no more live the Christian life by human effort than you can become a Christian by human effort.
‘For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.’ (Galatians 5:17)
The old nature and the new nature are in conflict, pulling us in different directions. It’s a civil war that takes place within the life of every Christian. The root of this struggle is what Paul calls ‘the flesh,’ all that we are in our natural selves, apart from God. The flesh cannot be evangelized nor sanctified, it has to be crucified. In fact, it has been crucified, it has been sentenced to death and death has been judicially carried out on the cross of Christ. However, though done legally, it lives to fight at every opportunity.
The flesh is happy with its sinful appetites, for that is its fallen nature. However it is also happy with the law, for then it is in control as it satisfies us with our own sense of righteousness. What the flesh fights is the Spirit, the indwelling Holy Spirit, who alone is the source of true godliness and true spiritual life. ‘So,’ says Paul in Galations 5:16, ‘I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature’.
Are you living in the flesh, with human strategies, or by the Spirit, depending on His indwelling presence?
Bible in one year: Zechariah 7-9 | Revelation 19