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We just explained what it means to be born again in the last unit. The soul of a person is originally on a path of decay and the Bible says it is dead in trespasses and sins. But, when the Holy Ghost moves into a person it breathes life into our soul and converts us from being dead to being alive. We become “born again” in a manner of speaking.
But there is something else we need to understand about this. You see, the soul of a person may have been born again, but what about the body? What happens with that part of us? Do Christians still sin?
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
If you haven’t noticed by now, our bodies (that which is called flesh) wants to sin. This is why we are tempted to sin. In fact, it almost feels as if we can’t stop sinning at all! The flesh and the mind (brain) of a person has not been born again like the soul has.
The Bible says that the flesh is still dead.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
1 Corinthians 15:50
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
17 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.
So even though our soul has been born again our flesh is still dead (in a state of decay). That’s why we sometimes have repeated sins that we keep dealing with over and over.
Now, this poses a problem for many people. On the one hand we have the born again soul that wants to do good, and on the other we have the flesh which wants to sin. Are we schizophrenic? Does this mean we are double minded?
Paul said, in Galatians, that the two are at war with each other. So we can not do what we really want to do. We are “stuck” between the mind of the flesh and the mind of the spirit. Yes, the flesh has a mind of its own.
Romans 7:15, 18-19, and 21-24
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Wow, it looks like Paul was having a hard time. In case anyone thinks he is talking about a time before he became a Christian I encourage you to take note that he is speaking in the present tense. Paul is CURRENTLY dealing with this issue even after being born again.
Also, take note that Paul is saying that he does evil! He, a born again Christian, does evil! How can this be?! If Paul was truly born again and walking with God then doesn’t that mean he would never sin?
1 John 3:8-10
6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
OK, surely there is something we are missing here! If Paul does evil then he can not be born of God, according to these scriptures. But, ALL men sin, including Christians. Paul says this himself in Romans. We also see this in other scriptures throughout the Bible. It certainly sounds like being double minded. But, it isn’t!
The simple fact of the matter is that even though we are born again in the spirit, we still have to deal with the desires of the flesh.
So what are we missing here to understand this? Is it really true that we are double minded?
We often look at ourselves in the mirror and think that we are actually seeing a reflection of who we are. But, are we really? No, we are seeing a reflection of our body, … not our soul. Imagine if you had a different body. Would that require you to have a different soul? No, your body changes with time and the things that happen to it. But you, the real you, are not your body. You are the soul inside of that body.
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
The body is only dust. The PERSON is the soul inside of the body. Our mistake is made when we consider ourselves to be BOTH soul & body together as one. That is why we make the mistake of thinking that we are double minded. But, the truth is that we, as a person, are NOT a combination of both. We as a person are our souls.
Our bodies are still dead (in a state of decay and sin) but our soul has been born again. This is why there is a war going on between your spirit and flesh. You, the REAL YOU, are not both. You, the REAL YOU, are your soul.
11 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:
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Thus the need to be born again of the spirit.
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Notice Paul said “I myself serve the law of God” here. Paul did not consider himself to be his flesh. Remember as well that the word for mind is also the same word used for soul.
2 Corinthians 5:16
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
It is clear that the Bible makes a distinction here. There is a difference between the Christian and his own flesh. In Colossians 2:11-14 we see where God makes a separation between the spirit and flesh. So the real you no longer includes your flesh when you become born again.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Look closely at verse 10 there. The body is DEAD because of sin. The Spirit is LIFE because of righteousness. Romans 6:11 above tells us that we should consider ourselves to be dead to sin but alive to Jesus.
What does that mean? It means the real you is the living born again spirit on the inside, yet that spirit is inside of something that isn’t the real you. It is inside the old dead body of flesh and sin. That body is still in decay and wants sin.
Now that you know who you are in Christ (sinless, righteous, and blameless) even if your flesh commits a sin, we have to ask ourselves what that means for us. Does it mean it is OK for us to allow our flesh to sin, since it isn’t who we really are anyway?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
1 Corinthians 9:27
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
That old dead flesh still wants to sin. It is still trying to pull away from God while the spirit is fighting against it, and pushing on towards God. There is a tug of war going on. The Bible tells us we are to bring our flesh under subjection. In other words WE, the REAL us, are supposed to rule over it.
The flesh will NEVER want to follow God. It will always fight. It, however, is not in charge of us. Sure, it can trip us, pull at us, and even attempt to lure us away from God. It still doesn’t matter, as long as our spirit keeps pushing to God.
Many people ask, does God forgive sins if you continue to repeat them? The answer is “What sins?” As the scriptures say, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
What happens when we do get tripped up, though? Do we have to repent again? Is it a never ending cycle of turning to God, from God, and then back to God? No, it’s not.
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Remember that YOU are not in the flesh. YOU are born again (if you have become so).
1 John 3:9
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
There are some people who claim that if you sin after becoming a Christian then it really means you never really repented. After all, if you did then you would never sin again. That is what they claim anyway. But, that is only a half truth.
If you have truly decided to forsake the world, follow Jesus, and are making steps in that direction then you have TRULY repented. It doesn’t matter if you fall into the same sin over and over again. Not as long as you are pushing forward to Jesus.
The real you, that born again spirit, keeps pushing towards God even when the flesh pulls in the other direction. So when Christians sin it is not because WE sinned, as Paul says. It is because our old nature has sinned. Therefore, WE do not need to repent again, seeing as how WE never turned from God even when the flesh had its way.
So what do WE need to do when the flesh tempts us? We need to bring it under submission. What do WE need to do if it has it’s way? We need to keep pushing towards God, knowing that it may have tripped us in the race, but we are still facing in the right direction. We just have to get up and keep going.
There is no need to repent again if you never turned your back on God.
Your flesh CAN NOT repent in the first place. Romans 8:7 tells us that it can not and will not turn to God. BUT your soul can. This is why Hebrews tells us it is impossible to renew us again unto repentance once we have become Christians. It’s because even if our flesh sins that still wouldn’t mean we turned our back on God. Our soul has already repented and is pushing on.
That’s why these next verses take on so much power!
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Who is it that walks not after the flesh but after the Spirit? It obviously isn’t our flesh. It is the REAL YOU. The soul of a person. Those of us who have our souls pointed to Jesus are not walking in the flesh, even if it acts out. Flesh walks in flesh and spirit in spirit. The two are not the same person. Even if they are always seen together.
Now there are still a few questions that remain. Is it possible for our spirit, not just the flesh, to turn from God? Can sin committed in the flesh cause us to lose salvation? These are important questions we will be answering in the next few units.
June 6, 2016 at 12:05 pm | | 20 comments