God's Sword of Truth - The Word
Every Christian has the conscious experience of two natures being present, the flesh and the spirit. But sad to say, it seems very few Christians understand the two natures as it is taught in the Word of God. This fact has caused much confusion and disappointment among Christians. Many times a young convert rejoices in his new-found life in Christ. He grows in grace in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, everything goes well, and life is, oh, so sweet!
Then suddenly and without warning, the old nature, the flesh, pops up and the new convert realizes that the old nature is still present, as strong as ever - if not stronger. He is amazed, discouraged, and distressed. Whereas, if he had been instructed from the Word of God concerning the two natures, he would know how to cope with the situation, and the devil could not use such circumstances to dampen the fervor of the believer and hinder his joy in the Lord.
It is at this point in their Christian experience that some believers begin to drift away from the Lord Jesus Christ and begin to live a half-hearted Christian life. They justify such action by saying that the old nature is still present with them and they cannot overcome it, no matter how hard they try. There may be many souls who are living defeated lives, who could be happy Christians if they would only allow the Holy Spirit to teach them the Word concerning spiritual living and victory in Christ.
The nature given to us by Adam was through generation, and the nature which is ours in Christ is by regeneration. The moment we come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior we become partakers of divine nature, but the old nature of the flesh remains - waiting to throw itself in our pathway, tempting us at the suggestion of Satan in an attempt to cast us down. We will not be rid of the "old man" as long as we live in a tabernacle of flesh, but it is possible to starve the flesh and keep it in subjection, fighting the good fight of faith and claiming victory in Christ. We can be "more than conquerors" through Him. (See Romans 8:37).
The very nature of regeneration brings about the uprising of the flesh. The coming of Christ into the heart will sooner or later stir up the enmity of the flesh. The manifestation of the old nature is not evidence that one had not been made partaker of divine nature. On the contrary, it is evidence that the believer has taken on the new nature, and as Christ himself was tempted of the devil in the wilderness, so the new Christian will be put to the test as Satan tempts him through the weakness of the flesh.
All Christians, but especially new ones, should know this bible truth. Thus, they would know how to deal with the two natures - the flesh verses the spirit and they would be spared much disappointment and humiliation in their Christian walk. If believers understood how the "old man" opposes the new, there may be less backsliding than is evident today. Without adequate knowledge of the Word of God on the subject of the nature of the flesh in opposition to the nature of the spirit, some Christians do not expect to be tempted by the flesh; they often believe that after conversion they are immune to this temptation. Therefore, when the flesh asserts itself and temptation becomes a problem, they become discouraged and ready to quit. They don't realize that God gave up flesh in the Garden of Eden. The nature of the flesh was given to us by Adam - but thank God the last Adam (Christ) purchased our redemption through His blood on Calvary, and when we believe on Him and accept His finished work, He gives unto us His divine nature!
"And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, and spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath...". Ephesians 2:1-3. According to this passage from Ephesians, there is a nature of the flesh, and we have that nature when we are born into this world. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh". John 3:6.
We don't choose the fleshly nature. It is ours by birth, and it will be with us every moment of our natural life! In the Bible, this nature is called "the old man". We are instructed to "put off concerning the former conversations of the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.". Ephesians 4:22. The nature of the flesh is also called "the natural man". "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned".1 Cor. 2:14.
The flesh has a worldly appetite. It craves the sinful lusts of the world. But the spiritual nature craves things of the Spirit - the Word of God, prayer, Christian fellowship. The flesh is enmity against God, it is not subject to God, neither indeed can it be (see Romans 8:7). The Apostle Paul testified, "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good things." 1 Cor. 2:14.
The word states that the unregenerate heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it? No person can know the potential for evil of the unregenerate nature of man. Only God knows the wickedness of the heart of man, and only God knows the awful price Jesus paid to provide a new heart for man.
Let us look at this picture of the heart that belongs to the flesh, the old nature - a picture given in the words of Jesus Christ. "....that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication's, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." Mark 7:20-23.
What a terrible picture of that little machine in our bosom called the heart! And, if you are not born again, I say without hesitation, that you have a heart that is capable of making you commit any crime that any other sinner has ever committed. Even a Christian can obey the heart only as it is fully yielded to the Holy Spirit's leading.
"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; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit". Romans 8:3-4. Notice - the law was not weak; God's law is strong and powerful, to be sure, but the flesh was weak. Therefore, what the law could not do (what man could not do for himself), God sent His Son to do, and Jesus conquered sin in the flesh.
But the nature of the flesh cannot be changed. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" No man can change their color, they may try to hide certain facts but they cannot change the color of their skin. The bible uses this established, unquestionable fact to illustrate that it is as impossible to change the nature of the flesh as it is for man to change the color of his skin, or the leopard to change his spots. You will never change the desires of the flesh if you attempt to do it within your own power.
In the garden of eden God passed the sentence of death upon the flesh. He declared "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.". 1 Corinthians 15:22 tells us that in Adam "ALL MEN DIE"! In the garden of eden God gave up the flesh as hopeless and no good, but He promised salvation for the Spirit - "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls." James 1:21.
He will give us a new spiritual body!
We are by nature the children of wrath, children of the devil. A child does not have to be trained to steal, say bad words, or do bad things, for he is born with the nature of the flesh. He must be taught not to do those things, he must be trained in the things of God and led by the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ for salvation. It is born in mankind to live wrong, and he will do wrong without any training.
Although things look dark from the nature of the flesh, there is also another nature, the nature of the Spirit. "That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." John 3:6. These are words that Jesus Christ spoke to Nicodemus when he came to Him by night seeking answers for his disturbed soul. Nicodemus had "religion", but he did not have salvation, he did not have peace in his heart.
Jesus said to this man that "Ye must be born again." Nicodemus, thinking in terms of the natural man, (the flesh), did not understand how a man could be born when he was old. It was then that Jesus explained to him..."That which is born of the flesh is flesh". Our mother gave us a natural birth; but we must have another birth, a spiritual birth. (See John 3:4-5).
Man is made in the image of God. God is TRI-UNITY consisting of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Man also is a TRI-UNITY consisting of the body, soul and spirit. The body is fleshly and will die. The soul and spirit given by God is eternal. In the Word of God, God declares that at death "the dust" (the body) shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it (See Jewish History). Do not try to repair what the Lord gave up as unfit to repair. He will give us a new body when Jesus comes, a body like the glorious resurrected body of Jesus Christ (See 1 John 3:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 5:51-57).
Now, what is this nature of man which is called "Spirit"? The nature of the Spirit is "Christ in you, the hope of glory". Colossians 1:27. This spirit-nature is called "life". "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." 1 John 5:11-12.
How do we acquire this Spirit-nature?
There is but one way and that is through faith in the promises of God. He has "given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakes of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4. Just as surely as we receive the nature of the flesh in our natural birth - we receive the nature of the Spirit when we are born from above. There are then two distinct natures abiding within the same body - and a war between the two begins when a sinner is saved!
The divine nature, the nature of the Spirit, is wrought in the believer through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is the divine Agent of spiritual birth. The Word of God is the seed in the hands of the Holy Spirit; "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."John 3:5.
The water in this verse speaks of the Word of God. Christ, " ...loved the church, and gave himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word." Ephesians 5:25-26. In John 15:3, Jesus said: "Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you."
Even in Jewish History, water symbolized the Word of God, "As cold water is to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." The "good news" is the Gospel..the Word of God, and the "far country"..speaks of heaven, from whence the Word of God comes.
When the Holy Spirit is mentioned, in connection with water in the Word of God, it signifies the Spirit in operation with the Word, the two working together, the Word being used by the Spirit as His instrument to bring about the spiritual birth. (See 1 John 5:6-8). "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."Titus 3:5.
So the Word of God declares that we are saved by washing of regeneration, the work of the Holy Spirit, not the washing of the water in a baptism. Water baptism has nothing to do with our salvation. This washing of regeneration takes place through the instrument of God’s Word – “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth…” James 1:18
Jesus Christ came into the world to FULFILL the Law and Prophets, and REMOVE the existing Carnal Ordinances and did not institute any more Carnal Ordinances to replace those He died to remove.Paul said in 2 Corinthians , "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”\
We are saved by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently; being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." 1 Peter 1:22-23. Thus we see that according to the Word of God, souls are made pure by obeying the truth - but what is truth? Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." John 14:6. Jesus is the truth, therefore Jesus makes men pure and it is the Holy Spirit who makes Jesus real and leads us to the "new nature".
It was Jesus himself who declared, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63. The flesh adds up to zero - insofar as the Lord is concerned! Whether man accepts it or not, the divine nature comes through the operation of the Spirit and the living Word of God.
The nature of the flesh comes with the natural birth. The divine nature comes with the spiritual birth. So every saved person has these two natures dwelling side by side in the same body, and they will continue to dwell until the spirit goes to be with the Lord. "He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:8. This shows that the Christian possesses two natures - and we can sow to either nature - but the harvest produced would be quite different.
There is a constant warfare going on in the life of a believer as the flesh fights against the Spirit and the Spirit fights against the flesh. "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. For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. -- Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; 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. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"Romans 7:18-24.
Paul represents himself as a man who is led by one power to seek after God and righteousness with all his heart - and then another power sweeps him off his feet in the opposite direction. Paul's experience is an example to us and is no different from the experience of the average Christian. Just about the time victory seems well in hand, the devil throws an unexpected temptation in our way and the first thing we know, we are repenting of some sin in our lives.
So if you have reached the place in your Christian walk where you think the devil cannot tempt you, look out! "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." 1 Corinthians 10:12. The devil will never leave you alone until you are safe in the arms ofJesus. Remember, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you, then he that is in the world." 1 John 4:4.
It is when temptation comes through the flesh that some Christians become discouraged, and spiritual disaster is often the outcome for them. They may not lose their soul's salvation, but they lose their joy, victory, and rewards. And, even worse, through their careless living, they may cause others to stumble into hell, others who might have been saved, had these Christians gone on from victory unto victory in Jesus' name!
It is a sad experience for the new Christian when he awakens to the fact that in spite of regeneration, in spite of the new creation of the Spirit within him, in spite of the fact of God's divine strength within him, he is still sinful and still has sinful impulses. It seems to the Christian that the harder he tries to live a clean and holy life, the more temptations and sinful impulses beset him, and what seems so very strange to him is the fact that such impulses and temptations seem stronger than ever before! After a person is saved he or she may find that they are tempted to do things that they were never tempted to do before they were saved.
It should not be surprising to the Christian that such temptations should come. You see, before a sinner is converted, Satan has things going his way. He holds full sway in the life of the unsaved person and he does not have to put up a fight or try new tricks on his victim. But when the Lord Jesus moves into the heart and takes control of the spirit, there is a new Tenant in the house. The "old man" does not appreciate being pushed aside, and he puts up a fight. I have had people say to me "I don't know for sure whether I am saved or not. I have so many temptations, and the way is so hard!" If the way is hard, it is a good thing, for God's Word promises, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2 Timothy 3:12.
"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." Galatians 5:17. The Spirit is here shown to be on the aggressive, fighting against the power of inbred sin, able to deliver the Christian from surrendering the power of the flesh. We are in a spiritual battle. "Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." Ephesians 6:13-17. The only weapon we have in this battle is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
But deliverance requires the active participation of the believer himself. In Romans 7:15-24, we saw the believer under domination of the flesh - in favor of good, but actually bond slave of evil - wretched in his helplessness to get beyond anything better than mere sentiment. However, please note Galatians 5:16-24, "This I say, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill 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, 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." The new-man has asserted his claim to the Christian and is holding back the inclinations of the flesh. Thus, the Christian is encouraged to walk in the Spirit in full surrender to Him, with the assurance that by his so yielding, the Spirit will bring complete victory to the Christian life.
The Word of God explains how to deal with the new nature, the divine nature, which dwells within the bosom of every Christian. The Christian needs to know how to feed the inward man or new man that he might grow spiritually. Just as the natural man is sustained by physical food, water, and the necessities of the physical life, so the spiritual man is sustained by spiritual food - the milk, meat, and bread of the living Word of God.
Many Christians today are starving for lack of Spiritual food! How can a Christian be so careless and unconcerned for their spirit, how can he waste his time on programs, organizations and less essential matters, and provide no spiritual milk for the babes in Christ and no meat for the growing children in Christ! No wonder many Christians have fallen prey to the wolves of the World! They may have been reborn of a new nature, the spirit, but they are starved spiritually in some formalistic, cut-and-dried denominational machine, while the Elder tried to create an impressive headquarters instead of getting out the spiritual food,....the Word. Men today are living defeated lives who would be living victoriously in Christ if they had allowed the Spirit of God to properly feed them the Spiritual food needed for the "new nature" of the Spirit.
The bible plainly teaches that the new nature, the new life, begins with a birth. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."John 3:3. A birth denotes a babe, and a babe must be cared for and looked after as it grows. It is plain that those who are supposed to be spiritual adults are to help the "little ones". That is what the Lord Jesus referred to in Mark 9:42 when he said "Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea!" He was not only speaking of the child in the flesh, but a "little one" spiritually. Woe to those who offend the babes in Christ.
Oliver Green states "some ministers tell new converts to join the church of their choice. This is the same principle as putting three bottles within the reach of a baby, one bottle containing fresh milk, another containing sour milk, and the third bottle containing poison, and telling the baby to take its choice! Such a procedure would be nothing short of murder and the same is true in the spiritual realm." To put new Christians into man's church systems could be spiritual murder to the babe in Christ. These people may eventually starve away spiritually on this diet.
There is only one diet on which the new man, the new nature can live and grow Christ, and that is the Word of God. Jesus said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:53-54. Also read 1 Peter 2:2 and John 6:35.
The best literature ever written by man will not feed the inner man, the divine nature. Bring the writings of the most noble men who ever lived! Bring the masterpieces of the master minds of literature! Even this article, excluding the quotes from the Word of God. Bring them in and read them all and they will not add one gleam of light nor pulse of strength to the inner man, the divine nature that dwells in the bosom of every Christian. The only food for a child of God, spiritually speaking, is the Word of God. Jesus declares, "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."John 6:63.
Jesus states, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4. Jesus conquered every temptation the devil hurled at Him on the mound by answering, "It is written" then quoting the Word of God. He made the words of the heavenly Father His meat and drink, day and night, and if you will read the Gospels, you will find Him continually quoting from the Word of God. Also in John 17:8, "I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me." All the words of Jesus Christ is the Word of God.
The Word of God reveals the mind and will of God to the Christians. The Word gives light and strength for the Christian, therefore he who would be filled with light, he who would have strength to conquer every attack of Satan, he who would be permeated by the will of God, must be filled with the Spirit and the Word of God. And yet, some professional Christians can spend more time watching movies, can spend more time watching television shows, spend more time in the bowling alley or playing sports than in study of the Word of God. They sit around a card table more than they sit around the table with God's Word or in prayer. And then they wonder why they have problems with the flesh.
Just as newborn babes in the flesh must be fed consistently, the newborn babe in the Spirit must be fed regularly, not spasmodically and haphazardly. Lack of spiritual food is the reason Christians have no power to overcome temptations, no power to resist the devil and walk the straight and narrow way. Many Christians starve their spiritual life; they live on past experiences and past emotions. If they did not feed the natural man any more consistently than they feed the spiritual man they would be walking skeletons and that is exactly what they are spiritually.
Prayer, fellowship, bible reading and meditating upon the Word of God are imperatives if we want to live a victorious spiritual life in Jesus Christ. "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." 1 John 3:24. "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Romans 8:13-16.
The Word admonishes Christians to..."put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24. The responsibility is to put off the old man, flesh and put on the new man, spirit.
The Word of God makes it clear that when a sinner becomes a Christian, there are two natures in one body, but the Word also leaves no grounds for blaming spiritual defeat on the old nature which still abides. There is complete victory for the new man if the truth abides within. "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32."Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Romans 6:16. And in the same Chapter, the Word says, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness of God." Romans 6:12-13.
We must never attempt to improve or depend upon flesh, "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."Romans 7:18. Paul was certainly saved before the Holy Spirit led him to pen that Scripture. He had the grace of God in his heart but he knew the flesh was no good!
There are many saved people who pride themselves on the good life they live and how honest, clean, and pure they are. But God's Word tells us that, "but we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." We are therefore to turn away from the "natural" good in ourselves as well as from the evil in us. Christ is our righteousness, and God will settle for nothing less.
The flesh profiteth NOTHING!
Our confidence can only be in Christ through the Spirit. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." 1 Corinthians 1:30. It is not enough to recognize that the flesh is no good. We are not to feed it. We must "put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Romans 13:14. Some Christians make it easy for the flesh to be fed. They do this by the magazines they buy, the books they read, the places they go, the television programs they watch, and through many other careless ways. God's Word commands us to "Abstain from all appearance of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
We may starve the old nature and reduce it to a minimum of manifestation, but the fatal moment we attempt to pamper it by giving in to the world (no matter how refined it may be) it will revive and, crouching lion-like, will spring up against our spiritual life. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8. You may be a Christian, linked up with the new man and living with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, far above the cries and appetites of the flesh; but do not deceive yourself with the idea that the flesh no longer has the same tastes and cravings it has always had! Christians can testify of spiritual victory after spiritual victory and then in some unguarded moment they yield to a seemingly harmless desire to the flesh and rekindle desires within them which they thought were long dead. "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."1 John 5:4. - "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." Revelations 2:17.
The flesh will be with us until we reach the grave or rise to meet Jesus in the Rapture. Flesh will always be flesh. The only way to control the habits and desires of the flesh is to keep the new man on the throne and keep strong and healthy by feeding him the right kind of spiritual food.
You can never actually kill the old nature, but you can subdue it. You can starve it to the place where it is not able to rise up and overrule the new man within. You cannot make the flesh live in heavenly places or enjoy life abundantly, but you can live above the flesh and live in joy unspeakable and full of glory while the old man lies starved at the feet of the new man.
We are to reckon the "old man" dead. Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20. To be crucified is to be dead. So Paul says he is dead (crucified), yet in the same verse he says, I live (I am alive). Paul reckons his flesh dead; yet he lives by the faith of the Son of God. That is, he has the new man on the throne, and the old man lies starved at his feet, at the feet of the new man (Jesus Christ).
The Word does not deny that it is possible even yet for the flesh to rise up. It says, "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." 1 Corinthians 9:27.
The Word also says, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."Romans 6:11. We are to reckon ourselves dead to sin, not through our own power, not through our own "good" living, but by the merit of the Lord Jesus. Remember all of our "goodness" is as filthy rags, and God cannot use our filthy rags. He accepts only the spotless righteousness of the Lord Jesus! So, do not attempt to cultivate the "good" qualities you have. Yield all to Jesus Christ. Feed the spirit-man on the things of the Spirit and you will become a full grown spiritual man and receive a full reward - "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." 2 John 8 & 9. Expect nothing of the flesh and depend entirely on Jesus.
"Mortify therefore your members, which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5. To mortify means to destroy, to put to death. So if we are to mortify the member of our body that serves the nature of the flesh, we are to treat this body as though it were dead.
When a man is dead in his casket, he can no longer satisfy fleshly desires, they die with him. The Word asks, "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" Romans 6:4, the Word explains, "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."
We are to walk in a new life by the Spirit.
We are commanded to put off the "old man". "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." Ephesians 4:22. The old nature, the old man, is to be considered as a garment no longer needed. It is to be put off, laid aside. There is a new garment now, a garment that should be permanent, a garment much more beautiful than that of the fleshly nature. "And when the King came in to see the guest, he saw there a man which had not a wedding garment; and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the King to the servants, bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:11-14. The man was cast out because he had not the garment of the Spirit. We must put off the old and put on the new or we will be cast out into outer darkness.
We are to declare ourselves alive in the Spirit, confession that there is a new life within us. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:25. We are not only to reckon the deadness of our old life, we are also to recognize the new man who lives within us. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-3.
As believers, children of God, we should live as though we had no other source of life, that life in Jesus Christ. We sit together in heavenly places in Him. "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:6. Our joy should be heaven and heavenly things.
We are to "putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor; for we are members one of another." Ephesians 4:24. This is where many fall short. They put off the old, they patch up here and repair there. They quit this and quit that, but they do not yield to the new man in righteousness and holiness - "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. Luke 14:33 says, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Put on the new man in dealing with the accomplished facts of divine redemption. "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth." 2 Peter 8:12. And 2 Timothy 2:11-14 tells us, "It is a faithful saying; for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; If we suffer, we shall also reign with him; If we deny him, he also will deny us. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers."
The fact that a Christian is a new man in Christ Jesus is an aspect of truth which needs to be often and earnestly remembered. A grasp of the facts of our position in Christ, or handling of our present possessions in Christ is one of the secrets of the Christian's life in faith. The man who knows that by the grace of God he has "put on the new man" rises up, in view of each hour's need, - "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."...ROMANS 13:14.
We are told to walk in the new nature, the nature of the Spirit, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:25. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Romans 8:14.
We are told to feed the new nature
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby." 1 Peter 2:2. We are to cultivate a taste of the Word of God by feeding upon it regularly, by hiding it in our hearts, by literally eating it, taking it into the inner man and assimilating it.
We are to depend on the energy of the Holy Spirit in us, indwelling us daily to give us victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Ephesians 3:20. The Holy Spirit in the believer is the all-sufficient power on which we rely for a heavenward walk in the new nature. If our Christian walk were conditioned upon our individual strength, we would be hopeless! But the Holy Spirit takes up His abode in the battle against the enemy. "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." 1 John 4:4.
Every Christian has the perfect equipment with which to conquer Satan, if that equipment is recognized, accepted, and used as ordered by the Word of God; "Quench not the spirit." 1 Thessalonians 5:19. "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit."Ephesians 5:18. "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.". Ephesians 4:30. "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Romans 6:13.
The Holy Spirit dwells in us with all the power and gifts of God, necessary to enable us to walk the noble, spiritual, Son-like life with God. We have all the resources necessary for the spiritual victory, we have a spiritual inheritance which makes us richer than wealth of millionaires and kings. But if we do not use this divine gift, we are spiritually poor and destitute. Financially speaking, a man may be worth a million dollars, but if he refuses to spend more than one puny dollar of that million, he is actually worth only the one dollar he uses. The same could be said in the spiritual life. Our salvation is beyond price, it cannot be valued as man values things; but very few of us have ever cashed in on the abundant spiritual life which Jesus came to give. That is why so many Christians live such "lean" lives in the Spirit.
Remember, no matter how close we may live to God, we will not be totally rid of the nature of the flesh until death or Rapture. Make no mistake, do not let anyone tell you that your old nature is completely dead or eradicated. With the Holy Spirit, not only will your "diet" for worldly amusements and lusts be gone, but you will no longer crave more "steak, potatoes, chicken or ham". It is not the Spirit that craves those physical foods.
You can starve the old nature into subjection, but if you start feeding it again it will revive. Jesus warned, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:6.
The food that feeds one nature will starve the other. That is, the two natures within the Christian cannot be fed on the same thing. The Spirit will starve on a diet of worldly amusements and indulgences, while the flesh and its lusts will starve on a diet of prayer, Bible Study, fellowship and witnessing of Jesus Christ.
It is impossible to feed both natures at the same time. The flesh and the Spirit cannot be fulfilled at the same time. One will starve while the other is getting fat. Light drives our darkness and the Word of God is light. Water quenches thirst and the Word of God is living water. Bread satisfied hunger and the Word of God is living bread. Truth crushes untruth and the Word of God is truth.Don't confuse: The new birth with the physical birth. "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:5-7.These are all spiritual truths from the Word of God for the new man, the new nature, to grow and feed upon. So when the soul is being fed on the Word of God, which lives and abides forever, the flesh is being starved.
Don't confuse: The water of life with physical water. "Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" John 3:4.
Don't confuse: Spiritual nourishment with physical food. "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." John 6:32-33.
Don't confuse: Absorbing Christ's Spirit with physically eating the body and blood. "The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" John 6:52.
Don't confuse: Crucifying the flesh with suicide. "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Galatians 5:24.
"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:8. If we sow to the flesh, corruption will follow. But if we mortify the flesh and sow to the spirit, we shall reap life everlasting.
The Word says that there is a way to deal with, and conquer, the old man:1. Reckon the old man dead unto sin.
2. Reckon yourself alive unto God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Yield to the Holy Spirit and make no plans without His leading.
4. Feed the new man with the living Word.
We must walk by faith and not by sight.
You may not understand it, but faith does not ask for explanations. Faith walks where it cannot see. "For whosoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." 1 John 5:4.
There is a battle to fight. Instead of sitting down and admitting defeat, rise up! Ask God to forgive you for your sin, begin anew the Battle and put on the whole armor of God.
Fight the good fight of faith, every day, never give up. You may loose some battles - but not the victory. There will be battle scars, but Christ shall heal all wounds. He is our physician.
All scripture based on the King James Authorized Version or 1611 Bible, New Testament only, otherwise known as THE
WORD. All Old Testament scriptural references used in this article is Jewish History, not canonical, and is used as