Focal Passages: Romans 7:20-8:9
My wife and I once made reservations for a luxurious hotel where everything should have been ready on arrival. Unfortunately, we discovered that our understanding of arrival didn’t match that of the hotel. We thought we were ready to receive our room keys when they told us we were ready to wait while they found us a room. The same can be said for any Christian who thinks he has arrived spiritually. Such a person mistakenly believes that the only thing he lacks is checking in to heaven, but there will always be struggles as long as we are in this flesh. Paul explained to the church at Rome that even a committed Christian will face the warfare between fallen flesh and a redeemed soul.
Many of our churches sing “Victory in Jesus,” but I wonder how often we consider what has been defeated in Christ? Paul tells us that through the finished work of Christ the Holy Spirit has delivered us from our spiritual deadness and any further futile attempts to get to God through our works.
Even honorable endeavors like keeping the Law fail because they are attempted in the flesh. Because we have been redeemed we can now walk by the Spirit and avoid the sinful deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). However, we must guard ourselves against quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or we will slide back into fleshly living.
What’s wrong with the average church business meeting? It has become a stage for unbelievable carnality. Where are the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)? When we choose to walk in the flesh we cannot dismiss it based on personality, family tree, etc.
Paul pulls no punches when he tells us that a carnal mind is hostile toward God, cannot submit to God, and cannot please God.
In other words, when we operate in the flesh we act like lost people! May we say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20a). May our living match our baptismal profession of new life in Christ (Romans 6:1-7).