Crucifying the Flesh

Crucifying the Flesh

“The bringing of the natural into subjection to the spiritual is a gradual death and requires time, and is therefore called “CRUCIFYING the flesh.” Jesus could do this entirely, because perfect, but we are imperfect, therefore our Head supplies the overcoming power through the spirit, making our supply of strength to depend on our faith in Him. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even your faith.”

“The falling of the walls of Jericho serves as a great example, after Israel had faithfully walked about them thirteen times, with no evidence that they were nearer the realization of their hope that the walls would fall than in the beginning, except that God had promised, well illustrates to us how positive may be our assurance. Even though we have struggled for years to overcome certain weaknesses securely entrenched within us, with little perceptible change to indicate that victory will crown our efforts, if we have full assurance of faith, and act in harmony therewith, the victory must come, the walls MUST FALL.” 1915 Supplement Bible Students Convention Report, Page 362

Walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Gal 5:16

“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Rom 8:3-5

“Our text uses another term — “the spirit.” “Walk in the spirit.” What does the Lord’s word give us to understand is meant by the term “the spirit“? In the first place, the new creature, that which is begotten by God in us. It is not a new set of faculties through which we will; it is, rather a quality imparted to the faculties, that we now have; — a quality of spirituality, a quality that is capable of knowing and aspiring to spiritual things — a quality so strong that it moves us to lay down our human all, that we may attain its aspirations…”

“The new creature acts consciously. It is not driven about by every wind of emotion, nor by blind fate, or by accident. It knowingly lays hold on the things it has, and, consciously acting upon them, uses them for its ends; thereby it develops character. Character is never developed by those who drift with the tide. Those who float with the stream never develop strength in heart and mind to stem the tide, but those only who, by a conscious exertion of the will, seek to attain their ambition, putting everything else aside that would be in their way, develop a settled and fixed character. It is with these that God deals and these are they that have what the Apostle calls in our text “the spirit.”

There is a figure used in the text; in its first part, Paul speaks of walking — “Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” The second part of the text does not continue the figure; but let us, for the purpose of comparison and contrast, keep up the figure: “Walk in the spirit and ye shall not walk according to the flesh.”

Notice the apostle does not say, “Walk in the spirit, and do not walk according to the flesh; i.e., do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. But he makes a simple statement, and tells us the rest follows of itself.Walk in the spiritand (then the rest will take care of itself)Ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

1912 Bible Students Convention Report, Pages 447, 449

“Look unto Jesus as the pattern and illustration of how we ought to so run as to win the prize. He was the first to run for the prize, the “forerunner,” the Leader. Look, too, to others who ran in his footsteps, Peter, Paul, James, John, etc. These are illustrious examples, of those who crucify the human nature and sacrifice it, if by so doing they might attain the new nature offered–the prize of our high-calling.

While your steps and mine may not shine so brightly as the mentioned apostles’, yet the only difference in our sacrifices and work, should be those of ability and opportunity. Our wills should be as thoroughly sanctified as theirs; and if so, we may feel assured that our sacrifice is as well pleasing and acceptable to our Father by Jesus Christ, as was theirs.

But fall not into the error of supposing that crucifying the flesh means the putting away of sin. No, Jehovah would never accept sins as a sacrifice.

Sins should be put away, shunned, exterminated to the best of your ability; but you sacrifice, when you deny yourself personal ease, comfort, pleasures lawful to the natural man, but which you relinquish, to do something which you recognize as the will of God.

In our crucifying, etc., we are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Did his sacrifice consist in forsaking sins? No, in Him was no sin to forsake; but he denied himself things lawful and proper to him as a man, even life itself–and thus sacrificed.

To show the contrast, we will look at Paul as compared with modern preachers. Many preachers of this day choose the ministry as “a profession” (a job or career choice) which is honorable, has the respect of the world, and for the most part furnishes a life of ease and relative comfort, (although I have known some assistant pastors who held regular jobs at the same time, of course one must assume that their intention was one day to become a full or acting pastor with a congregation of their own, and thence be employed or supported by the church).

Paul was not called to the ministry in the hopes of obtaining any worldly gain, livelihood, ease or what have you, nor to obtain the honor and respect of men, no he was called by the grandeur of the “glad tidings of great joyit self–he could not help preaching it, so overwhelmed was he by the “high calling,” so anxious to obtain it for himself and to enable others to attain the same.

He preached it despite the persecution, disgrace, and frown of the world–at the sacrifice of earthly opportunities, honors, ease, pleasures; and accounted it a pleasure to be permitted to preach, even though, instead of luxury, he was obliged tolabor, working with his handsat very humble employment, and was often in hunger and poverty and danger. He was willing to endure all this, because he had a correct appreciation of the “good tidings” he preached, and of the prize it presented.” (R 328 par. 22-25)

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