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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)

OVERCOMING

OVERCOMING

“It scarcely seems necessary to emphasize the great importance in overcoming, if we would be of those who will ultimately teach the whole human family how to overcome. It will be readily seen that we must learn how to overcome ourselves, before we would be qualified to teach others the art of overcoming. In His last message to the seven churches of Asia Minor the Lord Jesus made very plain that the receiving of the great blessings which the Father would give through the Son, would be contingent upon overcoming on our part.”

To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev.3:21)

 Victorious Saints

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield you 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” (Rom. 6:12, 13).

This “let not” implies that we are now in a position to make a decision as to whom we shall obey. In times past we did not submit ourselves to God. We were not even concerned with such submission. Previous to our reconciliation we were under the law or rule of sin, “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:3).

Formerly, even though we strove against sin and uncleanness, we were aware that because of our weak will we were unable to lift ourselves out of the degrading tendencies we had because of our adamic nature. The habits acquired over years broke any resistance we had to our failures. We had yielded ourselves “…servants to uncleanness and to iniquity” (Rom. 6:19) which always resulted in more iniquity. We were prey to all kinds of wickedness because of our fallen nature, accentuated by our willful ways. We were “like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Prov. 25:28).

Now a strong wall has to be erecteda tendency to resist temptation and to obey the will of God when an issue involving that will is placed before us. What we have in Christ is the new spirit of life, a spirit that helps our infirmities (Rom. 8:26), for: “…if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11). Here is adequate power to give victory over each temptation.

It is no sin to be tempted. The old man (human nature), though counted as dead (Rom. 6:11, 12), does not submit to the new mind (or will) of the spirit without resistance. Each temptation is an opportunity to exercise godliness and to gain victory over the old man.

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin. Each victory will help you some other to win.

So then it is up to you to allow the Lord to build up a wall of resistance against yielding, and thus you shall grow in grace and in the knowledge of God. Fortify the new mind in the will of God. One may not realize it at first, but “it is God that works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly” (1 Thess. 5:23).”

The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Jan/Feb 1992, Page 17

After our Lord had humbled himself by taking the body prepared for him, his first act (when the body was mature) was to formally deliver it up to death; and this he signified by making a living picture (his baptism) of his submission to death and consequent sufferings preceding it, and of his resurrection. Here is an important element that the faithful servant will be giving to the members of the household, though some may think that they can live without it.

His next act was to submit to be led (but of the spirit) into the wilderness to be tempted, to be brought directly in contact with the powers of darkness, to stand as a man alone in the presence of the ruler of the darkness of this world to be tempted. But why was he tempted? It would not make him any purer nor better surely; he was without sin already.

He came down to the condition of the perfect man; he was the second Adam. The first Adam with no preference for evil, but having no knowledge of its terrible nature, was tempted and fell, the second Adam, likewise with no preference for evil, but with a knowledge of its awful results, and of the power of God (By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many. Isaiah 53:11), was as really tempted, and triumphed. He evidently was free and could have yielded; in fact, he was tempted TO yield, but gloriously resisted and vanquished his foe.

Now again we ask, why did he pass through this ordeal?

TO SHOW US HOW TO OVERCOME.

Being the Captain of our salvation, the Leader of a little band of conquerors, his example was necessary, for through them “all the families of the earth” are to be blessed. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made“…and that seed “is ChristGal. 3:16. Now, if we “be Christ’s (if we feed on him and partake of his life), then are we Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal. 3:29.

Then here is a choice principle for the household to feed upon; the knowledge of Christ, or Christ’s knowledge.

But, says one, his knowledge was divine, and though he was tempted, he knew he would not be overcome.

That is just the point we wish to make prominent right here. He has opened for us the way to the same source of knowledge, divine word and spirit, and Christ’s example to feed on.

But, says one, if I could know, as he did, that I would come out of the conflict all right I could endure it too.

But you would know that just as surely as he, if you would feed on his knowledge.

Here is a bit of it, take it and let it strengthen thine heart when trial comes, as it did his: “God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Cor. 10:13.

This is divine knowledge, and just the knowledge that he had. If you believe it AND (most importantly) APPROPRIATE IT, (feed upon it) you will triumph just as he did.”

Many of us say we believe this and that we believe that, but where we generally fail is in believing that the promise applies to us personally, that the LORD is speaking directly to us. We tend to imagine the Lord is speaking to others those more faithful than ourselves, but is it not those who are especially troubled who need the Lord’s help the most? If we truly wish to receive the Lord’s help and blessings we must by faith appropriate them to ourselves.

(R 326 par. 11-15)