Something happens when I get the revelation of identification. I know what it is like to live according to rules. Neil Silverberg will sometimes joke about something by saying he doesn’t want to take part because he doesn’t want to miss heaven on a technicality. But he really is joking when he says that. Neil knows about the finished work of Christ.
Many people when they read the Scripture or hear mention of a walk of life. They immediately think of what they haven’t done right and what they have done wrong. We just read in the NKJV two contrasting walks in the passage in Romans 8:1
We read about not walking according to the flesh and we think of giving in to the tendency to commit sins.
Then the thought comes that to walk according to the Spirit means walking with our heads in the clouds performing miracles, knowing everyone’s thoughts even before they say a word, and speaking in tongues continuously. The idea communicated in the passage gets reduced to our thinking of course if we walk according to the spirit we will not be condemned because we will not be doing anything wrong to feel guilty about.
How can you talk in tongues and cuss at the same time?
How can you pray and fight with someone at the same time?
These sound like great revelations but they are not what the Holy Spirit is getting at here.
The matter of flesh and spirit here are about identification.
Flesh is not always about sin in the sense of my doing horrible things. Sure there is a list of the works of the flesh given to us but in this particular case that list does not play into this instruction. The flesh spoken of here has to do with the independent attitude we can find ourselves walking in. An attitude of I can do it myself. Paul clearly speaks of the desire to do good things. The flesh is weak to carry out righteousness after the standard of God.
The flesh in this matter is my wanting to add to what Christ has done through the will of the flesh as opposed to identifying with Christ and allowing change to come from within according to the working of His Spirit within me.
God is not impressed with what I am working on about me, He is only impressed witht he work of His Spirit to conform me to the image of His Son. That cannot be accomplished in the strength and will of the flesh.
About The Author
- Tim Atchley
- Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
- I currently serve as Senior Pastor of Harvest Church in Knoxville, Tn. I was sent out from Trinity Chapel of Knoxville in 1993 accompanied by my wife Sheila our four children Sarah, Hannah, Josiah & Isaac and a handful of bold, brave and committed believers determined to plant our first church. Pioneering is hard work but well worth the journey. That is why we desire to make disciples of Christ who will, like us, also embrace the call to plant churches.