Crucifying the Flesh
Galatians 5:13-14 NKJV: For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:16-17 NKJV: I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Galatians 5:24 NKJV: And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Here, the scripture tells us to crucify the flesh, by walking in the love of God by the Spirit.
What does the scripture mean here by the flesh?
The flesh here means the sin-nature still resident in the soul: mind, will and emotions and the physical body.
You need to understand that when we are born-again the divine nature is injected into our spirits, but the soul and body still have sin nature in them. It is the spirit that is born-again, not the soul and the body (John. 3.6, 1 Thess. 5.23, Heb. 4.12). The soul and the body have to be renewed, retrained or reprogrammed with the divine nature from the spirit and instruction from the Word of God by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 12.2, Heb. 5.14).
This is why Paul says ‘the flesh lusts against the spirit and spirit against the flesh’ Gal 5.17).
However, the sin-nature in the flesh can and should be dominated, and completely cleansed out and removed by the divine nature in the born-again human spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit operating through the Word of God. This is because the life source or spring of the sin-nature (or what the Bible calls the old man or the sin-nature in the human spirit) has been destroyed or crucified in you when you got born-again.
Romans 6:6-7 NKJV: knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Now, even after this removal or domination of the sin-nature in the soul and flesh, has been accomplished the satanic power in the air still seeks to operate through the natural desires in the mind and the physical body (Eph. 2.2,3).
However, there is now a fountain or spring of the divine life in your spirit (John. 4.10,14). This new source or spring of life can now release an abundance of life that will totally dominate and ultimately completely remove the residual sin-nature still in the soul and body and even release the divine nature into the air to dominate physical circumstances to align with God’s will (John 7.38).
So you can now overcome the power of sin in the soul, body and the air by the power of the Holy Spirit, through prayer and the Word of God to maintain this state of holiness or sanctification like Jesus did.
Jesus had no sin-nature in his soul and body, yet He was tempted in every way like we are and had to learn obedience by the things He suffered (Heb.4.15, 5.8).
He had to pray, with an attitude of the fear of God, daily with petitions, supplications and strong crying to be saved from the spiritual death that was in the air around Him and so maintain His sinless state or condition (Heb. 5.7)
This is why we need to have a great respect and reverence for the Lord Jesus Christ:
He had no blood to cleanse his sin if He had sinned (thank God He never did), no High priest to pray for Him. He was under the pressure of temptation daily for 33 years and in all that time He maintained a disciplined, diligent life of prayer and reading, study, meditation, confession and practice of God’s Word that gave Him constant victory over sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So to crucify the flesh is actually to destroy the sin-nature inside the soul and physical body (Rom. 6.6).
It is important to realize that if a Christian practices the lusts of the flesh habitually it will cost the loss of some, if not all, of his inheritance in the Kingdom. He may go to heaven if he repents of these things but He will lose something.
Like David lost four of his sons and the privilege of living long enough to build the temple of God because he indulged in the lust of adultery and murder (2 Sam. 12.6,10,14). Had he repented much earlier even after committing adultery and not killed Uriah he may not have lost his sons and may have lived longer to build the temple.
There is a lesson here for all of us: we should not practice or indulge in the lusts of the flesh:
Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV: Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
However, if and when we fall into any of these things if we are quick to repent and forsake, we will receive mercy that will triumph over the judgment that our sins set into motion:
Proverbs 28:13 NKJV: He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
James 2:13 NKJV: For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
This triumph of mercy will cause us not to lose some of our inheritance in the Kingdom.
So the quicker you repent of and forsake sin and the more you do not practice or indulge in of the lusts of the flesh by diligently walking in the spirit the more the mercy of God will preserve your inheritance.
On the other hand, the more frequently and the longer you indulge the lusts of the flesh, the judgment of God will cause you to lose more of your inheritance.
2 John 8 NKJV: Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
This scripture shows that we can lose some or all of our reward in heaven.
So we should be diligent not to use our liberty to indulge in the lusts of the flesh, but rather to crucify the flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8. 13); to be quick to repent and forsake if and when we do sin.
Do not stay in sin or under condemnation if and when you sin. Be quick to repent and forsake by habitually daily using the life of God, the Word of God, prayer in the spirit, with an attitude of the fear of God, to crucify the flesh and abstain from all appearances of evil