“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” (Romans 7:18 NKJV).
The primary reason why the Law could not save any man is because of the weakness of the flesh. We all were born totally depraved, corrupt and bankrupt, and so could not keep all of God’s commandments perfectly or continually without stumbling in one point.
The Scripture clearly testifies that the Law was weakened by the flesh.
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh. (RSV).
The Law could not save us because it could not change our corrupt nature or sinful flesh!
In the first part of this piece we began to examine what the Scripture teaches about the flesh, self, or the fallen or sinful nature, so as to be able to understand how it hinders us from following and obeying Jesus, and also to know how to deal effectively with it.
First, the flesh or sinful nature is our inheritance from birth:
We all were born with sin embedded in our nature. We were born with natural inclinations, tendencies or propensities towards evil and therefore need no one to teach or train us to disobey God’s commandments (Psa. 51:5, 58:3, John 3:6).
Let us now proceed further in our discovery of scriptural truths about the flesh.
Second, the flesh is a permanent slave of Sin and Satan:
You were born a slave to Sin and Satan.
The Lord Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.” (John 8:34 NKJV).
And a slave of Sin belongs to Satan, for “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning…” (1 John 3:8 NKJV).
Your neck was put under the grievous yoke of Sin and Satan from birth. No matter how hard you seek, strive, or struggle to free your neck, you cannot be free unless the Saviour, the Lord Jesus, sets you free from the captivity of Sin and Satan (Matt. 11:28).
Who is a slave?
American Heritage Dictionary defines a “slave” as “one bound in servitude as the property of a person or household; one who is abjectly subservient to a specified person or influence.”
Collins English Dictionary also defines a “slave” as “a person legally owned by another and having no freedom of action or right to property; a person who is forced to work for another against his will; a person under the domination of another person or some habit or influence.”
Friend, you are still a slave of Sin and Satan if you don’t understand what you are doing, if you cannot do or practice the good you want to do, or if you cannot stop doing the evil you hate to do.
Apostle Paul describes the dilemma or perplexity of a slave of Sin in his epistle to the Romans.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.
16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.
17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (NKJV).
Third, nothing good but Sin dwells in the flesh:
The Scripture emphatically reveals that nothing good dwells in the flesh but evil. The flesh is the seat of Sin where it dwells, rules and operates from. The flesh is therefore an embodiment of Sin.
It is the Sin dwelling in your flesh that is responsible for your inability to do or practice the good you want to do. The indwelling Sin is also the force that incites you to do or practice the evil you hate to do.
Paul aptly explains this truth in his epistle.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (NKJV).
The flesh or human nature is evil, corrupt, or depraved because Sin has been embedded in it from birth. It is dominated, influenced and controlled by Sin which is firmly or securely engrafted in it and can only be separated from it by death. This is why no one in the flesh can overcome Sin!
Everyone in the flesh is a debtor to Sin. But, if you are born again, you are no longer in the flesh and therefore you are no longer a debtor to Sin.
Paul clearly states this truth in his epistle to the Romans believers.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (NKJV).
Fourth, the flesh ultimately profits nothing:
The flesh or the sinful nature ultimately produces nothing that is good, pleasant, or acceptable in the sight of God.
The Lord Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63 NKJV).
Any happiness, pleasure or profit that may emanate from gratifying sinful passions, lusts or desires of the flesh are temporary, transitory or short-lived, and it will eventually or ultimately result in eternal pains, sorrows and regrets in hell fire (Prov. 9:17-18, 20:17).
It is the flesh that is responsible for all the agitations, contentions, quarrels, fights and wars we experience or witness in our homes, churches, communities and nations.
James reveals, “What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members?” (Jam. 4:1 RSV).
Whenever or wherever self or the flesh is allowed to take charge, operate or manifest; there will be no true peace. This is why the flesh must be crucified or mortified.
Fifth, the flesh is continuously hostile to God:
The flesh is an avowed and unrepentant enemy of God. Our sinful or fallen nature is permanently hostile or opposed to God. It will always rebel or revolt against God’s Word and Spirit.
The cravings, desires, passions, ambitions, pursuits, thoughts, values, mindsets, or perception of the flesh are always conflicting, contradictory, and antagonistic to that of the Spirit of God.
The Scripture aptly testifies to the truth.
17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would.” (RSV).
7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot. (RSV).
Sixth, the flesh can never please or obey God:
The flesh or sinful nature can never be reformed, rehabilitated, renovated, educated, improved upon, trained, or refined to either please or obey God.
The flesh will never subject or submit to God’s Word regardless of the strict rules, sanctions, or punishments you impose upon it.
There is nothing borne of the flesh or done by the flesh that can ever please God.
7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. (NLT).
Lastly, the flesh only produces death:
The Scripture warns that sowing to the flesh, living to satisfy the sinful nature, walking according to the flesh, and setting your mind on the flesh will only result in corruption and death.
Consider what the Scripture says about the ultimate fruit of the flesh:
8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. (NLT).
6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (RSV).
13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (NKJV).
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. (NKJV).
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (KJV).
Beloved, the corruption, decay, or death that anyone who lives in the flesh or walks according to the flesh will reap is not just a physical death, but an eternal death – separation from God in hell fire throughout eternity (Gal. 5:19-21).
Don’t you think it is foolishness to continue to sow to the flesh – living to satisfy or gratify the lusts, desires or passions of the flesh?
Make a list of all the things you do to please, gratify or appease the flesh. Knowing that the end of pleasing the flesh is eternal death, what then is your decision, determination or resolution today?
Remember that while it may feel good to indulge, pamper, or please the flesh, yet the ultimate end is ETERNAL DEATH!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for bringing my way these scriptural truths, about the flesh. I refuse to continue to sow to the flesh from this moment henceforth. So, help me Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name. Amen.