“What the Law could not do, because human nature was weak, God did. He condemned sin in human nature by sending his own Son, who came with a nature like our sinful nature, to do away with sin.” (Romans 8:3 GNT).
God does not command or expect anyone to seek, strive or struggle to put his flesh to death, or to change his sinful self or nature by himself. No man can ever do this!
Jeremiah queries, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.” (Jer. 13:23 RSV).
Every attempt you make to change your inherited sinful nature or put your sinful self to death by yourself will always end in failure, futility and frustration. This is why everyone needs the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; for only Him can change your sinful and corrupt self or nature.
The sin that is embedded in your human nature cannot be removed by merely observing some religious rituals, or by imposing some strict religious rules or disciplines on yourself. Your sinful self or flesh is like an unrepentant, unrelenting or recalcitrant rebellious son.
Nothing can change, modify, renovate, refurbish or improve your inherited sinful and fallen human nature. It is totally, irreparably or irredeemably evil and corrupt. The sin in your inherited fallen nature can only be removed by death. This is why God’s verdict on your sinful self or flesh is DEATH!
In the first piece on this series it was clearly presented from the Scripture that the verdict or sentence of death passed on Mr. Flesh (your unrepentant stubborn and rebellious self) was carried out on the Cross when Jesus Christ was crucified.
The Scripture makes it abundantly clear that your sinful self or flesh was crucified with Christ on the Cross.
6 And we know that our old being has been put to death with Christ on his cross, in order that the power of the sinful self might be destroyed, so that we should no longer be the slaves of sin. (GNT).
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (RSV).
On the Cross, our Lord Jesus Christ has done for you what no man, religion, ritual, rule or law can ever do for you. He took your sinful self or flesh to the Cross and put it to death with Himself and then raised you up with Himself as an entirely new creation or self.
Knowing and internalizing this truth is what gives you total victory over sin and the flesh!
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. (NKJV).
1 Peter 4:
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. (NKJV).
But how did Christ’s death on the Cross amount to or result in the execution of Mr. Flesh (our sinful self)?
Let us examine the Scripture for spiritual understanding!
In God’s sight, our sinful self or flesh is just like an unrepentant stubborn and rebellious son. Therefore, it has to be put away by death according to the Law. The process or manner of death is also prescribed by the Law (Deut. 21:18-21).
The execution of our sinful self or flesh must be according to the Law, “for all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.” (Rom. 2:12 RSV).
But, when the fullness of time came for the execution of our sinful self, God sent us a perfect substitute, His Son, Jesus Christ. What a great love!
Paul clearly presents this truth.
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (NKJV).
3 For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice].” (AMP).
Paul clearly states that Jesus Christ came “in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3 NKJV);
“in the image of the evil flesh” (Rom. 8:3 BBE);
“in a body like that of sinful human nature” (Rom. 8:3 WNT);
“in a body like the bodies we sinners have” (Rom. 8:3 NLT); “
in the guise of sinful flesh.” (Rom. 8:3 AMP).
So that Christ could be a perfect substitute for us!
Christ didn’t die on the Cross as a holy God or a saint that He was, but as a sinner or a sinful self that you were. This is why He came in the likeness of your sinful flesh or human nature.
What are the spiritual implications of this perfect substitution?
First, while Jesus was on the Cross what God was seeing was your evil and corrupt flesh or sinful self because Jesus was in the likeness or image of your evil, corrupt and sinful flesh.
Second, the terrible, excruciating or agonizing death that Jesus Christ died on the Cross was the sentence, verdict, or judgement of death that the Law has pronounced upon you – your sinful and corrupt flesh.
Therefore, as far as the Law is concerned, the verdict or judgement of death passed upon you has been fully carried out. Your sinful self or flesh has been put away by reason of Christ’s death in your place or as a substitute for you! Hallelujah!
It is a sheer ignorance and foolishness for you to be seeking, striving or struggling daily to die daily through your personal efforts by observing some religious rituals, or by imposing some strict rules or disciplines on yourself. The Lord Jesus Christ has already accomplished that for you by His death on the Cross!
When you belittle, despise, reject or set aside what Christ has already accomplished for you by His death on the Cross, you will constantly fail and fall in your daily battles against Sin, Satan, the flesh and the world, no matter how hard you strive or struggle to have victory.
This is the major cause of the defeat, failure and frustration that many believers today are experiencing in life!
Friend, rise up today with this revelation knowledge and quit seeking and striving to put your sinful flesh or self to death in your own wisdom and strength. Jesus Christ has done that for you!
What then should you do?
Like Paul, begin to acknowledge, recognize, believe, receive, and confess, appropriate or act upon the truth of your death, burial, resurrection and ascension with Jesus Christ!
Paul declared, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20 NKJV).
This also should be your daily declaration and experience!
But did the process of Christ’s death conform to the manner the Law prescribed that our sinful flesh must be put to death?
Let us examine how the Law commanded that a recalcitrant stubborn and rebellious son should be put to death and compare it with how Jesus Christ was put to death as a substitute for our sinful self.
18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them,
19 “then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city.
20 “And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’
21 “Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear. (NKJV).
Apparently, the Lord Jesus Christ was not a stubborn and rebellious son. While Jesus Christ was in the world, He always did those things that pleased God His Father (John 8:29). But, from birth you are disobedient, stubborn and rebellious to God’s law.
However, because of His great love for you, Jesus Christ came in the likeness of your sinful flesh to die in your place according to the manner prescribed by the Law for your execution as a stubborn and rebellious son.
Consider the conformity of Christ’s death with the prescription or requirement of the Law in Deut. 21:18-21.
First, according to the Law, the unrepentant stubborn and rebellious son has to be exposed or brought out by his own family members – those who are very close to him and who know him very well.
How did Jesus conform to this requirement of the Law?
Jesus was betrayed, exposed or given away by someone very close to Him, who knew Him very well. Jesus said of His betrayer, Judas Iscariot, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me.” (Matt. 26:23 NKJV).
Second, the Law stipulates that the unruly stubborn and rebellious son must be handed over to the elders of his city to pass the sentence of death on him and to see to his execution.
How did Jesus conform to this condition of the Law?
Jesus Christ was delivered by Pilate to the elders of Israel (the chief priests) to crucify Him.
15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”
16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away. (NKJV).
Third, the Law specifies that the recalcitrant rebellious and stubborn son must be brought out to the gate of his city to be executed or put to death.
How did Jesus conform to this process of death specified by the Law?
Jesus was led away outside the gate before He was crucified.
The Scripture testifies to this.
12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. (NKJV).
17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha,
18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. (NKJV).
Beloved, although Jesus Christ was not a stubborn and rebellious Son to His Father, yet He took your place (the stubborn and rebellious son) and thus suffered and tasted death for you, so that you may no longer be enslaved to sin or to the lusts of the flesh.
Your real victory over sin or the lusts of the flesh lies in you knowing, understanding, believing, internalizing and walking in this truth that your old sinful self or flesh has been crucified with Christ on the Cross.
You must know and walk in the truth that you are no longer a slave or debtor to the flesh to obey, gratify, satisfy or fulfil its desires, passions or lusts.
Paul writes, “So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.” (Rom. 8:12 RSV).
If you don’t know, believe or accept the spiritual truth of the death of your sinful self with Christ on the Cross, you will remain a slave or debtor to the flesh, thereby obeying, gratifying or satisfying its desires, lusts and passions.
Paul admonishes you to always be conscious of the truth that in and through Christ you are dead to sin, but alive to God!
6 Being conscious that our old man was put to death on the cross with him, so that the body of sin might be put away, and we might no longer be servants to sin. (BBE).
Friend, if you have experienced the New Birth through faith in Christ Jesus, your old man, the sinful self or flesh, has been crucified with Christ, nevertheless you live, yet not you, but Christ lives in you and the life which you now live in the flesh must be lived by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you (Gal. 2:20).
If you don’t see yourself as one with Christ in His death, you cannot see yourself raised together with Christ and thus live a victorious, triumphant and prosperous life as a new creation.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for opening my spiritual eyes today to see how my sinful flesh or self was crucified with Christ. I declare today that I am no longer a debtor to the flesh and so I refuse to be ruled, controlled or governed by the desires, passions and lusts of the flesh, in Jesus’ name. Amen.