Last month I wrote to you concerning exercising discipline in our lives as a way of dying to our flesh. Previously I mentioned that I have been reading the work of Martin Luther. Luther has a very deep understanding of the flesh.
Luther accuses the Pope of his time to have darkened the word “flesh”, to mean only sexual lust or lechery.
The monks divided themselves into different religious orders which followed different teachers and church leaders very much the way we still do. They wore their hair differently, believed themselves to be holier than all others while some lashed themselves to kill the flesh, others did not think it was bad to be obese. Luther concludes by saying “that these are works of the flesh.”
In this same way the word flesh is still darkened and hardly mentioned in sermons. Popular teachers are motivational speakers that use the Word, but the cross and sanctification is never mentioned. I am leaving it to the reader to decide which of these things are of the “flesh”. I would like to add that we are not to judge others but rather avoid.
We should be aware of whether the things we do are of the flesh or of the spirit in order to guard the heart.
After I watched an inspiring sermon about faith I realized that not one word was mentioned about how to have a sanctified heart, from which faith will flow.
After channel hopping I found the story of Hannibal who conquered the Romans after losing half his men during the winter in the Alps. He started off with 40 elephants and ended up with 4. The following is said of Hannibal by a historian. “That he believed with such an unshakable amount of confidence that though his army was outnumbered two to one, they would overcome the Romans, for in their minds they were prepared to kill nine opponents each.” Hannibal was a heathen who smeared himself with animal blood, the leader of the Barbarians. His faith astounds the world even today. But his faith glorifies himself and not God. Was his kind of faith of the flesh or not?
As we learnt what the word flesh meant, I met a man who told me of the confusion in his home where his mother would not allow him to partake of folk dancing at school as this was the flesh. He had to clean the school grounds during these times. Some were set against any form of dancing for this according to them is sin. But those same people suffered from pride, jealousy and depression. They truly loved God but they did not know what sin was.
As you can see, it is no wonder that some do not want to mention the flesh because of all the confusion. But it should be explained! One of the tasks of church leaders should be to explain the sacraments.
The way for a Christian to rise above sin is to be aware that we are all sinners.
Mark 7:21: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders…” (Gal 5:19)
Sin must be overcome at the cross. For example; if a person struggles with porn, there is no point in sympathizing, just teach that person how to have communion, to crucify the problem and be sealed with the blood of Christ to be saved from the flesh so that they can once again live by faith. This is the way to be saved from the power of the FLESH.
The faith of the blood washed is a different kind of faith, for it glorifies God and not man, man becomes less and God more.
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