Being Perfected by the Flesh?

Galatians 3:1-6 ESV

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Jesus Christ Crucified

Why was Jesus Christ crucified (put to death) on that cross? Well, the reason evil men did that is because they hated Jesus and what he stood for and the things that he said and did. And they were jealous of him and feared their own positions of power and influence over the people were being threatened by his temporary popularity among the people, because of all the miracles that he performed. And they hated him because he claimed to be God.

But that is not the only or the primary reason Jesus was crucified on that cross. It was in God’s plan that Jesus Christ, God the Son (the Son of God) should die for us on that cross so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. For in his death he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. And he died for our sins so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us and who was raised from the dead.

So, when we believe in Jesus Christ with genuine God-given faith in him we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so what we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness. So we are to no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions, for sin must not be our master.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13]

Perfected by the Flesh?

What is the flesh? It is the human body, the human nature, of human origin. Generally it is in reference to actions done apart from faith in God, independent of God, of ourselves, of our own choosing, which are displeasing to the Lord. They are actions that originate from self and are empowered by self and not by God. And to walk according to the flesh will land us in hell, not in heaven, for we are to walk according to the Spirit.

Now, in this passage in Galatians 3 the reference is to those who are trying to gain salvation from sin via works done in the flesh which are not of God but of their own doing. They were works required of God under the Old Covenant that are no longer required under the New Covenant. They are liturgical, ceremonial, purification, sacrificial and dietary laws and restrictions of the Old Covenant which are not required of believers in Jesus Christ.

But there is a broader lesson to be learned here other than just that we should not try to earn our salvation via trying to keep the Old Covenant ceremonial and liturgical laws. And that is that we are not to try to be saved via making it up ourselves, doing it our way, according to our own flesh. For we are saved by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, which is not of our own doing, but that which originates with and comes from God.

What is Faith?

So, what is faith? Faith is divine persuasion. So what does God persuade us to do? He persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness and of our need to repent of (turn away from) our sins to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). How do I know this? By reading the whole of the New Testament where it teaches us what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ, which is evidenced by what we do.

But do you realize that we have many people today within the gatherings of what is called “church” here in America, while claiming that they have faith and that they are not trying to be saved by works, who are still trying to be saved by the flesh and not by the Spirit? For they are following a man-made gospel which does not teach dying with Christ to sin and living to God and to his righteousness, which the Scriptures require for salvation from sin.

And, no, this is not works salvation. It is the only salvation message that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught. If you are not being taught that you must die to sin, not just once but daily, and that you must follow the Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands as part of saving faith, then you are not being taught the true gospel but one created in the minds of men in their deceitful scheming who are leading many people astray.

And they are leading them to believe in a gospel message which does not put sin to death but which allows sin to continue to reign in our mortal bodies, and which does not require obedience to our Lord but which allows its adherents to keep on in disobedience to Jesus Christ. And so they pacify them in their sins and they tell them lies that make them feel good about themselves in their sins but they are sending them to hell on the promise of heaven when they die.

So, we need to be made aware of what the Scriptures teach regarding our salvation and the faith that saves, for Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self), and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self we will lose them for eternity. But if we die with Christ to sin, for the sake of Jesus, we will have eternal life in him.

So, please be aware of the fact that if you continue in deliberate and habitual sin after making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and if you do not turn away from your sinful practices to follow Jesus in obedience, you will not have eternal life with God no matter what faith you profess in Jesus Christ. For Jesus said that not everyone saying to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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