What is the meat

What is the meat?

John Knox (1510-1572) was a Scottish clergyman, a leader of the Protestant Reformation, and a man known as the founder of the Presbyterian denomination in Scotland. Knox was admired by theologians of the time as someone who had an enthusiasm for God and a devotion to the truth of scripture and holy life. But as his death drew near, the saint of God allowed his personal struggle with his sinful nature, which he inherited from Adam (Romans 5:12). Knox said, “I know how difficult the struggle is between the flesh and the Spirit under the heavy cross of suffering when there is no worldly defense but death. I know the reluctant and grumbling complaints of the flesh. "

Knox's statement sounds remarkably similar to that of the Apostle Paul, who publicly admitted personal struggle with his sinful nature: “For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. 'Cause I don't know what I'm doing Because I don't do what I want; but what I hate, I do. But if I do what I don't want, I consent to the law that it is good. So I no longer do it myself, but the sin that dwells in me. Because I know that there is nothing good in me, that is, in my flesh. I do want to, but I cannot do what is good. Because I don't do the good that I want; but the evil that I don't want, that's what I do. But if I do what I do not want, I no longer do it, but the sin that dwells in me. So now I find the law: I, who want to do good, have bad things attached to me. For I enjoy God's law according to the internal man. But I see another law in my members that contradicts the law in my mind and keeps me imprisoned in the law of sin that is in my members. I miserable man! Who will deliver me from this body of death? ”(Romans 7: 14-24).

Paul says in his letter to the Romans that he is "carnal" and this "carnal" creates difficulties in a Christian's life and made him a prisoner of sin. Martin Luther wrote in the preface to the Roman book about Paul's use of “flesh”: “You do not have to understand flesh and spirit here in such a way that flesh is only that which concerns unchastity, and spirit that which concerns the inward part of the heart . Instead, Paul calls flesh, everything that is born of flesh, the whole person, with body and soul, with reason and all senses, because everything about him seeks the flesh. ”Luther's remark shows that“ flesh ”is equated with the desires and inclinations that are in contradiction to God, not only in the sexual field, but in all areas of our life.

To get a solid understanding of the term "flesh" we need to examine its use and definition in Scripture, how it plays a role in the lives of believers and unbelievers, and the consequences of it, and how the flesh can be overcome.

A definition for the "meat"

The Greek word for "flesh" in the New Testament is sarx, a term that is often used in Scripture to refer to the physical body. However describes A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature the word in the sense of: “a physical body as a functioning unit; In Paul's mind, in particular, all parts of the body make up a totality of the body, which is dominated by sin, to the extent that wherever there is flesh, all forms of sin are also present and nothing good can live. "

The Bible makes it clear that mankind did not start out this way. The book of Genesis says that mankind was originally created well and perfectly: “And God said: Let us make people, an image that is equal to us…. And God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; and created them male and female ”(Genesis 1: 26-27). Because God is perfect and because an effect always essentially represents its cause [that is, that a perfectly good God can only create good things, or as Jesus said: "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit" (Matthew 7:18) ], Adam and Eve were both created well and without sin. But when Adam and Eve sinned, their nature was corrupted and this nature was passed on to their descendants: “And Adam was 130 years old and had a son, like him and in his own image, and called him Set ”(Genesis 5: 3; emphasis added in italics).

The fact of the sinful nature is taught in many passages of Scripture, such as David's statement: "For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me" (Psalm 51: 5). David does not mean that he was the product of an adulterous affair, but that his parents inherited his sinful nature. In theology, the "traducianist" standpoint of human nature is called (derived from the Latin term tradux, which means "offspring"). The Traducianist point of view means that a person's soul is created by his or her parents, with the child inheriting their fallen nature in the process.

The Bible's view of human nature differs from Greek philosophy in that Scripture says that the physical and spiritual nature of mankind was originally good. In contrast, philosophers like Plato saw a dualism or dichotomy in humanity. This mindset eventually spawned a theory that a person's body (physical) is bad but a person's mind is good. This teaching influenced groups like the Gnostics, who believed that the physical world was created by mistake by a demi-god called "Demiurge". The Gnostics contradicted the teaching of the only begotten Christ because they believed that God would never take a physical form because the body is sinful and evil. The apostle Paul encountered this kind of teaching in his day and warned: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is from God; and every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not of God ”(1 John 4: 1-3).

In addition, the Gnostics taught that it does not matter what a person is doing in their body, because the spirit alone matters. This Platonic dualism had the same effects both in the first century and today - it leads to either asceticism or licentiousness, both of which the Bible frowns upon (Colossians 2:23; Jude 4).

So, contrary to the Greek thought, the Bible says that human nature, both physical and spiritual, was good, but both were negatively affected by sin. The end result of sin is a nature often referred to as the "flesh" in the Bible - something that contradicts God and seeks sinful satisfaction. Pastor Mark Bubek defines the flesh as follows: “The flesh is a built-in law of failure that makes it impossible for the natural man to please and serve God. It is an instinctual inner force that is inherited through the Fall and expresses itself through general and specific rebellion against God and his righteousness. The meat can never be reformed or improved. The only hope of escape from the law of the flesh is its complete extinction and replacement with a new life in the Lord Jesus Christ. "

Expression and struggle with the flesh

How is the flesh expressed in man? The Bible answers this question as follows: “But the works of the flesh are evident, as there are: fornication, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrel, discord, division, envy, drinking, eating and the same. I have foretold of this to you and again predict: Those who do this will not inherit the kingdom of God ”(Galatians 5: 19-21).

The examples of the expression of the flesh in the world are evident. Consider some sad facts from a study of pornography in North America. According to this study, the following happens every second in the US:

• $ 3,075.64 will be spent on pornography

• 28,258 Internet users watch pornography

• 372 Internet users enter adult search terms in search engines.

And every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is recorded in the United States. Such statistics underscore the statement of the prophet Jeremiah, who lamented: “The heart is a defiant and despondent thing; who can fathom it? ”(Jeremiah 17: 9).

The consequence of the flesh

The Bible says that living in the flesh has a number of unfortunate consequences. First, Scripture says that those who live according to their flesh and never want to change or never repent of their sinful behavior will be separated from God in this life and in the next.

• “What kind of fruit did you then have [from your sinful deeds]? Fruits of which you are now ashamed; for their end is death ”(Romans 6:21).

• “For if you live according to the flesh, you will have to die; but if by the Spirit you kill the deeds of the body, you will live ”(Romans 8:13).

• “Do not be mistaken! God can not be fooled. For what a person sows he will reap. Whoever sows on his flesh will reap destruction from that flesh; but whoever sows on the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit ”(Galatians 6: 7-8).

A person also becomes a slave to their own carnal nature: “Don't you know? Whom you make servants to obey him, you are servants and you obey him - either as servants of sin to death or as servants of obedience to righteousness? ”(Romans 6:16). This slavery always leads to a destructive, depraved lifestyle. As the prophet Hosea said: "For they sow the wind and reap the storm" (Hosea 8: 7).

It is a fact that obeying the flesh always results in breaking God's moral law. Literally, of course, a person can never “break” God's law, even if he can certainly disobey it. For example, a person may climb onto the roof of a house, put on a cloak, and jump off the roof in hopes of breaking the law of attraction. However, he will quickly find that he cannot fly; he can't break the law of attraction and the only thing that ends up breaking is his neck; and at the same time he proves the law of attraction. This principle also applies to morality: a person can ignore God's moral laws by leading a carnal life, but he will thereby prove God's moral law by harming himself in one way or another through his behavior.

Overcome the flesh

The Bible gives us a three-step path on how to overcome the flesh and how to re-establish a proper relationship with God. The first step is honesty, in which a person acknowledges their sinful conduct before God. This requires agreeing with what the Bible says about those born of human parents: Humans are sinners and enter this world in a broken relationship with God who made them:

• "If you, Lord, want to give credit to sins - Lord, who will stand?" (Psalm 130.3)

• “When we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. […] If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us ”(1 John 1: 8-10).

The next step is to live in the Spirit, which means that we must call to God for salvation and receive His Holy Spirit, who strengthens us as persons to lead an orderly life before God and not indulge in carnal desires. This transformation and the new way of life are described in various passages in the Holy Scriptures:

• “I live, but now not I, but Christ lives in me. For what I now live in the flesh, I live in faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me ”(Galatians 2:20).

• “So also you: consider yourself to be people who died of sin and who live for God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

• “But I say: if you walk in the Spirit, you will not fulfill the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

• “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

• “But draw on the Lord Jesus Christ and do not take care of the body in such a way that you fall into desires” (Romans 13:14).

• “And do not drink yourselves full of wine, which leads to a disorderly being, but allow yourself to be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

• "I keep your word in my heart so that I do not sin against you." (Psalm 119:11).

The final step is the way of death, where the flesh is starved of its desires so that it ultimately dies. Even though a person is born again by the Holy Spirit, they must understand that the old nature with all its desires is still there, waging war against the new nature and the desires that come from the Holy Spirit. In practical terms, the Christian consciously avoids indulging in the old, carnal nature and instead practices new patterns of behavior in a life that is guided by the Spirit:

• “But you, man of God, flee that! But pursue righteousness, piety, faith, love, patience, meekness! ”(1 Timothy 6:11).

• “Flee the desires of the youth” (2 Timothy 2:22).

• “but I flay my body and subdue it, so that I do not preach to others and become reprehensible myself” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

• "So slay the members that are on the earth, fornication, uncleanness, shameful passion, evil desires and covetousness which is idolatry" (Colossians 3: 5).

• "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh together with their passions and desires." (Galatians 5:24).

• “We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, so that we no longer serve sin” (Romans 6: 6).

• “But you did not get to know Christ like that; You have heard of him and have been instructed in him as it is truth in Jesus: Put away the old man with his earlier walk, who is ruined by deceptive desires. But renew yourselves in your spirit and mind and attract the new man, who was created after God in true righteousness and holiness ”(Ephesians 4: 20-24).


Susanna Wesley, mother of the wonderful preachers and hymn composers John and Charles Wesley, described sin and flesh as follows: “Whatever weakens our logical thinking, it affects our consciousness, distorts our sense of God, or deprives us of the enjoyment of spiritual things , in short, if something increases the authority and power of the flesh over the spirit, that is recognized as a sin in itself, however good it is in itself. ”One of the goals of the Christian life is the victory of the spirit over the flesh and a change in life that is expressed in a righteous life before God.

Although the battle will be very real (which the Bible also makes clear), Christians have God's assurance that He will ultimately bring them victory over the flesh. “And I am confident that he who began the good work in you will also finish it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1: 6).


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What is the meat?
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