The Old Man/The flesh

Robert

Well-Known Member
Recently, I had an incident with an "individual"; A group of us were talking to him, and it appeared that he wasn't amongst us for the best of intentions. During the conversation, while trying to reason with him, I lost my cool and began to call him what I felt he really was. It took my friend to restore my composure, but not after she had to call my name several times. I ended up having to apologize to her, and asking God for forgiveness.

Welcome to Christian Struggle 101.

We all wrestle with it at times: the feelings of anger, hate, rage, jealousy, spite, lust, desire. These feelings reside within the best of us, and during moments of emotion or stress, can spill out in spite of ourselves, and much to our chagrin. Needless to say, I felt uncomfortable, and sorry that a good friend of mine whom I esteem greatly saw something in me that was ugly. She forgave me for ignoring her and lashing out, but I still needed to get it right with God.

Paul also had moments like these as well: In Acts 23, Paul rebuked the High Priest for having him smacked in the face. And even though Paul didn't know that he was he high priest, he repented of his sin. Like us, Paul was human, and had an enemy that we all have called "the old man" or "the flesh." This is our carnal nature, which can have a powerfull pull on us even though we are saved. Paul recognized this when he wrote this powerful set of verses in Romans:

"Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. or we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

(Romans chapter 7)

In this, Paul acknowledged that the flesh can work against us, even though our spirit is in Christ. he doesn't excuse sinning in this manner, but he recognizes that we are all human, and that we all have that nature. Nevertheless, he has some good advice for us that comes from the Lord:

"But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:20-27)


We cannot continue in the new man until we put off "the old man" or "the flesh." We have to put this "old man to death" as so to speak, somethimes several times a day, whenever we recognize that it is trying to claw it's way back to life. We need to leave it at the cross, and make sure that it stays at the cross. Otherwise, it is going to hound us, and creep in when we least expect it.

Should it do so (and to be honest,there are going to be times that it will), we need to remember what John says in 1 John 1:9 :" If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." God will forgive us, but we need to rcognize that we have sinned; that is often hard to do when we are seething with anger or hatred. That is why Paul tells us not to let the sun go down on our wrath: to hang onto it is to blind ourselves spiritually, setting us up for further sins against God.

YBIC,

-Robert


P.S.: Thank You, Christina. :hug2:
 
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Robert

Well-Known Member
Thanks.

The lessons that I learn I try to pass on, so that way, others don't have to go through the same experience.
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Unfortunately, bro, the battle with the flesh is something EVERYBODY has to go through for themselves. Of course, once they realize two things, it becomes easier. First that the victory was won at the Cross. Christ accomplished everything for us, we just have to learn to rest in that. Second, it is through the Spirit that we put to death the works of the flesh (Romans 8:13). In other words it is as we surrender to God daily and allow His Spirit to rule in us that the flesh—the old man, the sin nature—dies within us. Theologians call this process sanctification. It is the making of us more and more into the image of Christ.

The flesh cannot kill itself. It WILL not kill itself. It will go to all sorts of efforts of self-mortification, of painful and grandiose religious acts and observances just so it may live. But the Spirit can and will kill it. We just have to want it and to surrender our will to the Holy Spirit whenever the flesh rears its ugly head. And this all rests in our submission to God.

Jesus said, "Take up your cross." In His day, a person carrying a cross was a dead man walking. He had no hope, no future, no control over his life. He was as good as dead. When we obey Christ's words to take up our cross daily, we are saying to ourselves, to Satan, and to the world: "I am a dead man. I have no longer hopes of my own, dreams of my own, a life of my own. I am dead to sin and I am dead to self."

Jesus won the victory over sin and our flesh at Calvary. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can make that a reality in our life. And He only does that as we constantly rest in the work of the Cross, as the Bible says: "reckoning ourselves to be dead to sin."

Anyway, good post, bro.
 

PraisingHimAlways

watching and waiting
Great post...it very much is a daily struggle to put off the "old man"...sometimes I get so angry it scares me, but then I go to the Cross and throw myself at His feet, confessing my sin, submitting myself once again to Him and thanking Him for His wondrous grace and mercy...
 
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mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Great post...it very much is a daily struggle to put off the "old man"...sometimes I get so angry it scares me, but then I go to the Cross and throw myself at His feet, confessing my sin, submitting myself once again to Him and thanking Him for His wondrous grace and mercy...
Awesome! :praise
 

Robert

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately, bro, the battle with the flesh is something EVERYBODY has to go through for themselves. Of course, once they realize two things, it becomes easier. First that the victory was won at the Cross. Christ accomplished everything for us, we just have to learn to rest in that. Second, it is through the Spirit that we put to death the works of the flesh (Romans 8:13). In other words it is as we surrender to God daily and allow His Spirit to rule in us that the flesh—the old man, the sin nature—dies within us. Theologians call this process sanctification. It is the making of us more and more into the image of Christ.

The flesh cannot kill itself. It WILL not kill itself. It will go to all sorts of efforts of self-mortification, of painful and grandiose religious acts and observances just so it may live. But the Spirit can and will kill it. We just have to want it and to surrender our will to the Holy Spirit whenever the flesh rears its ugly head. And this all rests in our submission to God.

Jesus said, "Take up your cross." In His day, a person carrying a cross was a dead man walking. He had no hope, no future, no control over his life. He was as good as dead. When we obey Christ's words to take up our cross daily, we are saying to ourselves, to Satan, and to the world: "I am a dead man. I have no longer hopes of my own, dreams of my own, a life of my own. I am dead to sin and I am dead to self."

Jesus won the victory over sin and our flesh at Calvary. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can make that a reality in our life. And He only does that as we constantly rest in the work of the Cross, as the Bible says: "reckoning ourselves to be dead to sin."

Anyway, good post, bro.

Very true, matt. :thumbup
 
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