Overcoming the Flesh

 

Key Verse: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:6)

The Old Man or Nature

The “old man” is referred to as the flesh or the old nature. It is the “old self” or the nature that we had before we were born again. The old nature (flesh) is characterized by evil desires, bondage to sin, and love of sin. It is the sinful nature that we received from Adam.  Significantly, the old man or nature is opposed to the things of God.

“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”(Eph. 4:21-24 NIV)

  1. What does Ephesians 4:21-24 say about being renewed by the Holy Spirit?

We are transformed by the Holy Spirit into the Nature of Christ. This regenerative process is characterized by a divine holy nature and is patterned after the Word and of God.

Faith is the conviction of the truth by the inner working of the Holy Spirit. After salvation, believers are regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), and baptized by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).

         2. What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?

         3. How does this happen?

To be crucified means to die. We must continually die to self and from sin. The old nature, that inborn tendency to sin, was crucified with Christ.  The Work of the Holy Spirit and our faith and trust in the Word of God assist us in reckoning ourselves to be dead to the old sinful nature and its lusts. This means that we do not live under the influence of the power of sin but rather, choose instead to live for God. The Word reinforces this belief in Colossians 3:10 and Galatians 2:20:

 “And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Colossians 3:10

I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20).

The following scriptures discuss the process of overcoming and subduing the flesh:

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14

 

“[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11

“That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:2