04 Aug Nailing Your Flesh
We looked yesterday at the difference in responses to being offended by Jesus: Turning back and away from Jesus or turning to Jesus and away from our sin. The second option is called repentance. In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul writes to the Corinthians acknowledging that his first letter to them was frank and had offended them. The Corinthians must have submitted to the offense and learned from it because Paul writes, “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you…”
Jesus was crucified for our sin. Why would He allow that sin for which He died go unchecked in our flesh? He, who came in the likeness of sinful flesh yet was without sin was put to death. He was nailed to a cross to condemn sin in the flesh so that the righteous requirement of the law could be fulfilled in us as we live not by the flesh but by His Spirit. Therefore, we have an obligation, not to the flesh, but to Jesus, to by the Spirit, put to death the misdeeds of the body. How many nails will it take to crucify my flesh? (Romans 8:1-14)
There seems to be a constant battle between the flesh and the Spirit. Paul puts it this way, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:14-25)
Part of the deliverance we receive through Jesus is imparted to us through discipline. Look at Hebrews 12:1-12. It tells us to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us. We are told here to focus on Jesus who endured the shame of the cross for us. He is our encouragement. In this passage, we see that God is FOR us and that His discipline is proof of His love. “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
So I say that the offense to my flesh must be allowed to penetrate my spirit so that it can do its work and produce the fruit of godliness. The offense is made so that I can repent and be freed of my flesh. With each offense, I have another opportunity to repent and to be transformed into The Lord’s image with ever increasing glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) Paul says “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
Jesus says, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”