“Sowing in the flesh”. Where we have gone wrong?

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Hi I am sorry I seem to have been on a hiatus. I hope all of you are well. I have been involved in a major case and the Lord has been most gracious to grant my client and I victory. I must admit that it will take me sometime to get into the groove to continue with the myth series.

As such I thought it be good to debunk a huge myth for you this week before I move on with the myth series.  I want to deal with issue of “sowing in the flesh” tonight.

—  Galatians 6:7-8

—  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

—  Galatians 5:16-17

—  16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want.

The above are probably the most misconceived verses quoted by teachers and pastors today. Most equate “sowing in the flesh” to be delving with the occult, pornography and all the sins of the body. Hence, may believers still teach that believers will lose their salvation when they continue to live a lifestyle of the flesh i.e. by sinning. While I do not promote a sinful lifestyle, I must say “sowing in the flesh” has nothing to do with living in sin. Sin is only the symptom. It is not the  cause.

Context.

Let’s read the texts in its context.

—  Galatians 6:12-15

—  12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

 

As such sowing in the flesh is actually circumcision. What is circumcision? Circumcision (from Latin circumcisio, meaning “to cut around”) is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis (Wikipedia). Hence, sowing in the “flesh”, get it?  

The issue here is really placing yourself back under the law.

—  Galatians 5:2-9

—  Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole lawYou who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

If you trust in your obedience to impress God, you are bound to obey the whole law. That dear friends, is sowing in the flesh, you will be cut off from Christ hence you will reap destruction.

—  You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

That is what Paul means by a little yeast works through the whole batch. You try to bake cake. You use 10 ingredients. All of them are fresh except one. You have a rotten egg. Would you eat that cake? If you allow yourself to be under one part of the law, you are bound by the whole law!

The flesh and the law

If you spend some time looking up the word “flesh”, you will realize that the word “law” is never far behind. It is hence not surprised when Paul says confidence in the “flesh” is confidence in the law.

—  Philippians 3:3-6

—  For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

—  If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

Again he says it in Galatians.

—  Galatians 5:16-23

—  16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want. 

—  18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

—  22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.

As such you can clearly see it is not the law which produce the fruit of the Spirit but the Spirit.

Are you saying Simon, the law causes the acts of the flesh? Well…. Yes!

Let’s look at the relationship between the “law” and “the flesh”.

Consider Romans 7.

How does sin receive its power?

—  Romans 7:7-25

—  What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”[a] 

—  8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 

—  Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.

You see the problem is not with the law. It is you. Sin in you. So the law is design to bring sin out from you. So that you know you are a sinner.

The commandment gives sin its strength over you.

—   10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 

—  13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

—  14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin

—  15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me

So the law is to show you up. It is to expose you. It is to bring sin out from you. Hence to bring out the acts of the sinful nature from you. So the Law appeals to your flesh.

18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[b] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 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. 20 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.

—  21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 

—  22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 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. 

—  So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[c] a slave to the law of sin.

So what then is the flesh? It is this “trying to impress God by human effort under the law of Moses”. Paul writes about that.

—  Galatians 2:15-16 The Message (MSG)

—   15-16We Jews know that we have no advantage of birth over “non-Jewish sinners.” We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ.

—  How do we know?

—  We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.

Paul thank God for him tells us to move away from the Law to be a God man. He speaks from his experience having spend his whole life to try to impress God. How then does a person sow in the Spirit rather than the flesh?

Paul tells us:

—  Galatians 2:19-21 The Message (MSG)

—   19-21What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ.

—  My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me.

—  The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

—  Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Spirit vs Flesh

—  Galatians 3:1-11

—  3 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?[a] Have you experienced[b] so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

See how Paul describes the relationship between the law and the flesh. The works of the law and the means of the flesh is the same thing! In fact the following verse, Paul describes how by sowing into the law, you reap destruction.

—  10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f]

As such, it is logical and Biblical, when you introduce the law you introduce sin. If that is the case, to remove the flesh, you remove the law. This is what God did. Dear friends, may I humbly shock you, you do not have a sinful nature anymore if you are a believer. Paul says that our sinful nature has already been cut off. It happened when God nailed the law to the cross. When He did that, he also cut off the flesh from you.

—  Colossians 2:8-15

—  See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.

—  For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands.

—  Your whole self ruled by the flesh[b] was put off when you were circumcised by[c] Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

—  13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[d] alivewith Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.[e]

—  Jesus DID abolish the Law! See: Ephesians 2:14-15

—  14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.

Believers please note you now have a divine nature and not a sinful nature.

—  Galatians 5:24

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Note: We have. HAVE. HAVE. Not “going to” BUT HAVE! Past tense.

—  2 Peter 1:4

—  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Dear friends, stop condemning yourself then. You are already perfectly forgiveness, perfectly made whole and perfectly remade. Sow thus in the finished work of Jesus and not yourself.  

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7 thoughts on ““Sowing in the flesh”. Where we have gone wrong?

  1. welcome back!
    it hits in the core. as most of us think that sowing in the flesh is doing the sinful actions.

    to contrast, in another thought, we think sowing as something to do with money. whereas the scripture, when it speaks of sowing it always refers to the word of God as the seed, sown into the hearts of man.
    …..

    you have received my message in facebook right? can you still access your yahoo mail?

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