Going to hell by “the flesh”: Grace is not a false movement (4)

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I am writing my 4th response to this article who has accused the Grace Movement as a false teaching:http://www.learningfromthemaster.com/apps/blog/categories/show/1666488-grace-movement

Part 1 of the respond is here: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/grace-teachers-are-not-false-messiahs-grace-is-not-a-false-movement-1/

Part 2 of the respond can be found here: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/myths-that-itching-ears-want-to-hear-grace-is-not-a-false-movement-2/

Part 3 of my respond can be found here: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/penalties-and-repentance-grace-is-not-a-false-movement-3/

I want to respond to this part of the article today:

No Risk of Hell

Grace theology says, “Yes, we may sin once in a while as Christians, but we don’t have to worry because we are saved in Christ Jesus, therefore we need not fear hell.” This too flies in the face of Scripture.

 

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Dear friends,

Let’s take this bit by bit. Let’s look at this passage of Scripture, she so “confidently” quote. It is rather interesting that this passage of Scripture is found in Galatians 5. Let me show the context of the whole passage.  I also want you to see the things I highlight to you and the questions I am asking along the way.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. [What does Paul mean by “again”?]

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised [what has circumcision got to do with “making Jesus of no value to you?”] , 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.[Notice how you fall from grace? By trying to justified by the law, hence circumcision, hence obligated to obey the whole law] For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? [Dear friend, have you wondered “what is the truth here?” and how they were stopped from running the race?] That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” [See verse 3-4 (above) 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? [I think by now you would have noted, by circumcision, Paul means the preaching of the keeping of the 10 commandments] In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[Paul here is talking about the spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

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[c] you want.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. [Now when you read this statement, keep in mind what I am going to share later in Romans 7 and Romans 8 later, you would note walking in the flesh, is trying to be justified by the law and walking in the Spirit, is simply not to do so and knowing you have been justified already by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ] [Also do you see it, if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. You are also hence NOT walking in the flesh!]

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. [When you read this, keep in mind the power of sin is …. 1 Corinthians 15:59 … the Law. I will share this in detail below.]

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. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Great, are you ready.

Let me share some things that will shock the living daylights from you.

No. 1,  Walking in the flesh is NOT sinning. You sin when you walk in the flesh. Sin is a by-product of walking in the flesh.

No. 2,  Walking in the flesh is trying to be justified by obeying the law. By doing this you will produce the works of the flesh.

No. 3,  When you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Notice Paul uses the term “acts” when it comes to flesh and “fruit” when it comes to the Spirit. Notice how it is worded in the King James Version: The “works” of the sinful nature. Here’s the shocking part. When you work for your righteousness under the law, you will produce eh works of the flesh.

Some of you are now probably saying that’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. So did I when God’s Spirit showed me this. Before you stone me, the Spirit also led me to these verses:

Romans 3:21-24

The Message (MSG)

21-24 But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.

Now let me show it to you in the Amplified Bible:

“Romans 3:21-23

Amplified Bible (AMP)

21 But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets,

22 Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe.”

What do you mean by “independently and altogether apart from the Law”?

While the question lingers in your mind, let’s talk about the issue of “the flesh”.

What is “walking in the flesh?”

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.

Now let me show you something really amazing.

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There are those who would argue that the KJV says that there is no condemnation for Christians who walk in the Spirit only. If your remain in the flesh, you are still under condemnation. They argue there is a condition to your no condemnation.

Dear friends, many people have a wrong concept of what it means to be in the realm of the Spirit and the flesh.

They think that being in the realm of the Spirit simply means you produce the fruit of the Spirit and being in the realm of the flesh means you live in sin.

So they think a Christian can drift from the realm of the Spirit to the realm of the flesh depending of what he do or doesn’t do. That is not true.

Paul tells us we were in the realm of the flesh when we tried to be righteous by obeying the law.

Romans 7:5

New International Version (NIV)

5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh,[a] the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.

That is who you were.

Look at what he says about you NOW.

Romans 8:9

New International Version (NIV)

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

Here is the million dollar question. Since we are in the Spirit, why do we still sin?

A sinner is a person who can only sin. His freewill is limited to the manner and method he sins. A saint is a person who now has the freedom to chose to sin or not to sin. Paul has never bothered to issue instructions to sinners not to sin. His message to them has always believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. His instructions of not sinning was to people who now have the power not to sin.

You my friend, are no longer a sinner, you now have a choice, you did not have that choice before. Hence while you can walk in the Spirit, you are not sinless but you sin less.

So dear friends,

What does the words “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” mean in its context? This is what it means “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.”

You will see the context of the flesh clearly here in the Amplified Bible:

Notice, it is I, Paul, who tells you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no profit (advantage, avail) to you [[a]for if you distrust Him, you can gain nothing from Him].

I once more protest and testify to every man who receives circumcision that he is under obligation and bound to practice the whole of the Law and its ordinances.

If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from God’s gracious favor and unmerited blessing).

For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our [b]conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope.”

18 But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.”

See it? So the passage is not saying if a Christian sins he risks going to hell. Rather it speaks about abandoning the salvation Jesus purchased for you and going back to the law of Moses as the basis of your salvation. So if you reject Jesus and rely on the law as the basis of your salvation, how do end up in heaven?

Be at peace, your sins has been taken away …once and for all.

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One thought on “Going to hell by “the flesh”: Grace is not a false movement (4)

  1. Pingback: Romans 7 revisited: Grace is Not a False Movement (6) | RIGHTEOUSNESS

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