All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
May 14, 2011
or the Spirit
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The Flesh or the Spirit
Early one morning from my spirit came these words, "The flesh or the Spirit?" Then came these words, "The flesh trusts in the ability of man to make his own decisions in life. The Spirit trusts in God to make all decisions in life." What is the LORD trying to tell the body of Christ?
In the Epistles of the New Testament it was written to the Christians in Galatia, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap...For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal. 6:7,8).
Can a Spirit-filled Christian be deceived? Certainly. That is why the Epistles were written, to correct error where Christians are being led astray. In Ephesians 4:14 it says, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive."
To make the right choices in life, we must understand the difference between what is of the flesh and what is of the Spirit The "flesh" is speaking of our "physical body," which is earthly. The body of Adam was formed before the LORD God breathed into that body the breath of life, whereby man became "a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). The "spirit" is speaking of our "spiritual body," which came down from heaven in the new birth.
Jesus said in John 3:6, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Then it says in 1 Corinthians 15:22, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." According to these verses of Scripture, there is a major difference between the flesh and the spirit (that which is in Adam and that which is in Christ).
In order to understand the flesh and the spirit, we must first understand man, and the first creation of man. In the beginning, when the LORD God created man, He created man in three parts, "spirit, soul, and body."
Genesis 2:7 tells us how the LORD God created man. It says, "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
If we look over into 1 Corinthians 15:45-47 we see it says, "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit...Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual...The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven."
This agrees with Genesis 2:7, and even goes on explaining in detail certain things about the first creation of man. In 1 Corinthians 15:46 it explains that man was not created "a spirit," as some teach. But, man was created "a living soul." In 1 Corinthians 15:47 it explains that man was of this earth, and was earthly in nature.
Concerning the first creation of man in Genesis 2:7, it says, "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (chay); and man became a living (chay) soul (nephesh)." Notice something about what it says in the Hebrew. The words "chay" and "nephesh" are translated "living soul." Now, if we look back at Genesis 1:21 it says, "And God created great whales, and every living (chay) creature (nephesh) that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good." Then in Genesis 1:24 it says, "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living (chay) creature (nephesh) after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so."
In Genesis 1:21,24; 2:7, the Hebrew word "chay" is translated "living." Therefore, the Hebrew word "chay" means "living; alive; having life." In Genesis 1:21,24, the Hebrew word "nephesh" is translated "creature." Whereas in Genesis 2:7, the Hebrew word "nephesh" is translated "soul." Therefore, we can see that all living creatures (which includes whales, fowl, cattle, creeping things, beasts of the earth, etc.), have the same attributes as man. All of these living creatures have "a mind" with the ability to think, reason, understand, and operate in their environment (fish in the water, fowl in the air, cattle and mankind on land). All of these function according to their thoughts, reasoning, intellect, and understanding. Their thoughts, reasoning, intellect, and understanding operate from "their mind," which is a part of their "living creature/living soul."
All of the creatures created in Genesis, Chapter One and Two, are earthly creatures, formed of the earth. These all have earthly bodies, which are formed or came from the earth. These are also all "air breathing creatures." They all require air to keep them alive (whether it be in the water, on the land, or in the skies above the earth). They are all conformed to this earth, which some day will pass away, and there will be a new heavens and a new earth (Isa. 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1).
Therefore, they are all earthly beings, as opposed to heavenly beings (such as angels or demons which are spiritual). Heavenly beings do not require "air" to breathe. Heavenly beings are not conformed to this world.
Man received his "living soul" by "the breath of the LORD God." The LORD God breathed into the nostrils of man "the breath of life (chay)" (Gen. 2:7). By the breath of the LORD God, man became a living soul (a living, air breathing, creature).
Angels and demons are not air breathing creatures. They are spirits. Spirits have heavenly bodies, and do not require air to breathe. Therefore, man was not created "a spirit," as some teach. Angels are created living spirits, but man was created a living soul.
In 1 Corinthians 15:44-49 it explains Genesis 2:7 by telling us, the first man (Adam), was a living soul (a living air breathing creature). The first man (Adam) was "of the flesh" and the second Man (Jesus Christ), was "of the Spirit." Every human being, born "of man" into this world, was born of the flesh.
To enter into eternal life in heaven we must be born again (a second time) "of the Spirit, and the Word" (John 3:7; 1 Peter 1:23). We must have a heavenly body, which does not require air to breathe.
If we study these verses closely, we will find that our first birth (born into this world), was born of the flesh, not of the Spirit. Yet, we will find many people in the body of Christ saying that "man was created a spirit," and he has a soul and a body. The Bible says, the first man was "a living soul," and the second Man, which is Jesus Christ, is "a life-giving Spirit." If Christians are going to believe the teachings of men, rather than the Word of God, how can God help us? God does not agree with the teachings of men. God will only agree with the Holy Spirit, His written Word, and the Blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 5:8).
When we become born again of the Spirit, we receive a new spiritual body (in Christ). We began with a natural body in Adam, then we receive a new spiritual body and are translated into Christ (Rom. 8:9; Col. 1:13). Yet, as we study the Scriptures, it tells us we still have our natural body and our living soul. Actually, the difference is not that we are no longer "a living soul." We remain "a living soul" and we are translated from "the flesh of Adam," into "the Spirit of Christ." Romans 8:9 says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Once we are born again, we are "in Christ." We belong to Christ and we live in Christ. All throughout the New Testament it speaks of being "in Christ." Being we are "in Christ," we are no longer "in Adam."
Did you ever consider that the Word of God does not cause confusion? Much of the Word of God is plain and simple so that even the average Christian can understand it. As an example, in Colossians 1:13 it says, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." This implies, we are still who we were, "a living soul," translated from the flesh of Adam into the Spirit of Christ. It is that simple, yet many today do not believe what the Word of God says. They prefer to believe what men teach instead.
Being that we are still a living soul, that helps us to understand why so many teach things that are not true according to the Scriptures. They still have the same mind they had before they were born again. It still thinks the same way it always did.
Man's mind was corrupted by the knowledge of good and evil, when Adam and Eve first ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:1-17). Now, it is time that Christians get their minds renewed on the Word of God, and no longer follow the teachings of men (Rom. 12:2). God wants to teach His born again Christians from their spirit, not as the world teaches from the minds of men.
We are still "a living soul" which is now "in Christ Jesus." Our living soul contains our mind, intellect, reasoning, imaginations, etc., everything we had before we were born again. Our physical body and our living soul are still with us. They did not leave us when we became born again of the Spirit and became a new creature in Christ. God did His part. God made us "a new creature in Christ," and all the sins and iniquities we had committed were passed away. We are "new creatures" in Christ. We are God's very own children, adopted out of Adam and born of the Word and the Spirit "in Christ Jesus."
In 1 Corinthians 2:19, it says, "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." God was "in Christ" taking away all our sins and iniquities by Jesus' blood that was shed for us. It is Jesus' blood that redeemed us from sin. Actually, the Scriptures also tell us that Jesus also bore our sickness, disease, and infirmities in His body for us at the same time (Isa. 53:4, Matt. 8:17, 1 Peter 2:24).
We are still a living soul, which is still subject to sin. Our living soul can and still does sin. In 1 John 1:8,10, it says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us...If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." At the same time, 1 John 1:7,9, it says, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin...If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Therefore, being a living soul we still have a physical body that is still subject to sin, sickness, disease, and infirmities.
Yet, our spirit is not subject to sin, sickness, disease, and infirmities. In 1 Peter it says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." Our spirit is not corruptible. God dwells in our spirit, and where God dwells, Satan cannot dwell. God cannot have fellowship with Satan or the works of the Devil.
The truth is, we are still "a living soul" and we still have "a natural body of flesh and bones." Therefore, the Scripture says in Romans 12:1,2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service...And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Notice. It does not say anything about our spirit. God is in control of our spirit.
The main reason it tells us to present our bodies a living sacrifice and renew our mind is because our bodies are still mortal and our souls are still corrupted.
Therefore, in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 it says, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed...In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed...For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality...So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
Our bodies are still mortal and our minds are still corrupt. Therefore, while we are still alive in the flesh, we must learn how to control our bodies and our minds.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." It is clear in the Scriptures that we are a new creature. A new creature that never existed in the form we have "in Christ," until after we were born again. Did you notice that it says, "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." In this, evidently, God is speaking the end from the beginning. God does this a lot throughout the Bible. God sees things from His point of view.
Even though we are a new creature in Christ, we still have our natural body and our living soul. We must be involved in presenting our body a living sacrifice unto God (Rom. 12:1). We must be involved in the renewing of our mind (Rom. 12:2). These are our responsibilities. God took care of our spirit, but our bodies and our minds are our responsibilities.
We still have a free will to choose between the LORD and the Devil. If we decide to reject the LORD and follow the Devil, there is no guarantee that we will not end up in hell with the Devil. Roman 6:16 , is written to Christians and it says, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" We cannot continue to serve the Devil expecting to walk in heaven when we leave this earth. We cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24).
In 1 Corinthians 15:45-47 it explains the first Adam, and it also explains the Second Adam, which is "Jesus Christ." Jesus was not the same as Adam. Before Jesus came in the flesh, He was not "earthly," but rather "heavenly." None of this was explained in Genesis, yet God's plan from the foundation of the world included a new creation in Christ Jesus. This new creation in Christ Jesus is a heavenly creature, in the likeness and image of Christ (the Son of God). Writing to Christians, in 1 Corinthians 15:49 it says, "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
The provision for the new birth was already in the Garden of Eden, where it mentions "the Tree of life in the midst of the garden" (Gen. 2:9). Jesus came into this world that we could become born again (a second birth), into the eternal family of God. Whereby, we become children of God, but not of this world (John 17:16). Thereby, we have eternal life in Christ Jesus.
God had to start somewhere to complete His total plan for mankind. So, God started with man in Genesis 2:7 and then placed man in the garden of Eden.
The LORD God first created man according to Genesis 2:7. Man's physical body was first formed of the dust of the earth. (Man's physical body was made of the substance of the earth). By this, man belonged to the earth. Man was earthly. If we will study the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation, we will find that when man leaves this earth, his physical body goes back to the earth from which it was taken. The dust shall return to dust (Gen. 3:19). Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Therefore, the Scripture is plain and simple that the physical body we now have belongs to the earth and will normally return to the earth when man leaves this earth (unless God intervenes with our departure as with Enoch and Elijah).
Man does have "a spirit" which is "in man." This spirit came from God. The LORD God placed a spirit within man to help man, and to use man's spirit to give man understanding of spiritual things. In Job 32:8 it says, "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." Notice that it says "there is a spirit in man." The spirit of man is "in man." Therefore, man is not the spirit. Man is "a living soul," who has a body of flesh and bones and a spirit which came from God.
Now, let us see the importance of all this. Before God created man, He had already created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). When God created the heavens, He also created all the angels, including Lucifer (Isa. 14:20), Gabriel (Dan. 8:16, 9:21, Luke 1:19, 26), and Michael (Dan. 10:13, 21, 12:1, Jude 1:9, Rev. 12:7).
All of the angels were given a free will. They could freely serve God according to His plan for them. Or, they could choose to go their own way and rebel against God. Lucifer rebelled against God and was cast out of the third heavens down to the earth and became Satan, the Devil (Isa. 14:12-20; Ezek. 28:12-20).
This all happened before Genesis 1:2 when the Spirit of God moved upon the waters to separate the waters from the dry land. When Satan was cast down to this earth (and the heavens surrounding the earth), the earth became his territory. He could no longer enter into the third heavens, where the throne of God exists.
Thereby, Satan was already here on earth in the day that man was created upon this earth. We could say that Satan claimed this earth as his territory and continued his rebellion against God by trying to destroy all that God created in the beginning. Satan is a destroyer. God is a creator. Satan is for evil. God is for good.
The angels that left their first estate and followed Satan were also cast out of the third heavens, now being reserved for the final judgement (2 Peter 2:4). Satan, and these angels were created beings, created for the purpose that God created them.
They were created, "to praise and worship God before His throne in heaven." These all left the plan and purpose that God created them for and went their own way, following the way of the Devil.
When the LORD God created man, He also created man with a purpose and a free will to choose whom he will follow, God or Satan? The choice was made clear in Genesis 2:16,17, where it says, "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat...But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
The LORD God not only informed man of his choices, but also advised man of the right choice. Man could choose the tree of life or the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life would produce "in man" eternal life. The tree of knowledge of good and evil would produce "in man" two deaths, physical death of the physical body and eternal death (separation from God), of the living soul.
Man's body was of the earth, and it belonged to the earth and to man, who was created "a living soul." Our physical body belongs to us. We are a living soul and we have authority and responsibility over our physical body. That is why Romans 12:1 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." It is "our body" and "we must" present it to God as a living sacrifice.
Man's spirit belonged to God who gave it to man. Man, who is "a living soul" needed to make a choice between that which is of the flesh (which was of the earth), and that which is of the spirit (which was of God). Man could choose to follow God by listening to his spirit. Or man, could choose to follow the flesh by listening to the desires of the flesh.
The flesh (being of this earth) has a desire for the world and the things of this world. The spirit of man (which came from God), has a desire for spiritual things (especially the things of God). Man, who is "a living soul" must make the choice between the flesh and the spirit (between the things of this world or the things of God).
Those things which are of God are eternal. Those things of this world are temporal. In 2 Corinthians 4:18 it tells us, "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
As Christians, we are told throughout the New Testament to look for those things which are from above, and not on the things which are of this world. In Colossians 3:1,2 it says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God...Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Man is here on this earth to make a choice, whom will he serve? Will man serve the Devil, by walking after the flesh? Or will man serve God, by walking after the Holy Spirit? That choice was given to man a number of times throughout the Scriptures. In Genesis 2:16,17 the LORD God gave Adam and Eve the choice of which tree they would eat the fruit thereof. In Deuteronomy 30:19 it says, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." In Joshua 24:15 it says, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." In Galatians 6:7,8 it says, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap...For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
Those who choose the instructions of the LORD, and follow Him and obey Him, shall inherit eternal life in heaven. Those who choose the world and the flesh could inherit corruption and eternal separation from God.
God did not create man without a choice. God gave man the choice between the LORD and the Devil. Those who choose to follow the spirit of man and receive from God, will inherit eternal life with God. Those who choose the flesh, and the things of this world will spend eternity with the Devil and his followers.
Every person in this world has a free will. Everyone in this world has a choice to choose which one they will follow, the flesh or the spirit? Choosing to be led by the Holy Spirit will seal our eternal existence with God. Choosing to look to the flesh and the world, will lead us "away from God who loves us."
There is a battle taking place in our "soul," which includes our mind, will, intellect, understanding, reasoning, etc. Satan attacks our minds, trying to compel us to do his will by his thoughts that he puts in our minds. God works from our spirit, to lead, guide, help, comfort, and teach us His ways. It is up to us to choose, the flesh or the spirit? The world or heaven? The LORD or Satan?
Those who choose the LORD and the leading of the Holy Spirit will be honored to praise and worship God before His throne in heaven for all eternity (the position that Satan once had) (Rev. 4:8-11).
Satan was cast out from heaven down to the earth. Man has a choice. He can go from earth to heaven. Or he can remain a servant to the Devil and spend eternity in hell. We must choose! The choice is ours.
In Romans 8:1 it says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
In Galatians 5:16,17 it says, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh...For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
In 1 John 2:15-17 it says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him...For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world...And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
The flesh loves the world and the things of this world. The Spirit loves the LORD our God and desires the things above, where the LORD sits upon His throne with God the Father (Rev. 3:21).
We must choose which one we will serve? God has not changed. He is still the same God He was in the beginning. God's Word has not changed. It cannot change. Therefore, we must change. We must walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.
In 1 John 5:7,8 it says, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one...And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water (Word), and the blood: and these three agree in one."
Galatians 5:25 says, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." There is a much difference between walking after the spirit and walking after the flesh as there is between light and darkness? How do we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh? We must agree with God, and not with any other. The Spirit, the Word, and the Blood always agree. We must come into agreement with the three witnesses we have here on earth, and then we will be in agreement with God in heaven.
Genesis 5:22-24, says, "And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters...And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years...And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Hebrews 11:5, says, "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Enoch walked with God for three-hundred years and God took him to heaven.
Jesus said in Matthew, 7:13,14, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat...Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Will we walk with God? Will we be among the few that take the strait and narrow way?
In part two of this series of Mini-Books we will see from the Scriptures, that God has a plan for our lives. God wants us to "walk in the Spirit" so that we can serve God in eternity. God wants us to inherit eternal life in heaven.
For more information on this subject, get all of the parts to this series of Mini-Books. For other help, you can also go to our Web sites on the Internet and download as many free books as you desire. Go to: