We received a comment on theShovel website about some confusion as to how we were defining “the body of sin.” I mean, are we to consider that the physical body itself is the problem? In other words, is the body God created inherently evil so that it was doomed to fail? Well, let me answer by reading the response I made:
The body of sin is the empty container of the flesh, which is what men own as their identity. It is rooted in the perception of the natural mind, even in that of the religious mind. As an empty container, try as we may according to the strength found within it, the body is failing and its end is certain. For us though, that same fleshly container is filled with the expression of God’s life that comes from within.
There was also another comment added to the past audio, posted by Vivian, where she likened the body of sin to a faulty computer operating system, so that no matter which way one turned or what decisions were made (seemingly good or bad), everything follows according to the installed software. And yeah, even though no illustration is perfect, this one does present a great picture. You can read the whole thing on theShovel website, in the comments posted under the audio file.
You see, the fleshly body was never designed to be its own life, but that is the very futility that has been revealed throughout the whole history of man. Just in my own life I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve tried to make certain things do what they were not designed to do … and then I have the audacity to criticize them as being inadequate!
* Our doctrines have kept us scared and nervous..they made it all very off putting..
Doctrines do seem to do that, don’t they? I mean, the word itself can give you a chill.
*Could He be okay with this empty feeling for others?”
I wonder how many of our listeners have thought something similar?
*This lack of intentional, attitudinal fruit?
On purpose? Isn’t that why we grew up saying, “But I didn’t mean it?”
Does He know without Him producing Life in me that I dont even care? [is this okay with Him?]
Back in the early 70s, after my first semester at Bible College, I wrote a song called, “Don’t you even care?” Yeah, I had gotten all fired up and judged everybody else for what could only seem as apathy to me at the time.
* We are often asking “is this ‘I dont even care” allowed?’” “Does this break all the rules of ‘the kingdom?’” Are we out of bounds?!!??? These questions spring forth from deep insecurity before a Holy God. Could this all be a normal part of life in christ?
I wonder how many of us have wondered, “What is normal?”
“And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!” Free?! The more I learned, the more restricted I was. It was like someone was putting a straight-jacket on me and tightening it up.
HOUSED IN A BODY OF SIN:
Shouldn’t it be quite ministering to us to come to the end of our ability to hide our unfounded ideas about judgment, guilt and true- living- goodness?
That whole reality is very ministering to us … but it sure doesn’t seem like it when we’re so conflicted with those feelings of inadequacy that are being bolstered by the doctrines that seem to say otherwise.
Are we [me and God] at peace with each other in those honest, quiet and very vulnerable moments where we say things like: “God, how can you not want to come after me right now with judgment? Look and see, I don’t even WANT good for this or that person whenever the requirements and demands for the needs of this or that person come up and flash up into my mind. I don’t even care? I’m scared!! “I want to hide!”
You know, Adam, this is the kind of stuff most Christians don’t usually dare to admit. I mean, how many of us want to take the chance that we’ll be labeled as a backslider … or even worse, as one who is obviously not saved?
My flesh is ‘stony’ and unable to produce this true heart stuff.
If you were to squeeze a dry sponge as hard as you could, you’d never get any water out of it, but then, you probably wouldn’t even try because you learned a long time ago that it wouldn’t work. But somehow, we keep getting convinced that we can make that old stony heart produce something of life.
Flesh trying to make spiritual self judgments-cannot be done-it doesn’t get it. its truly spiritual! Paul-”i dont even judge myself”-blessed is he who does not condemn himself”-god is greater than our hearts and knows all things-jon
In our quiet moments our thoughts surface to our awareness and we have shame before a good God. “Shouldn’t I want good for others”? But I don’t care though? [said with an insecure yet vulnerable tone] Shouldn’t I care more??
And we are confronted on all sides — and I mean, ALL sides — to make those spiritual self-judgments. And you know what? It doesn’t make any difference if we’re being told that we’re sinners or that we’ve got some good in us, we’re being convinced that we can somehow cause the dry sponge to produce life-giving water under the right circumstances. And you know what else? I think we’ve gotten so used to disappointment that we’ve shut down in many areas.
But God has removed my sin and it is He who is responsible…you’ve been beating yourself with laws and striving up the very opposite of what you seek-before HIm. We knows our hearts but the cycle is perpetuated by the fearful tendency to judge ourselves where christ has already passed judgment.
And in THAT judgment, my brother, is some true freedom. After all, when we judge ourselves what are we actually judging?
Might grace require that we let go some things relating to our outward performance…things present in our efforts-things we “should”do?
Jim I think many of our listeners may be asking themselves again and again just what should our attitude BE toward the described fruitfulness that is detailed in the letters of the Bible? We all know we’re supposed to ‘live fruitful’ but, we also know that our flesh, the thing we are housed in, can’t produce it.
Again, from my Bible College days, we had the Biblical responsibility of fruit-bearing pounded into our heads. I even remember an in-depth study showing a difference between bearing fruit and bearing MUCH fruit. We, of course, were determined to not settle for simply bearing fruit. Oh no, we wanted to achieve the much fruit that Jesus spoke of.
Here is how I am defining “living fruitful”:
*love for fellow man and God [including the desire, the will, the action]
*Holy conduct [same]
*All Biblical imperatives: wholesome speech, serving one another, forgiving, accepting one another, doing what is right etc.
For me, the responsibility to preach the gospel to a lost and dying world was paramount. Everything I did or said impacted my testimony to those I witnessed to. So for me, fruitful living became something very relative. And I’m not speaking about crossing lines between right and wrong, but rather that my testimony, my fruit, was so connected to what others thought about me.
Peter went on to say; “He has given us everything we need for life and for godliness’
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 HCSB
*How so? In what way exactly?-We ask because we just aren’t seeing really any real power to live out real holiness. So maybe he meant for us to go get busy and start “helping” our will and our desires along.
You bringing this up reminds me of one of quips I often heard about prayer … or maybe I should say, unanswered prayer. We were told that we needed to put feet to our prayers! more…
*”Add to your faith…”: [the list] At this point in the letter we might be screaming inside “how do we do this?!” “I can’t just “add” to my faith all sorts of fruitful related stuff, it’s God who does that and I know it!” And so we start getting tempted here. I mean our thinking goes something like this: “Peter knew Christ and Peter said we could add spiritual stuff to our faith at will. I can’t do that so therefore I will try and fake it till it seems real”.
This was one of the scriptures we used to promote “godly” living, and that fake-it-till-you-make-it philosophy was even suggested as a legitimate course of action.
*Back to the attitude. Should we have the attitude of dependency with imperatives, commands, demands such as these? To not be anxious about this seeming dilemma seems anti moral. Like we are just resolved to wait! We can hear the voices inside ‘don’t you give a flippin care about this?” “You’re just gonna rely on God then”? [said with a sarcastic tone]
The mind of the flesh is adaptable, it can use grace as an excuse and it can criticize that excuse in others. And you know what? It can do both simultaneously! You know, I think the Pharisees did the same thing, and most of us have been taught to fashion our Christian morality in the same way.
Consider the criticism: “You’re just going to rely on God then?” I have a feeling that much of the sarcasm might just come from the bitter disappointment of some who have tried and failed to live a life of dependence.
Consider again, with a little more of the passage:
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2 Peter 1:1-4 NASB
We have to ignore the potency of what Peter described there if we’re going to suggest a fake-it-till-you-make-it morality.
*If those things are even to be desired in me is it up to Him?
*Is it willed in me..is at all Him?
*If it’s ever going to be acted out [as the Apostles seemed to want to have for their converts] through us-it’s going to have to be Him right?
*Is this true dependency for someone housed in a body of sin?