The Reality Of Indwelling Sin (Flesh)
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”
In the above Bible verses from his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul demonstrates convincingly the reality of a sinful nature residing in each one of us. We inherited this sinful nature from the fall of Adam and Eve. We may attempt to avoid it, but its reality is unavoidable. Every time Paul attempted to do good, his flesh was always present and eagerly ready to do evil. The flesh is 100% self-centered and comes out at the most unexpected moments. It is totally selfish. Its roots are grounded deeply in pride. There is no clearer definition of our flesh. It is disgusting, awful, and repugnant. It is totally against the Spirit of God and will take you down with itself rather than admit defeat. No matter how hard you try to be “morally” good, the flesh comes out at the snap of a finger – causing you to do evil.
You cannot legislate your flesh. Any law (written or unwritten) can never change the flesh (the evil) within you. This is what Paul expresses clearly in these Romans 7 verses. In fact, any law automatically stirs the flesh within you to immediately rebel against that law. For example, if God says, “Don’t do this,” the flesh says, “I will.” Or if God says, “Do this,” the flesh says, “I will not.” You just cannot train your flesh to behave. There is nothing good in your flesh. The only thing God wants to do with it is to crucify it.
I still chuckle at how easy my flesh comes out so unexpectedly. One evening, a few years ago, when I was a bit stressed, there was something God requested me do that was so obvious it was as if He personally wrote me a note. Well, I was tired and wanted no part of it. My flesh was now strongly resisting the Holy Spirit. I vividly remember saying, “God, I’m going to fight You on this and I’m going to win.” Can you imagine? Jesus personally saved me over 24 years ago. Just look at my audacity to dispute with Him. Well, that is my flesh. It comes out at any moment and very suddenly. I was so stunned. Needless to say, the Lord respected my free choice and permitted me to win. I really lost though because I was miserable for a time due to my poor choice. How could I not be totally dependent on Jesus? With a sinful nature residing in us, it is very easy not to be totally dependent on Jesus.
I am sure that similar experiences have occurred to you. Do not be shocked. It can occur at any time. The flesh is a reality. You need to accept it and take personal responsibility for your decisions and their consequences. Turn to Jesus right away when you blow it. Acknowledge and confess your sin(s) so Jesus can begin healing you. Do not trust your flesh. It comes in various ways at any time. It can be anything from anger or fear or self-pity or self-praise. It comes directly from the pit of hell itself. You are very, very evil by nature. You are very evil and wicked when you live through your flesh instead of through the Holy Spirit. Do you agree at how evil and wicked you really are without Jesus? Yes, this is quite a revelation. If you do not believe how very evil you are by nature, keep an open heart asking the Holy Spirit to show you. Rest assured, He will. You will encounter your own Romans 7 experiences.
Yes, the flesh is alive and well today when we view it from our perspective. The flesh is only dead from God’s perspective. An excellent way to understand the meaning of the flesh is by spelling the word backwards and dropping the letter h. Spelled this way displays:
FLESH – H = SELF
Quite remarkable how “flesh – h = self” spelled backwards. One absorbed with self is certainly very backwards in his relationship with God. To right himself back with God, he needs to add back “h” with the virtues and characteristics of God that begin with “h.” That would include humility, holiness, homage, healing, and honor to God.