Crucify the Flesh
by Jeff Horn
“But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
As Duane Leach pointed out in his article last week, as believers we have been given instruction on how to live the Christian life. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and His power, which enables us to live in obedience to God, is available all the time. When we avail ourselves of this power and live according to the Word of God as the Holy Spirit illumines our minds, then we will not be under the control of our fleshly desires (Galatians 5:16).
Paul stated this truth somewhat dramatically earlier in Galatians. In Galatians 2:20 he stated,
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Paul made the point that he died to the man he was prior to his justification. When he was struck down on the road to Damascus his response to Jesus Christ was, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10). Paul was no longer living for himself. He was a new creation living to bring glory to his Lord.
Paul used similar language in Romans 6:6 when he stated,
… our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.
The Greek word translated “done away with” means to render powerless. When we become believers, we are identified with Jesus in His death (Romans 6:3) and we have died to our sin nature – it no longer has power over us. We have a new nature and we are to live according to this new nature.
While the believer will still struggle with sin, we are no longer enslaved to sin. Prior to salvation we were enslaved to sin and had no choice but to obey our master. As believers this enslavement has been broken. When we are tempted to sin, Paul says we are to consider ourselves “to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). We have been freed from enslavement to sin and have become slaves to righteous living by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 6:18).
The key to living a life enslaved to righteousness is to be constantly taking in the Word of God. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we are told that the Word of God is profitable for Christian living, equipping us for every good work. In Hebrews 4:12 we are told that the Word is living and active. In 2 Peter 1:3 we are told that the Word provides everything we need for life and godliness.
We have been freed from the flesh, from our old nature. We now have the Holy Spirit indwelling us and as we take in the Word of God He is transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). We must dedicate ourselves to knowing the Word better and always living according to the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit.