by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 15 August 11, 2013 Dayton, Texas
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
1901 ASV Translation:
24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.
25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.
26 Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.
I. The Foundations of the Spirit-Walk.
A. The fact that there is no "law" against the Fruit of the Spirit makes the Spirit-walk desirable. This is the premier argument against the claim that "grace" simply fosters sin.
1. It is not "grace" that fosters sin; it is whatever it is that stirs up the whole person to "think/say/do" things that are simply "unloving". The notion that "grace" fosters sin is rooted most deeply in the notion that both "threats" and actual "punitive" experiences cause people to "think twice" and "refrain" from "sinning" and to remove such considerations simply "encourages sin". This forces the individual to consider "what will happen to me if I do this?" so that, no matter what the answer, "I" am at the center of the issue. This is the essence of being self-absorbed. And, since this self-absorbed fixation is, itself, the root of "sin", it can hardly be logical to say that forcing someone to be self-absorbed will make them less "sinful".
2. The bottom line of "sin" is the fixation of the "sinner" upon his/her own participation in experiences that are pleasant.
3. The essence of "Love" is a fixation upon someone else's actual participation in "Joy".
B. The fact that those who belong to Christ havecrucified the flesh makes the Spirit-walk manifestly possible.
1. That the issue is not one of "impossibility" in respect to what comes out of a believer's body is clear from the constant exhortations to the believer to block the productions of the flesh.
2. That the issue is clearly one of "possibility" in respect to what comes out of the body is clear from the graphic fixation upon "crucifixion".
3. The clear "constant" remains: what is the "method"/"mechanism" of operating out of a "crucified flesh" reality?
a. There can be no doubt that believers stumble and fumble their way through life in that both James (James 3:2) and Paul (Philippians 3:12) frankly admit to lives of imperfection and the need for daily diligence.
b. One would think that a "crucified flesh" would be a non-starter for a life of evil (what can a "crucified flesh" actually "do"?), but believers can, and do, practice evil on a regular basis, not to mention "occasional" blunders. What is the "point" of declaring a "crucified flesh" to people who must, then, "struggle mightily" against its eruptions?
1) Bottom Line: One's "take" on "reality" is where all is won or lost. In other words, it is a mental/intellectual orientation and, obviously, a "faith" position in that none who are involved with the details have enough information/wisdom/power/love to grasp the reality as a "seen" thing. Everyone has to "believe" someone else.
2) In the typical orientation of this world, being "crucified" means "removed from the life of this world by an extremely painful process of total contradiction in respect to any kind of beneficial goodnesses".
3) The orientation of the biblical "faith" is different: being "crucified" means "having entered into a state/condition in which one's objectives have been surrendered to those of the Other" as well as having a New Spirit inresidence.
a) In this orientation, the bottom line is whether, or not, the "Other" will be actually and actively involved at the "spirit" level so as to dominate the material body and all of its parts. If the "Other" actually acts at the level of "Spirit", the body and its actions will be empowered and directed byHim. If that "Other" is simply the result of a "mind game", the body and its actions will simply be governed by the things "believed", under the limitations of the physical body.
b) The details of this "orientation" involve two "limited" realities: 1) its content of "truth"; and 2) its actualdominion of the body by the New Spirit. The content of truth involves both data and integrated understanding, and the actual dominion involves actual empowerment of the body by the Spirit.
C. The "areas" of the "crucifixion" of the "flesh" are identified as "passions" and "potent desires".
1. The issue of "passions" may actually be "heart-goals" and the issue of "potent desires" may actually be "methodologies perceived to be effective".
2. At some point, the issues involved in "crucifixion" must come under scrutiny.
3. "Crucifixion" is, most fundamentally, a "physical" level methodology designed to do at least two things.
a. Obviously, "crucifixion" is designed to "kill" the body so that it cannot be used any longer to insert activities into the physical, cause-and-effect, universe. It may be helpful to note at this point that there is nothing in the characterization of the Fruit of the Spirit that has even a remote reference to the physical body and the physical universe (the "fruit" is not "health", or "healing", or "accident prevention", or "physical ecstasy", or any other such physical universe issue).
b. Just as obviously, "crucifixion" is designed to "kill" certain of a person's motivations.
1) It was designed by Rome to be an "intimidator" so as to thwart actions that would upset the Roman dominion.
a) This design, however, is only effective against "sinners" whose objectives start, proceed, and end with "me".
b) This design was not, so much, an intent to thwart the one to be "crucified" as it was to intimidate "witnesses" of its massive physical cruelty.
2) It's function in this regard did little/nothing about the motivations of the one being "crucified".
3. At issue: which of the issues of "crucifixion" are involved in the Christian doctrine of the believer's "crucifixion" of the flesh?
a. Certainly, the "crucifixion of the flesh" does not stop the activities of the believer's body. Thus "killing" the instrument is not the issue.
b. This only leaves the issue of the "re-direction" of motives. Interestingly, this is precisely the area Paul addressed: "affections" and "lusts".
D. The "Fait Accompli" Declaration.
1. Paul's blanket declaration that those who "are Christ's" crucified (Aor. Ind.) the flesh is a statement that becoming Christ's people automatically includes this "crucifixion" whether the individual who has become "Christ's" is aware of it or not.
a. The "believer" cannot become such (a "believer") without accepting the humiliation of the ego that is at the root of "works salvation". Thus, a "crucifixion" of the goal of the spirit of man is involved in "believing".
b. The "believer" cannot become such without embracing the futility of human relationships as the instrument of security. Thus, a "crucifixion" of the goal of the soul of man is directly involved in "believing".
c. The "believer" cannot become such without "believing" that the body's future is God's business. Thus, a "crucifixion" of the goal of the physical flesh of man is involved in "believing".
2. The problem is the question of the degree that this "fait accompli" impacts reality. If the flesh is "crucified", but the "crucifier" does not know his/her accomplishment, to what degree will the "crucifixion" actually impact the "life" of the person?