Not according to the flesh
2 Corinthians 10:1-6 ESV
“I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away! — I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
Jesus said that if we are his disciples, and if we follow him with our lives, that we will be hated and persecuted as he was hated and persecuted. We will be falsely accused of things we didn’t do or say, we will have our words twisted, and our intentions will be brought into question.
We will also have people, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, who will plot evil against us, and who will try to trip us up with our words, who will lay traps for us, or who will taunt us hoping to break us, hoping to get us to fall so that they will have cause to accuse us of wrongdoing.
We, like Paul, will be accused of walking according to the flesh. And we’ll be accused of trying to work to earn or to deserve our own salvation because we teach dying with Christ to sin and walking in obedience to his commands as part of God-given faith for salvation. Therefore, we will be accused of being legalistic and self-righteous, and of teaching “works-based salvation.”
Yes, we live in flesh bodies, and yes, we live in the world, but if we are wholeheartedly following Jesus with our lives, we are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and we do not wage spiritual warfare according to the flesh, either, but according to the Spirit via the armor of God with which our Lord has equipped us to fight off Satan.
In the power of God’s Spirit, and via studying the Word of God in context, and by comparing Scripture with Scripture, we are able to discern what is truth and what are lies which are being taught. We are able to see how people are “cherry picking” Scriptures, and how they are misinterpreting them because they are removing them from their context.
We are able to discern errors, which are being taught as truth, through the careful study of the Scriptures and as enabled by God’s Spirit. And, in the Spirit’s power and wisdom, we are able to destroy arguments which are coming against the truth of the gospel, and which are trying to discredit it in favor of an adulterated gospel which appeals to human flesh.
By God’s Spirit, then, we are able to proclaim the truth of the gospel, in its fulness (the whole counsel of God) so that people will hear the truth which will set them free from their bondage to sin, and which will free them to now walk in righteousness and holiness, by God’s Spirit.
For, it is not true that we can pray a prayer to receive Christ, be assured of heaven as our eternal destiny, but then continue living in habitual and deliberate sin against the Lord, often premeditated, i.e., planned out well in advance, with lies to coverup that sin before that sin is even committed.
And it is not true that repentance is a mere change of mind to believe in Jesus, nor is it mere admission of sins committed with no change in thought or behavior following the “repentance.” Repentance, which is a prerequisite to salvation from sin and eternal life with God, involves forsaking our sinful practices to now follow Jesus in obedience to his commands.
Also, the truth of the gospel is that genuine faith in Jesus Christ results in dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ and to his righteousness. If we do not die with Christ to sin, but we continue living in habitual and deliberate sin against God, we do not have salvation from sin or eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]
Don’t judge others by yourself
2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
Many times, the judgments coming against us from our opponents will be based in their own lives and experiences, and not in the Word of God. They may think because they had a particular attitude that we must have the same attitude. They may also judge us by their own upbringings, their culture, their traditions, and things they were taught that were not biblical.
But this is unwise, it is unkind, and it is not fair (just). For, we are not all the same. We don’t all think alike, and we don’t all have the same motivations for why we do what we do. For example, one person may choose to serve in the church in order to get accolades from other humans, whereas another may choose to serve out of a sincere heart of obedience to the Lord.
Also, the culture under which we were raised, or our human or religious traditions, if they are not biblical, are not the standard for everyone else to follow. The only standard which all Christians must follow is the Word of God under the New Covenant but studied in context to get the correct understanding.
So, just because you were raised a certain way doesn’t mean everyone else has to measure up to your values. But all those professing faith in Jesus Christ are to follow his standard for our lives, which we can read about in the Scriptures, taken in the proper context.
Always give credit where credit is due
2 Corinthians 10:17-18 ESV
“’Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
And if we are operating in the power of God’s Holy Spirit, and what we are doing and what we are saying is being given to us by God to do and to say, as directed by him, and not of our flesh, then HE should always be the one to get the praise. We should give credit where credit is due and not take it for ourselves as though we are the ones who did it or thought it.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
*Caution: This link may contain ads