Wednesday, February 27, 2008

SARX= Greek word for “Flesh” as in (Matt 26:41)

This word stood out to me this year as I read through the account of Jesus and His disciples in the garden of Gethsemane. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Notice it is spirit with a small s, indicating it is not the Holy Spirit, but their human spirit. This word is used many times in the NT, especially by Paul in his letters to the church in Rome, and the churches of Galatia. Perhaps the scripture we think of first would be (Gal 5:19-21), where Paul lists what he calls the “works of the flesh”.

Sarx has a wide range of meaning, as used in the NT. According to “Vines Expository Dictionary” they include, but are not limited to, 1/ the weaker element of human nature, 2/ the unregenerate state of men, 3/ the seat of sin in man, 4/ the lower and temporary element in the Christian. These meanings listed for the word flesh sound very much like the description of our old nature, inherited from Adam. They are similar but not the same, a fact many people are often confused about. Let me state clearly that flesh as used here is not the same as our old nature. Much confusion could be avoided if we understand this fact. I’m sure you have often blamed some sin or “shortcoming” in your life to your old nature, as if it were still part of you. Remember what Jesus accomplished on the cross, as we saw clearly in Rom 6? Our old self, or nature, inherited from Adam “died with Jesus” on the cross! Now we can say with Paul “I have been (past tense) crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20).

At no point in our life do we ever have two natures, an old and a new! Our old nature died with Christ on the cross, and our nature became new when we were “born again” in Christ. (2 Cor 5:17) We never have two natures at the same time! This teaching that a Christian has two natures, is false, and has been the source of unnecessary confusion, in my opinion. I know people who have used it as an excuse for sinning, by blaming their sin on the old nature, as if they couldn’t do anything about it. What they could, and should do is “reckon” themselves dead to sin as Paul clearly states in Rom 6, and make the choice not to sin. The indwelling Holy Spirit will always reinforce our will to make this choice! Our Creator made us all as unique individuals, with a free will to make choices. We can make right choices, or we can make wrong choices, but it is always our one true self that makes that choice. If we were two or more personalities, we could always blame our sin on one of our other natures. This is definitely not an option that is open to us. May God reveal this truth to your spirit, is my prayer for all of you!

Sincerely submitted.


Sunday, February 17, 2008


When we consider this word, several scripture verses come to mind. Of course (Gen 1:1) is the first verse in the Bible and tells us that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. Then in (John 1:1-14) we see that Jesus took part in creation in the beginning. In (Col 1:15-20) we are given more information about the part Jesus played in creation. Then of course we have (Phil 2:5-11) which tell us clearly that Jesus "gave up His divine privileges" in order to be born into our human race. When we read these 4 passages of holy scripture in sequence, we should appreciate the marvelous creation that we are privileged to be a part of! It seems that in the very beginning, before time began, there was only God. As we understand it, God always existed as a community we call the "Trinity", meaning "Three in one". Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which were simply three separate functions of the one true God! One in essence, in perfect harmony, and yet different in function. No wonder Paul referred to this reality of the Godhead as a "great mystery" that had been revealed to him along with the plan of salvation. (Eph 3:1-7)! Paul was a very special human being, called to be an apostle, or a "sent one", to whom was given the task of telling the Gentiles (non-Jews) the good news of the gospel. He was also given the task of writing nearly half of the New Testament, part of God's revelation to us of His divine plan of creation.

Why is it so important to have a true understanding of the beginning of creation? It is important because there is so much confusion in our world around this topic. Satan, who is the avowed enemy of God, has sown many lies into our human race over the years. Jesus revealed the truth about Satan, as recorded in (John 8:44), "----he is a murderer from the beginning--- "a liar and the father of lies". It is little wonder then that the world is in such a mess, because he has had so many years to spread his lies to the gullible members of the human race! A few verses earlier in this chapter of the Gospel of John, (John 8:31-36) Jesus makes some very clear statements about the value of knowing the truth! The key to these verses is found in verse 31, "---you are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings". A disciple is a follower, and Jesus stated in (Luke 9:23) "If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me". This would seem to me to be the simple answer to the world's problems! Let's encourage as many people as we can to become followers of Jesus, who said "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6)! Remember that Jesus was, and will always be, God in a human form. And as we have seen, He played a key role in creation "in the beginning"

Sincerely submitted.


Friday, February 15, 2008


This phrase "sinless perfection" is a misnomer, there is no such thing. As I understand, it was coined by some early holiness teachers, who believed it was possible to achieve a state of holiness from which we would never sin. One of the scriptures they used was (Heb 13:20-21). I believe a better term would be "Christian perfection", which has been described as "to be by the grace of God (not by any strength or reason of our own) all that a Christian should be. This is Christian perfection". Every person born into this world chooses to sin, and thus becomes a voluntary transgressor. Not only do we commit willful acts of sin, but we also resist God's will and become a rebel! Thus we become sinners because we sin, and we sin because we are sinners, so in the natural there is no hope for us!

But God!! (Eph 2:4-10) explains how much He loved us even while we were His enemies, and saved us from our sins by His grace! In (Heb 7:25) we are told that He saves us "to the uttermost" those who come to Him through Christ. What does this mean, saved to the uttermost? In (Matt 5:48) we read "But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect". What does this mean? Would our loving God expect something from us that was impossible for us to perform? Certainly not!! So being perfect before Him must therefore be possible. In the verses leading up to verse 48, (Matt 5:44-48) we read about loving our enemies, now anyone knows this is impossible in the natural. Yet both of these actions must be possible, or else we would not be commanded to do them!

The key to this seemingly impossible situation is the supernatural (Agape) love that God makes available to us along with our salvation experience. (Rom 5:5). Besides giving us the Holy Spirit to indwell us as members of God's forever family, He promises us that when the Holy Spirit comes "upon us" we will receive power to be witnesses for Him. (Acts 1:8). We are then empowered by the Holy Spirit to do supernatural things like being perfect in His sight, and even loving our enemies! I recently read this quote from a book by T.A. Hegre called "The Cross And Sanctification" which speaks to this "God's full desire for us is to touch others and overflow to them in His stead----This is what God expects. This is what God promises. This is what God has provided.----simply living out the life of Jesus by the power of the indwelling Spirit! What a wonderful salvation is ours!" Not "sinless perfection", but rather "Christian perfection", or in other words the perfection of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Sincerely submitted.


Sunday, February 10, 2008


The first man Adam was created perfect with a nature that was pure. We know from scripture that he disobeyed God and allowed sin to enter the human race. (Rom 5:12). We have been told that from the moment he disobeyed this one restriction God had placed on him, his nature became sinful, and he passed this "sinful nature" on to all of us human beings. Lately I have had some second thoughts about this teaching of a sinful nature that we all inherit from Adam. It is true that Adam sinned when he used his free will to make the choice to disobey God. We all make the same choice to disobey God and become sinners. (Rom 3:10-18, and 23) This makes us sinners, but does it mean that we have a sinful nature? We have been told that we receive a new nature when we are born again (John 3:3), and (2 Cor 5:17), which would give us two natures, an old one and a new one. At no time does a person created in the image of God ever have two natures! So what is the answer to this confusing issue?

Could it not be that although we are all sinners, we don't have a sinful nature? It is almost like saying my problem is this "sinful nature" that I inherited from Adam and not really me! I'm alright, but this thing called my sinful nature is not, and causes me to sin. The truth is we are sinners because we sin of our own volition! (James 4:1-2). Jesus tells us that all forms of evil comes out of our heart, which Jeremiah says is deceitfully wicked. Why not accept this fact that we are all sinners because we sin, and we sin because we are sinners, not because of something called a sinful nature that we inherited from Adam! God has made provision for us to be delivered from sin (1 John 1:9), forgiveness for the sins we have done, and cleansing for the wickedness that is within us! As I understand it the blood of Jesus paid the price of past sins that we have done, while the indwelling Holy Spirit cleanses us and keeps us from sinning in the present.

As born again members of God's family, we still have our own personal human nature with its appetites and desires, referred to as our "flesh", even though we have become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). The Holy Spirit is constantly at war with this flesh nature (Gal 5:17) "these two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions". "Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" (Gal 5:16) would appear to be the only way to live a life that will please our heavenly Father!

Sincerely submitted.


Friday, February 8, 2008

THE TRUE SIGN (part 3)

This will be the last of this series in which we have proposed that Jesus was the "Sign" mentioned in several different scriptures, that speak about His coming to planet earth. As we know from scripture, He came, died on the cross to pay the price for the sins of mankind, was buried, and rose again on the third day. All this was to fulfill various prophetic scriptures that had been given through OT prophets. Before He returned to heaven, Jesus gave His followers various instructions, as recorded in chapters 14-17 in the Gospel of John. Part of these instructions pertained to the sending of the Holy Spirit to take His place on earth when He returned to heaven. Also He told them to expect His return to earth at some future time, known only by the Father. Until that time He said He would build the Church which would serve as His Body on earth, while He, the Head of the Church, would remain in heaven. This process has been going on now for some 2000 years, and this Body includes people from every tribe and nation.

There has been much speculation regarding the timing of the Lord's return to earth, and just how it will happen. Many theories have been put forth as to when and how, but the fact is that only our heavenly Father knows. We do know He is coming back, and He encourages us to stay alert and be ready for His return. When you study church history, you find that He has come at various times to the Church with a definite move of the Spirit. These times of refreshing could last for several weeks, months, or years, and sometimes affected several countries. The end results varied depending on how serious people were in their response. Nearly every move of God spawned some weird fanatical doctrines, that discouraged many believers from accepting the real truths that God was wanting to restore to the Church. This of course was always the work of Satan, who hates God and tries to prevent His children from benefiting from these moves. The closer we get to the actual return of Christ, the more of these moves of God we can expect, because God wants to prepare His Body for this great event. We need to be aware of deception of the enemy, as Jesus warned us in (Matt 24:4, 5, 11), and test every so-called word of prophecy to be sure it is genuine (1 Thess 5:16-22). Remember what Paul warned us of in (2 Cor 11:12-15), and be on the alert! The Holy Spirit has been given to us as believers in Jesus for this very reason, so we need to be filled with the Spirit, (Eph 5:18-21)!!

Sincerely submitted.


Friday, February 1, 2008

THE TRUE SIGN (part 2)

In part 1 we pointed out that Jesus was referred to in several scriptures as the "Sign", and we said a sign is meant to direct us toward some destination. We suggested that what Jesus was meant to direct us toward could be the "True Church", that He said He would build, (Matt 16:18). This Church is referred to as different things in scripture, including the "Body of Christ", which is the present visible representation of Jesus Christ on earth. He is presently in heaven, and will remain there until the Father gives Him permission to come to earth again to receive the Church as His "Bride". This Bride will become His "Wife", or ministry partner, to reign with Him throughout eternity! (Rev 21:9). This would seem to be the ultimate plan of Father God, to obtain a perfect eternal partner for His Son!

This great mystery of the True Church was kept a secret by God, until it was revealed to the apostle Paul. He explains this mystery in (Eph 3:1-7), and (Col 1:24-27), which is that God intended to include Gentiles as well as Jews in this Church, which is the Bride for His Son Jesus Christ! As we know, the Jewish Nation was established by God through Abraham to be a pattern nation on the earth. He gave them distinct laws through His servant Moses, to direct them into a lifestyle that would reflect His Holiness. He made a covenant with them which they promised to live up to, however they failed to keep these laws, and followed the sinful practices of their neighboring nations. This failure to keep God's laws resulted in their being defeated by their enemies,and brought under bondage to various nations from time to time. They were under the control of Rome at the time Jesus came to earth to ransom humanity from the hand of the enemy. They knew about the promise of a coming "Messiah", but expected he would be a conquering king like David. When Jesus came as a humble babe in a manger in Bethlehem, not many people accepted Him for who He really was. Through the Gospel writers, and the various letters in our Bible record, we can get the overall plan that God had in mind to redeem mankind from their sinful condition resulting from the disobedience of Adam. (Rom 5:12). This plan culminated in the death of Jesus on the cross, and His resurrection three days later. Then followed a period of 50 days, during which He appeared to many people, and promised to send "The Gift" of the Father to them (Luke 24:49) if they waited prayerfully in Jerusalem. (Acts chapter 1 and 2) give us the details of the beginning of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. We believe this to be the fulfillment of the Sign as mentioned above.

Sincerely submitted