“For though we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh:”
There is not a one of us who does not know by experience what it means to walk in the flesh. We continually encounter the abilities and inabilities of this earthen vessel as we attempt to make it through the day. The pains of the degeneration of time, the fatigue of the labours of the day and the futility of the endeavors of our best intentions beset us in this mortal shell and if truth be given to us, we readily acknowledge that it is not getting any better as we continue to walk in the flesh. But with all that had been and was being encountered in the church at Corinth, Paul reminds them that the struggle is not after the flesh. With all the corruption of the world around them, the promiscuousness of society, the graft and corruption of government and the constant competition and strife between people, Paul writes, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal” because “We wrestle not against flesh and blood” (Eph. 6:12).
The events of this world and the conduct of the inhabitants thereof are the demonstrations of the nature of Adam. Adam was formed form the dust of the earth and, although he has the knowledge of good and evil yet, his desires and lusts are of this earth earthly. The child of grace has the same earthen vessel with the same desires and cravings and the resulting conflict between the Holy Spirit within is not with the symptom but with the cause within, the nature of Adam. One who is a chosen vessel afore prepared unto glory has that which is born from above within that vessel from the beginning and even though there is no outward evidence of a struggle, yet the flesh lusteth against the Spirit from the start. (Paul was kicking against the pricks long before the time of his conversion and the manifestation of this warfare within.) This struggle is against strong hold, imaginations, thoughts and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and it is important to notice that these things are not the flesh.
Many times our imaginations and thoughts plague us with fears and presumptions which cause us to come to erroneous conclusions causing us doubt and sorrow. We inaccurately conclude that since we do not feel the struggle within that we must not be born from above. We reason that since there is such an apathetic state of mind towards the things of the Lord we must not have His Spirit dwelling in us and because we have such a craving and delight in the things of this world we surely cannot be a child of the King. These thoughts and conclusions proceed from the false pretence that the flesh can comprehend the things of God and therefore must be cognoscente of them when or as they occur. Such is not the case for the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit neither can he know them yet these imaginations and thoughts exalt themselves against the knowledge of God which speaks to His sovereign control over all things and the security that He knows them that are His. Nothing of the flesh can diminish or enhance this warfare and no faculty of the flesh can ever ‘feel’ the warfare unless the Spirit reveal it to us. There are many who think they have this warfare based on what they feel but only when the Word of God dwells in the child of grace can he know that the heart is desperately wicked and no man can know it.
Our struggle is not with man for we do not fear what man may do. No creature has any power to do anything but what is given to him by God. Therefore whatever man can do is according to the will of God and for His good pleasure. But we do struggle with the fact that when the Spirit reveals His grace and mercy to us we see the evil within our flesh. When we would do good, evil is present and the things which we do not allow, we find ourselves performing and finding delight in and the more the Spirit reveals Himself and His glory, from faith to faith, the more corruption, weakness and vanity we see. The flesh desires to trust in that which can be seen and felt while the child of grace lives and walks by the evidence of things unseen and the substance of things hoped for.
This struggle, wrestling and warfare shall not end, dear brethren, until such time as the time of our habitation be over and the habitation of this dwelling be dissolved. It does not get easier or lessen in severity for as a child grows in the grace and knowledge of His Most Holy will, the more the thrones, principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of this world shall be seen in the light of His glory. When it was revealed unto Saul of Tarsus that the Son of God dwelt in him, the commandment came and he died and sin revived. Then this sin, by the commandment, that it might be seen as it is (exceedingly sinful) worked death in him to show him that the Law of God is spiritual and he was carnal sold under sin. The more the inward man delights after the law of God them more the law in the members, wars against him and by this is sin revealed.
The flesh profits nothing and the chastening of the Lord teaches His children that there is nothing to glory in save His finished work and righteousness and though for a season they have been made subject to this vanity, yet do they know that the sufferings of this present time can in no wise be compared with the glory that shall be revealed.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
February 27, 2011