NKJV - 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
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New Testament references to "the flesh" are speaking of the carnal, sinful nature that all people possess prior to placing faith in Christ. It is a product of humanity's original, universal fall into sin (Genesis 3). The flesh is a selfish nature that is opposed to God, and that seeks only its own gratification or satisfaction, regardless of whatever adverse effects the pursuit of that gratification may have on others, or what moral standards may be violated in the process. It pertains not only to an appetite for physical aspects such as food or sexual activity, but can involve any aspect of this current world (such as the pursuit of wealth for its own sake) that is strictly temporal in nature, with no eternal significance. When an individual places faith in Christ for salvation, it leads to the person being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, which then results in a subsequent internal struggle between the Spirit and the flesh, which Paul described in Romans 7:21-25, and which can be addressed through constant, conscious reinforcement of the individual's faith through such measures as prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with other Christians.
Unfortunately, bible translations often interchange the "desires of our flesh" with "our sinful nature". In my view, the bible teaching is clear that we were crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (Galations 2:19-20). What was crucified? I believe it was our sinful nature. The Old Adam in us constantly rebelled against God, as Psalm 14:1-3 says, "All have turned away, all have become corrupt, there is no one who does good, not even one." That Old Adam (our sinful nature) died when we accepted Jesus as our saviour. In place of this sinful nature, we receive the divine nature of Christ, his righteousness is given to us and we are clothed with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. But this does not mean that the "desires of our flesh" have disappeared. These sinful desires of our flesh ruled our lives when our sinful human nature was in control. These desires became "patterns of thought", 'patterns of feelings" and "patterns of behaviors" that are not easily changed, as we all can attest to. The bible describes this process as "putting off our old self and its evil desires, by changing the attitude of our minds, so we are able to put on the new self which is created to be like God (Ephesians 4: 20-24). These old patterns of thought, emotion and behavior lead us into all kinds of sin. So we need to renew our minds and begin developing new patterns that are pleasing to God. When we neglect or refuse to change these patterns, the bible says that we are still living according to the flesh as explained in Romans 8:5-8. Paul says the solution is obvious - "walk by the Spirit" as explained below, in Galatians 5:13-26: "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other".
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