Tag Archive: Flesh



“I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” -Revelation 1:18

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The Book of Revelation is a proclamation of things to come, given unto the apostle John, a disclosure and edict given directly from our Lord Jesus Christ. In Chapter one, the Son of Man appears to John in glory and surrounded by seven brilliant lamp stands, the brilliance of Christ trumping them all, as suggested by John’s description. Christ tells John in verse 17 to not be afraid, following it up with the transcribed verse above.

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"The Revelation of St. John: St John's Vision of Christ and the Seven Candlesticks," by Albrecht Durer. woodcut, c. 1497-1498

What John saw was He who is truly alive, in His glorified body, given unto Him by the Father, because of Christ’s perfect obedience and righteousness. Frequently in the scriptures, when a heavenly being, or the Lord appears to a mere man, the encounter is so awesome and sublime, that those who are blessed with such visitations, can only respond in reverence and fear, which John indeed does, collapsing at the feet of the Son. This reaction is so common in scripture I would be willing to say that such manifestations and visitations would require the heavenly beings blessing or affirmation that the person upon who the honor was bestowed, would be calmed to receive the message being offered.

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The resurrection of Christ is such an amazing truth, I myself had a hard time grasping it. I understood it in terms of an abstract concept, but it wasn’t until I traveled further in my walk that it really hit home, so to speak. Christ not only died, as He indeed affirms in Revelation, but He rose again, being brought back to life by the Father, and in glorious victory! His victory was so great that even Hades couldn’t hold His glory, nor now can it hold our sins, or us, for by His victory we are saved and we perish to the flesh. Thus, we will perish to the world also, and on the appointed day, we will rise again to join our victor and Savior. To be victorious over His own death would be enough, how much more amazing is it then, that He was victorious over ours?

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Though a lot of people equate hell with Hades, the two are not interchangeable. Simply, Hades is a place reserved for departed spirits and it is often compared with, or likened to, a state of sleep. Most will enter this realm and be awoken by the Lord in His appointed time. Hell, on the other hand, is a place of eternal damnation, where those who are apart from the Lord will eventually descend. This terrible place, in the temporal sense, doesn’t yet exist, in that man cannot descend into it, until the final judgement.

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"Heaven-Earth-Hell", Located in Vank Cathedral, Iran. fresco.

Christ holds the key to both death and Hades, for he entered both, and exited them, being glorified and rising again alive! Furthermore, because He is alive, He doesn’t need to be born again through natural birth. He is already living. This more than adequately refutes those false Christ’s in the world today that profess to be our Lord. Christ not only died for our sins, but defeated them by His resurrection, so that whomever comes to the cross and bows down before it will be saved. Since Christ is victorious, let us be as well through Him, and battle against the evil that surrounds us. I pray that all those in Christ would arise strong and steadfast, adorned in the armor of God, ready to do battle with the enemy, and fight the good fight on Christ’s behalf and through Him. Amen.

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I would like to acknowledge and thank Terie, who prior to my posting, gave me her input concerning this entry.


“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” -Romans 5:10

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There were times, and are times when I act more in accordance with an enemy of God than an ally. This is of course much to my shame, but this is essentially what sin is, battling against God and those perfect decrees He has made known through all creation. Yet, through the death of Christ on the cross there is offered reconciliation even for the likes of myself. Furthermore, if that what was accomplished through His death, how much more was accomplished by His resurrection? His death was the gateway into salvation and His resurrection the completion. It could not have been accomplished unless these two things were in complete unity. As 1 Corinthians 15:17 states:

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

Thus, when we come to Christ in faith, we must believe upon Him, His death, and His resurrection. For in His death we die along with our sins, but in His life we arise as a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (see my note on, “On The Old Overtaken by What is New”) tells us:

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!”

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Though we are made anew, this doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t contest with those things we allied to when we were enemies of God. In fact, those sins which enslaved our lives are more apt to be the ones we most struggle with in Christ. Yet, let us never tire of doing good, for despite our flaws, we are being renewed day by day (see my note concerning 2 Corinthians 4:16, “On Not Losing Heart Due to Sin”). This can be an esoteric truth to understand when one comes to Christ and it may serve the enemy to trip up those who are new to the faith. I once had a discourse with a messenger from Satan regarding this very thing.

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I had found myself losing battles but striving to do what was right in sight of the Lord. The enemy came to me saying, “Are you sure this is what you want? In me is true contentment, lack of struggle and gratification.” I am not proud to recount that it was a temptation for me. Did I really want to fight against the flesh, isn’t it much easier to go the way of sin, than of righteousness? I found myself warring against myself and I prayed for some sort of guidance and delivery from the argument. This temptation was apparently very effective, for I almost buckled under the weight of it. I kept warring back and forth between ease of gratification and the difficulty of conviction.

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Then the Lord began to answer me and the dark messenger. I found myself responding to the enemy, that even if I fail, even to the point of eternal condemnation, I shall rejoice that Christ has been victorious. By responding as such, the provocation subsided and I was astounded at the thought, to be honest, for like anyone I fear the fires of hell, but my fear was trumped by my love and praise. I began to realize, with the help of verses like the aforementioned one in Romans, that despite losing battles, the Lord is the one who won the war on our behalf. I consistently see new Christians struggle with this very thing, the associations of conviction and condemnation, but as this verse suggests, it’s not about the skirmishes that we may lose, but who we ally ourselves to. I began to see from a different point of view, that in conviction God doesn’t condemn, but rather uses it to produce better soldiers in His army.

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Illustration for John Milton's, "Paradise Lost," by Gustave Dore, c. 1866

The Lord is putting us through a Holy boot camp, that we may serve Him to the best of our ability, and that our abilities may keep improving and developing. If one who has given their life to Christ, still finds themselves asking if they truly belong to Him, they must transcend the worlds idea of worth through action. One should seek inside themselves what side they really are fighting for and against, without taking their lost battles into account, for as I mentioned before, Christ has already won the war. Ally yourself on he side of victory and push beyond what you may conceive as easy, for as the Lord showed me at the end of my discourse with the darkness, effort is put in serving the sinful nature, just as it is in surpassing it. May you surpass it and receive the blessings of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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"Christ Blessing," by Simone Martini. tempera on panel, c. 1317


“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” -2 Corinthians 12:7

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"The Conversion of Saul," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

Let us not compare our Christian walk or spiritual gifts with anyone else in the Body of Christ. Romans 12:6-8 makes it abundantly clear that we differ in gifts and those godly manifestations expressed in the body. These are from God and are granted to us by His grace. This is important to realize, for even these blessed gifts by the Lord can be used by our sinful nature to feed our pride.

The enemy loves to turn our work for the Lord into something sinful. It’s not to say the work of the Lord in and of itself is sinful, of course not, but rather that we ourselves may sin in our efforts to be in complete obedience with our Lord. We may have the gift of prophecy and we may serve, teach, encourage, give, lead, or show mercy. Yet, a hidden danger might lie in wait, for instead of acknowledging the source, we may use these gifts to feed our pride. This verse suggests that Paul himself was tempted with this as he followed obediently to complete God’s great works.

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"Apostle Paul," by Rembrandt. oil on canvas, c. 1657

Yet, God in His wisdom knew that this would hinder the great work He was doing through and with Paul. This partnership would have been spoiled if the apostle would have become conceited. So, there was given to Paul a thorn in his flesh, “a messenger of Satan,” to torment him. What this “thorn” actually was has been debated for some time. These range from a physical malformation or defect of some sort, to a sin that tormented Paul. Regardless of what it was, we know that this “thorn” kept Paul grounded with the Lord, and he eventually found that “thorn” to be a blessing, for without it Christ’s power wouldn’t be able to “rest on him” to the degree it did.

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Outside Christ, who was perfect, even the most amazing men of God in the scriptures had grievous faults, which should give us some hope. It certainly does me. Moses for example was a murderer, had anger issues, was a stutterer, and was disobedient to the Lord. Though Moses was disciplined for this by not being able to enter the promised land, God used this faulty man to do an amazing work, as He can use us, as faulty as we are, to do great works as well.

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"Moses Striking The Egyptian (detail)," Amsterdam Hagadah, c. 1695

When we come to the Lord in faith, He is not beyond bringing hardship, weakness, persecutions, “thorns,” and difficulties in our lives so that we may not loose sight of Him. If we are too prideful in our walk with the Lord and in the gifts He bestows in us, we should not be too shocked when, in His sovereignty, brings about a hardship to “ground” us.

Although I don’t like speaking for God, I do feel comfortable saying that God doesn’t want to encourage sin in your life. So if you haven’t been granted gifts to a fullness yet, perhaps if they were given unto you, the glory would go to the self and not God.

Let us pray for the understanding at only comes from the Spirit, that we may be instructed on how to avoid becoming to proud in our obedience and the gifts God pours into us. Let us pray that we will give credit where it’s due, that is, to the source of the gifts we are presented and indeed all things. Let us forever strive not to pervert that which is Holy or shift the glory of God onto the self. May He be forever praised. Amen.

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“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” -Romans 12:3

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"The Confusion of Tongues," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

In my earlier post concerning 2 Corinthians 10:7 entitled, “On Proper Pride and Humility,” I discussed a little about the relative aspects of pride and a few ways one can avoid this particular sin in their life. Yet, I feel some added clarification is required, that we may gain a deeper understanding of this sin, in order that it might be identified. Pride has great ability at concealing itself in ones life, by defining it with more clarity, we may illuminate it.

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Pride at its very core is a lie and deceitful. To have pride in oneself, is to take those attributes one has been granted by God and embellish upon them so they become more than they are. As Paul urges, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” This in essence it what pride is, to think of oneself more highly than you should, or to think about a particular attribute more than you should.

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Therefore, if you stand in front of a mirror and suck it in and flex periodically, as I have been known to do, you are exercising that pride. Also, if you are a big, “Rock Band” fan and picture yourself in your minds eye playing in front of a crowd of screaming women, or men, this is also prideful. Do not use your mind and heart to exalt and exaggerate the self, for to do so is incredibly sinful. In addition, because you will fall short in this elaboration, this can lead to extreme depression, when one doesn’t match up to the conception offered up by the sinful mind.

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In atheism, a popular argument against God’s being, is that if He existed or exists than He is an extremely prideful being. Yet, when we take Paul’s definition, we find this not to be the case at all. God knows exactly who He is and cannot be anything different. Furthermore, because he is the thing-above-which-no-greater-can-be-thought, as defined perfectly in St. Anselm of Canterbury’s Ontological Argument, He is perfectly worthy of worship. In fact, due to God’s knowledge of exactly what He is, this is humility.

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"Sistine Chapel Ceiling (detail)," by Michelangelo. fresco, c. 1508-1512

Paul continues saying, “think of yourself in sober judgment.” This is what humility is when it is in, “accordance with the faith God has distributed.” This being the case then it negates the idea of God being a prideful, and thereby sinful deity. God cannot deceive Himself, for this would present an irreconcilable contradiction, for He would have to imagine Himself greater than He is, which is an impossibility when one applies the definition of God offered by Anselm.

This verse suggests something which may give some insight into what human nature consists of. We are told, again, to think of ourselves in sober judgment in accordance with our faith in Christ. Thereby, since faith plays such a roll in the sober judgement of self, the question arises if we can have any victory against pride away from Christ? I would argue we can’t for the world is based on the self and the flesh. This sin of pride is the very same that drove Adam and Eve from the Garden. In a world where even good actions are self serving and motivated by the self, this doesn’t seem like a complete absurdity.

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"Adam and Eve Expelled," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

To be in accordance with one’s faith, we need to realize that we are indeed imperfect and sinful. This is how Paul had such a lowly conception of himself without sinning. Paul realized how much of a sinner he was and how unworthy he was to both serve God, and be offered grace through Jesus Christ. Paul was completely humble in that he knew what he was and worked for God to serve all man and almost singlehandedly brought about the New Israel among the Gentiles.

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Remember to use discernment and do not elaborately adorn yourself with things like makeup, clothing (but please do wear clothes), jewelry, and anything that you use to magnify your being. This goes for both men and women. Yet, at the same time, we do not need to look like we just crawled out of a gutter whenever we go out in public, but we should use, “sober judgement in accordance with the faith.” Do not attempt to hide the beauty of being that goes beyond mere appearances, but be modest. God has granted you many things and because God is perfect, they are perfect. Do not magnify it by means of worldly things to either please the self or others, for this is a stumbling block to both, and sinful.

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Finally, God has distributed the Spirit to all those in the faith. I can’t address every context and every situation, for such wisdom and omniscience belongs to God alone. Pray to the Lord that He may reveal you by the Spirit of Truth, if such sin is present, and to what degree. Pray that He would help and instruct you how to walk that thin line between both pride and envy, that you may see yourself for who you are, a precious child of the Most High.

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“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10

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According to the secular community, there are only a couple reasons why one would want to become a Christian. One of these centers around the idea that being a Christian is some sort of “crutch” used to get through life. However, let us be frank. The Christian has to battle against his carnal desires, those of the flesh, and is often persecuted by man for his faith. Some crutch. If this argument was in any way shape or form true, that man finds religion based on what gives him comfort and suits him, Christianity would be at the bottom of the list of desirable “crutches.”

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Christians know this to not be the case. In fact, in following Christ, one is presented with many challenges. That is not to say that one doesn’t have fulfillment when following the Lord, quite the contrary, rather that this fulfillment isn’t found in any worldly practices. Indeed, even those who say they are fulfilled in the world, are not really so, but rather merely pacified by it.

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Paul tells us that there is no need for a flattering tongue among man, for our goal in Christ is not to make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy, but we are called to show people’s need for a savior. If we wanted to please man, we could absolutely deny this need, or in fact say that salvation is a religious illusion and that one must take care of theirselves and, “be their own savior.” This would please worldly man in that all indulgences would be permissible.

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Yet, man is called to something greater. You are either a servant of Christ or you are a servant of the self and man. One negates the other. In man’s pride there is no need for a savior, for he is the be all and end all, but this isn’t the case. The transition from the world into Christianity, frequently isn’t an easy one. It shouldn’t be, for there is a drastic change that takes place. Truth isn’t always comfortable, but we shall focus on truth and not a version of it that makes people desire or want it due to what it may give them in a worldly context. Rather, in terms of worldly things, it denies, discourages, and redefines. This may not be pleasant in all cases and we should not focus on flattering people or causing disillusionment that it is. To please men in an effort to lead them to Christ is essentially utilizing those worldly means and appealing to their worldly desires, to pull them out of the world, which is not only contradictory, but something that the Lord discourages.

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