Walking after the flesh

Previously we concluded a two part series (read Part 1 and Part 2 here) on why Christians still sometimes do the things that the law calls “sin”. Under the New Covenant all the sins (past present and future) of a believer have been forgiven:


1 John 2:12 Little children, I write to you because you have been forgiven your sins through His name. (NKJV)


Heb 10:17 Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (NKJV)


We concluded in this two part series that Christians sometimes still make mistakes because of two reasons, namely because of an unrenewed mind and also because of external temptations. Our body will simply yield itself as an instrument to whichever part we give control to:


1) To our 100% righteous born again spirit man or

2) to our unrenewed mind.


If the mind is unrenewed, it will be at enmity (war) with our spirit. The body will follow like a slave to whichever one of these two we yield control to. If our mind is renewed by the washing of the Word of God, we will use our bodies as instruments of righteousness. But if a person walks after the lusts of their unrenewed mind, their body will be a slave to sin, and reap the carnal (earthly) consequences of that sin. Yes earthly consequences, because all the eternal punishment was dealt with at the cross.


If the following statement offends you, please read the paragraph until the end first …


Because New Covenant believers are not under the law anymore, they can’t actually “break” the law, and can technically speaking therefore not “sin” anymore. The following scripture seems to imply exactly this principle:


Rom 4:15 for where no law is, there is no transgression. (NKJV)


Actually they are not committing sin, but rather “works of the flesh”.


Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries. (NKJV) 


This is not just semantics (word play), because sin pertains to unbelievers and “works of the flesh” pertain to believers. This article is specifically about “works of the flesh”, pertaining only to believers.


We can clearly see from the list above in Galatians 5 that if a person were to practice such things on a regular basis, they will very quickly not only estrange themselves from the people who love them, but also ought to find themselves in jail when the law catches up to them for things like theft, murder, etc. It’s interesting that the Bible lists hatred and jealousy up there with MURDER.


These things are all earthly consequences, which include the anger, condemnation and resentment of the people we have harmed because they have NOT forgiven us all our mistakes past, present and future. People aren’t as gracious as God, and therefore when we harm people and trespass against them, we need to confess to them and ask for their forgiveness. 


James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (NKJV)


It’s well worth noting at this point that even though a believer that practices such things might at some point face the music with people or with their local authorities, God will never resent them or stop loving them, even when they commit the most horrendous thing. The grace of God has made provision enough to cover even the biggest sin. 


Rom 5:20b But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. (NKJV)


You may ask “But why would God still want to love such a person even if they have committed these horrible things?” The answer is simply that once a person has been born again, they are now IN Christ. 


1 Cor 1:30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. (NKJV)

Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (NKJV)


And because they are IN Christ, the Father loves them the same as He loves Christ and nothing can ever separate them from God’s love.


Something that New Covenant believers should guard against, is trying in their own effort to “live more holy”. Sanctification does not mean you try to stop doing this or that sin, sanctification means living from your position in Christ. When we try to “become” more holy, we go back under the Law and open up the door for condemnation to come in when we make mistakes, making us aware of our own shortcomings and robbing us of our confidence before God. We will then not want to get to know God because we’d feel too guilty to talk to Him.


This means that we will continue to feed our unbelief and not have our minds renewed, and therefore we will not get to know God for who He really is: A kind and gracious Father who is always poised towards blessing and prospering us beyond our wildest dreams.


When you go back and live under Law as a saved believer, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost your salvation, it just means you might only get to know God when you die, so don’t blame Him for your powerless religious existence on earth while you refuse to get to know Him.