None of us knew Adam, the first man, but we are all connected to him through physical birth. Adam passed to all of his descendants the defect of death. Now we all have an opportunity to be freed from this defect through becoming a descendant of Christ. The bible refers to Christ as the second Adam. To become a descendant of Christ, we have to be born of His spirit. The exchange of the Adamic heritage for the new life in Christ is facilitated by the submitting of our carnal lives to the Lordship of the Savior. This is known as taking up our cross, just as Christ did in submission to the Father’s will. This submission gives the Spirit of GOD liberty to transform us from the inside out, spirit, soul, and body. This process is what the Apostle Paul was explaining in the book of Romans, however many people misunderstand his message. Paul begins by talking about the weakness of the flesh but then he flips the narrative from the carnal to expound on the superior power of the Spirit. Unfortunately, many people stay stuck in the carnal narrative and remain bound by the Adamic nature and the inherent weakness of the flesh. In this post I hope to inspire those that read to embrace the full provision delivered to us in the life of Christ, our Savior.
Here is the side that most people get stuck on in Paul’s message.
“14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:14-24 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul has been building up to make the switch to the power of the spirit, but unfortunately this is where most people remain stuck. I have heard so many people use the verses I have just cited in Romans 7:14-24 as the reason they are still carnal and bound by sin. The real problem is that they are still anchored to the Adamic heritage of carnality and have failed to properly apply their cross. If you have taken up the cross and there is no suffering or affliction accompanying it, then it is not the cross of Christ. That painless cross is the product of a customizable do-it-yourself project, or it was received from a minister peddling something he designed for quick and easy sale. The cross of Christ is painfully restricting to the flesh as the carnal appetites and lust are immobilized by being fastened down. The people who are stuck in the carnal viewpoint of Paul’s message are like those who grow comfortable with a bandage that covers a wound and then recoil from the discomfort they must endure to have the bandage removed in order that the physician may heal the wound. The pain of the healing process must be endured or the infection in the wound will destroy the body and soul. The cross immobilizes the flesh so that the Spirit can do the work of bringing healing and new life to the body, mind, and spirit.
“1Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh [and died for us], arm yourselves [like warriors] with the same purpose [being willing to suffer for doing what is right and pleasing God], because whoever has suffered in the flesh [being like-minded with Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [having stopped pleasing the world], 2 so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living for human appetites and desires, but [lives] for the will and purpose of God. 3 For the time already past is [more than] enough for doing what the [unsaved] Gentiles like to do—living [unrestrained as you have done] in a course of [shameless] sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and wanton idolatries.” (1 Peter 4:1-3 AMP)
Now here in Romans 7:25 is where Paul flips the narrative to the spiritual.
“I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25 NKJV)
It is subtle but that was it. Paul has flipped the switch. From this point forward, Paul expounds on the deliverance we have received through the life of Christ and our newfound freedom to please GOD through living after the Spirit. The new narrative of spiritual living begins with verse 1 in chapter 8.
“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.” (Romans 8:1 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul began in Romans chapter 5 calling salvation the “free gift” of GOD. Unfortunately, many people interpret that to mean they don’t have to do anything to receive salvation. That is not the meaning of “free” or “gift.” The words free and gift refers to the fact that we didn’t compensate GOD for what we received. There is nothing we can give GOD that could come remotely close to an equivalent trade for what He has given us through Christ. So, it is a free gift. To amplify this point allow me to present this analogy.
If I gave you a ticket to my banquet and provided you with the new garments required for entering in, and only left you with the task of surrendering your old garments and putting on the new garments, and then lastly you just had to walk through the door of the banquet, would that make my gift of enjoying the feast any less free. Of course not.
That analogy was actually taken from a parable that Christ gave to understand the Kingdom of GOD and His requirements as King. Here is the parable as presented by Christ.
8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 22:8-13 NKJV)
What is this wedding garment?
13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:13-14 NKJV)
1Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: (Isaiah 30:1 KJV)
I find it sad that many people have been sold a false doctrine of salvation which says all a person has to do is confess that they believe in Christ and nothing else is required. To justify this heresy, they use Romans 5 and distort the meaning of the free gift, followed by Romans 7 saying we can’t live righteously anyway because we are just wretched men. They missed the flip of the switch in Paul’s teaching. It is so important not to isolate scriptures but rather endeavor to read the whole word to understand the proper context. Romans 8 should settle any discussion surrounding if anything is required of us to lay hold on salvation. The chapter begins by telling us we have to walk in the spirit to escape condemnation. Let us look further into chapter 8 to see more of what is required by us.
1There 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. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (Romans 8:1-8 NKJV)
This block of scripture clears up so much false teaching in the church today. However, even with all that is clearly stated here, there are still a lot of people who will read Romans 8 and not be changed. Why? Because they are carnal. People who are carnal resist the spiritual things of GOD because they have no real value to them. A carnal person treasures the fleshly pleasures of this life above the spiritual things in GOD. They believe there is a god but because their heart is more focused on the carnal treasures of man, the Word has a hard time getting the focus needed to bear fruit. A heart divided in this way can’t receive from GOD because to receive from GOD requires that you be still. The flesh will not enter the rest of GOD because it is constantly pulled in every direction by lust. Receiving from GOD requires living by faith. The carnal man considers faith foolishness because it often requires belief in things that are not physical. Instead of trusting GOD, the carnal man will always seek physical solutions which will not allow him to be still and rest in GOD.
We must surrender our carnal reasoning by placing faith in GOD and flip the switch to thinking spiritually. Paul had the mentality that he counted anything he had to give up to win Christ as dung. For Paul, leaving the nothing he had known in the past to obtain everything in Christ was not even a trade-off. It was what people call today, “a no brainer,” but that is the mind set of those who understand the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is to understand that GOD is life and away from Him there is nothing left but death.
The sacrifice of Christ, as the Lamb of GOD, redeemed us from the curse of the law, but remember Adam and Eve died and thousands upon thousands of others before the law was instituted from Sinai. It was the broken link to GOD that brought death. The power of new birth into a spiritual man through the resurrection power of Christ is what allows us to be reconnected or reconciled to GOD. The law revealed that what had been killing man from Adam to Christ was man’s inability to conform to GOD and His spiritual law. Man’s carnal living left him alienated from GOD and in darkness. To be connected to GOD you have to be of His spirit. This vital part of salvation does not receive the same attention as being free from the law. You gain a lot of favor with man celebrating his cancellation of debt, but you lose popularity talking about the required walk of spirituality through the wilderness of sin. Just take a look at the ministry of Moses.
Christ says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Learning to walk with GOD can be a difficult time in the beginning, however as you learn to let Him carry your burdens and learn to walk at His pace, moving from day to day becomes easier and the burdens of life become much lighter. The reality of your new heritage in Christ becomes apparent as you begin to partake of His peace, His joy, and His righteousness.