The Flesh Profits Nothing

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jesus said the Spirit gives life and the flesh profits nothing (John 6:63). This has been a hard saying for most of the church's existence. We think there is something within us that is useful for the kingdom of God. It is difficult to convince us that 'the flesh profits nothing'. I grew up hearing phrases that sound spiritual – biblical even; such as, “Heaven helps those who help themselves” or “You do your best and God will do the rest”. These statements may sound biblical but they are not. Nor do they reflect the truth of the Gospel of Christ!

Recently the Holy Spirit has reiterated this truth to me that the flesh profits nothing! The temptation to continue to operate in the flesh is very strong. We grow up doing what comes natural and therefore fool ourselves into believing that our natural abilities are useful in building the kingdom of God. They are not! We (that is, our flesh) has to be moved out of the way in order for the Spirit to have free course in this Kingdom. This action took place at Calvary where Jesus died for our sins and at the empty tomb where He was resurrected for our life in the Spirit.

It is very possible to 'spiritualize' the flesh; appearing to want the Spirit to move among us, when all the while it is an attempt to promote ourselves. Paul stated: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight,” (Rom 3:20). He went on to say: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells;” (Rom 7:18).

Listen to Paul's instructions concerning the flesh: “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” (Rom 8:5-8 emphasis added) NKJV

Listen again with 'ears to hear'; the fleshly minded cannot please God! Our good intentions and best efforts at righteousness are filthy rags in His presence (Isa 64:6). Only the Spirit can produce life. The carnal mind is death dealing. The spiritually minded find life and peace. The contrast between the flesh and the Spirit is as great as the contrast between Romans 7 and Romans 8. The flesh produces “O Wretched Man That I Am”(Rom 7:24).. The Spirit produces “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom 8:1). KJV

If we truly believe that the Holy Spirit makes all the difference then we will welcome the slaying of our flesh in order for the Spirit to produce life and peace. Welcome I say, yet resist when He comes; because the flesh desires to be in control. Eph not get drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit (NASU). The Apostle Paul's emphasis here seems to be; as one who is drunk on wine loses control to the alcohol...we are to lose control to the Spirit.

We must not continue to give an affirming nod to the statement: “The Holy Spirit Makes All The Difference” and yet continue to live in the flesh and thus hindering His work in our personal or corporate lives.