Monday, June 12, 2023

Crucify the Flesh (Galatians 3)

"And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal. 5:24).

When a person dies, they are separated from this world. They can no longer watch the glory of a sunrise, eat a sumptuous meal, or touch the warmth of another person. Everything in this world is lost to them because they are no longer a part of it. Jesus knows what it means to die and to leave the world behind. When He died on Golgotha, He left this temporal world for another place. He could not dry the tears of His mother with a brush of His hand. He could not put a comforting arm around the shoulders of John. Until He rose again, He could not eat dinner with His disciples.

The idea of death as a separation gripped the apostle Paul, and he used it as an analogy to describe his relationship to the world: “The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14). The world had not just died to Paul, it had been crucified. Just as Christ died on a cross and left this world for a brief time, Paul had died to the world, to all those things that oppose God.

Paul used the imagery of a crucifixion to describe not only his relationship with the world, but the Christian’s relationship with the flesh. Paul says, “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” In this analogy the nails cut even deeper because it means killing something that is part of who we are. Even though you are redeemed, you still have the remnants of sin clinging, grasping, struggling to take control of your life. These remnants can only be overcome by putting them to death, by crucifying them. A crucifixion is long and painful. In the same way, your battle with sinful impulses and thoughts will be a slow, difficult process. But you can do it if you live by the power of the Spirit. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead has promised to preserve you and give you the grace to put all remaining sin to death. That includes sexual immorality, impurity, jealously, envy, every act of the flesh (Gal. 5:19–21).

“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind …” (1 Peter 4:1). Mental preparedness is a must in this endeavor, says Peter. If you want to live, crucify the flesh. Otherwise, heed Paul’s warning, that if you continue to live according to the sin nature, you will die (Rom. 8:13).

How does your flesh hinder you? Is it lust? Selfishness? Pride? Vanity? Fear? Spiritual slothfulness evidenced by not praying or reading the Word? Identify and confess these and ask a friend to pray for you. One by one, consciously remove things from your life that keep you from overcoming these sins.