For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 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 set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. – Romans 8:3-6
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Set Your Heading
I'm a little rushed today, but ...
I find the verses above to be striking near the crux of my problems as a Christian, and, from what I’ve gathered from talking with other Christians over the years, I may not be entirely alone. I don’t know that many people actually teach such a thing, but there are those who appear to believe that sanctification is sudden thing – where, if one is properly aligned on the mourners’ bench or whatever, the old nature is more or less eradicated.
I going to throw this out there: it is a bad idea to make a doctrine out of anyone’s personal experience, even when we are talking about several “anyones”. We have denominations that are built and distinguished by little else. I think it would be good if we could give individuals more room within the overall Church Universal – the one Jesus set up, to worship, serve, and connect with our Lord in their own ways, while being a little less concerned with our labels. “Christian, Hillbilly” works fine for me.
In any case, my old nature doesn’t go down so easily. I’ve spent 30 years playing Whack-An-Adam. What I’ve learned is exactly what Paul says in Romans 8, that it is on what I set my mind that counts. The sooner I can forget about the thoughts, urges, impulses, and even the mistakes of the old Mushroomic nature the better. The more I can keep my focus on the new nature, on the truth of Christ in me, the hope of glory, even more better.
I don’t think we need to let the old nature worry us. I know we don’t need to listen to it, give in to it, or let it control us. Jesus has set us free from the necessity of obedience to the flesh, from the bondage we were in, and that part is a completely done deal. The perfect picture is the argument between Sméagol and Gollum in the film version of The Two Towers. Sméagol could reject Gollum’s help because he had “the Master”. We are the same way. We owe nothing to the flesh. We take care of the body but cast aside the old ragged cloak of the flesh in which we once trusted and tried to cover ourselves.