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Thread: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

  1. #16
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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Warrior4God View Post
    Ok, but why specifically is it referred to as "fleshly?" If sin begins in the mind, why is it not referred to that way somehow? The term "fleshly" brings the connotation of the body, of physicality. What's your take?
    The word translated "flesh" was a term used by Paul to describe a reality.

    In other places the word simply means "body". But our bodies are neutral. So it has to do with context.

    It's evidently a word with at least a dual meaning that we know of, if not more.

    Don't be too hung up on the word. Focus on the reality it describes. Because again, it's one of those words that has more than one meaning, so stick to the context.

    I already told you the context, basically, and gave you the meaning in that context.

    Not sure what else you're after? Lemme know if I can help further.

  2. #17

    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    The Apostle Paul refered to things driven by the way men do things as the flesh. This is correctly, but incompletely, associated with sinful acts in pursuing our pleasures. God created in us those things that our pleasurefull, precisely because they could either be given to Him as an act of worship (not set aside or refused as an act of false righteousness, but offered with a joyful heart that He created them! There are of course limits as sex out side of marriage is sin inspite of the fact that it feels good because it violates His nature and we were created in His image), or be commited to our self worship. Now I say the association, as often taught, is incomplete because moralism/legalism born out of our own strength is equally sin before God. Such moralism/legalism amounts to self worship in that it allows me to look at myself and say "I" achieved this.

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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dani H View Post
    The word translated "flesh" was a term used by Paul to describe a reality.

    In other places the word simply means "body". But our bodies are neutral. So it has to do with context.

    It's evidently a word with at least a dual meaning that we know of, if not more.

    Don't be too hung up on the word. Focus on the reality it describes. Because again, it's one of those words that has more than one meaning, so stick to the context.

    I already told you the context, basically, and gave you the meaning in that context.

    Not sure what else you're after? Lemme know if I can help further.
    I appreciate your input. I don't know. I just don't like the terms "of the flesh," or "fleshly." To me, they put the physical aspect of ourselves in an unnecessarily negative light. Yes, we live in fallen and imperfect bodies. I get that. But we were created to live, at least temporarily, in these physical bodies, and, while we're doing so, God obviously intended for us to have some pleasure, as we can do many enjoyable things with our body and it's senses. "Fleshly" comes across, at least to me, as a put-down that is not totally accurate, as any sin we can commit with our flesh starts first in our mind and heart. Also, flesh is continually contrasted with "spirit," as if "spirit" is somehow more pure than "flesh," which I don't believe it is. When human kind fell, I believe it all became corrupt, including our "spirit." If you, or others, believe differently about that, I would be interested in hearing exactly why that is.

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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Warrior4God View Post
    I appreciate your input. I don't know. I just don't like the terms "of the flesh," or "fleshly." To me, they put the physical aspect of ourselves in an unnecessarily negative light. Yes, we live in fallen and imperfect bodies. I get that. But we were created to live, at least temporarily, in these physical bodies, and, while we're doing so, God obviously intended for us to have some pleasure, as we can do many enjoyable things with our body and it's senses. "Fleshly" comes across, at least to me, as a put-down that is not totally accurate, as any sin we can commit with our flesh starts first in our mind and heart. Also, flesh is continually contrasted with "spirit," as if "spirit" is somehow more pure than "flesh," which I don't believe it is. When human kind fell, I believe it all became corrupt, including our "spirit." If you, or others, believe differently about that, I would be interested in hearing exactly why that is.
    Well, it's how gnosticism got its start. They believed that the physical was evil and the spiritual was good. Not so! God created the physical so how can it be evil?

    We're told to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. Not because they're evil but because we use our bodies to perform actions. And because our bodies belong to us. We're people, not parts and things. We always want to split people up. Into spirit/soul/body or flesh/spirit or other such thing. God redeems people, not parts of people.

    It's really all about a person's separation from God, and reconciliation of that whole person to Him. A lot of what Paul addresses is often in response to and as a refutation of gnosticism, so keep that in mind when you read his writings.

    As humans we always go for the distinction and separation ... like I even did earlier, but it was to make a point and not to make some scientific description.

    Soon as you get the point ... the description is secondary, and you can make the point any other way as you please.

    Like Jesus' parables and Paul's illustrations ... once you understand the reality they describe, you can describe that reality a thousand different ways and still bring the point across.

    Does that help?

    God created pleasure. He wants us to experience it. But in connection with Him, because what He has to offer, is so much infinitely more pleasurable than anything perverted man has to offer; and without the hangover or guilt or whatever it is that plagues us when we pleasure ourselves, our way.

    Seriously. God created sex, food ... all those things, yes? So .. there you go.

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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Here is a song by Mercy Me called "So Long, Self" which may help you understand the whole "flesh/self" thing better. Enjoy!


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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dani H View Post
    Here is a song by Mercy Me called "So Long, Self" which may help you understand the whole "flesh/self" thing better. Enjoy!

    Yeah, I definitely know this song. Mercy Me is one of my favorite bands to listen to. I have all their CD's.

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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dani H View Post
    Well, it's how gnosticism got its start. They believed that the physical was evil and the spiritual was good.
    Well, to be honest, it's easy to see why some have ascribed to this view, as the way the Bible often portays things could lead some to adopt that mindset. Maybe that's not the intention of various verses in scripture, particularly the ones written by the Apostle Paul, but it happens, nonetheless.

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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Warrior4God View Post
    Well, to be honest, it's easy to see why some have ascribed to this view, as the way the Bible often portays things could lead some to adopt that mindset. Maybe that's not the intention of various verses in scripture, particularly the ones written by the Apostle Paul, but it happens, nonetheless.
    Yes, crazy things happen when people take Scripture out of context and don't read the entire Bible for what it is, to get a complete picture (as far as that's possible this side of eternity). Paul's words only make sense in combination with Jesus' words and the Law and the Prophets and etc. God has not changed.

    Also it can be really helpful to read various translations side by side. Truth can only be translated so many different ways but if the translator is true to the meaning of the text, it will always come through. That's why I'm personally a big fan of software like Youversion or any online Bible program that lets you compare various translations. It's a treasure those of us in the Internet age get to enjoy and we really should all be taking advantage of it instead of being emotionally attached to a lone translation just because we grew up with it or that's what our pastor likes and preaches out of or whatever the reason. God has raised up some bright, insightful people in our day and age so there's really no reason for any of us to sit there scratching our heads. We just can't be afraid to have our beliefs challenged and traditions changed.

    Far as the epistles go ... read them through as the letters they are and don't worry too much about chapter/verse because that's not how they were originally written. It's a continuous thought, for the most part, and they were all written to address certain issues specifically with the local churches while never losing sight of the big picture of Jesus and the Church as a whole.

    That's why I love Acts too because you can see these people in action and it's in that context that their words make a lot more sense.

    Never make doctrine out of a lone verse or chapter. That's how people get in trouble. It all works together and builds on each other and confirms each other.

  9. #24

    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Not sure I can agree with the physical (flesh) not being corrupt.

    If not, then why is it that flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of heaven?

    Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

    Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;

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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    Not sure I can agree with the physical (flesh) not being corrupt.

    If not, then why is it that flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of heaven?

    Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

    Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;
    Oh, I definitely believe our flesh is "corrupt." But, so is our "spirit." Everything became corrupted in the fall of Adam and Eve.

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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    Not sure I can agree with the physical (flesh) not being corrupt.

    If not, then why is it that flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of heaven?

    Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

    Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;
    That word translated "vile" means "lowly" or "abased" and is being used in comparison to Jesus' glorified resurrected body. It's a compare/contrast. Paul does that quite often throughout his letters.

    In Romans 15 Paul speaks of our earthly bodies being corruptible (i.e. subject to death and decay, slated for the grave) but yet seeds of an incorruptible (untouchable by death), glorified, resurrected body that is to come. God doesn't use evil seeds to bring forth good fruit (that's the wrong tree we're not supposed to eat from, remember?). God uses death to bring forth life.

    Romans 8 has nothing to do with our bodies being evil or anything, it's simply a statement that people sin in their earthly bodies (what else are we going to sin in????) and that Jesus had a body just like ours.

    I'm afraid you're drawing conclusions that aren't really there.

  12. #27
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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    I've been mulling over a mystery that's trying to reveal itself in a different context and this seems like a good place to discuss it out and get some opinions.

    Genesis says God made us in His image. There was nothing wrong with that image. Man fell and man born in the flesh is born in sin. But when you accept Jesus is not that sin nature removed? Yes we keep sinning, but are we now sinning from a sin nature or from lifelong patterns that need to be renewed out of our minds?

    I often hear mature believers state and I know this from my own life, that nothing I was able to do, actually stopped the desire to sin. Christ working in me, has changed my heart from wanting to sin to wanting to obey God's law. As Christ takes over, I just naturally do not desire to sin in an ever decreasing compacity.

    I once heard Andre Rabe state "We are made in God's image, He has never altered that statement. There is nothing wrong with us except for the stuff we cling on to that is not really us". As I've thought about that I can see that stuff as being first and foremost the sin nature that ruled me until I accepted Christ, and now all the junk of a lifetime that Christ is working on removing from me. All those "ites" that were in my promised land when the new creation "Christ and I" moved into it. Lies, habits, hurts, addictions, etc.

    The disciples once asked Jesus what is the greatest work we can do? Christ said believe! Believe in me and the one who sent me. And if so, then all the truth and mystery that has been revealed. Changing our minds from earthly things to heavenly things. Understanding who we are IN Christ and who He is IN us. Union! That new creation is the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around. To fully grasp all that I am in Christ. To have that truth replace the stuff I cling on to that is not really me.

    God did not gift me with a brain that remembers in chapter and verse so I struggle to give you references, but I'm sure you can figure where I'm referring to. Is there scripture that would contradict this mystery coming together in this context? I know it might not be the traditional way to think about it.

    Also another great context of the flesh is that God desired to become a man. Before he created the universe, before the beginning, we all existed in the mind of God. He had already thought it all through. He knew that at one point he would step into this world and he had to choose the form he would take. If you're going to live in something, you would want it to be something your comfortable in, right? Let us make man in our image. And after the resurrection do we not read about the man Jesus sitting at God's right hand. It wasn't just a 33 year stint in the human body Jesus chose. I agree with the original poster that I get frustrated with the dump that we do upon ourselves "in the flesh". But I think in the beginning of our walk as we come out of sin that flesh is nasty and vile and we hate it and our frustrated by it. But as our reality (Dani) of who we are begins to change, then our view of our flesh begins to change as well and we are awakened by the love of God to our true image and the fact that God is currently living within your flesh interacting with his creation through you.

    So fleshiness as a definition changes the more God reveals mystery to you.

    Also if God has seen the end from the beginning and like a movie producer has cast you in His movie to play your part at your appointed time, then your purpose on earth is grand and is important. Dani you quoted above

    Fact: It don't make a lick of difference to the universe whether or not you exist. If you had never been born, nobody would be any wiser. 99.999999999999999999999999% of all people who ever existed, don't care one iota about you.

    Fact: God could have just as easily stuck another person into your body instead of you to fill whatever important shoes you think you're walking in right now.


    Now I understand completely the point you were trying to make against taking undo pride in your flesh, but if grasped in the truth of a changed flesh, the opposite is completely true. Just wanted to add that because at some point we really need to grasp how important we are to God and how much he loves us and chose us to be a part of His creation at this time!
    \o/ Every heartbeat for your glory!

  13. #28
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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Warrior4God View Post
    I appreciate your input. I don't know. I just don't like the terms "of the flesh," or "fleshly." To me, they put the physical aspect of ourselves in an unnecessarily negative light. Yes, we live in fallen and imperfect bodies. I get that. But we were created to live, at least temporarily, in these physical bodies, and, while we're doing so, God obviously intended for us to have some pleasure, as we can do many enjoyable things with our body and it's senses. "Fleshly" comes across, at least to me, as a put-down that is not totally accurate, as any sin we can commit with our flesh starts first in our mind and heart. Also, flesh is continually contrasted with "spirit," as if "spirit" is somehow more pure than "flesh," which I don't believe it is. When human kind fell, I believe it all became corrupt, including our "spirit." If you, or others, believe differently about that, I would be interested in hearing exactly why that is.
    Hi W4G,

    Great thread. Spirit is the part that animated the formed-dust thereby making Adam a living soul. Spirit is the part that gives us life and consciousness of God, because He is spirit. When Adam fell, his spirit became separated from God, which is a definition of death. So yes, his spirit fell, his body fell, and consequently, the combination of them fell. The spiritual death that occurred on the day Adam sinned took nearly 900 years to spread completely through him to kill his body. Did he still have a spirit? Yes. Was it still in joint-participation (definition of fellowship) with God? No. Consequently, Adam was no longer ruled by his spirit, rather, he was ruled (controlled) by his mind, will, emotions, and bodily appetites. Those controlled by these are 'in the flesh.' This is our heritage from Adam. Flesh gives birth to flesh, according to Jesus.

    Flesh is contrasted with spirit to show the inner struggle saints have after rebirth. When we are reborn, we receive God's Spirit and our own spirit is made new. We become one spirit with the Lord. But....we are accustomed to being controlled by our minds/wills/emotions/physical appetites...the flesh. So there is a struggle within us for control between Spirit/spirit and flesh for supremacy. The comparison of flesh and spirit is not a contrast between physical body and invisible spirit, rather, it is a contrast between natures.

    If you don't like the term, fleshly, then carnal is a good synonym. Both mean that one is governed by mere human nature not by the Spirit of God.

    blessings,

    Andy
    Sunset remembers Eden...sunrise prophesies its return.

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    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    It's in dying that we live.

    It's in giving up what we think is who we are, that we become who we were actually created to be.

    We're not nearly as important as we think we are, but we matter a lot more than we think we do.

    It's all seemingly contradictory but completely true.

    Our death in Christ basically has the effect of removing the gunk off of us that isn't of God, and bringing our true being to the surface, and giving us the freedom to be that person and enjoy being that person (gasp!) for who God has created us to be. And we are never freer being who we really are when we do whatever it is God has gifted us to do.

    In His Presence is fulness of joy. God is a joyful God. It's all the sin and self-absorbed conditioning and gunk that makes life difficult and burdensome, and makes even the pursuit of God a chore, when it ought to be a delight. I enjoy my relationship with Christ more every single day. He is a delight to be around! And when we are free to be who we were created to be, then spending time with God and living with Him here 24/7 is delightful! Then heaven ... is just more of the same! Exept better times infinity!

    We make ourselves miserable, and make each other miserable by hanging on to things God didn't create us with, and by making things about us, that aren't. Then we blame God, when He had nothing to do with it, and we blame each other, when in reality this condition applies to all of us equally and we're all just as guilty as the next person (which is the exact point Paul was making in Romans 2). We're all equally hypocritical to the degree that we remain stuck on ourselves. It's the fallen human condition.

    Fleshly ... carnal ... self-absorbed ... stuck on ourselves ... self-obsessed ... lustful ... worldly ... it's all the same same.

    Heck, those of us who are religious yet remin stuck on ourselves, even use God and the Bible to push our own self-absorbed ways on others. That is why Jesus was always correcting religious people the most! Being religious means nothing special except that you're ... religious. No brownie points there.

    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

  15. #30

    Re: What exactly is "fleshliness?"

    Dani, you are right. Freedom in Christ has set us free. I've been realizing that about myself so much is that I take for granted that freedom that Christ has given me. I sometimes find myself completely ignoring the fact that I am set free from the past chains that I was bonded too because of the blood of Christ. Before Him, I was broken, with Him, I am made whole. Without Christs forgiveness, I, and all of us, are destined for hell. He took our spot on the Cross and it was love that held Him there. I once heard that quote before... "Nails didn't hold Jesus to the Cross... love did".
    Why are you searching for love? Why are you still looking as if I'm not enough?

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