Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beyond the Flesh

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.  Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh we regard him thus no longer,” 2 Corinthians 5:16.
For sure, I believe, she is a prostitute.  There is a haughty wink in her eye and a “come hither” in her saunter.  And he, he is beggar.  So needy, so sickly.  I am certain that this man and that woman are money-makers; in the greedy, covetous sense.. .always wanting and taking what is not theirs.  And they are rather ill-mannered.  Loud, boisterous, fairly annoying.  This family too large.  That youth to small at heart.  Too petty; I am averted.  She to shallow.  His soulish mutterings too twisted up for me.  I am persuaded that they are causing all the trouble and that old woman needs more attention than the adequate obligation of society.  Oh the little ones!  The grubby, hyper little ones… .well, you know how it can get.  Yes, my eyes have seen all this in the world; all this and more.  It is too much knowledge and I will not dirty up my knees… .dare I say it… .for this unworthy flesh!
It is true; in more tenses and senses than we could ever realize, the flesh is unworthy.  Sometimes it is messy for good reasons and other times for not so good reasons.  The flesh of mankind deserves none of our prayers of intercession.  Yet the bearer of the eyes averted by flesh finds herself in the same predicament.  I am also not worthy of your prayers.  And then there are those sweet prayers of Christ.  I am unworthy of these; we are unworthy.  Recognizing his terrible fleshly condition, his absolute inability to be freed from it, and his need for someone’s intercession, Paul makes a sincere cry in Romans 7:24 of  “What on earth will I do?!”  Whew! he thinks, O yes, Jesus.  Thank God!
Whew!  Paul is no longer regarded after the flesh… .and neither are we.
The blessing is twofold: first for the believer the gift is substantial and secure.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come,” 2 Corinthians 5:17.  The new condition has already come!  Flesh and blood is disregarded.  The Spiritual life of Christ is known by God and seen in us.
But second for the unbeliever.  Although the unbeliever, those who live according to the flesh, “cannot please God” (Romans 8:8); although those who think continually about the satisfaction of the flesh live in a state of perpetual “death” (Romans 8:6); and although those who continue to please the flesh “will die” pursuing this pleasure (Romans 8:13), unbeknownst to them, they are not regarded according to their flesh, for, “all sins will be forgiven the children of man,” Mark 3:28.  All those who are born of flesh are easily forgiven.  We regard NO ONE after the condition of their flesh though it may avert us.  We consider them a candidate for reconciliation to God.  We pray, we speak, we intercede because God is calling them to Himself despite their unworthy flesh.  Thank God!
Alas, a beautiful conclusion!  “…to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace,” Romans 8:6.  To envision Christ in all directions!  To see Him and see no flesh!  This is a state of life and peace.  From the humble position of Christ, we regard no flesh, rather we regard His Spirit reconciling the word to Himself.  Have this kneeling mind in you….

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