Walking After the Spirit - Romans 8:1-14, Episode 12

By Michael Pearl

Scripture: Topics: Romans Bible Study

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Walking After the Spirit

Romans 8:1-14

You're at The Door. This is the Book of Romans. Tonight we're going to study chapter 8 verses 1-14. This is episode 12. The Door is located in Lobelville, a little town in middle Tennessee that is sort of an ugly little town, but we got some beautiful people here tonight and some great kids that have come out to hear the Word of God taught. I am Michael Pearl.

This is a Bible study. It's not a sermon designed to motivate you or move you. It's designed to instruct you in what the Word of God actually says.

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his Words, lest he reproved thee, and thou be found a liar."  Proverbs 30:5-6  So we're not going to add two or take away from the words of God tonight. We're going to teach exactly the words that are found in our authorized version, the traditional text.


Last week, we're in Romans chapter 7, which was about the law, the law's failure to cause the flesh to do what it ought.

Romans 7:14 The Bible tells us that,"The law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin." Carnal being the word flesh, sarx. "I am carnal, sold under sin.” As a slave to sin, Paul said I was as a man in the flesh.

Romans 8:3"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh..."  The problem was not with the law. The law is spiritual. The law is holy. The law will never pass away, but that which was ordained to be under life, Paul said, "I found to be unto death." And he said, "When I tried to do it, it deceived me and it ended up slaying me." He said, "It slew me."

The Natural Human Condition

The last verse there in Romans chapter 7, Paul said, "With a mind, I serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin.”  That's a natural man. And man that's not saved who is religious and is trying to please God by obeying the law. So he says, "Yes, with my mind, I'm serving God; but with my flesh, I'm serving the law of sin."  So he was in a dilemma, a terrible dilemma. He said, "O wretched man, that I am." So, that wretched man was typical of the human condition. That's the way we all are.

The Old Matrix

We talked last week about the old matrix, that womb from which comes our humanity and from which comes our sinful condition. In the old matrix, we found out that we are in the flesh and cannot please God. These all phrases come out of Roman 7.

The Old Matrix

  • In the Flesh
  • Cannot Pleas God
  • Ineffectual will
  • Do what I hate
  • Carnal
  • Sold under sin
  • Power of sin Dwells within
  • Sin in my Members brings me into Captivity
  • Liv in a body of death
  • Serve the law of sin in my Members
  • Wretched man

We found out that we have an ineffectual will and we end up doing what we hate, what we don't want to do. That we're carnal sold under sin. "The power of sin,"  Paul said, "now dwells within me."  Sin is in my members: eyes, ears, nose, hands, tongue, sex organs, feet. It's in my members and brings me into captivity. His feet takes him where he never thought he'd go. Keeps him longer than he ever thought he'd stay. And then won't turn him loose. "And live in a body of death," he said. That body drug him back to the place of lust and sin again and again. No matter how much he loved the law of God, the flesh overcame. He said, "I serve the law of sin in my members." He said that, "The work of sin in my members is like a rule of action. It's a law, it's a law that has power and it controls. It dictates to me." So he concluded. "I am a wretched man." So the law and flesh are total failures, according to Romans chapter 7.

The Natural Man

So we find out that there's a natural man and the natural man, that's what you and I are before we become to know Christ, are a body of flesh. But inside that body of flesh is the inner man, which is the soul, which is tri-part: mind, will, and emotions. And inside of that soul is this human spirit. All people have a spirit, saved and unsaved alike. A great poet who's not a Christian has a spirit. And from that spirit, he writes his poetry, as a musician sings from his spirit. So there is a human spirit, but that's the natural man on the inside and on the outside, who is the Bible said, dead in trespasses and sins.

The New Man

But the spiritual man, the new man, the regenerated man has the Spirit of God come into his spirit. And that makes him a spiritual man alive unto God, and he is called in the scriptures then, the new man.

Now, the new man and the old man do not coexist. The old man is all we were before we came to know Christ. And the new man is all that we are now. The new man may sin, but he's still the new man sinning. It's not a contest between an old man who is a sinner and a new man who's not. A new man is description of our attributes having come to Christ.

The New Matrix

So the new matrix is that we are now in Jesus Christ. The new matrix is that the old man is crucified. I am dead to sin and I am free from sin. Now this is contrary to what I think I know about myself. This is contrary to what I see in you, but it's what God says of me, just as God said of Abraham, you're the father of a great nation. When he was too old to produce children and his wife had never been able to produce children. And now he was 99 years old, shriveled up and dried. And God said, "Through you and Sarah, you're going to have a great nation as the sand on the seashore innumerable." Abraham believed God. He didn't believe his experience, who against hope, believed in hope.

The New Matrix in Jesus:

  • The old man is crucified
  • Dead to sin and
  • Free from sin in the new matrix.
  • The body of sin is destroyed.
  • Buried, raised, ascended, and seated and reigning.
  • Alive unto God, joint heirs with Christ
  • In The Spirit, spiritually minded.
  • Have the Spirit of adoption cry, Abba father.
  • The Spirit bears witness with our Spirit and
  • The Spirit prays through us.

And that the body of sin is destroyed. Now you look at it and say it's not. God looks at it and says it is. We're buried, raised, ascended, and even seated and now reigning in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ, according to God's reckoning. Now, if you don't believe what God says concerning these things, you'll never get the victory as a Christian. The Bible says we're alive unto God, and we're joint heirs with Christ. I'm pulling all of this out of Romans 8. We're in the Spirit, and we are spiritually minded. No longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit. And we have the Spirit of adoption, and we cry Abba, Father. And then the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And the Spirit prays through us because we have infirmities and don't know how to pray as we ought. All these things are the new matrix.

Two Matrix

So they are two matrix, two wounds from which come our realities. The first reality was our humanity in flesh, slave to sin. The second one is our new man that's now in the Spirit. And we're told to reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin. That the old man was crucified, buried and raised, and they were alive under God and were a new creature in Christ Jesus. So the fallen item is the old matrix in the flesh, and the resurrected Christ into whom I have been baptized by his Spirit is the new matrix and I'm now in the Spirit. So Christ is in me and I am in Christ and Christ is in God. That's a threefold relationship.

How to Stop Sinning

The believer's only tool to stop sinning is to reckon. A good old-fashioned Southern word. Too many believers reckon they are in the flesh and cannot please God. And most preachers help them reckon that by taking Romans 7 and teaching that it is the experience of a believer, that that's the norm. And so Christians are caused to reckon that they don't have power over sin, that they're a slave to sin, instead of reckoning that they're free from sin as it says three times in Romans chapter 6. Now that reckoning they're slave to sin actually works, because many Christians have made themselves slaves to sin by believing that they in fact are. What they're doing is disbelieving what God says and believing their own reality.

Romans 8

The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus

Romans chapter 8 now is tonight's subject. And it's about the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Roman 7 was about the law of sin and death. In contrast, the new matrix is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

Now that's not the Mosaic Law. The word law is used a dozen different ways here in Romans. He's talking about that rule of action, that principle of the Spirit of Christ working in us.

  • Romans 7 is about being in the flesh, being in the flesh, keyword, and walking after the flesh. Those prepositions; in and after the flesh.
  • Romans 8 is about being in the Spirit, as in contrast to being in the flesh, and walking after the Spirit.

Romans 8:1

What the Law Could not do

Romans 8:1, "There is therefore..." Wait a minute. When I see a therefore, I have to ask, "What's it therefore?" So we need to jump back to Romans 7, just verses before, to find out why he's saying, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."  Roman 8:1 is description of walking after the flesh, "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal," as we just saw, "sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing."  Romans 7:14 Can you imagine a preacher teaching that this is the normal experience for Christians? What's the point of Christianity?

A Slave to Sin

Romans 7:18 "But how to perform that which is good I find not....the evil which I would not, that I do."  This man is messed up. He's like a drug addict that wants to quit and has to keep sticking that needle in his arm. Our cigarette smoker that tries to quit a dozen times, but keeps smoking those cigarettes. Or a sugar eater that tries to quit eating sugar, but just has to keep eating and eating and eating. Our pornographer who tries to stop, but he finds himself going back to it again and again and again. He is a slave to sin.

Romans 7:19 "The evil which I would not, that do I. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me." And then he said, "It brings me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Now that's Romans chapter 7.

You notice there's never a mention of the Spirit of God one time early in the chapter. There's never mention of the Spirit of God working or being active or us being dead or buried or crucified in Christ anywhere in chapter 7. It's all about the law and the flesh and failure.

"I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God..."  That first phrase, there's an answer to the question who will deliver me? And then he says, “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh of the law of sin." That sounds like the average Baptist who goes to church and serves God with his mind, but in Sunday night and Monday, he's serving sin with his body or flesh.


  • Spirit is mentioned just 1 time in Romans 7.
  • Spirit is mentioned 21 times Romans 8.

So the Spirit's mentioned just one time in Roman 7, but in chapter 8 that we're studying tonight, it's mentioned 21 times.

Natural Man

So if a natural man in the flesh walks after the flesh, and those are keywords. In the flesh and then walks after the flesh. Being in the flesh is a statement about the nature of the person. By that I don't mean they have a nature, but the condition that they're in, their state of reality. That they're in the flesh, that's their residence. And then walking after the flesh is a statement about how one acts. So those who are in the flesh end up walking after the flesh.

Spiritual Man

And then there's the spiritual man who has his human spirit infused with God's Holy Spirit. And that's the only tangible difference between the saved and the unsaved, is the presence of God's Spirit. If you had cirrhosis of the liver before you got saved, you still have it. If you were addicted to pornography before you got saved, you'd still be addicted after you get saved in your flesh, but we'll resolve that. And that's the spiritual man is now said to be in the Spirit and he walks after the spirit and there's no condemnation, Romans 8:1. And if he does walk after the flesh, we're going to find later in Romans, then he shall die. So he should walk after the Spirit, and in that there's no condemnation. If he doesn't walk after the Spirit and he walks after the flesh, there is condemnation and he will die.

The Flesh

So the flesh, we're going to talk about that because a couple weeks ago, we pointed out that the New International Version takes that Greek word sarx, which is always translated flesh in your Authorized Version, and translates it a dozen different ways but never flesh like this in the Book of Romans. Rather, it translates the word flesh as sinful nature, because that's the popular doctrine.

Is the Flesh Sinful?

You see, there'll be critics of what I'm telling you that will say that I am teaching that the flesh is sinful, that the flesh itself is innately sinful. That's not what we're teaching. We're teaching that the flesh is the occasion for sin, but in itself, it's not sinful. The Bible speaks of a flesh full of sin, but a flesh containing sin is not the same thing as a flesh being the root of sin.

What does the Bible say about the Flesh?


  • The antithesis of the spirit
  • The source of temptation
  • The occasion of all sin
  • The downfall of Adam and Eve
  • The source of Christ's temptation
  • The trial of every believer

So here's what the Bible says about the flesh. Number one, we're going to look at some of these. It's the antithesis of the spirit. Flesh on one side, spirit on the other. It's the source of temptation. The flesh is. It's the occasion of all sin. By the flesh, I mean this body that doctors cut into, the body that you stick medicine in when you're little kid's sick, that's the flesh. What gets burnt, what gets pimples, what gets old and makes your nose itch. That's the flesh. And it is that flesh that lusteth to envy, according to Scriptures. The downfall of Adam and Eve was their flesh. The source of Christ's temptation, and he was tempted, was his flesh. And the trial of every believer is this body of flesh.

What is Flesh?

Roman 7:18, "For I know that in me..."  Notice the parentheses. That's Scripture. I didn't add that. "For I know (that in me, that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing."

Roman 7:25, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God in contrast to the mind, but with the flesh the law of sin." I'm expecting you to see out of these verses that flesh is flesh and not pseudonym for something else, not an allegory.

The Flesh Lusts

Roman 6:19, "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh."  So he's talking about infirm, unsound, sickly flesh. "For as you've yielded your members..."  The members are all part of this fleshly body. That's the flesh. "To uncleanness and to iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh."  Make no provision. He's talking to Christian now. "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts," plural, "thereof."  So he accounts for all lust as coming from the flesh.

The Flesh is Weak

Matthew 26:41, "The spirit indeed is willing," Jesus said to the disciples, "but the flesh is weak." They proved it by going to sleep because the flesh was sleepy.

Are the Desires of Flesh Sinful?

Ephesians 2:3 "Among whom also we had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."  Now, you might need to go to my audio teaching on Ephesians if you want some clarity on that verse.

Now he said the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh. You say, what kind of desires does the flesh have? The first desire of the flesh is comfort, ease, and pleasure. Pleasure comes to the flesh in many ways. It comes through what you put in your mouth, what you wear on your body, through being touched, through sexual stimulation, the body enjoys stimulation and pleasure. That's the flesh. So the body is full of desires. Those desires are not good or bad. Jesus had the same desires. They're just flesh. They're just passions.

1 Peter 2:11 "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lust, which war against the soul;"  Remember the inner man and the outer man? So the fleshly lusts are warring against the soul. Remember Paul said, "With the flesh I serve sin, but with the mind I serve the law of God." Romans 7:25

Of the World

1 John 2:16 -17 " For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."  Now, your fixing to get a list of all that's in the world. Three things. Number one, “the lust of the flesh.”  Number two, “the lust of the eyes.”  And the third one, “and the pride of life is, not of the Father, but is of the world.”  So he defines all that's in the world: lust of the flesh, lust of eyes, and pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world. Now that doesn't mean that it is sinful in itself, but it becomes the occasion for sin.

All that is in the world

  • Lust of the flesh-- bodily appetites;
  • Lust of the eyes – covetousness, Desire
  • Pride of life - elevation of the flesh

All that is in the world: The lust of the flesh, which is bodily appetites; lust of the eyes, which is covetousness and desire when one sees something and desires it so that the eyes become the vehicle by which the flesh learns what will satisfy and seeks satisfaction. And then the pride of life, the pride of life is elevation of the flesh to a station or to recognition or to something that enthrones, exalts and extols the flesh.

The Lust of the Flesh

Genesis 3:6 is the first example of these three things, all that's in the world. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,"  that's lust of the flesh, bodily appetites, "and that it was pleasant to the eyes,” that's lust of the eyes, covetous desire... Got to back up here. "And a tree to be desired to make one wise."  Now, what is that? That is the pride of life. So we see those same three elements present in Eve's temptation. Now let me ask you, did Eve have a sinful nature at that point? No. Of course, she never did get one, but for sake of argument, she certainly didn't have it at that point. Did she?

What Caused Eve to be Tempted?

What was it then that caused Eve to be tempted. It was lust of the eyes. Let me ask you, where did she get the ability for the eyes to lust? From God. She saw it was pleasant to the eyes. Doesn't God make things pleasant to the eyes? Does he make the gals pleasant to the eyes of the men? Does he make food pleasant, houses, cars? We make the cars, but he gave us the material to make them. So all these things are pleasant to the eyes. Now is lust of the flesh. Jesus was a hungered, his flesh lusted after bread. And then she saw it was a tree to be desired to make one wise. Now, nothing wrong being wise. No, God made us to want to be wise and even tells us how we can be, but Eve saw in that tree, the opportunity for the fulfillment of those four things by doing what? By doing something with her body, putting something in her mouth, touching it with her hand, smelling it, tasting it, chewing it and swallowing it. It was on passions of the flesh that God created that became the occasion for her sin. Do you see that?

So all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but of the world.

Was Jesus tempted to Sin?

Now Jesus was tempted by the devil 40 days he was fasting. God had those 40 days of fasting to intensify the force of the temptation. So the devil's first temptation was, "Turn that stone," which looked so much like a loaf of bread. "Go ahead and turn it into bread and eat it." After 40 days, I'd have probably been licking that stone even if it wasn't bread, if it looked enough like a loaf. And so that was lust of the flesh. Jesus flesh lusted. It's natural to do so. And then he showed him the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Did Jesus see the glory of the kingdoms? Yes, he did. Did he see the beauty of them? Yes, he did. And matter of fact, he wanted them. He came to set up a kingdom, been preaching a kingdom. So the devil shows him the kingdom and said, "I'll give them to you." That was lust of the eyes. And then the devil takes him to the pinnacle temple said, "Jump off and the angels will bear you up." And the Jews had this belief that the Messiah would suddenly come to his temple as the prophecy said. So they thought of him as floating down out of the sky. Had he jumped and floated down to them, they'd have hailed him as Messiah and immediately set him up as king. And that was something he wanted. Was anything wrong with that desire? There was nothing wrong with that desire, but the devil gave him a fleshly opportunity to fulfill it in unlegitimate fashion.

So those were the three elements of temptation. Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.

The Bible said, Hebrews 4:15  "He was in all points tempted like as we are."  So in those three points, Jesus was tempted just as you and I are.

Jesus was tempted by the devil

40 days he was fasting...Hungry

  • Turn Stone into Bread - Lust of the Flesh
  • Showed him the kingdoms and their glory--Lust of eyes
  • Jump from temple to be welcomed--Pride of life


James 1:14-15 "But every man is tempted when, he is drawn away of his own lust."  Drawn away of his own lust, that's not sin yet. And enticed, that's not sin yet. "Then when lust hath conceived," conceives with a heart, "it bringeth forth sin."  Notice the point at which lust brings forth sin? After conceiving. Initially the lust is not sin. Why? Because lust is natural. I don't keep throwing sexual lust every time I say lust and think I'm talking about lust for any kind of and all kind of things that the body wants and desires. "Then when lust hath conceived with the heart and opportunity, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."  So we're talking about the body lusting.

Truth or Trash?

I'm affirming to you from the scriptures what the flesh is. If you don't understand that, you won't understand Romans chapter 8. And if you have any other Bible than a King James Bible, you won't understand what flesh is. In fact, it'd be impossible to teach this from the New International Version. I read that this past week of the International Version, and I couldn't believe how they messed it up. If I wanted to mess something up really bad and create confusion and put it so no one could understand it, it would be the New International Version. There's never been a bigger piece of... Well, there are a few, but since it's popular, it's one of the biggest pieces of trash on the American market. I've seen several of them nailed to outhouse doors.

Lust is natural. It is not sin until it conceives with the heart.

Flesh, The Source of Temptation

Galatians 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.'"  Notice the word fulfill. In other words, the flesh will go on lusting, but if you're walking after the Spirit, it won't get fulfilled into an action. It won't conceive with the heart. If the heart rejects the lust, there'll be no sin. "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit,"  that's Holy Spirit, capital S there. "The Spirit lusteth...” Did you know the Holy Spirit lust? It “...lusteth against the flesh”.  That is God built in these diametrically opposed two realities: flesh and Spirit. They're total opposites. They're the antithesis as I said a while ago, one of the other. And they are not alike and they'll never be alike. One of them, the flesh is a mindless passion to consume and indulge for pleasure. The other is a human spirit now infused with a Holy Spirit, which has desire to exalt God, to walk in holiness, in purity, self-denial, and so forth. "The Spirit lusteth against the flesh, the flesh lusteth against the Spirit: and these are contrary the one to the other: so you cannot do the things that you would."  That's the will. In other words, the human will, will not allow us to do what we would like to do because of the weakness of the flesh.

Flesh never stops lusting, but it need not be fulfilled.

The Root of all these Sins is the Flesh

Galatians 5:19-21 The root of all these sins that's listed in this passage is the flesh. Notice that “the works of the flesh are manifest.” So this is the fruit that the flesh produces: “adultery,” you understand how that comes from the flesh, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I tell you before, as I've told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is..."  In contrast, this is what the Spirit produces: “love, joy, peace.”  You got those three things, man, you're a multi-billionaire. Love, joy, peace. Think about it. “Longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such there's no law."  There is no law that'll produce those things. There is no law that can make those things happen. Those things only happen by the Holy Spirit of God.

Galatians 5:24  "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh."  This flesh we've been talking about, we've already learned in Romans chapter 6, has been crucified. When Jesus was crucified, what was crucified? His flesh. When we were baptized into his death, in the likeness of his death, what was crucified? Our flesh. So, "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lust."  I read a book years ago called Born Crucified. It was half right. That part, it was right on. It went to seed after that. I don't remember the author of it, but it taught that we were born again already in a crucified state, but it went on to tell us how to die to ourself and got all messed up. But it started off with a good thought. So crucified the flesh, have crucified. That means that Christians don't need to die to theirself. We need to reckon ourself to be already dead.

The tension between flesh and spirit is by Divine Design

Now, the tension between flesh and spirit is by Divine Design. Oh, by the way, I have a book by that name, that discusses that point right there in great detail. Some people told me it's been the most enlightening thing they've ever read. Other people said they read it and didn't understand it, but it's written to make that point.

Flesh lusteth against the Spirit

 Now, flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And we've learned the flesh ends up winning in the natural man.

Lust of the flesh provides the opportunity for testing and growth

Lust of the flesh provides the opportunity for testing and growth. God intended the flesh to be all that it is. It's not a mistake. You think, "Well, why didn't he make it so it wouldn't be so hard." He wanted it to be hard. Why in the world? We'll tell you that. You say, "But if God had just not just made it where the Spirit was a little stronger than the flesh, we'd all be happy, good people." We'd be happy and we wouldn't be bad, but we'd never be anything much more than that. We'd never have any glory. We'd never have any great victory. We'd never grow. We'd be like well-trained puppies that had very little meaning. Lust of the flesh provides the opportunity for testing and growth.

We glory in tribulations

Romans 5:3-5 Now, here it is, "Not only so, but we glory in tribulations."  Remember studying that in chapter 5? Why in the world would Paul say we glory in tribulations? "Knowing that tribulations works patience; and patience works experience..."  Experience is the many things that you can look back upon, the many experiences you've had, and those experiences produce hope. You know, that's the only way to get that hope. "And hope maketh not ashamed;” because the end result being “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."  So Paul said, "I glory in tribulation because the end result is the love of God is shed abroad in my heart." That's the means by which God grows and matures the Christian to experience God's love.

By Faith

Hebrews 11:34 "By faith, they quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong."  A whole list of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews chapter 11, every single one of them had a hard trial. And every one of them overcame by faith.

And it said many of them didn't see the end result of what they hoped for, but they hoped for it anyhow. And the result was out of their weakness, they were made strong. So these Christians, Old Testament Saints, who died having this hope and having great struggles and trials, some of them cruel scourings, being plowed to asunder or sawn, sawn into pieces. He said, yeah, the end result was they were made strong.

Now, you're learning something that you've probably never heard. It's good stuff.

Why Does God Allow Sin?

  • Tribulation in the flesh is the only means to a life of faith. So God created this contrasting flesh and Spirit to make us grow in the arena of faith.
  • God is in the business of breaking the strength of flesh to put us in a position to seek him and walk by faith. Until we feel the pull of the flesh and in desperation call upon God and turn to him in faith, then there's no growth.

The Story of Jacob

Do you remember the story of Jacob who laid on the side of a creek bed fearing his brother would come and kill him. And in the middle of a night, an angel... Of course, they don't have any wings. Otherwise, they didn't know who it was right away. Can you imagine wrestling a guy that had big wings, all you had to do start pulling his feathers out. I mean, it's really silly. Angels never have wings in the Bible. So here he is wrestling this guy all night long thinking... And remember, he hadn't seen his brother in 20 years and it's dark. So he probably thinks this is his brother or somebody his brother sent. So he's giving all he is got, he's resting all night long. It starts to get light a little bit so he can see who he's wrestling with. And the angel says to him, "Turn me loose, it's getting daylight. I got to go." And at that point, the angel struck him on the leg and crippled him. He limped the rest of his life.

And Jacob said, "I'm not going to let you go till you bless me." And so he got a blessing from God there. The Bible says in the New Testament that Jacob wrestled with God and prevailed. Now, it looks like he lost the wrestling match to me, but how did he prevail? He got a blessing out of it. That's how he prevailed.

Why Does God Allow Life Struggles?

Now, the interesting thing is that you and I often wrestle with situations in life and we think it's our enemy. And we treat it like the enemy. And we don't realize that God is coming against the flesh so that we will in the end may be crippled by it. Maybe made lame by it. But in the end, we'll win because we'll get the blessing from God. The spirit will grow while the flesh is diminished. No one seeks those trials. They come through life naturally. They'll come through sickness. They'll come through your job situation. They'll come through your child sickness. They'll come through loss of something dear to you. They'll come through people slandering you or saying false things about you and hurting your feelings. They'll come through all sorts of trials that you think are the, just the world coming at you and didn't realize God put you in world. So all those things would hit you and knock you down. So you'd get up by faith and grow. Well, it's some good stuff.

Peter Walks on Water

Now, Peter was a cocky fella. He was ready to try anything. He was out in the boat. Storm came up. They were afraid, the Bible says, they were going to sink. And then they see somebody walking on the water and they're scared who that is. And then they find out it's Jesus and Peter, of all of them said, "Lord, bid me come to you on the water." I'd like to try that. "You can walk on the water. I bet you can make me walk on the water. Let me go now." He was cocky, wasn't he? He's ready to go. I know a lot of young evangelists like that. I was like that I'm sure, when I was young. And so Peter jumps out and hits that water man and felt as solid under his feet. Wonderful. He starts walking up one wave, and down another, walking up one and down another. I imagine he looks back and sees how far he's gotten from the boat. And it looked like Jesus is kind of getting blown a little further and further away. And he's out in the middle of a big body of water and the waves are eight, 10 feet tall. And he got afraid, which is what God wanted to happen. And when he did, he started sinking, which is what God wanted to happen. And Jesus was immediately at his side and lifted him up so that Peter loved Jesus more. And Peter had more faith than he had before, but he was a failure walking on the water in the end. But the failure didn't matter. What mattered was the victory.

Glory in Infirmities,

2 Corinthians 12:9 "And he said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."  Does that passage make sense to you now? "For my strength is made perfect in weakness."  Paul said, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  Now, Paul gloried in his... If it were bad eyesight he had, he gloried in it. He had an infirmity of the flesh that he didn't want and he prayed three times for Christ to taken away and he didn't. He said, "I'm stronger for him not taking it away. I'm stronger for it having occurred." Now, this is the way God made us and this is the way it works.

2 Corinthians 12:10 "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities,"  he said. In reproaches. That's when people reproach you, rebuke you like they did Job falsely. In distresses. I don't like to be distressed. He said, "I take pleasure in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."  Now, isn't this an amazing Bible doctrine?

Exceeding and Eternal Weight of Glory

2 Corinthians 4:16 He said, "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish..." Remember looking at that while ago in our chart. The outward man perish. That's this body. "Yet the inward man," that's where the Holy Spirit is. Spirit of man: mind, will, emotion. "The inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us,” the affliction worketh for usa far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Isn't that wonderful? "All things work together for good to them that love God,"  he's going to say the last of this chapter. "To them who are the called according to his purpose."  That means that no matter the affliction or the loss or what it comes your way, if you end up getting sawed into little pieces alive by the... I won't say it. By the political establishment and you scream and you cry and you're in great pain, it's going to work for eternal weight of glory. You see, that's why he's going to say in the end, we're more than conquerors. We don't just win, we're enthroned and exalted and get glory come what may.

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please him."  God put us in this tension between flesh and spirit so we would have faith and that pleases God. Why? Because that faith relationship is a love relationship that creates a security and a bonding.

Without Difficulty there is No Victory

  • There had to be a Pharaoh to make a Moses.
  • Israel had to be trapped against the Red Sea for it to part. Now they thought that Moses had made some kind of dumb mistake, Moses following God. Had the mountains on one side, the sea on the other. They were trapped on a little point there and Pharaoh's army is coming down behind him and it's hopeless. And they began to want to go back to Egypt, but God had to have that position in order for the sea to part.
  • Israel had to thirst, for Moses to strike the rock.
  • Sampson must be blind to defeat his enemies.
  • The three Hebrew children had to be cast into fiery furnace to take a walk with the Son of God. I like that. Don't you? I mean, who else got to walk around with the Son of God in the middle of a fire and come out and not smell like smoke? Boy, you'd have some stories to tell the rest of your life. Wouldn't you? All right.
  • Daniel had to be in the lion's den to be delivered.
  • And there had to be a storm for Peter to walk on the water and they were afraid.
  • Lazarus had to die to be raised, and
  • Jesus had to suffer in order to reign.

Acts 14:22 "...we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."  It's God's program. It's God's plan. This should make you respond to life differently. You can't knock a guy down who says, "Hallelujah," when he hits the ground. "Man, that feels good. Whoa. Yes. I'm getting glory now."

2 Corinthians 4:11 "For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."  He added the word mortal there so you won't question what flesh he's talking about. He's made manifest in this mortal flesh.

Flesh is the dark background against which the Jewel of Grace and Glory is displayed.

The grace and glory of God would never be known without the flesh. Think about it. Amazing Grace would never be written without the flesh. How Great Thou Art would never be written without the flesh. Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee: how great thou art, how great thou art would never been written without a lightning storm if you know the story behind it. So out of these trials of life, the Christian grows and matures.

Without Flesh the spirit would never soar.

No over-comers

No victory

No glory

There'd be no overcomers, no victory, and no glory.

Flesh appears 17 times in Romans 8:1-14

 Every reference is a declaration of its utter defeat. Look at it:

Romans 8:1 "Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it's weak through the flesh... In the likeness of sinful flesh, for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. Who walk not after the flesh, but after Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh. For to be carnally minded..."  That is the word sarx with an ending on it, that turns it into an adverb instead of a noun. "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace, because the carnal mind is enmity against God. For they that are in the flesh cannot please God, but you're not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin."  Is a synonym for flesh. "Quicken your mortal bodies." A synonym for flesh. "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, you shall die. Through the Spirit do mortify the deeds the body, you shall live."

Spirit appears 14 times in these 14 verses.

Every reference is a declaration of complete victory.

Romans 8:1 "...but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

"Walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit...they that are after the Spirit...The things of the Spirit...Spiritually minded....In the Spirit...Spirit of God dwell in you... Spirit of Christ... Spirit of life... Spirit of him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead... The Spirit that dwelleth in you... the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body... led by the Spirit of God."

So this contrast between flesh and spirit; in Roman 7, the flesh one; in Romans 8, it's totally defeated and the spirit wins.

Now, that's the natural man in the flesh. Walks after the flesh. Spiritual man with a Spirit of God inside of him, which makes him in the Spirit. He walks after the Spirit. There's no condemnation and he walks after the flesh. He will die.

So I think I'm going to stop here. I know I'm not going to finish on an hour if I keep going. And there's some really good stuff yet, and I want to be fresh and I want you to be fresh when I go further with this. So I've gone about 50 minutes. And so I think I better stop there. Got some good stuff yet to go. So contact us at nogreaterjoy.org and look for The Door. You can email us. You can find a thousand things I've written or spoken on there. Many, many books, pamphlets. There's lots of free audio messages online. And so you look for Romans in particularly. It's online, free, the audio messages. And so God bless you. Good night.

Bible teaching with Michael Pearl.
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