The same principles which accompany the moral deadness of the unbeliever, are found in the believer, weakening and hindering his resting in the Lord Jesus above and his resultant walk here below. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” It is true, the believer is not in the flesh (Rom 8:8) and through grace he can please the Father; yet the flesh is in him and so far as it is unjudged, it will prove a sure and sad obstacle in the path of faith.
Hence there is not an evil in the unregenerate heart of man which the regenerate can afford to despise. The tendency, nay, the root of all, is in his own bosom, although, as a believer baptized into Christ’s death, he is entitled to rely upon his crucifixion with Christ—the flesh crucified with its affections and lusts. This is his weapon. He has died and he that thus died has been freed from the power and reign of sin. And having died, how shall we live any longer therein? But then, although in God’s estimate this a fact, for He has identified the believer which faith alone realizes and reckons upon.
The experience of the believer is the constant, painful witness that the flesh is within, ever seeking to display its enmity to God; for is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Practically he finds that the old man is alive within and actively energetic toward evil and that struggling with it is not the way to gain the victory, because it is not God’s remedy for it and therefore not the resource of faith. Such is not the way in which the Spirit, by the apostle Paul, instructs us to deal with sin. For, after having said, “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” he also adds, “let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
The faith that, would reckon us dead to sin in our death with Christ, wherein the sentence of God was executed upon it, is the weapon which gives us practical freedom from its power in day-by-day experience. But if the believer is ignorant of this sword of Goliath which the divine armory supplies him, attempts to face the enemy with some puny instrument of his own, is it no wonder that he fails in the encounter? If, after being justified by faith, he puts himself under law as regards the daily path of Christian walk, is it strange that the offence again abounds, that the perverseness of the flesh is afresh stirred into activity, that the law is once more proved to be a ministry of condemnation?
No! It is the sense of grace, it is the sense of what the Father’s grace has done in uniting us to One who is raised from the dead, far above the claims of the law and the effects of sin, into His own holy and blessed acceptance in the presence of the Father, it is this, kept bright and fresh before and in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which enables us to bring forth fruit into God. “For sin,” says Paul, “shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace.”
The unconverted, if he thinks at all about God and his soul, naturally and necessarily puts himself under law and proves it to be a ministry of death. The tendency of the converted man is to do the same as regards his walk, if not as concerning his salvation; and so far as he slips aside into legalism, he is powerless for God and certain to be immersed in worldliness. Granted that the old man would say, Let us continue in sin that grace may abound; still, the answer is not to throw away grace, which is the only spring of growth as well as justification. The grace of God not only brings us salvation, but teaches us that, “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12). – Wm. Kelly
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Okay... A few things here. 1. Have you read this article out loud? I ask as it reads even rougher than an old king James translation. Not saying that you do not have a point, just speak straight to your audience. 2. You speak of grace, but I do not see a picture here of what grace looks like. Even the concluding quote from Titus could dump the reader right back into legalism if they were not careful. 3. Not saying that I am perfect either, so here is a sample article I put together a while back covering a similar line of thought for comparison. Comments welcome.