"To Dwell Within Us"
Part 3 - The Greater Truth
We referenced in Part 2 of this series that the flesh screams, as it were, but the Spirit whispers. That is, we easily see and sense our earthly faculties and members inherited by Adam, as referenced by the Apostle Paul:
"I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind" (Romans 7:23).
Conversely, the Holy Spirit dwelling within our spiritual selfhood in Christ does not so readily demand our attention.
"We walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7).
Frequently, when the conflict of spirit and flesh is considered among born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the emphasis quickly becomes the challenge we face in the flesh rather than the presence and power of the Spirit of Christ that dwells within the "new creature" of our innermost spiritual being (II Corinthians 5:17). This constitutes a grave error in our thinking and discourse. Certainly, we must acknowledge the potential and actual challenge that confronts us by our fleshly members and faculties. Paul acknowledged the possibility of being brought "into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Romans 7:23). However, to focus on the problem rather than God's solution in Christ consigns us through unbelief to that captivity. We become self-fulfilling prophecies, expecting to fail despite the promised working of our Lord to lead and enable our overcoming. At the worst, we become present day reflections of one of the saddest pronouncements in Scripture. Referring to Capernaum, the Lord's home country, Matthew mourns, "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (Matthew 13:58).
Which is greater, the spiritual (the Holy Spirit united to our spirit) or the fleshly (our earthly components still occupied by the law of sin)? Paul answers: "Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). The spiritual aspect of our being far transcends the fleshly. It may not feel like it, and our experience does not always confirm the truth. However, feelings and experience do not change the truth. We are who we are in Christ, born of the Holy Spirit and indwelt by Him. We are new creatures whose spirits teem with the risen life of our Lord Jesus. No temptation is stronger than power of God that enables us to trust and obey Him. The New Testament epistles, written after the coming of the indwelling Holy Spirit, constantly affirm that the greatest truth about us is not our flesh and its impulses and inclinations. No, the greatest truth is… well, let us step aside to allow Paul and the apostles Peter and John to exultantly affirm the newness of life that constitutes the greatest truth about us…
"The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death… Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you… There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it… His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue… Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit (Romans 8:2; 9; I Corinthians 10:13; II Peter 1:3; I John 4:13).
The past may haunt us with memories of failures. The present may taunt us with the sense of our our human weakness. The future may seem likely to present more of the same. The fleshly, earthly challenges are real, and must be confronted. However, one question outweighs all: what does God say in His Word about who and what Christ is in us, and who and what we are in Him? The correct answer to that question will encourage and challenge us to arise in faith and go forth in confidence. We must. Too much was sacrificed to make the indwelling of the Holy Spirit possible and actual in all who believe in the Lord Jesus. Moreover, our particular sphere of influence needs to the see the Savior as He walks in us through the presence and power of the Spirit. Let us then acknowledge the earthly temple in which we live, with all its lingering tendencies. But let us affirm and emphasize the spiritual reality of the greater truth birthed in us when we believed, and forevermore the heart of who and what we now are in Christ. Scripture commands such faith, and the Spirit moves within us to lead us in His light and glory.
"Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
"Yield yourselves unto God as those which are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
Weekly Memory Verse
He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit."