DYING YET LIVING
BY: ROMEO CORSINI
If sin was crucified in Christ then what are all the unrighteous things we commit daily? Why do we still die? The flesh is obviously still heir to the rebellion in man. The apostle Paul wrote that flesh inherits flesh and spirit inherits spirit.
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law.” (1 Cor 15:50-56).
We quarrel, are envious. We rob, kill and destroy. We are ungrateful and impatient. We relish in vengeance. We get sick; we curse; we worship idols. We die. We are of the flesh. We are earthy. Yet we shall not all sleep. Someone will be perfect in the flesh. Someone sometime will demonstrate the inheritance of the purity of Christ in the flesh to the extent that he shall not taste death of the flesh because the flesh shall have put on incorruption. Paul tells us that the only way someone will be able to do this is through the spiritual rebirth and continuous adherence to the spirit life which is obedience to the revelations from the Father. How can this possibly happen unless someone would already have cast down the importance of this world and considered it naught, that is, considered it an insubstantial thing that has no reality in value nor in substance. The flesh is a deceiver. It is able to tease you into thinking a thing good when it is evil by subtly suggesting that it is not so earth shattering to consider it.
A person who would pray to the Father for the gift of discernment that he might be able to hear in the spirit the words of the Father must be certain that it is pointless to be able to hear the voice of the Lord unless there is determination to obey it. Determination to obey the voice of God has no power unless the flesh has been crucified first. The flesh must die because it wars against the spirit. He who would live without death must first face the flesh as Christ faced it in the desert just before his ministry began.
Matthew 4:1-11 “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.” (Here it can be likened to temptation of the flesh. If there is temptation of the flesh is there temptation of the spirit? When one is in the flesh, can one know the temptation of the spirit and follow it by casting the flesh aside?) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Do you really think that man can exist without the essentials of the flesh just because God loves him? He answered him, Man cannot live just because he feeds himself.) But God will provide him the fruits of his righteousness, every bit of which he cannot live without. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness (II Cor 9:10). Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (If indeed you are in his protective hands, why abide by the laws of nature when nothing is supposed to harm you? Jesus answered him, The flesh cannot dictate to the spirit. On the contrary; the will of God must dictate the way of the flesh.)
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (If you follow after your flesh, give it what it wants, apply the principles of this world to your endeavors, you will find success. Jesus answered him: Be abased, flesh. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. You cannot serve two masters. You can only serve the one you worship. If you serve the flesh then you worship the flesh. If you serve the Lord, then you must worship him only.)
John the Baptist recognized the Lord through the spirit of righteousness. (John 1:29 – The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”) The word sin, here is ‘amartia’, and is a direct derivative of the word witness, (martiras). What is the witness to the world? It is the flesh. The flesh is what was crucified in Christ. And again, what is the flesh? Can we call it sin? Everything the flesh wants is opposed to the spirit because the flesh is self-serving. But the spirit is humble and servant-minded, seeking to glorify God. Therefore to be mindful of the flesh is to be neglectful of the spirit, the two not being compatible.
It was once impossible to overcome the condemnation of the flesh (sin), except through the repetitious rituals of the law, with offerings and sacrifices. And then it was necessary to be subjected to whether or not you satisfied the law in its every detail, symbolic of perfection. The repetitiousness served to prove that we could not achieve the task of appeasement, thereby rendering our efforts futile…except for the promise that had been given to us by the Father God…the promise of the Messiah (the Anointed one). He would be anointed specifically to achieve the perfect effort of satisfying the law to deliver unto the Father the entire creation fully justified and not worthy of the wrath of condemnation. Salvation then was hoping (having faith) in the coming Saviour. Since Jesus, however, we no longer hope but are sure that we now have recourse to choose the spirit over the flesh already having been justified in the flesh through the perfect work of Christ. And it was the purity of his blood that would be shed as the price necessary to include creation in his name that the Father might accept, as he would, all of us on his behalf. The blood that was shed for all men is representative of the dispensable value of the flesh. The perfection of Christ is representative of the spirit that deposes the flesh, and allows for us not to mind the failures in our path but to press on toward the mark of Christ regardless.
The pervasive tendency is to render the brand new car a huge disappointment when on the first day someone puts a ding on it. That is the tempter trying to tell the spirit to give up because it is a failure in the flesh. The car is still in fine working condition with that ding. The owner of the car must keep his eyes focused on the utility of the car or he will sure be rid of it. In the same way our flesh is the temple of the Holy Ghost and we must not so readily and easily cast away our responsibility to serve the Lord because we fail to measure up in our flesh. Rather we must learn with discipline to bring this flesh under subjection and make it serve the spirit, choosing the spirit each time during temptations, each time during decisions.
John 4:34 My meat (actually the word here is really food) is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. To the spirit, then, obedience is food. The righteous man cannot live without obedience to the word of God. The word of God can only come to the spirit by way of revelation from the spirit of God. Therefore to be about our Father’s business is to develop ourselves continually in spiritual strength. It is either the strength of the spirit or the strength of the flesh. As easy as it is to write these words so difficult is it to walk them out. Yet I do know that the more we stay aware of the righteous people that we are, of the loving people that we are, of the kind people that we are, we will surely develop closer and closer to the day when we shall put on incorruption. Whether in this life or in another, it will be. Simply because it will be eventually does not diminish the importance to strive for it now. We are not here simply in order to exist. We are here to live and to live life in its fullness.
One cannot know the fulfilling satisfaction of living the spirit life if he is juggling his mind between the spirit and the flesh. Without truly dying to the flesh, a man cannot live a spiritual life. The first step in this death of flesh is to enter in into the spirit of Christ and learn obedience from him. It is not to be feared. It is to be yearned for. If you do not have the yearning to be spiritual, you do not hunger after righteousness. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:31-33)
DYING YET LIVING [Romeo Corsini] 1