Made Perfect by the Flesh?

  • O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
  • This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
  • Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?   ~ Galatians 3:1-3

It is amazing that so much of the religious world is still wrapped up in the flesh. Great lengths are made to deny the simple commandments of the gospel, while much effort is placed upon stimulating the senses: Statuary, stained glass, portraiture, cruciforms, multimedia circus events with lights, slides, projected imagery, organs, harps, choirs, rock bands, the sweet syrup of folk music, incense, and the “christian motif”, vestments, special clergy offices, holy objects, feast days, fast days, and the ridiculous “make-a-special-event-day-to-the-Lord” such as Super Bowl Sundays and Let’s Celebrate the Animals Sunday, political endorsement tribunals, etc. You get the idea. . How the Lord may look upon well meaning ignorant bliss, I cannot judge. But this I know, Jesus did not give His life to produce such as this. And there are the calculating perpetrators of such things, who surely must be waiting for the condemnation of hell.

  • But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
  • For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.   ~ Galatians 6:14-14

Instead of a new creation, there is zeal for constructing a temple in Jerusalem for Jesus Christ, complete with animal sacrifices. To believe and work for such a thing, one must deny:

  • The spiritual nature of the Kingdom of Heaven (cf. Col.1:13-14)
  • The gospel for a world lost in sin (cf. Luke 19:10)
  • The longsuffering of God who desires all men everywhere to repent (cf. II Pet.3:9)
  • Our need to bear His reproach “outside the camp” (cf. Heb. 13:13)

To believe and work for such a thing, one must affirm:

  • The need for an earthly Messiah (cf. John 6:14-15)
  • The need to have Him feed us (cf. John 6:26-27)
  • The need for Him to forcibly halt the evil while inhabiting this world (cf. Luke 12:13-15)
  • The need to dispose of carrying the cross (cf. Phil. 3:18-19)

To a certain extent, these examples embody the confusion of flesh with spirit.

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4 Responses to Made Perfect by the Flesh?

  1. Jay Graham says:

    It seems to be deep in man’s flesh that longs for physical religious symbols and therefore a dependence upon the physical rather than accepting the simple worship of the Lord in spirit and truth. Israel knew in their hearts their God was not a God like the heathens worshipped. However they constantly sought after these false gods even though they knew they were of man’s devising. This is one reason so many today, even in our modern time, seek after the earthly rather than the spiritual. Perhaps holding a cross before you to prevent you from evil is easier than “walking in the Spirit”. Or fastening a symbol of a fish to your vehicle is easier than actually submitting to the Lord in all things. There may be something “soothing and physically pleasing” about attending a religious service in a cathedral as opposed to the informality and simplicity of Christians singing from their hearts to the Lord and one another in a humble gathering.
    A number of years ago I was in the Nashville, TN area at a major intersection. I noticed there were 4 enormous structures at each corner, each representing a church. One even advertised the name “Church of Christ”. However a short distance away was this tiny unpretentious building that had very simple windows and a small entrance that had the name “Church of Christ”. I wonder which buildings men were most attracted to?
    These physical representations of what is perceived by many as “Christianity” is what Paul referred to in Col 2:23 – “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”

    • Louis says:

      “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (I John 5:21) This was/is a warning to the followers of Jesus. So it must be a thing buried deep in our flesh. . .

  2. Jay Graham says:

    Jer 31:31-34 — “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
    Heb 8:6 — “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.”

  3. Rick Moody says:

    The last four bullet points just about sums up the condition of the free world in a nutshell.

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