no redeeming value
"I know that no good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; the desire to do right is there but not the power." —Romans 7:18
When the Bible uses the word "flesh," it usually refers to our human nature. We must realize there is no good in our human nature. We think that only certain expressions of our nature are bad, but in fact our whole nature is bad. Even aspects that seem innocent eventually prove bad. "The flesh in its tendency is at enmity with God; it is not subject to God's law. Indeed, it cannot be; those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rm 8:7-8).
Because our human nature is totally unredeemed, Christianity does not try to work with human nature by controlling it but by destroying it. "This we know: our old self was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed and we might be slaves to sin no longer" (Rm 6:6). "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24). In Jesus, we can die and rise. In Him, we can be born again (Jn 3:3).
There's nothing we can do with our fallen nature except get rid of it and start over. We're not trying to be better (better is still bad), but we want to be new. Salvation is in dying, rising, and shaking this old nature by leaving it in the grave. Are you frustrating yourself by trying to control the old nature? Or are you dead, born again, and new in Christ?
Prayer: Thank you Jesus, for letting me share in Your death by faith. Otherwise, I would be living a hell of a life.
Promise: "When you are going with your opponent to appear before a magistrate, try to settle with him on the way." —Lk 12:58
Praise: James and Joyce stopped contracepting and put their marriage back on track.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Dismantling the 'Old Man' on audio AV 4A-1 or video V-4A.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 21, 2005
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