The book of Romans is fully focused on life. This book is mainly of three sections. The first section is on redemption, the second section is on life, and the third section is on building, that is, the church life. In the middle, between redemption and building, is life. Life is the central thing.
Life may be a term that is familiar to a number of Christians, but not many can define or realize what life really is in their experience. To talk about life in doctrine is easy, but to say something about life from our experience is difficult. In these chapters we have the burden to see what life is in our experience.
In the section of Romans that is on life, there are two key terms: the flesh and the spirit. Christians mostly pay attention only to the Holy Spirit, not to their human spirit. Yet we have to realize that in this section our human spirit is more practical to us than the Holy Spirit. Two things are the key to the real experience of life: our flesh and our spirit. On the negative side, we have to know the flesh. On the positive side, we have to experience our human spirit, which has been mingled with the divine Spirit (8:16; 1 Cor. 6:17).
It is hard to define what the flesh is in a practical way. We need to see that the flesh is the corrupted, polluted, and transmuted body. Originally, it was the body created by God to contain our human being. Our human being is contained in our physical body, and this physical body was created by God in a pure way. But when man fell, Satan in the form of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil got into man. That entrance of Satan into man was his entering into man’s body. Man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and anything that man eats gets into his physical body.
Our body, which contains our inner being, was created as a pure, clean, and good vessel. But one day God’s enemy came in to inject himself into man by the way of man’s eating. Man ate of the tree of knowledge, and the actuality and reality of that tree got into man’s physical body. At that time some strange, foreign element came into man’s body. Man’s body was originally pure. But since Satan injected himself into man, man’s body has another element, a foreign element, added to it, and it has become flesh. Thus, the flesh has two elements—one element created by God and another element, the element that is Satan himself. This other element is not just something evil of Satan or by Satan. This element is the evil Satan himself. By this we can see that something foreign, something strange, something other than God’s creation, got into man’s body created by God. All the ethical and moral teachings in human religion and human culture never touch this point because they do not have the revelation concerning man’s flesh. The Scriptures show that the flesh is our polluted and transmuted body.
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