Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires

by Mike Ratliff

1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:1-7 (NASB) 

Genuine Christians were rescued out of this lost and dying world according to the mercy and will of God by His grace through faith as His Gift, not according to any merit or work on the part of the believer (Ephesians 2:8,9). According the Matthew 16-20, which is often called “the Great Commission,” this saving of souls is seen as the outcome of the mission of the church in going and making disciples out of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded us. This is God’s plan. 

God saves as we obey. In the meantime, we remain in a state that Martin Luther called Simul Iuste et Peccator, which is Latin for, “At the same time righteous and a sinner.” This is because God has declared each one who has been justified by faith as righteous because He has imputed both Christ’s Righteousness and His perfect obedience to His Law to their account. However, the New Testament clearly teaches us that Christians still sin and that we have an advocate before the throne of grace as we confess our sins and seek for God to grant us repentance.

The New Testament also clearly teaches us that genuine Christians are New Creations. We are regenerate, that is, we have a faith that is alive given to us by God, which enables us to believe and know Him through the reading and study of the Word of God, prayer, and worship. This worship and prayer are not according to the ways of the world or according to other religions or mysticism that are all counterfeit religious means of deception. Instead, the ways we pray and worship are means of grace through which God communes with us and us with Him.

24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:24-26 (NASB) 

Currently, the visible church is being lead astray by a push into contemplative prayer/centering prayer. This deception is led by many calling themselves Christian pastors and ministers, but they are deceivers who have been deceived as has this fellow. Take notice in that last article at the first header which says, “Heresy And Apostasy Hardens One’s Heart.” Mediate on that for a few moments. Now carefully read Galatians 5:24-25 (above). If we put these two things together what do we have? Believers who are actively crucifying the sinful nature with its passion and desires are most definitely not suffering from a hardening of the heart due to the presence of heresy and apostasy in their walk and life. In fact, what this blares out loudly is that those who actively pursue these false forms of spirituality are actually being controlled by their flesh with its passion and desires. This means that when we show them the truth from God’s Word, they do not see it or hear it as such unless God has mercy on them and opens their hearts to understand it. They are spiritually blind and their hearts are hardened to the truth. How sad…

What we must do is stay focused on Christ as instructed.

1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4 (NASB) 

Yes, I know I keep coming back to this passage. I am not sorry about it though. It is the passage given to me in my forced Sabbatical and I am not turning from it and I will never stop pointing all who will hear to this as the target, the goal of what the Church should be about. Error awaits those who stray from this. Compromise with the world is deadly and confusing. Look what we have going on with the missional stuff right now. They are blending in much of what is good with worldly/contextual nonsense and calling it good. Sorry, that is not what this passage says. Our minds are to be set on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. That means we do not mix what is Godly with a fleshly focus in an effort to make the gospel appealing. I refuse to bless that or do it or be part of any effort that backs it. It is God who saves. It is the Gospel preached offensively that God blesses and the Holy Spirit breaks hearts and draws the elect to believe and be saved. Straying from this is deadly and it is exactly what the Acts 29 Network/Missional stuff is doing. We must stand against this my brethren.

Soli Deo Gloria!

8 thoughts on “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires

  1. Mike,
    I guess the question that comes to my mind is, “Can a Christians heart be hardened to the truths of God’s word, or, are those whose hearts are hardened, even though they are in the church (the visible church), unsaved to begin with?”

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  2. What is the result of a Christian hardening their heart to the truths of God’s word? I believe Scripture teaches a true believer cannot lose their salvation, so what happens to them? Not that I want to find out! But I am curious, especially in light of 1 John which seems to teach a true believer is incapable of living a life patterned by persistent, habitual sin.

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  3. In my own experience what I have seen are very active believers, even Pastors, who for whatever reason started down the wrong road and could not hold to the truth about a doctrine for if they did then they assumed it would harm someone they cared about. In other words, a family member being involved in sexual behavior or immorality or homosexuality, etc. and so they changed their views on it. Then before you know it they became Liberal on just about everything. There are several very well known pastors out there who have done this very thing. Why? They had a son or daughter who “came out.” However, when they start down that path is this proof of their disingenuousness or is it what you are talking about? Do we know for sure?

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  4. I don’t want to fall into the trap of saying this person is a true Christian and that person is not; but, when it comes to teachers and preachers I believe we can know them by their fruit. I am thinking of one very well known “celebrity” pastor who teaches a person who is “saved” can later reject Christ altogether and still go to heaven. Based on that teaching, in my mind this pastor is not a Christian. Yes, I says all the right things when it comes to doctrine, except in the antinomian teaching he promotes. I think the same is true for any professing Christian. If they are living in and believing and affirming apostate and heretical teaching, are they really saved? Is that “celebrity” pastor I mentioned above, correct? Can a truly saved Christian live in gross apostasy, believe and affirm apostate and heretical teaching, and even walk away from the faith and reject the Lord altogether?

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