Salvation is not about hard facts and figures, salvation is of the heart, it is a “sensitive” matter, and as such, the biblical language used to express such matters is probably adequate to the task of understanding the thinking that is coming from a place of spirituality.
But in this day and age with all its complexity, to at least enable the ability to be able to see the “basic facts” about what God has done, “how and why it works”, the “plan” of God, then maybe a more understandable use of the English language would enable people to grasp what is going on.
“Flesh” is a prime example. “Flesh” is simply that thing that we are, as an organic creature with desires and selfish motives in order for self preservation. It is completely self contained and operates in a self serving circular motion of self satisfaction in such a way that “all the loose ends” seemingly meet together to form a cohesiveness that allows this entity of “flesh” to exist in its own world.
Unfortunately, this “flesh” (us) cannot last forever. It is simply a tool of base material in order to allow God to work his work to bring out from this flesh, a product of His final design that is to His liking.
The natural order of this flesh, in its raw state, may be animalistic, without conscience. But God has found a way to “give it some conscience” by various means. With this added conscience, there emerges a conflict between the basic nature of flesh, and the nature of this conscience, to the effect that there is an identity shift from the animalistic nature of flesh, to an identity which recognises this “higher order” of thought.
This flesh appears to have its own identity, one which is not easily usurped or overthrown. Its desires are strong and self serving, and some of this is a necessary protection that protects the basic existence or life of the “person”. For the most part we live with a truce between our conscience state and our flesh state, we compromise and live in the lower identity of flesh, but are in fact subservient to it and what it wants.
To remain in this flesh state is to die. It was never intended to be the final result of God’s intention, even though it carries God’s “stamp”, His “image”. The thief on the cross recognised this, “we also are under the same penalty of death”. God’s plan is that we should recognise this also, and desire a better way, a better outcome for the creature that we are and have become.
“Flesh” then, is a description of the lower natural order, which is apparently designed to fail. I say designed because even though God did not create an evil creature, He created one which was capable of evil as soon as it had gathered together in its consciousness the wherewithal, the resources, to establish its own world, based on itself and its desire for “self” satisfaction.
On the cross, God presents us (natural man) with a dilemma – Stay in the flesh, in its basic controlling nature, and die: or leave it before it is too late to do so. Maintain your identity and your cosy arrangement with your flesh and its death, or deny its operation as a host for your spiritual and true identity and shift your identity to that of Jesus as host for you, your spirit, your life, which then exists within the promise of eternal life with Him.
So there exists only two possibilities. Anytime you indulge the nature of the flesh, you suppress and inhibit the nature of God. You are either maintaining the nature of flesh as your host, and submitting yourself to its nature, finding your identity in it; or you are building up the image of God within you as represented by the Christ nature (Spirit) within you.
Death is at work in you, or life is at work in you – building up or destroying compatibility with God, (His image). “Lust” the biblical name for fleshly desire, is ‘the enemy of the soul’. The answer? “Be led by the Spirit and you WILL NOT fulfil the lust of the flesh”, you will not satisfy it because you no longer “live” or “dwell” in it; you live and dwell in the new nature that has been established on the foundation of Christ, by the acceptance of His unconditional provision for you by removing from you the death status of the flesh, and adding to you the life status of Jesus by His Spirit.
So accept His Spirit and be filled with it, having accepted the free gift of life, that your fleshly body has been pronounced dead with His fleshly body, except that HIS fleshly body was perfected and rose again in promise of what is in store for us also. By faith we rise with Him and continue to live in Him and with Him, taking on His identity, even as His brothers and sisters, though He still be Lord of all.
Through His cross He removed the wrongness of our identity as being in the flesh, and placed it rightly in Himself. Sin and death have no power over us anymore. Sin flesh and death have been judged and condemned in Him, in His body. This is the fact and foundation on which we build, that we HAVE BEEN set free from flesh sin and death. Whether we still choose to remain in it and so be found in it when he comes again, or rise with Him to righteousness, to be found in Him, is our prerogative. We only have to believe in Him to be joined with Him.
[Sow to the flesh of death and die, or sow to the Spirit of life and live][If anyone be in Christ they are a new creature, behold the old has gone, the new has come][crossed over from death to life].