© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. New Testament usage of the word "flesh"

    A. Greek word, sarx, is translated "flesh"
    B. The word is used approximately 150 times in the New Testament
    C. Varying meanings
        1. Physicality, creaturliness - I Cor. 15:39
        2. Physical, human body - Matt. 26:41; Jn. 1:14; II Cor. 12:7; Gal.2:20
             Metaphorical - Jn. 6:51-53
        3. Humanity, mankind - Lk. 3:6; Acts 2:17; Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:16
        4. Physical heritage, descendancy - Jn. 3:6; Rom. 4:1; 9:3,8; Gal. 3:7
        5. Temptability - Rom. 8:3
            a. sensory
            b. desires
       6. Marital union - Matt. 19:5; Eph. 5:29,30; Col. 2:1
       7. Behavioral, contrary to character of God - Gal. 5:16,17
            a. satanically developed and energized
            b. sinful and selfish - Rom. 7:18,25; Gal. 5:19-21
            c. patterns of - Rom. 7:18,25; Eph. 2:3
            d. propensity to, proclivity, inclination - Rom. 13:14
            e. enslaved state of - Rom. 8:9; Gal. 5:24
      * (It is this latter behavioral category that will be the subject of this study.)

II. "Flesh" and one's spiritual condition

    A. "Flesh" is not equivalent to spiritual depravity.
    B. "Flesh" does not refer to spiritual conditon.
    C. "Flesh" is not inherent, intrinsic, or innate within man.
    D. "Flesh" is not nascent. We are not born with the "flesh."
    E. "Flesh" is not a generative source of evil within the individual.
    F. "Flesh" is not to be equated with satan.
    G. "Flesh" does not negate the completeness of spiritual regeneration.
    H. "Flesh" is not substantive or partitive; "hunk of evil; dirty old man."

III. "Flesh" and desires.

    A. God-given desires of man, amoral.
    B. Greek words
        1. epithumioi - "to urge upon"
        2. epipotheo - "to yearn upon"
    C. "Flesh" related to desires.
        1. Rom. 13:14
        2. Gal. 5:24
        3. Eph. 2:3
        4. I Pet. 2:11
    D. Desires become warped, twisted.
    E. Personalized patterns of indulgent desires.
    F. Tempted under those desires - James 1:13
    G. Compulsive, obsessive ruts of behavior - cf. addiction.
         Besetting sins - Heb. 12:1,2

IV. "Flesh" and the Christian.

    A. Spiritual regeneration is complete - Col. 2:10
    B. Behavioral "flesh" patterns remain in the soul - Gal. 5:16,17
        1. Not eradicated at conversion (perfectionism)
        2. Not eradicated in Christian life (progressive perfectionism)
        3. Remain throughout earthly life - Gal. 5:17
    C. "Flesh" does not become better, good or reformed.
    D. "Flesh" is not to be identified or equated with such terms as
        1. human nature
        2. old nature
        3. self-nature
        4. sin-nature
        5. Adam-nature
        6. old man
        7. old self
        8. depravity
        9. law of sin
       10. sin-principle
       11. inherent sin
    E. "Flesh" expressions can be overcome
        1. Not by
            a. self-effort
            b. suppressionism
            c. "dying to self", masochism
        2. Only by the activity of the Spirit ofChrist
            a. Gal. 5:16
            b. I John 4:4
            c. II Pet. 1:3

V. Illustrations or analogies of the "flesh"

    A. Ruts, cow-paths
    B. Stains, taint
    C. Grooves on record
    D. Cholestrol in behavioral arteries
    E. Psychological A.I.D.S.
    F. Scars on landscape of soul
    G. Bunkers and trenches
    H. Magnetic field



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