Daily Readings and Thought for January 30th. “YOU HOWEVER ARE NOT IN THE FLESH”


What does Paul mean? We are all made of flesh!  Yes, but he is writing in a spiritual sense, he says “those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit” [Romans 8 v.5].  The word “spirit” in this context is not difficult to understand, it is the opposite to “flesh.”  We live in a world where more people than ever set their minds, their desires, mainly or entirely in living for the pleasures of fleshly enjoyments.

The opposite, is to see ourselves as being adopted by God, through Christ.  We use the word ‘adopted’ because Paul writes, “you have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by which we cry ‘Abba, Father” [v.15].  Abba, is the Aramaic word for ‘father.’ Jesus taught us to  pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” [Matt.7 v.9] By saying this we acknowledge we have been adopted out of the world and now have a heavenly father and are now “children of God.”  How many speak these words ignorant of the this meaning! Paul then says that God’s Spirit “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” [v.16]. Note also verse 17 and 21. We pray to our Father having no doubt he hears our prayers because of this relationship.    

This spiritual relationship is a special source of strength; Paul says, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” [v.13].  That must mean, live eternally. We recall that Jesus said to his disciples, “The words that I have spoken unto you are spirit and life” [John 6 v.63]. This gives us a foundation for our spiritual relationship with the Father and our Saviour and each other.  So, seeing we, in a sense, receive the spirit as we read God’s word we must ask, how do we read it?  This is a key question because the religious leaders surrounding Jesus read God’s word; but Jesus said to some of them, as we read a few days ago, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”[Matt.22 v.29]   It is obvious they read the Scriptures with closed minds.  Let us follow Paul’s advice to Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” [2 Tim.2 v.15]. 

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