The natural person, the person defined by flesh, but not yet changed by Christ, is so hostile in mind to God’s glorious authority (not submitting to his law) that he cannot delight in God or rejoice in his ways. He can do many things religious and moral things, but his heart is far from God (Matthew 15:8), and he cannot make himself stop seeing the greatness and authority of God as undesirable.
– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 49
To be in the sate of original sin is to be in the state of Scripture calls the “flesh.” This does not refer primarily to things physical, but to a condition of moral corruption. In the flesh we are not able to please God. Indeed we have no desire to please him. We are estranged and alienated from God.
Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 127
The Bible speaks of three different sources of temptation: the world, the flesh and the Devil. Although references to and warnings about each are scattered throughout the New Testament, the one passage of Scripture that gathers all three together into on succinct statement is Ephesians 2:1-3. This passage actually speaks of our subjection to the world, the flesh (or sinful nature) and the Devil before our salvation. But they still wage war against us as children of God. Therefore, we need to know how they operate and how they tempt us.
– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 202
Because sanctification is a process, there will always be conflict within us between the “flesh”, or the sinful nature, and the Holy Spirit. This is the conflict descibed by Paul in Galatians 5:17. He elaborated on this struggle in greater detail in Romans 7:14-25.
– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 100
The crisis of American spirituality, put bluntly, is Spirit versus flesh. The failure or flat refusal to abide in the mind of Christ creates duality and separation within us. We do not choose decisively between God and Mammon, and our procrastination constitutes a decision itself…Its not that I am afraid to tell you who I am; I truly cannot tell you because I don’t know myself who I am. I have not given the deep inner assent to my Christian identity. I am afraid of losing my life if I were to find my real self. God calls me by name and I do not answer because I do not know my own name.
– Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page 127
If you ask what foundation you have to build your expectations on, remember that you have no other options. To whom will you go? Christ alone has the words of life (John 6:68). Without him you can do nothing (John 15:5). Your only strength comes from Christ dwelling in your heart by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17). You can only put the misdeeds of the flesh to death “by the Spirit” (Romans 8:13). And who sends and commands the Spirit but Christ?
– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page 145
A person with a big head and a small heart can learn the doctrines of sin, yet never be convicted of sin. He can learn the teachings of grace and pardon and the great atonement for sin, yet never feel the peace of God that passes understanding. When the flesh gets a person to the point that he can sit under the teaching of the Word, and even delight in it for its intellectual beauty, yet not be changed, he has snuffed out the wick of his first love.
– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page 118
Besides belittling sin, the flesh uses its wiles to drive every thought of God from our minds by filling the mind with thoughts of the world. The flesh knows a mind cannot be fixed on both God and earthly things (Colossians 3:2; I John 2:15). The main ploy of the flesh is to slip worldliness into the mind under the guise of necessity.
– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page 65
First, the goal the flesh aims at is death (James 1:15). Whatever sin pretends, it will end in death. The flesh wants us to believe that the consequences for dallying with sin will only be slight (not as much blessing from God, a cheaper seat in heaven). Knowing this is our first means of arming ourselves against deceit (as knowing that the used-car salesman will do anything to sell you a car helps to protect you from driving home the lemon while he laughs behind your back.)
Second, the way the flesh works for your death is by temptation (James 1:14). The essence of temptation is deceit – to be tempted and to be deceived are the same thing. And James lists what we can call the five degrees of temptation:
- Dragging away (the mind)
- Enticing (the affections)
- Conceiving Sin (in the will)
- The birth of sin (in actions, words, thoughts and so on)
- Death by sin (Enslavement to sin is spiritual death.)
– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page 57-58
This is the art of deception: to make someone believe that things are other than they are, so that he will do something he would never otherwise do. This is the way your flesh makes you into the willing servant of sin.
– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page 54-55