Rom 8:6 For the wisdom of the flesh is death; but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace. (Douay-Rheims Bible)
Col 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (ESV)
I have to be honest and say this series about flesh and spirit is a challenge for me. I was bound by religion for most of my life. I actually ran from it because I just couldn’t live up to expectations. As God has revealed Grace to me I have found that most everything I thought I knew about “the flesh” was wrong, very wrong. Maybe those religious hangups are just mine to bear. So I will stop trying to argue both sides and just tell you the truth. If you get a little hung up take a look at the archives. I’ve written a bunch of stuff about Grace and the flesh. If you don’t agree with what I write go and spend some time with God. Ask Him. Ask the Holy Spirit into your life and listen to what He has to say. The early church only had the Holy Spirit and that worked for them. They didn’t have a Bible to hit each other with. Instead they believed in the Spirit of Christ and understood that wisdom comes from God and not from people. Here is an example of how God revealed His plan for us:
On the day of Pentecost after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, the Holy Spirit showed up with power. It was an amazing day of demonstration. The disciples were so overwhelmed by the loving goodness of God they had to declare His mighty works. They were “out of their minds” since they were saying all these wonderous things using languages they didn’t speak. That is cool no matter who you are. Then Peter got up and gave a short talk. The Holy Spirit was guiding the whole thing. Remember Peter was a fisherman, a hot head, and a denier of Christ. He was not an orator.
The people listening were confused. Some even said “only drunk people act like this.” They weren’t drunk on wine but drunk with joy. The crowd also heard about the mighty works of God in their languages. What a privilege for all of them. These strange followers of Jesus declaring how awesome God is in their native tongue, wow. I bet they were surprised. Next Peter ties this event to a prophesy that Joel made 400+ years earlier.
Acts 2:17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;(ESV)
In the book of Joel this is an amazing passage about reconciliation. This is a passage that clearly declares “God is with us!!!” These people from other countries were there for the day of Pentecost. They were there to celebrate the receipt of the law of Moses. They would know about Joel. Now they see this demonstration of the Holy Spirit. They would have understood the significance of the prophesy.
In the last two posts I talked about how the flesh apart from the Spirit doesn’t know that God is for us. The flesh has us running for the bushes and hiding from God. This passage in Joel is a promise that we have a savior. Joel even states a most amazing truth:
Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’(ESV)
I bet the people in the crowd are really scratching their heads. I bet the revelation of the Holy Spirit has them a little perplexed. Then Peter follows up with a prophesy by David. Remember David was a man’s man. He was known as a man after God’s heart. Peter (by the Holy Spirit) picks this reference:
Acts 2:27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’(ESV)
Can you hear the joy in David’s words? David is overwhelmed by the love of God. David knew better than any other that “God is with us.” He came to this revelation while spending time with God. He knew this truth when he faced Goliath. He knew this truth when he made his own tabernacle. He knew this truth when he hid from Saul in the caves. He knew that God’s plan was to be among us. He knew God’s plan was to be our King. He knew God’s plan was to defeat the enemy. All of this was hundreds of years before Jesus. The people listening would have known David and his words. Now they are definitely in shock. I can hear them thinking and saying to one another…”Could it be? Is this that day? Is it really happening? Are we going to see what David declared? Are we finally going to see ‘God with us?'” Then Peter says this:
Acts 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (ESV)
It says their hearts were pierced. I don’t believe they were pierced with guilt. Hear me. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. What they heard was “GOD IS WITH US!” Yes they likely experienced remorse at the loss of Jesus as a man on Earth. They likely understood the implications of crucifying their savior. But they were moved with joy and adoration. They were blown away by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. They were amazed that it was finally here. Their flesh no longer could lie to them that they were doomed. Their flesh could no longer tell them God was against them. They had proof. They had Jesus.
So what happens next? Peter says “change your mind” (repent). Stop thinking what you were thinking before. Stop agreeing with your flesh and instead agree with God. Get baptized to wash away your sins, all your sins past present and future. Then the enemy can never accuse you again. Your flesh now has proof that God is good. Then he tells them to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us what we need to know. He confirms who God is. He reminds us of what Jesus did. He reveals to us how God sees us. He is for us. Now He is with us and in us. I say that is really good news. I say that is the gospel message. Believing the gospel is living in the Spirit.
For the religious that refuse to believe but instead want to live in the flesh, live in unbelief, insist on their own self-righteousness. I pray they receive the wisdom of God instead of the wisdom of man. I pray they move from human wisdom into truth. His name is Jesus. He is our everything.
1 Cor 1:30 But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin]. (AMP)