What Does it Mean to Walk Not After the Flesh, But After the Spirit?
Today I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Romans Chapter 8. So much wisdom can be derived from this glorious book from God’s Word, but my focus is on verses 1-17. So what does the scripture mean when it says to walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit? When a person comes to know Christ, they are a new creation. The Holy Ghost dwells in them and they begin to change. They no longer seek worldly pleasures. They begin to hunger for the things of the Lord. They are no longer bound by sin, because they have been forgiven. They are also promised eternal life! Let’s look at what is said in Romans 8:1-4:
“1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Because they have adopted a new covenant with Jesus Christ, the laws that God imposed pertaining to sin and death do not apply, because their penalty has been paid through Jesus Christ and His salvation, and they are granted eternal life! Jesus came to Earth in flesh, died in flesh, and was risen in spirit. All the sin of the world was upon His shoulders when He died on the cross, but the good news is, He descended into Hell, took the keys to death from Satan, and then He rose from the dead! Satan has no control over death anymore! The price for our sins was paid in full!
Let’s continue on with verses 5-8:
“5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
People who do not know God and have not accepted Jesus Christ are of the world. Some of the them seek worldly pleasures…sex outside of marriage, alcoholism, drug abuse, and other pleasures of the flesh. Or, they may set their sights on material possessions…homes, cars, boats, lavish vacations, or even the desire to make all the money that they possibly can. They will never know true peace, nor will they have eternal life in Heaven. They are destined for Hell. It matters not if a person is good or bad, if they have not asked Jesus to be their Saviour and they have not begun to live a life pleasing to Him and according to His Word, they are destined for Hell. If a person is more interested in carnal and worldly things rather than spirituality, they cannot possibly please God. Once they turn to Him, they will begin to seek things of the spirit, and God will begin to bless them!
Reading further on, in Romans 8:9, the Bible says:
“9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Again, when we accept the Lord, we are a new creation. The Holy Spirit begins to dwell in us. We begin to change. The very Spirit of God that filled Jesus’ body and raised Him from the dead comes down upon us and gives us new life, and we are sealed by God as His own! I think back to when I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. I was saying over and over, “Jesus, fill me, fill me, fill me”. The Holy Ghost is His gift to us, and all that we have to do is ask! God began to fill me, and I began to fumble over my words as the Holy Ghost took control of my tongue. Shortly, my new prayer language began to flow! Every time I sit and think about that life changing moment, it truly brings me to tears…tears of joy that I found from knowing that God loves me so much that He touched me and sealed my fate for eternity! That was August 8, 2012. To this day, I speak in my prayer language daily, as the Holy Ghost gives me utterance. Just last evening, I was listening to a sermon by one of my all-time favorite ministers, T. D. Jakes, and I was overcome with the Spirit and began crying out, speaking in tongues alternately with praising and worshiping my God. You see, I could have been doing anything at that moment. I could have been sitting in a bar, or watching pornography on the Internet, or down at the local 7-11 buying lottery tickets. But the Holy Spirit of God that resides in me placed my mind not on the carnal, but on the spiritual! I chose to select an uplifting television program where I could be taught from God’s Word, and I was blessed!
Romans 8:12-17 continues, with God’s anointed words saying:
“12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
When we use the gifts of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives us, and we don’t dwell in the flesh but in the spirit, we begin to really live. Life on Earth will still have difficult times, that is true. But life itself becomes so much better! We commune daily with the Lord! We are taught by the Holy Ghost as He begins to illuminate the scriptures. The Word of God starts to make sense to us, whereas when we were not followers of Christ, it did not. The Bible was not written for non-believers to understand. When we accept Jesus, we are given the “encryption keys”, for lack of a better term. The Holy Spirit begins to reveal the mysteries of the Bible. He shows us how Jesus can be found on the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, and how they interconnect! When a person of Jewish descent comes to Christ, this is extremely important. The words of the Torah, which are the first five books of the Bible, and the Tanakh, the Jewish canon of the Masoretic Text, begin to come together, and the see clearly that Jesus is the Messiah that they have been waiting for! I love watching the program “Discovering the Jewish Jesus” with Rabbi Kirt Schneider. So much can be learned about Biblical history from his teachings. He breaks down scriptures verse by verse and explains how they relate between the Old and New Testaments, and how Jesus is reflected in scriptures throughout history.
A life in Christ makes us children of God, and he delights in our calling him “Father”! Verse 16 says that the Spirit bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God. When a person becomes baptized in the Holy Ghost, and they receive their own prayer language, The Holy Ghost will actually pray through them! The prayer may not even be about them, and could be for someone on the other side of the world! We are God’s children, and joint heirs to the Kingdom of God with our Lord Jesus Christ. We will have times of pain and suffering, but through those times, God is with us, and I believe that when we reach Heaven, we will be glorified alongside Jesus, just as verse 17 states. If memory serves me correctly, Pope John Paul II once said that with all of the suffering he endured in his last days, he thanked God for allowing him to suffer just a small portion of the pain and agony that Jesus Christ did, and he considered it a blessing.
In conclusion, to walk with the Spirit is our gain! It gives us assurance that we will have eternal life with Jesus in Heaven! Walking in the flesh guarantees suffering, and there will be an eternity of agonizing pain as the flames of Hell burn the body…yet the flesh will never burn away! I would so much rather give up the things of the world and focus on storing up treasures in Heaven! One day those treasures will be laid at Jesus’ feet as I spend eternity praising and worshiping Him! Do you know Jesus Christ? Please write to me if you would like to become a God Follower!