When you have become a new creation in Jesus Christ, you will always have the ability to go back to the flesh and sin. Although there are believers, who say that you are ‘once saved always saved’ and that you cannot sin, because Jesus has dealt with the sin problem and taken the sins away. Therefore, you cannot walk in sin anymore. But these believers are fooling themselves and are living in a lie. Because if that would be true, then why did Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, James etc. warn the believers and instructed them to turn away from sin? Paul even commanded the saints, to not have fellowship with unbelievers and believers, who habitually keep living in sin (1 Co 5:11, 2 Co 6:4). If believers would not be able to sin, then why would they write about it? Why did Jesus instructed the seven churches to repent in the Book of Revelations?
Besides that, if you have repented of your sins and believe that Jesus has delivered you from sin and your sin nature, you shall no longer walk in sin. Because if you keep walking in sin, then of what have you repented from and of what has Jesus delivered you from?
If you have truly repented and if you are truly delivered from sin and the power of darkness and your sinful past, and laid down your flesh, and if you have received His nature; His Holy Spirit, through regeneration, then you shall no longer walk after the flesh in disobedience to God in darkness and do evil (sin). But you shall walk after the spirit in obedience to God, in the light and do the will of God, which is also the will of Jesus. If you have become a new creation, then you don’t belong to the devil, he isn’t your father anymore, and therefore you shall no longer obey him in the flesh and do his works. But you belong to God, He has become your Father and therefore you shall obey Him in the spirit and do His works. In life there are many temptations in the flesh, which could lead to sin.
Adam and Eve were perfectly created after the image of God. They were spiritual and walked after the spirit. But God had given Adam and Eve a free will, and therefore they had the ability to become disobedient to God. Adam and Eve walked after the spirit, until the devil approached them in the appearance of a serpent and tempted them in the flesh to sin. They had a choice to believe the words of God and stay obedient to Him and to keep walking after the spirit, or to believe the words of the serpent and be led by the lusts and desires of the flesh and chose to obey the serpent and walk after the flesh. The lust of more power and to become like God were more important to them, then obeying the words of God and therefore they became disobedient and sinned.
Esau was the firstborn of Isaac and inherited the firstborn right of his father. However, in a moment of weakness, when he became hungry, he considered his carnal lust more important then his birth right. And therefore, he freely exchanged his birth right for food (meat) and sold his birth right to his younger brother. At that moment, he didn’t consider his birthright and the grace, that God had given him, valuable and important. But Esau was indifferent towards his birth right. His carnal lust was more important than the grace of God, and by his deed, he rejected Him. His action was an abomination to God (Mal 1:3, Rom 9:13, Heb 12:16)
Although God had appointed Samson for a special purpose, Samson loved women. He revealed his secret to an unreliable strange woman, because his love for women was bigger than for God. When his wife Delilah asked him twice about the secret of his strength, Samson lied twice to her. By her actions; by betraying him, Samson could have known, that she wasn’t trustworthy and didn’t love him. But Samson had a weakness for her and was blinded by his love for her. When she asked him a third time, Samson revealed the secret of his strength. His action became his downfall.
Solomon also loved strange women. While God had commanded him to not get involved with strange women, Solomon couldn’t resist the temptation of beautiful strange women and fulfilled the lusts and desires of his flesh. His disobedience to God caused him his downfall.
David was a man after God’s heart, but even in his life, there was a moment of weakness, where David was led by his carnal sexual lusts and desires. David sinned by committing adultery, but that wasn’t all he did. Because his carnal lust and desire for Bathsheba was so big, that he caused her spouse being killed during the fight. His behaviour was an abomination to God. Although David was a man after God’s heart, He punished David for his actions.
Money and wealth
Judas loved money. Although he was a disciple of Jesus Christ and also performed signs and wonders, his love for money was greater than his love for his Master. For 30 pieces of silver he traded his Master (Mat 26:14-16).
These are just some of the many examples in the Bible, whereby the will of man and fulfilling the carnal lusts and desires of the flesh were more important than loving and obeying God. Although the examples, which are mentioned above, involve the old creation; the old man, there are still many believers today, who keep living after the flesh and keep living in sin.
The love, which they have for themselves and fulfilling their carnal needs, is bigger than their love for Jesus and God the Father. And that’s why, many believers ‘sell’ their birthright as son of God to fulfill their carnal lusts and desires. They consider their temporarily pleasures, and fulfilling the lusts and desires of their flesh, more important than obeying Jesus and the Father, and keep walking after the Spirit in holiness. But by their actions, they don’t exalt Jesus and don’t honor God, but the devil and give all honor and glory to him.
Fulfilling a temporarily carnal pleasure can have major consequences. Throughout the Bible we read about the consequences of walking after the flesh and disobeying God. Not only in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament, we read about believers, who had become a new creation, but became apostate from the faith, due to the fact, that the love for themselves and for the world was bigger than their love for God. Unfortunately, in these days nothing has really changed.
Scandals among believers
Why do so many scandals occur among believers? Why do so many believers, including leaders of churches, fall? Because many believers keep living after the flesh and are led by their flesh; senses, feelings, emotions, carnal (worldly) mind, will, lusts, desires etc.. They think they walk after the spirit, but in reality they are sitting on the throne of their own lives and are led by the lusts and desires of their flesh. They use the grace of God to keep walking after their own will and to condone their actions, that go against God’s will. But in reality, they reject the grace of God for the lusts and desires of their flesh, just like Esau did.
Many believers don’t build their faith upon the Word and don’t stay obedient to the Word, but instead they wander off, because they rely on their own insights and understandings and the wisdom and knowledge of the world.
As soon as a temptation (an opportunity and invitation to sin) arises in their lives, like power, fame, money, wealth, women, men, children etc., they succumb and fulfill their carnal lusts and desires. They speak and act piously and kindly in the presence of people. Some may be teachers or do outreaches and pray and lay hands on the sick.
But when they are home, they lead a whole other life, which is hidden from the outside world, and involve sexual uncleanness, adultery, drinking, violence, greed, deceit, occultism, alternative medicine, yoga, martial arts, gambling, gaming, fraud etc.
They don’t care about the spiritual well-being of other believers and what consequences their hidden agenda has on the lives of believers. Due the fact, that they are unspiritual and led by their flesh, they don’t know what spiritual consequences their laying on of (unclean) hands have on the lives of others.
They don’t realize, that by laying on of hands they transfer unclean spiritual powers, who control their lives, into the lives of others. Instead they stay a slave of sin and keep fulfilling their carnal lusts and desires and enjoy their temporary pleasures.
But this is not the life, that God has meant for the new creation; the new man. God didn’t gave His Son, so that believers can keep walking after the flesh and keep living in sin. Jesus didn’t give permission to sin, but Jesus died to deal with sin and the sin nature of the old man. God has given everyone the ability and power to become a son of God in Jesus Christ, through regeneration, and to walk as a son of God after His will in righteousness and holiness. He has given everything to the new creation. So that, the new creation would be able to keep walking after the spirit and resist every temptation in the flesh.
Unfortunately, the focus in most churches is primarily on the supernatural and spiritual manifestations, signs and wonders, prosperity and enrichment of ‘self’, than dying to ‘self’, sanctification, and developing a godly character. Because of this, many people don’t build their faith upon Jesus Christ; the Word and don’t mature in the spirit. But they build their faith upon their feelings, emotions, experiences and the experiences and wisdom of other believers. As soon as temptations arises, they are not able to stand and stay obedient to God and resist the temptation, but they give into the temptation of their flesh and keep sinning.
A lack of strength
Most believers have become indifference towards sin and don’t see the harm and evil of sin. They are aware that sin is not good, but because many are unspiritual, they don’t see the effect of sin in the lives of people. They keep sinning, with intent and have a mentality of: “oh well, it doesn’t matter if I make a mistake. I just repent and ask forgiveness and Jesus will forgive me. It’s that simple.”
But this is a weak mentality and a lack of strength of character of the old man, who is ruled by his flesh and not able to resist the temptations of the flesh, that go against God’s will. Just like you’ve read in the examples above of the old man.
But our example is Jesus Christ, Who walked after the Spirit and resisted every temptation. Most believers have not resisted unto blood, but allow their flesh to dominate their lives (Heb 12:4). That’s because they are not focused upon Jesus Christ and are unspiritual and don’t see the effect of sin.
How can you resist temptation?
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7)
The temptations derive from an unrepented heart and take place in the flesh. As long as the flesh is not crucified and laid down in Christ, a person shall remain the old creation and shall give into the desires and lusts of the flesh and keep living in sin.
The only way to resist temptation is to lay down the flesh and submit to Jesus; the Word and keep walking after the Word and the Spirit, and don’t not get involved with the things of this world. As long as you stay in Christ and keep walking after the spirit you shall not fulfill the desires of the flesh. Walking after the spirit means that you walk after God’s will, which is written in the Word. That’s why it’s so important to study and to know His Word and to renew your mind with the Word, so that, you will get to know Him and find out what His will really is. Only when you get to know His will, you will be able to do His will. Because without God’s Word, it’s impossible to know His will and therefore, you will not be able to live after His will.
The purpose of every believer is to become like Jesus. This doesn’t mean that you have to seek and search for the supernatural, and focus on signs, wonders and miracles. Because if you do, then it won’t be long before a new age spirit will control your mind and your life. You have to be very careful, with what things you get involved in.
But walking like Jesus means, walking in a self sacrificial love. Which means that you have crucified your flesh and your own will in Jesus Christ and live after His will. Because, that’s what it means, if you love Jesus and God the Father with all of your heart, soul and mind. Walking in love means, that you obey the Father in everything and do what He wants you to do.
You shall hate sin, just like God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and therefore you shall turn away from sin
Following Jesus means to put off the old man and put on the new man, who is created after the image of God. It means to develop a godly character and walking in holiness and integrity, and resist temptation and don’t sin. So that, you will exalt the Name of Jesus and stay faithful to Him and honor the Father. The signs and wonders of the Kingdom of God will automatically follow you. But you shall not flaunt, because as soon as you do that, pride shall arise and manifest in your life.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb 4:14-15)
Jesus has been tempted in everything: food, women, power, wealth, fame, status, money, pride etc., but He didn’t sin. He resisted every temptation, because He knew the Word and the will of His Father and He had subjected his flesh to His spirit. He loved God above all and therefore His love for His Father was greater than the love He had for Himself and His flesh. He knew, that the carnal pleasures were only temporary and He knew what the consequences would be if He would give into the temptations, namely separation from God. Jesus gave up His own life out of love for His Father and served His Father. Because of His great love for His Father, and by seeing the love of the Father for mankind, Jesus also served men and gave His life; His blood for them.
‘Be the salt of the earth’