The False Confidence of Religion




“For we know that (God’s) law is spiritual: but I AM CARNAL, sold under sin. For that which I do – I allow not: (do not want to do) for what I would, (like to do) that do I not; but what I hate, that I do.” (Romans 7: 14-15) We can never get to the truth by asking the wrong questions – so what is this about and how can we fix it? Well, we know this is a fallen world and we know we are born with a fallen nature, so we must realize that to restructure who we are, we need to know who Jesus is – and that He wants ALL of our heart! Sometimes we may forget the sin of “independence” is in our blood so to speak. Our brain is wired to agree and abide in this cursed environment as our carnality fits like a glove to flow with the world’s “system”. God gave us emotions that we use everyday but He also knew that trying to discern them and control them would be a “front-line” issue. We must know “why” we are the way we are in order to allow God to bring in His demolition plan to tear down the established form of internal government called our “will”.

I wish I could say that carnality is like having a house that needs painting and all we need to do is give our life a fresh new coat which will make it clean and inviting. But that is what the Pharisees were trying to do and we know what response Jesus gave about their attempt to “enhance” their holiness. I am convinced that we are not trying to convert our flesh – because I believe the “deadness” is so much a part of its fabric that it will not be transformed until we are miraculously “changed” or glorified in a twinkling of an eye. It seems the flesh is going down a dead-end street the same as the future of the earth because it is made of a corruptible composition. This is not to say the mind and God’s Word cannot have a positive effect on its strength and healing because I definitely believe it can. But I believe it is more about control than trying to eliminate the sin nature from our being. I am persuaded the idea is to “OVERCOME” our sinful nature by strengthening and enlarging our new spirit until it rules our being. We must increase the level of spiritual power and faith until we are filled with God! When we are expanded with knowing Him and His Divine reality, our spirit man (under the Lordship and inspiration of Christ) will become the dominate leader of our life. Until our mind becomes renewed (convinced of its need to submit under His divine authority) we will continue to pay more attention to the color of the walls than the condition of the structure. Selah.

All Christians can relate to what Paul is agonizing over here in this classic passage of scripture about the war between the Spirit and the flesh. This is a beautiful snap-shot of humility and sobering honesty of a saint that is not trying to sugar-coat a religious life with a hypocritical facade. It is also a reminder of why we have such a difficult time prying ourselves loose from the default system. He is being bluntly open with his frustration about himself as he paints a picture of the situation we all must deal with constantly. We notice in verse 20 what some might interpret as an excuse for our weakness by seeming to present the case that we cannot control what has been “stamped” in us. ‘Now if I do that I would not, (what I don’t want to do) it is no more I that does it, but sin that dwelleth in me”. On the contrary, he is not trying to defend his failure to live Godly but rather trying to explain that sin is truly embedded into our being as much as our sense of touch, smell and taste. Every person is born with an unregenerated spirit that needs to be purchased and transformed into a new being and even after we are born-again (though we are commanded to live holy and allow the presence of God to consume us until there is nothing left but the image of Jesus) – the internal battle is on! In fact Paul is warning us of how serious and dangerous we are to ourselves if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to intervene and build a strong disciplined lifestyle. When Adam and Eve were banned from the bliss of living without a sin nature, the human race morphed into a new “lesser” state of being in many ways. As a new hybrid, our DNA revealed an “undone” and dark identity where we became genetically and spiritually altered into a lost, blind and hopeless race. Only Jesus blood could save us and restore us back to God. May we eternally worship Him for His grace and mercy! We are saved, redeemed, delivered and set free from being lost forever because of His great love toward us!

Allow me to ask another question; what are we REALLY doing if we are not transforming? What is the church accomplishing if it cannot separate the way it thinks and acts from everyone else? Lost people can do good deeds, build church buildings, give lots of money and believe there is a God but what does it really mean for Jesus to be Lord? Is it just believing that He is who He say’s He is? If there is not a 180 degree change in the way we are, (or at least a fervent battle of faith to make that happen), then why are there no “alarms” sounding? Where are the tears? We must maintain a full-strength, concentrated faith – we cannot afford to become watered down or diluted with compromise. Why are we not focusing on our personal relationship with Jesus and becoming aggressively serious about our salvation? Where are the convicting messages to repent? Why is the world laughing at the churches? Where is the reverence and respect for the holiness of God and the power of His Word? Is it because we have placed OUR desires on the top of OUR priority list and the demand to take up our cross – further down on the list? Paul goes on about the intensity of this battle in verse 22, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. (The new transformed spirit man which is really who we are) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched (fallen – lost) man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the MIND I myself serve (free will choice) the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”. Nothing has changed since day one when referring to the power of fleshly pleasure and control. It is not a secret – everyone loves to do things their own way in their own time. The mystery is how to become changed into a being that does not live by their will anymore. Everyone would love to enjoy the divine realities of health and prosperity, be saved and live in heaven forever – but how many want to be re-wired to think like God and molded into His image? How many are willing to take their plans and throw them away so Father can reveal His directions and explain His vision for our destiny? It is a spiritual fact; the potter cannot design a piece of pottery that has already been molded, painted, glazed and hardened!

Can you remember when you were a young child and your days were simple and your heart was innocent? It was like being in a dream state or an imaginative fantasy where the sun of a harsh, cruel world had not yet burned away the fog and we still clung to that last moment of genuine trust. We laughed and played with excitement within a naïve fantasy that everything and everyone was good. As we grew older we discovered that our conscience already had a built-in knowledge about deception, lying and selfishness along with how to endure and survive the onslaught of fear, rejection, confusion, disappointment and hurt. Sub-consciously we learned how to build walls around our hopes and dreams to protect them. These negative, uncomfortable experiences caused us to become cautious and paranoid of people as we learned to question everything. Unfortunately, we honed our skills with trial and error and grew stronger, and with more experience we discovered how to defend and how to question what others said and done. Yes, we see how familiar the default system has become but it will not possess our heart. We live in the world but NOT for the world! We stand with the Kingdom of light!

Romans chapter eight gives a thorough explanation of how the law alone could not ransom our soul. Let’s finish with the continuation of Paul’s train of thought, “For they that are after (serve) the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit (God’s person) the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded (focused on the default) is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God”. (Verses 5-8) The Pharisees were confident!

In this war against our flesh we learn a lot about brick walls, disappointment, burned bridges, loneliness and isolation. When anyone that belongs to the family of God chooses to go through the motions of spirituality while trying to function in the realm of carnality they will continue to suffer frustration – until they deal with the problem! God will allow us to repeat the “cycle” just like He did with the children of Israel and sadly it is common for individuals to grope through an entire lifetime without understanding the problem was not that everyone was crazy – but their own refusal to humble themselves. On top of the personal, internal misery of things not going our way, we discover how the disappointment of OUR plans and visions not manifesting is only the tip of the iceberg. The REAL LOSS is the distance in our personal fellowship with God and the torment of knowing how much time we have wasted trying to climb mountains that He never told us to climb.

The closer we are to Him – the more our mind can see His thoughts which are the answers to HIS will and HIS desires for us. Unless we pronounce our old nature dead and leave him in the cemetery we will never enjoy the freedom of The Lord being our Master. Until we desire to literally follow Him, we will continue to flounder in our spiritual effectiveness. “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by HIS Spirit in the INNER MAN”. (Ephesians 3:16) Oh God, thank you for saving us. Amen.

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