The Flesh (or understanding the heart part 4)
It's so common this mind-set, this idea that we are no good wretches, ready to sin at a moments notice, incapable of goodness, and certainly far from any glory.
It's also unbiblical.
The passage people think they are referring to is Romans 7:18, where Paul says "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing." Notice the distinction he makes. He does not say "There is nothing good in me. Period." What he says is that "in my flesh dwelleth no good thing." The flesh is the old nature, the old life, crucified with Christ. The Flesh is the very thing God removed from our hearts when he circumsided them by his spirit. Christ Jesus crucified the sinful nature (the flesh) with its passions and desires (5:24)...
Yes we still battle with sin. Yes, we still have to crucify our flesh on a daily bases...We have to choose to live from the new heart, and our old nature doesn't go down without a fight. Does the bible teach that Christians are nothing but sinners- that there is nothing good in us? The answer now is no! You have a new heart. Your heart is good.
~ John Eldredge in Waking the Dead.
The cunning part of the enemy's plan is to twist the truth just a bit so that it's believable. You've heard Christians say "I'm just a poor sinner," "I'm just clothes for God to put on," "Nothing good is surely found in me." These statements have a handful of truth with a dash of lie. The truth is that you were a sinner, you surely had no good inside of you. But notice the past tense. Those things are not true of you anymore. God literally took out your old heart and fashioned up a brand new one. You're heart is now good. You are now good. You are now a reflection of God's glory. There is glory in you're heart.
That's what the world is waiting to see, transformation. A bunch of Christians, head hanging down, untransformed is not what the gospel has ever been about. It's about wickedly normal people being completely transformed into free, new, wonderful people!
So you're asking, "If my heart is good, why do I still struggle?" As my pastor says "you cannot cast out the flesh." Yup, you can't. You were once wicked to the very core, the pendulum swung to evil. But now we've got the pendulum going the other way toward good. At your very core, you're now good. But that doesn't meant that you won't struggle, and it doesn't mean that the enemies attack on your heart or your mind will subside. In fact, they may increase. As Paul said, we have to take every thought captive. We've got to be vigilent.
I'll be honest, reading "Waking the Dead" or any of the Eldredge books makes me mad. No, not at the author. At the enemy, at the world. Such a tremendous truth about the heart has been lost, and it's killing us all. The world looks at our current Christians who live, act, and think no differently than those in the world and they say "Why follow them? What's so different about Christianity." But if Christians caught on to this truth, the truth that we're meant to become transformed, free, new, and different...if the world saw us that way, wouldn't they follow Christ anywhere? The gospel means "good news" but somewhere we lost what was so good about it. I want that back! I know you do too. You feel your heart tug when you read or watch epic tales. You know, as I do, that we were meant for more. Christ came to save us, to set us free, to bring abundant life not just eternally, but now!
As I begin to read the bible and seek out the truth about who we are, I get mad. I start to see what 1 John 5:19 says when he talks about "the whole world being under the control of the evil one. " The best way to fight a lie is with the truth. The truth is you have a glory to be displayed. You're heart is now good, and it was certainly made for more than just this.