Born of Flesh
The flesh, the inherent nature of man, does not naturally bear the fruits of the divine spirit. In our natural form, we behave more animalistic. (Jude 19; James 3:15) The focus of natural man is on food and sustenance; he jealously guards his possessions; he is fierce and argumentative when it comes to perceived wrongs; he is mostly concerned with his physical pleasures and personal appearance which manifests his apparent power; and he brazenly takes what is not his for his own selfish advantage. Being born again means that we must get rid of these beastly qualities of the natural man – “the mark of the beast!”
We are not saying for a certainty that this is the meaning of the “mark of the beast” referred to in the book of Revelation (Revelation 13:16-17), but it is certainly a matter worth considering. What we can say for a certainty is that the animalistic behaviors referred to above are indeed marks of man’s beastly nature that must be done away with if we are to enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens. The Apostle Paul spoke of this conflict of the spirit and the flesh:
“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
– Romans 7:18-19
Unfortunately, we are suffering the consequences of a double deprivation of help in our task of progressive spiritual attainment. Satan’s rebellion precipitated world-wide confusion and robbed all subsequent generations of the moral assistance which a well-ordered society would have provided. And even more disastrous was the default of Adam and Eve which deprived us of the superior physical nature which would have been more conducive to spiritual aspirations.
Notwithstanding this double disaster to our nature and environment, we would experience less of this apparent warfare between the flesh and the spirit if we would enter the Kingdom of God – the spiritual brotherhood – as born again sons of the Father. As faith sons, we enjoy comparative deliverance from the slave-bondage of the flesh through our wholehearted devotion to doing the will of the Father in heaven. This relief was explained to the Roman congregation:
“For the eager expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now.”
– Romans 8:19-22
Yes, until now. Jesus showed mankind a new way of mortal living whereby human beings may very largely escape the dire consequences of our pitiful physical state through our faith in Jesus.
“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
– 1 John 5:1-5
We conquer our flesh by our faith that as Jesus was born from God, so we, too, can be born from God. Though we have the inheritance of animal tendencies, we also have within us the spirit of the Father (1 Corinthians 3:16), and we have around us the spirit of truth (John 16:13) which converge to assist us in subjecting our flesh more and more to the will of God.