More Than Conquerors - Dave Smith

The Flesh

December 2021

What is the flesh? The flesh is faith in self or faith in who the person is and what he can do rather than faith in Christ and what He did on the cross. It is faith in the wrong object which is a person’s abilities, strengths, education, and efforts. That is the same as placing confidence or trust in or depending on works of the law. It describes those who go about “to establish their own righteousness, (and) have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3).

The flesh lusts or has strong evil desires and impulses against, and is contrary to—fights against, opposes, or withstands—the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:17). The carnal mind, or the mind of the flesh, is prone to fleshly appetites and desires and is hostile toward—the enemy of, hates—God, and is not and cannot be subject to the law of God (Rom 8:7).

It is glorying or boasting about the things a person can do in his own will power (II Cor. 11:18). It not only includes the evil works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21), but also includes the good side of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which are man’s attempts to earn God’s acceptance through good works without accepting the fact that without God, there is nothing good in man (Rom. 7:18). It is also called “walking after the flesh,” which means that a person chooses to have his life ordered by the flesh (Rom. 8:1, 4) and fulfilling the strong evil desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).

What are the results of living by the flesh?
A person who lives according to the flesh “cannot do the things you would” (Gal. 5:17), or what he really wants to do spiritually, and if continued, he will eventually die spiritually (Rom. 7:5; 8:2-3, 6, 10, 13) and face the wrath of God (Eph. 2:3).

If the believer does not repent, he will live in condemnation (Rom. 8:1) and lack of peace with God (Rom. 8:6; Eph 2:14-15). This person will not be able to keep the law in Christ if he continues to depend on his own willpower (Rom. 8:3) and will not please God (Rom. 8:8). He has frustrated or made useless the grace of God (Gal 2:21) or made it of no effect (Rom. 4:4), and he will eventually die. He also cannot be made perfect, or matured, or sanctified by the flesh (Col. 1:28, Heb. 7:14). If a believer sows to the flesh, he will reap corruption (Gal. 6:8) and will serve the law of sin (Rom. 7:25).

Trusting in the flesh will hinder:
  • Performing miracles (Gal. 3:5, Rom. 8:3, Heb. 7:18)
  • Victory over sin (Rom. 7:7-23, 8:2)
  • Hope (I Cor. 15:19)
  • Being established in God (II Cor. 1:21)
  • Spiritual freedom (Gal. 2:4)
  • Spiritual power (Eph. 1:19-20, 3:20)
  • Spiritual wisdom, revelation, and understanding (Eph. 1:17-18)
  • Accomplishing eternal purpose (Eph 3:11)
  • Flow of grace (II Tim. 2:1, Gal 5:4)
  • Access to God (Heb 7:19, 10:19-23, 4:14-16)
  • Purging conscience of guilt (Heb. 9:9; 10:1-4)
  • Receiving mercy (Heb. 8:12)
  • Workings of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:1-5, 14)
  • Forgetting sins (Heb 8:12)
  • Ministry (II Cor. 3:6-8)
How does a believer overcome the flesh?
As long as a Christian walks in the Spirit, he will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). That is accomplished by keeping his faith in who Christ is and what He did on the cross. He must continually deny dependence on the flesh or his own willpower, daily keep his faith in the cross, and follow Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 9:23). This is how Christians crucify the flesh (Gal. 5:16, 24), mortify the deeds of the body (Rom. 8:13), put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh (Rom. 13:14).

Christians will also be dead to the sin nature but alive to God through Jesus (Rom. 6:11), have life and peace (Rom. 8:6), be free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:1), have the righteousness of the law fulfilled in them (Rom. 8:4), have Christ’s righteousness imputed to them (II Cor. 7:1) and reap life everlasting (Gal. 6:8).


You can get in touch with
Frances & Friends by mail at:

Frances & Friends
P.O. Box 262550
Baton Rouge,
LA 70826

OR by Email