Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
John the Baptist said in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John never told us this would be easy? Paul says in Col.3:5 “Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth... and Paul goes on to list various sinful practices common to the human flesh and human will. The word, mortify, as seen here, as defined from the original Greek means to put to death. Paul speaks here of the various sinful tendencies of the old sinful nature that we must put to death in our daily walk with the Lord.
From Col.3:9 Paul says we have put off the old man, but he speaks of our position in Christ, not necessarily our practice in Christ. He says we are to put on the new man, one that is renewed in the knowledge of God, Col.3:10.
How hard is it to die to the flesh and the human will? I must say that the transition is most difficult, even for the strongest of Christians. The pages of the Bible is dotted with great men and women of the God who found that no matter how advanced they were in their personal relationships with God that they still struggled to decrease for God. To be human is to be strong willed and determined to chart our own way. This strong will characteristic was originally created in Adam and Eve before the first sin entered the human race. God never intended the human will to disobey, but to be determined to obey. Sin changed all of that. Eph. 2:2-3 says we are all physically born as children of disobedience (due to Adam’s original sin, Rom.5:12) and the Apostle Paul says this disobedience lives on in every believer even after salvation, so much so, that he says there is a constant warring going on in our souls between the indwelling Spirit of God and our flesh, Gal.5:17.
Dying to the old man; the old self, is never easy, but living at peace with the old self is impossible. If we want to experience the peace of God that passes all human understanding we must die to the old self. This cannot happen by simply determining you want to live unto God and not unto yourself. The human will and human emotion is indeed strong, but it is not enough to ward off the strength of the old life. There must be a constant righteous change taking place in our thinking for the transition from the old man to the new man to occur. We do not have the strength to overcome our human nature. It is true we have, as believers in Jesus Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit, but the Spirit of God must have the sword of the word of God to hold back the tide of human willfulness. Emotionalism and experience can never and must never be substituted for the word of God. If Christ is to be created in us as per Rom.8:29 we will have to die to self. No where in the Bible does it say this dying will be painless. Quite the contrary it will be painful. Swallowing our pride when we think we know it all hurts. Telling someone you are sorry when you have done wrong to them, hurts. Resisting the carnal and selfish urges of the flesh is painful. Biting our tongues when we want to put some body in their place hurts. Being right and wanting to straighten out the other guy, but not, hurts. Dying to the old man strips us of every vestige of human honor we once held near and dear to our subjective past. Paul said I count all things but dung that I may win Christ. What we were or are or ever will be will never match what God can make of us if we let him. If we, as believers, want real change we will only experience this supernatural change if we allow God’s word to influence our thinking. Churches and their pastors must be about the business of opening up the word of God and explaining it to the people if this change is going to occur. Yes, we can get some Bible knowledge for ourselves, but Christ ordained the local church and the primary function of the pastor-teacher to speed up this process of conformity to Christ. The joy of the “new man” will make the wants of the “old man” obsolete. “ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.: Gal.2:20.