And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Gal. 5:24
A paraphrase of that scripture would be, “They that are true Christians have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts”.
Notice the Bible does not say that those that are Christ’s are those who have gone to the mountains to pray, or those who have fasted forty days. Nor does it say that it is they who have casted out devils. Nor does the Bible say that those who are Christ’s are they who have been “serving God” for 20 or 40 years. No. You could do all those things and still not have fulfilled the one condition that will make you Christ’s.
And probably most importantly for today’s charismatic church, being Christ’s is not about shouting “Power!” You could shout your way right into hell, because the devil is not bothered by such declarations. If you want to really engage the devil, you will need to become Christ’s. The Bible says clearly,
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
And what, pray, does it mean to become “Christ’s”?
In the Old Testament, we read of God’s instructions to Moses about the man who would willingly wish to remain a bond slave of his master even after he had been set free, because he loved his master’s house “because he is well with thee” (Deut. 15:16-17). That man, the Bible says, would have his ear drilled with an awl at the door frame, and from that time onwards that person would be a bond slave to his master – forever (or, until death would do them part, of course).
Becoming “Christ’s” means becoming a bond slave of Christ, because you love Him. Paul was one man who managed to become a bond slave of Jesus Christ. Paul did not become a bond slave by following some rules or laws. He became a bond slave of Christ by willingly giving up the inner things of his nature, by crucifying his flesh. That is the equivalent of the man who had his ear togged at the doorpost.
Today, most born-again believers are Christ’s “bond slaves” by force of law. That is why there is so much law in church today because it is needed to keep God’s people there. Many believers have not reached the place where they are willing to die to the lusts and passions of their flesh, for Christ’s sake. Many would rather walk in law. Law is far much easier on the flesh.
But you cannot take supplementary things like prayer or quoting scripture or good works, or so-called spiritual warfare and try to substitute them for the work of the cross in your life. The Bible commands us to crucify the flesh and its lusts! (Remember, “command” here is all of grace, not law, because in the first place the one being commanded has willingly and lovingly become Christ’s – Christ’s slave!)
Let me tell you right here that realizing that you need to die to your flesh is a revelation from God. It cannot be otherwise. That is why there are millions of born-again believers today who have absolutely no idea that they need to crucify their flesh. They do not have that revelation. And so they cuddle that little jealousy, those flashes of anger, the hardheartedness – it becomes the norm in their lives, and they move along.
If there is one thing the church should be praying for today, it is for the revelation of the cross in the lives of God’s people.
Let us consider another scripture in this regard.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14)
What does the word “led” imply here? Just imagine a bullock whose owner has drilled a hole in its nose and passed a rope through and he uses this rope to lead the bullock. In such a case, the bullock is fully surrendered to its master. It is at the mercy and leadership and direction of its owner. That is what it means to be led by the Spirit of God: it means to become a bond servant of the Spirit.
If you ask most born-again believers who their number one enemy is, they will look at you as if you are trying to pull their leg, and they will answer you testily: “The devil, of course!”
But they are wrong. The devil cannot touch us if we have crucified the flesh. When the devil was preparing his epic “rush” at Jesus, our Lord declared to His disciples, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” (Jn. 14:30)
Yes, Satan was coming to deliver his coup de grace on Jesus, but Jesus had the one weapon Satan’s arsenal could not penetrate: Jesus was dead to the flesh with its passions. People do strange and pointless things like dragging a corpse through town, but to what purpose? A dead man is simply that – dead.
Jesus was dead to the flesh and its passions. Jesus would be verbally insulted, but He would not reply. He would be tortured and crucified – but He did not threaten. Finally, He asked God the Father to forgive His tormentors.
The devil tried everything on Jesus, but each time he lost, for the singular reason that Jesus was dead to the flesh. In His spirit, Jesus carried about His cross.
No wonder the Apostle Paul rejoiced at the revelation of the cross in his life. He says:
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal. 6:14)
When Paul talks about the world he is not talking about New York City. He is talking about the carnal lusts of his flesh. It is these that he says he died to. The cross working in his life made sure of that.
Beloved, let us desire this revelation that the Apostle Paul had. This was the man who had the true revelation of Christ in his life, and who willingly became a bond slave of Christ. And that is why Jesus used Paul so well. When you carefully read the New Testament you begin to realize that were it not for Paul, the gospel of the revelation of the cross might never have reached us.
[Below: Paul became a bond slave of Jesus Christ by losing all]