This fifth part of What it Means to Be Born Again deals with the lust of the flesh. In Eph. 2:1-3 the Word of God says, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
To recap, Eph. 2:1-3 outlines the following Seven Facts about Spiritual Death before a believer is converted and spiritually Born Again in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Before being born again:
1) Believers were dead in trespasses and sins. (Dealt with in Part 1)
2) Believers use to walk according to the course of this world. (Dealt with in Part 2)
3) The course of this world is according to the prince of the power of the air. (Dealt with in Part 3)
4) This spirit of the prince of the power of the air now works in the children of disobedience. (Dealt with in Part 4)
5) Believers dwelt in the lusts of their flesh. (Dealt with in this 5th Part)
6) Believers fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind. (Coming in Part 6)
7) Believers were by nature the children of wrath. (Coming in Part 7)
5. Believers dwelt in the lusts of their flesh.
The Apostle Paul writes in Eph. 2:2, 3 that before we were born again we “walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh.”
The term “had our conversation” refers to the way that we lived before being born again. According to Eph. 2:2, 3 we are children of disobedience who live in the lusts of our flesh before we are born again.
Temptation and Lust and Sin
A lesson from Jam. 1:12-15
In Jam. 1:12-15 James, the Elect of our Lord Jesus Christ writes, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
According to this passage of Scripture:
- We are drawn into temptation by our lust.
- Our lust conceives and brings forth sin.
- Sin then brings forth death in our lives.
Jam. 1:12 reads, Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
This temptation mentioned in Jam. 1:12 is not the sexual temptation between a man and a woman. This is a spiritual temptation. And it entails being lured by the devil to believe in him and to worship him as God.
In Matt. 4:1-11 we find an example of how we are put to test by experiencing the temptation of the devil. Matt. 4:1-11 recounts how our Lord Jesus Christ was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. This experience of our Lord Jesus Christ is also the same temptation that Adam and Eve experienced in Gen. 3:1-7.
This experience of evil temptation is when you are visited and enticed by the devil to:
- Be taught and led by him,
- Believe in him and,
- Worship him as God.
You experience this spiritual temptation when Satan appears unto you as an angel of God posing as the Holy Spirit (2Thess. 2:3, 4). The apostle Paul also teaches that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light (2Cor. 11:14). This appearance of the devil is usually in a dream or in a vision, and also through various thoughts according to Gal. 5:19-21.
Satan can appear in the form of a person, an animal or insect, and even as an object. The devil will also appear as a relative, and also as someone who died. With his dreams and visions the devil blinds your spiritual eyes so that you cannot see the Light of the Glory of God in Christ Jesus (2Cor. 4:3, 4).
Appearances of Evil
The appearance of the devil in a dream or a vision is known in the Bible as appearances of evil. The Apostle Paul teaches in 1Thess. 5:22-23, “Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When you fellowship with the devil through faith in his dreams and visions, you reject the sanctification of your spirit and soul and body in Christ.
Jam. 1:12 underscores the essence of Joel 2:28. When the Holy Spirit rests on you, you will dream dreams and see visions. These dreams and visions are the appearance of the devil as he attacks you with his temptations to lure you away from the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit does not bombard you with dreams and visions.
The Holy Spirit of truth ministers unto you by reminding you of the written Word of God. For, the written Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit. Dreams and visions are not the Sword of the Spirit. Dreams and visions are known in the Bible as divination and lying vanities (Ezek. 13:6, 7). And Jonah 2:8 is very clear, “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”
The Hour of Temptation
This test by being subjected to the devil’s temptation is also known in the Bible as the hour of temptation. Our Lord Jesus Christ says in Rev. 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
Every person born into this world is subjected to this experience of evil temptation by the devil to believe in him and worship him. Everybody will instinctively worship – whether it is a god or his/her self that is worshipped. This experience of being tempted by the devil to believe in him happens when you respond to your instinctive urge to seek, find, and worship the Almighty God in truth.
As a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ you have His Word to guide and deliver you. When you seek our Lord Jesus Christ you must realize that the Word of His Kingdom of is a Word of patience. In Mark 4:14-20 the Word of Christ is described as the seed of the Holy Spirit that is sown in your heart.
The Year of Your Visitation
When you are misled by this temptation like Adam and Eve were, you will walk in the light of darkness. The spiritual walk in Satan’s light of darkness is a slippery way paved with treacherous dreams and visions. Jer. 23:12 reads, “Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.”
When you put your faith in dreams and visions instead of in the Word of Christ you will lose your important spiritual battles. For, when you believe in the interpretation of dreams and visions, you believe in the spirit who induced them. The Written Word of Christ is fulfilled by the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, dreams and visions are fulfilled by the spirit who induced them.
In Matt. 6:13 we are taught to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Matt. 6:13 acknowledges that the kingdom of evil, Satan, does not appear in the Glory of God. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ and is in the power of the Glory of God.
The Fiery Trial of Your Faith
Another way that you will be tried by Satan is to be accused before God as being insincere towards God. The first and second books of Job give an example of this. Job was sincere and loyal to God, and God also honoured and rewarded him for his faith in God.
However, Satan accused Job of merely worshiping God for God’s blessings and protection. Thus, God was incited to withdraw His blessings and protection from Job. In spite of the devil’s accusations and attacks, Job remained steadfast in his faith in God. So much so, that Job did not ascribe any of his tragedies to God.
Your Accuser is Expelled from Heaven
We learn in Rev. 12:9, 10 that Satan’s place is no more in Heaven. So he can no more come before God to accuse you. Nonetheless, Satan will come to you and bombard you with all manner of condemnation, including self-condemnations. However, in Rom. 14:22 (MKJV) the Apostle Paul teaches, “Blessed is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” And, in 1Cor. 4:3 we can also learn that the Apostle Paul did not judge or condemn himself. Hence, you should not go about condemning and judging yourself before God and other people. For, in Christ Jesus we are allowed all things; in Christ Jesus all things belong to us Christians (1Cor. 3:21, 22; 1Cor. 6:12).
When Job was in dire straits and confronted by his friends with all sorts of accusations and condemnations, he professed, “my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live” (Job 27:6).
You can be sure that your faith in your Lord Jesus Christ will be severely tested. In 1Pet. 4:12, 13 the Apostle Peter says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
Eph. 2:3 also teaches that before we are made alive in Christ Jesus; we lived in the lusts of our flesh. You have a physical life as well as a spiritual life. Your physical life is lived with your physical body in the physical world.
The life referred to in Eph. 2:3 is your spiritual life. Your spiritual life certainly influences your physical life and body. Your spiritual life will in most instances also direct your physical life. For example, your prayer is a spiritual weapon that can substantially change your spiritual, as well as your physical and material circumstances.
Your spiritual life is experienced by your spiritual body in the spiritual world. Your soul is your spiritual body. And you can only experience and see the spiritual world when you are in the spirit. You are in the spirit whenever you have a dream or a vision.
As humans we are created with a physical body, as well as with a spiritual body. Your physical body is also known as your flesh. Apart from your physical body being made up of flesh and blood, it also has passions and needs. Your soul is your spiritual body; it is your spiritual flesh. Your soul also has its own passions and can emotionally affect you physical body (physical flesh).
For example, in 1Cor. 6:15-17 the Apostle Paul says, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” This passage of Scripture refers to both your spiritual as well as your physical flesh. From 1Cor. 6:16 we can also learn that all physical sex result in some spiritual attachment between sexual partners.
Most of the times when the Word of God refers to your flesh, He refers to your spiritual flesh. Your physical flesh (physical body) has its usual desires. Your spiritual flesh (soul) also has its spiritual desires. Basically, all of your physical and spiritual desires are needs that need to be fulfilled. The desires of your physical body, as well as the desire of your spiritual body are generally known as desire. It is the desires of your physical and spiritual flesh. When your desires are against the will of God for your life, it becomes the lust of your flesh.
Jam. 1:13, 14 reads, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
Lust can be physical, as well as spiritual. The lust mentioned in Eph. 2:3 refers to our spiritual lust. Lust is defined as a longing for something forbidden. Spiritually, that forbidden something is a longing for fellowship with a spirit other than the Holy Spirit.
Every person has a desire to be spiritually connected. Your desire to be spiritually connected is the hunger of your soul to know God – whether you recognize it or not. This is an instinctive desire (longing) of your soul to dwell in the Light of Eternal Life in the Presence of the Gory of God. Incidentally, The Presence of the Glory of God now resides with the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus.
Any physical or spiritual desire which is against the will of God for your life is lust. And, while God will fulfil all your desires (Ps. 20:5; 21:2; 37:4; Phil. 4:6), He will not fulfil your lusts – whether physical or spiritual (Jam. 4:3).
Both the lust and the flesh of your physical body are under the control of your will power. However, you have no control over the lust of your soul. This is because your soul has been subjected to the power of the devil because of Adam and Eve’s transgression.
The lust of the Devil
This lust to which Eph. 2:3; Jam. 1:14, 15 refer is not your lust per se. It is the lust of the devil. It is the devil’s fervent desire against the will of God, to lead you astray and to possess you and destroy you. In Luke 22:31 our Lord Jesus Christ says to Simon, “…behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.”
This desire (or lust) of Satan is what we inherited from Adam and Eve. Gen. 3:6 reads, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” The “tree” in this verse of Scripture depicts the spirit of Satan.
Looking at Gen. 3:6, you must understand that you cannot see a spirit, such as the Holy Spirit or the devil, with your physical eyes. You can only see a spirit with your spiritual eyes, that is, with the eyes of your soul. This usually happens when you are in the spirit. Hence, we can understand that it was in a vision that Satan appeared unto Adam and Eve.
Eve then desired the beauty and wisdom of Satan’s vision and its interpretation. In doing so she had communion with the devil and his desire (lust) to control and lead them. Thus, she and her husband inherited Satan’s vision and character, and Satan’s lust and visions became rooted in their souls.
Jam. 1:15 reads “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
It is the deep seated desire of your soul to fellowship spiritually – your soul needs spiritual fellowship. Spiritual fellowship is like bread and water to your soul. If the food of your soul is healthy, your soul and physical body will be healthy. If the food of your soul is unhealthy, your soul and physical body will be plagued with disease and death. In this case death is both physical and spiritual.
When Adam and Eve desired to fellowship with the spirit of the devil in Gen. 3:1-7, their desire for spiritual fellowship became lust. It was against the will of God for their souls to fellowship with the spirit of the devil.
Lust only came into being after Adam and Eve transgressed. Before the devil ensnared Adam and Eve, their souls communed with the Holy Spirit in the Presence of God. Life in the Presence of the Glory of God is in the Light of Eternal Life. And Life in the Light of the Glory of God is free from disease, decay, and death. Therefore, people would then live for up to nine hundred and ninety years (Gen. 5). Hence, life in the Light of the Glory of the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ is known as Eternal Life (John 3:15, 16).
So when Adam and Eve lusted for the beauty of Satan’s vision, their souls died a spiritual death. They were then driven from the Light of Life to dwell in the light of Satan’s veil of death. We inherited this spiritual death.
The Spiritual War Within
The Apostle Paul writes in Gal. 5:16, 17, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” This flesh mentioned here is the nature of your soul that lusts against the will of the Holy Spirit.
After Adam and Eve’s transgression, the lust of the devil was transferred to everyone who was born into this world. Hence, we have no control over the lust and vision of the devil. No one can withstand the power of the lust of Satan’s dreams and visions which is rooted in our souls. For example, you cannot decide when, or when not you want a dream or a vision.
It is only in Christ Jesus that you can bind, rebuke and, revoke the prophecies of Satan’s dreams and visions. Provided, that you are born again in Jesus Christ.
The Need to Be Born Again
The only way for our souls to be set free from Satan and his veil of death, is to die. It is only through spiritual death and resurrection that our souls can be restored unto the Light of Eternal Life. We can only find this spiritual death and resurrection of our souls in our Lord Jesus Christ.
In John 1:4 we learn that in Jesus Christ is life; and that the life is the light of men. John 1:9 also teaches that Jesus Christ is the true Light, who enlightens every man that comes into the world. Our Lord Jesus is the true Light of Eternal Life in the Glory of God.
Col. 1:27 teaches that the mystery among the Gentiles is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Our Jesus Christ is also the only Hope for anyone to be restored unto the Light of Eternal Life.
Buried With Christ
In Rom. 6:4 we learn, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” This “newness of life” is the new life of your soul after being buried and then resurrected with Christ Jesus. This “newness of life” exists in the Light of the Glory of God in the ministry of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Your baptism in submersion in water is the burial of your soul into death with Christ. When you are brought out of the water after being submerged, your soul is resurrected together with Christ from the death of Satan’s veil of the death.
Rom. 6:5 teaches that if we have been buried together in death with our Lord Jesus Christ, then we are also resurrected with Him. Thus, your soul that was bound by Satan’s sin and lust is crucified and buried and resurrected with Christ. You are then reborn as a Child of God in Christ. Only then will you be freed to enter into the Light of Eternal Life in the Glory of the Holy Spirit.
The Profession of Your Faith
The Apostle Paul writes in Heb. 10:19, 20, 22, 23, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised.”
The interpretation of dreams and visions are not the profession of your faith in Jesus Christ. The interpretation of dreams and visions fulfil the work of death in your soul and in your physical body.
The profession of your faith is professing (speaking) the covenants of promise that we inherited by the blood of Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:12-14). In Rom. 10:8 we are taught that faith in Jesus Christ is having the Word of God in your heart and in your mouth. Faith in God is not having the interpretation of dreams and visions in your heart and in your mouth. When you fellowship with the Holy Spirit you do not inherit dreams and visions. When you fellowship with the Holy Spirit you inherit His Word and His character as in Gal. 5:22-24.
God bless and guide you.