Jesus said those that belong to Him must deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow Him (MATT 16:24, MARK 8:34, LUKE 9:23). The sons of God deny ungodliness and worldly lusts in this present world and live soberly, righteously, and godly, all the while looking forward to the blessed hope of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer:
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
This “peculiar people” spoken of means a people who are set apart, a holy people. With an act of their will, those who are born again and made new, the sons of God, put off the old man and put on the new man. New wine must be put into new bottles (MATT 9:17, MARK 2:22, LUKE 5:37-38). You who dwell in Jesus are holy vessels, dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ.
Either you control your flesh or your flesh will control you. You new and maturing Christians, do your best and know that all your shortcomings will be covered by grace as long as you are earnest and upfront with God. If you confess all your sins to Him, our Father who art in heaven will be faithful to forgive you of your sins:
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
—1st John 1:5-10
If we say that we have not sinned, we make God out to be a liar and His word is not in us. So confess all your sins to God your Father who is faithful to forgive and then move on, it’s a done deal, don’t linger on it. Forget what is behind you and strive for what is ahead. He who puts his hand to the plow and keeps looking back is of no use in the kingdom of God. Confess your sins to God, who is faithful to forgive, and then move on and do this one thing child of God: forget what is behind you and press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
No matter where some of you sons of God are in your journey to Zion, even during times of frustration, or disgust, or disappointment, or unworthiness, or whatever, even if you feel you’ve abandoned God, hang in there and remember this: if you reach out to our Father who art in heaven with a contrite heart, He will never reject you (PSALM 34:18, 51:17, ISAIAH 57:15, 66:2). You can turn away from God, but God will never turn away from you. Hang in there and hang onto Jesus. Remember this in the prodigal son parable by Jesus, the younger son was a long way from home when his father saw him and was filled with compassion and welcomed him home lavishly. You may be a long way from home yet, a long way from where you want to be and a long way from where God wants you to be, but, it's not so much where you are in your walk, it's more the direction you're walking in and where you want to end up, where you believe you’ll end up. The Father knows your mind and your heart. Deal with your sins and move on. Never, ever, lose sight of God's great mercy and grace. Our Creator remembers that we are but dust:
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
So know that your shortcomings are covered by grace and forget what is behind you and strive for what is ahead. Trust in God to complete the work He has begun in you. Wait in hope and with patience for the redemption of your body, for the adoption by our Father who art in heaven when Jesus comes riding upon the clouds and every eye shall see. Maintain the hope you have that at the Second Coming, Jesus will complete the work He has begun in you and make you perfect. While we will not be perfect on this side of the Second Coming, strive for perfection now and hang onto the hope that when Jesus returns, He will change your immoral body into an immortal body. Look forward with hope and with joy to when—in the blink of an eye—the corruptible will put on the incorruptible, and the imperfect will put on the perfect, and that which can die will put on that which cannot die. Let your faith and hope in what Jesus will do for you when He returns propel you all the way to the finish line.
You new and immature and maturing Christians, while you’re still a Romans 7 Christian on your way to becoming a Romans 8 Christian, remember what Paul told us in Romans 7 about our battle with the flesh when he said when you do something which you despise and hate, this shows that you agree with God concerning what is right and what is wrong. And when you do such a thing—something which you despise and hate—you are not the one doing it, it is sin that lives within you that is doing it. Paul goes on to say of this condition he finds himself in O what a wretched man he is and rhetorically asks, who will deliver him from his wicked flesh that is leading him to death? Praise be to God, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! Hallelujah!
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
A Romans 8 Christian is a mature son of God, who is in Christ Jesus and who walks not after the flesh but after the Spirit and therefore is not condemned. Without Jesus, we would be eternally lost. But when we are walking with Jesus, when we are walking in the light, when we are walking after the Spirit, we are walking the pathway to everlasting life. As you sons of God mature, the Holy Spirit will lead you and bring you home with a little something called grace.
Many runners partake in a race, but only one wins the prize. Run then in such a way as to win the race child of God, for our prize is a crown that will last forever. Keep your mind on heavenly things. Be led by the Holy Spirit. Yes, there will be struggles against the flesh and sin in your journey and no, you will not attain perfection this side of the Second Coming, but, be born again and begin the trajectory to perfection and imitate the Apostle Paul in 1 COR 9:24-27 and bring your body under control so as not to be disqualified, so Jesus does not blot out your name from the book of life. With an act of your will, seek after the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, continually. Do that and you’ll become a Romans 8 Christian and crucify your flesh with its affections and lusts:
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Activate the new man within you by an act of your will so that you walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. Keep chasing after the Spirit and you will deny your flesh. With the power of the Spirit, keep your flesh under control. Hold down the fort so to speak and wait patiently for Jesus to complete the perfection process in the blink of an eye when you trade in your immoral body for your immortal body when He returns, if you keep up your faith in the blessed hope you wait for.
Where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is the glorious liberty of the sons of God. We in whom the Spirit dwells are not enslaved to anything, we are free. We who believe, we who belong to Jesus, are recipients of the glorious grace lavished upon us by our Father who art in heaven. To those who are pure, all things are pure. Shall not our Father who art in heaven, who loves us more than we can fathom, freely give us all things in kingdom come? Indeed! And who will accuse us of anything, for God our Father who art in heaven will declare us not guilty! If God be for us, who can be against us? Hallelujah! I can’t wait! O LORD, thy kingdom come!
However, having said that—that we who belong to Jesus have the glorious liberty of the children of God—you who have been set free by the precious blood of the Lamb, now hear this and hear it well: do not use the glorious liberty Jesus won for us on the cross to indulge your flesh. Stand fast in the liberty of the Spirit and be not entangled again in the yoke of bondage to the spirits of this world. The grace and freedom you receive from our Father who art in heaven does not give you a license to sin and live in sexual immorality. Far be it from a child of God to insult the Spirit of grace in this way! Yes, where sin abounds the grace of God abounds and yes, as Christians we believe in a God who declares the guilty innocent and yes, we depend not on our own righteousness but on the righteousness of Jesus Christ to justify us with God and yes, our righteousness is credited to us because of our faith, but, just because we live under grace, that does not mean grace gives us a license to indulge our flesh. For those who do such a thing, who insult the Spirit of grace in this way, there is no more sacrifice left for sins. The only thing left for them will be a fearful expectation of judgment by fire that will consume them:
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Remember that and consider the following very carefully child of God:
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.
You can think of that like this: you may think your ways are clean, but the LORD weighs the different spirits (both good and bad) that cling to you because you cling to them. For example, how much do the spirits of lust in you weigh, those spirits of lust that cling to you because you cling to them? Or how much do spirits of greed cling to you because you cling to them? Or how much do you cling to Jesus, a little, a lot, or with everything you’ve got? Are you getting the idea? Be aware of this you sons of God and live accordingly. Abstain from fleshly lusts (that includes masturbation), which war against the soul. Let everyone work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.
CALLING ALL SONS OF GOD:
Cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Those who walk after the flesh cannot please God (ROM 8:8) because their wills are not lined up with His will. God wants us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provisions to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Run the race before you to win it child of God. Live as God has called you to and reap the eternal rewards that come with that. In the journey to the holy mount of Zion, in the process of becoming a mature son of God, put to death your flesh. The sons of God are those who have crucified their flesh with its affections and lusts. So be ye crucified to the world by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Crucify your flesh by walking in the light you sons of God, by walking in the Spirit, by following Jesus. If you belong to Jesus, Jesus will quicken your mortal body so you can follow after Him.
In situations where you face temptation, instead of letting your flesh have its way, instead of indulging your flesh, inject your spirit man into the situation and stand fast in the Spirit. For that to work however, you need to be walking in the Spirit before you come across temptation so you can then follow through with the Spirit and not the flesh. Those who cater to their flesh will die in their sins, but those who corral and crucify their flesh via the Holy Spirit will live forever. Those that walk after the flesh are mindful of the things of the flesh, but those that walk after the Spirit are mindful of the things of the Spirit. He that sows to his flesh shall reap corruption, but he that sows to the Spirit shall reap life without end. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither can corruption inherit incorruption. Remember what Paul told us you sons of God:
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Walk in the Spirit you sons of God so you’ll be led by the Spirit and you won’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Let us all cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. As Paul said, if you live after the flesh, you shall die. But if through the Spirit you crucify the deeds of the body, you shall live.
Your flesh and the Holy Spirit are contrary to one another, they war with one another. And so child of God, do not do the things that your flesh wants to do. Be led by the Spirit, not by your flesh. With an act of your will, take the kingdom of God by force and put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of our Creator. You who are born again, take off the corrupt old man and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Put on the new man, which after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness.
God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all. Because God is light and because we live in a fallen world, a world full of darkness, you sons of God must continually, in an ongoing process, wash your robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. Washing your robe takes an act of your will. Your clothes don’t put themselves in a washing machine and turn it on by themselves, it takes an act of your will. How then do you wash your robe and make it white? You wash your robe and make it white by walking in the light:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
—1st John 1:7
So when we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sins, our robes are washed white. So then, how do you walk in the light? You walk in the light by following Jesus, by rejoicing in the name of the LORD continually, by adoring your Father who art in heaven:
15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.
16 In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.
So rejoice continually in the LORD you sons of God and set your gaze like flint upon Jesus. Rejoice in the LORD continually for God inhabits the praise of His people. When you are rejoicing in the LORD, you are walking in the light and will do what is right. When you are walking in the light, you are washing your robe in the blood of the Lamb. I’ve made it easy for you sons of God to rejoice daily and wash your robe daily and walk in the light by confessing with your mouth and with your heart what the precious blood of Jesus has won and done for you.
Proclaim daily the great salvation of our God. Proclaim and rejoice daily in what the blood of Jesus means to you, what Jesus did for you on the cross some 2,000 years ago. Do that continually and you’ll continually wash your robe, making it white by walking in the light. Set your affection on things above child of God, not on things on the earth. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and run the race before you with blinders on, looking neither to the right nor the left, but keeping your eyes straight ahead on the treasure, on the prize, keeping your eyes on Jesus.
And build yourself up by praying in the Holy Ghost (see verse 20 below).
17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;
18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Remain steadfast in the Spirit you sons of God. Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus. Put on blinders for Jesus, looking neither to the right nor the left, but looking straight ahead unto Jesus. Remain in Jesus and you’ll walk after the Spirit and you won’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
As it says in JAMES 4:7, if you resist the Devil, the Devil will flee from you. This is talking about temptation in your mind, not physical temptation. If you do not resist the Devil in your mind, the Devil will remain and do his thing and seek to further entangle you in bondage to the things of this world. But, if you put up resistance against the Devil when he injects his lustful thoughts and imaginations, he must cease and desist and flee from you. So cast down evil imaginations, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Reject the lustful thoughts of the Devil and stand back from them. Let God arise within you by lining up your will with God’s will—He wants you to resist the Devil—and the enemy of your soul will flee from you. So learn to resist the Devil in your thoughts and imaginations child of God and stand strong in the Spirit and it will make for a smoother journey to the holy mount of Zion and enable you to overcome the enemy of your soul and escape the destructive lusts of this world.
As to physical temptation, flee from fornication (sex between a man and woman not married to each other). He that commits fornication sins against his own body Look to the example of how Joseph fled fornication with Potiphar’s wife. There is no temptation that besets you that is not common to man, but God is faithful to those who belong to Him and will not let you be tempted above what you can bear and will make a way for you to escape.
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished
—2nd Peter 2:9
So stand fast in the Spirit and keep your eyes on the prize you sons of God. Blessed is the man that is tried and tested and endures temptation in the journey to Zion, for he shall be crowned with eternal life which our Father who art in heaven has promised to those that love Him.
When you face divers temptations, count it all as joy, knowing that the trying of your faith produces patience, and it is through your faith and your patience that you inherit the promises of God. Let patience have her perfect work in you child of God, so that you may be perfect and complete, wanting nothing. Wait patiently, even now, while we who believe groan inwardly, waiting to be adopted by our Father who art in heaven, waiting for the redemption of our bodies. Wait patiently on Jesus until He returns (2 THESS 3:5, JAMES 5:7).
Choose to put on your new man (EPHES 4:24, COL 3:10). New wine must be put into new bottles. Forcibly put on your spirit man by an act of your will and let grace provide you with the ability to overcome your flesh, to crucify your flesh with its affections and lusts. If the Spirit dwells in you, our Father who art in heaven will quicken your mortal body by His Spirit and grace will change you from the inside out—spirit, soul, and body.
Remember, the sons of God are those who have crucified their flesh with its affections and lusts. Those who live after the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit dwells in you, that is. Any man that doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ belongs not to Jesus. The road to Zion is a road of holiness:
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
—2nd Corinthians 7:1
So come on all you sons of God, let us all cleanse ourselves, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Perfection takes practice. As a skilled athlete perfects his skills, or as a skilled craftsman perfects his craft, perfect your holiness in the fear of God.
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
15 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.
16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
—1st Corinthians 6:9-20
The fear of God is key to perfecting holiness. Our God is a consuming fire. Jesus said fear God, who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. View the testimonies of hell here. Do not shun the preaching, teaching, and testimonies of hell, for it is a good thing for you to fear hell. Wide is the road to hell and many will walk it. There’s a hell to shun and a heaven to gain. Keep your eyes on the prize (eternal life in kingdom come) and let the fear of God keep you on the straight and narrow child of God, for eternity hangs in the balance. Hell is real. You don’t want to end up there. The fear of hell will keep you on the straight and narrow and it will gain you compassion from Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. The LORD looks upon with compassion those who tremble at His word. Always remember that God has compassion on those who fear Him. The angel of the LORD encamps around those that fear Him and delivers them (PSALM 34:7).
So in summary on how to deal with your flesh, here are some guardrails against sin for you sons of God in your journey to the holy mount of Zion: