Revisiting the Transition from Flesh to Spirit
By Fred Pruitt
Published in 2011 under a different name.
(This came about through an online back and forth that was centered on the question, “Was Paul, as a born again believer, actually a Satan-run sinner while he was in his double-minded state which came to a head in Rom 7 before he moved into being fixed in his Rom 8 life of the Spirit?” I’ve heard people say that anyone who does not teach union or grace life is “teaching the devil’s gospel,” and are still walking around stuck in legalism, under the domination of Satan. That just never has struck a chord with me. So, this is just a few paragraphs, expanded a bit, which came spontaneously this afternoon in this discussion, that I thought might hopefully add a little clarity on the subject. When I say, “the subject,” I am not just talking about picking up some more academic knowledge of the Bible. This is perhaps the most important issue we face in our Christian walk, affecting everything in our lives and work. This is about you and me in the deepest way possible!)
I have a pretty busy day going on here, too, my friend, but I just wanted to take a moment to briefly address this.
Paul is not saying that he has walking around being a sinner run by Satan all his days prior to Rom 8. How I see it is this, much like you do: Paul is walking around in faith, doing the works of God, even in his wilderness days, as you have said. It is the same for all of us. He is not “responsible” for a unified “Christ in me” consciousness because until the day he comes to it by the Spirit, he cannot know it. Like he said, “I was alive once … but the law came and said, “Thou shalt not covet.”
He had been walking in the light he knew, doing the works of God over and above his own still-deluded separated consciousness, but God did not make him responsible for it until the day this issue came up. He was stumped. He was like the children of Israel at the edge of the Land the first time. We cannot say they, “should have had faith and gone in anyway.” I used to think like that, until I saw that while still in that separated consciousness, they COULD NOT. They were incapable of it. THAT (separated “just me doing my own works” consciousness) HAD to die, but Paul couldn’t kill it. Only the Spirit can do it. (Some might interject at this point, “Well, he was already dead, so how come something had to die? Yes he was already “dead.” Paul told us that in Rom 6. But in 7, recounting his past experience, Paul did not yet KNOW he was dead. That’s what this is all about! We must come to know it!)
That is why David never harmed Saul. Saul was necessary to bring forth the rightful King, David (Christ). David could not rise until Saul fell on his own sword and killed himself. (Coming to the “end of himself,” or the end of his separated self-life.) All that time Saul was pursuing David and cracking up more day –by-day, he was still, “the Lord’s anointed.”
In addition, Saul had to be the unwitting engineer of his own death, not David. Saul’s main “value” to the kingdom was that he kept the people safe from the Philistines who were always oppressing them. And that was his final downfall – he couldn’t defeat the enemies of the Lord anymore. They were overrunning him and his army on Mount Gilboa. All was lost and he saw it. He was “at the end of himself.” He was the ultimate, “O wretched man.”
So our wilderness time is just for that. We are still walking around, receiving the things of God, being led every day by the Spirit, provided for every day by the Spirit, manna from heaven, water from a rock, shoes that don’t wear out, but in our deluded consciousness it is an up and down thing in our thinking and understanding. We are double-minded. But this is not the devil’s wilderness – he didn’t lead us or the children of Israel there. God did. The Israelites – were they God’s? Yes, absolutely! Did God see sin in them? NO NO NO NO!
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.
He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.
God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.
Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!” (Num 23:19-23)
However, are they all they can be yet? NO!
There comes the day when Paul sees it for what it is, even though “sin is not imputed,” he now sees a greater thing, that when this “lie of independence” rises up in him, it is “sin,” the separated flesh mind, i.e. the Devil’s mind, producing this “double-mindedness.”
At that point, and not before, it becomes “sin” to him. And then he finds the answer — he is no longer this double-minded man, flesh one moment, Spirit the next, battling each other for domination and the one you feed the most wins. It is not that at all! That’s the way of the law. Now he has seen it! Glory, he shouts, I see it, I SEE now how this works, and I SEE now what has kept me out of the Promise. When “I would” do good, evil is present with me. He sees it in the “false I” that he had been unknowingly walking in from day one.
That’s the day Saul dies, for Paul says, “I see now that no good thing dwells in me.” (Not evil, but simply no “good,” even as Jesus said, “There is one good, God.”) That is the divided Paul falling on his own sword.
What comes next, then, and is Paul’s life from then on IS the life of VICTORY, the Life of the Spirit. Paul never more in any letter, ever, mentions this struggle again, dispelling the notion that this war between flesh and spirit is lifelong, as we have been led to believe all our lives. “For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has SET ME FREE from the law of sin and death.” (Rom 8:2)
He had dimly seen the two laws before, but he thought they were fighting each other inside him. Now he sees, it is either one or the other (the pure water from a pure spring – Ja 3:11,12) instead of this dirty mixed water that he had thought he was. He is liberated, and now Christ, David, arises, and receives the Kingdom from His Father who says, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of thy Lord.” Christ “is formed” in Paul – where? In his understanding and knowledge, i.e., his consciousness!
And from then on Paul, representative of all of us who also are brought along this path, begins the conscious faith life of walking across Jordan and possessing his possessions! And that really is the whole enchilada, as far as getting this issue settled once and for all for us.
It is some sense the real beginning of our life of service, because it is at this point, using another scriptural analogy, that Jesus returns from his wilderness days of being tempted by the devil. Like us, he had experienced baptism in water and in the Spirit that day at the Jordan with John. And what is the first thing the Spirit does? He drives Jesus into the wilderness for his time of temptation. Just like he did the children of Israel when they fled Egypt, went through figurative baptism in the Red Sea, totally leaving Egypt and its minions behind, and the figurative baptism in the Spirit in the fiery and cloudy pillars. Jesus returned after 40 days, “in the power of the Spirit,” even as the Israelites return after 40 years to cross the Jordan into Canaan, “in the power of the Spirit!”
This is a BIG deal and we pray for opened eyes, hearing ears and malleable hearts!
And we can even further see the same reality being described in the later history of Israel and Judah in the times of the kings. Isn’t this issue the whole of the Old Testament as it relates to the Israelites?
I used to think, “Why don’t they get with it? Why do they keep falling away and serving other Gods? They surely know what happens every time they do it?”
And then there’s God pronouncing curses and destruction on them all the time by the prophets! Our separated consciousness sees that as the actual children of Israel that God was mad at. But no, they were LAMBS FOR US, that the righteousness of God might be revealed in us! (That is what it means when it says, “And all Israel shall be saved.“)
All those pronouncements upon the up and down Israelites, forecasting their destruction, finally enacted in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, were all types for the death of the separated consciousness! And then, their return to the land under Nehemiah and Ezra is but the forecast type of the true Temple, the Second Temple, Second Adam, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it again!”
This is Christ born, not just in the flesh in Palestine 2000 years ago, but Christ born forever in us IN OUR FLESH. This is Christ finally receiving the fullness of the kingdom in US, that we might now not be anymore the first Adam, but now the first Adam has been raised into his rightful eternal inheritance as Second Adam, and shouts “YES I AM!”
The whole Bible shouts it, and we do, too!