16. How Was the Flesh Exalted?The moment Christians turn from seeing Christ alone in order to "deal with their flesh," they have now exalted the flesh above Christ. Even if they enjoy some measure of success in "ruling over the flesh"; it is most certainly the flesh itself ruling over them.
This truth is absolute: Christ must be ALL first, entirely by the declaration of our faith, then, after that, as Christ continues to be the only life we acknowledge, every shadow that is not Christ quietly vanishes away.
What we want to know, however, is how, in the history of the Christian church, did the flesh replace Christ as the big deal inside of Christians?
Lesson 16.1 Descent into Darkness begins with the issues of opposition already addressed by Paul and John even as they wrote their letters, Judaism and Gnosticism. The lesson then traces, not so much names and dates, but rather, the issues in the church by which the flesh rose to preeminence in the human and Christ was driven far away.
Lesson 16.2 The Absence of Christ discusses how Christ our life was not ever really known by the church. The lesson then uses Simon Stylites, who placed his flesh upon a pillar because he believed it to be far stronger than Christ, as an illustration of the practice of flesh subduing flesh in a unending cycle of futility.
Lesson 16.3 The Rule of Flesh presents the experience of the author in how and why God anoints preachers who teach the knowledge of sin/do not sin, obey, do not disobey, as the Christian gospel - entirely for our sakes, that we might seize hold of life when Jesus offers Himself to us.