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16.3 The Rule of Flesh

16.3 The Rule of Flesh
© 2016 Christ Revealed Bible Institute

The Rule of Flesh
To see Christ alone is to live with no consideration regarding the flesh except as His chosen place of revelation. To regard the flesh in order to “bring it under subjection” is to turn one’s back on Christ in Person and on New Covenant Salvation.

But the absence of John 14:20 from the beginning is both astonishing and disheartening.  

We must keep the distinction clear. To live in doing what is right and not doing what is wrong is to live in the tree of knowledge. To live in the tree of life is to live IN another Person, present and real inside of us, something totally different.

Deceiving Their Own Selves
Those who are not abstaining from the flesh and those who are abstaining from the flesh are living in the same place, both are living entirely IN the flesh, both are ruled by the flesh, both see the flesh as the biggest thing in their sphere. And those who are abstaining from the flesh ARE NOT. The ONLY thing they are doing is deceiving their own selves, and they are deceiving their own selves so that they can boast.

The only way any Christian could ever “abstain from the flesh” in obedience to the gospel is to see Christ alone, to determine, to ask and believe, to speak that Christ Jesus is my only self. As Christ is all, first, then, after that, anything not Christ vanishes away. That’s why we walk by faith and not by sight.

Those Who See Talk
Those who see the devil talk about how the devil is doing this and the devil is doing that and all the antics and temptations of the devil. Those who see the flesh talk about how the flesh is doing this or that, how the flesh is such a burden, how wonderful it will be when we no longer have a flesh keeping us away from Christ.

Those who see Christ, talk about all the good things of Jesus inside of them. They talk about the freedom of the cross, the boldness to enter into all that is God right now by Blood. They talk about rivers of life always flowing out of them. Yet to most Christians, these last are heretics and blasphemers, teaching a “sugar-coated” gospel.

Christ and the Flesh
When I first joined myself to the fellowship of communities under the ministry of Sam Fife called “the move,” the flesh and Christ were about equal in emphasis. Sam Fife taught the false view of the cross which we will explore in the next session, and that our job was to get the flesh under our feet. But he also taught Christ in you and that life comes by the river of the Spirit.

Sam Fife was killed in a plane crash in April, 1979. I attended the first move convention after that, in July, 1979. At that time, God placed the tree of life and the tree of knowledge before the entire fellowship.

Defeat Sin FIRST
The move was poised between two. Another minister, Lester Higgins, had preached a word of Christ our only life, in the October 1978 convention, so profound and so glorious that we were all shouting in joy. Sam Fife loved that word. But he was gone. And in the July, 1979 convention, as we were singing a song of confidence in our victory over death arising from Christ alive in us, the brother who became the leader of the move after Sam Fife stopped us in the middle of the song. He made this statement, strong and clear. "You will not defeat death until you defeat sin, first."

I Could Not Hear Life
And in one bold movement, in one instant, exactly as with Adam in the garden, the entire fellowship turned its back on the tree of life to face the tree of “do not sin.”

Lester Higgins came through the community where I was living at the time several months later. He preached again his message of Christ our only life, but there was a great sadness upon him. I heard his word; I knew that he was preaching the truth. But I could not hear it. Such a Christ was simply far away from me.

I spent the next nineteen years under the most anointed teaching of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that, I think, has ever been preached on this earth.

An Intensified Christian Experience
No more talk of defeating death by Christ our life; now, we were going to overcome the flesh first.

Living in Christian community is the same Christian life as not living in community – except for one thing. Christian community intensifies everything. In regular Christianity, you are involved with your brethren a few hours a week. In Christian community you are involved with your brethren many more hours than you are not. The experience of church known by most Christians in a year is known in community in a week or two.

There is nothing any Christian knows about overcoming the flesh, both from the Bible and in practice, that I do not know better.

Why Does God Anoint?
And the thing I know best is that the result of such a practice is NOT anything that I want be anywhere near.

Yet here is my dilemma. I cannot deny that Buddy Cobb, the leader of those fellowships from 1979 until now, is a humble man, that he loves Jesus, and that he is anointed of the Spirit of God. Those things are entirely true of him. Yet most of what I write, when I try to show what is wrong with Nicene Christianity, I am writing against the specifics taught to me by Buddy Cobb.

Why does God anoint with His Spirit those preachers who teach the fulfillment of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, obey, do not disobey, as the only way into pleasing God?

Blaming God
God anoints them for exactly the same reason that He anointed Moses to give the law to His people.

I read a claim recently that the God of Moses was not the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, but rather Satan. People make such statements because they do not know God. Man is the cause of everything wrong with the universe, deliberately, viciously, constantly. Yet humans like to blame God, not only for the consequences of their own actions, but for their own decision to live by self. God is the always the first “victim” of man’s cruelty. Calling the God of Moses, “the devil,” is just one more act of cruelty.

Why, Father? Why?
Attacking sin in the flesh is just one more way to accuse God of falseness. “God, I hate the way You made me.” So why does God anoint such a word? Why did He place the tree of knowledge before Adam and place within it the anointed cherub who covered all things with God’s favor?

We will see that Augustine, the one whose word cemented Nicene Christianity permanently into the thinking of all Christians, loved Jesus with all his heart. If he had not, his writings would never have been effective.

Why, Father? Why? Why did you place us in these bodies of flesh that always lust after things You told us not to do?

For Our Sakes
God anointed the cherub in the tree of knowledge for the same reason that He anointed Buddy Cobb in my life. For us. For us. For our sakes.

You see, God cannot win the desire of His heart, the burning passion of His soul, God cannot see His pro-thesis fulfilled, God’s pro-knowing remains bound up inside of God, His pro-determination is utterly ineffective – except for one thing. Man, himself, human beings, you and me, must choose with all the willingness of our hearts to climb the tree of life and to eat of the fruit we find there.

But we won’t do it. Every human being from Adam until now,  save Jesus, has said, “No thanks, God. I won’t do that.”

I Will Never Please God
Have you any idea of the agony of God’s heart? Actually, we do. It’s called Gethsemane.

There is one door only into life, but no one will regard that door, no one, until something else happens first. That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19). Let me define “mouth may be stopped,” or, better yet, “Shut up!” It means the total, absolute, and final realization that “I” do not, cannot, and will never please God. You see, that knowledge must come first BEFORE we will see the value and love of Jesus’ offering of Himself to us to be our only self, the only story we speak.

The Gift of Despair
God cannot be known by His creation unless individual human beings are willing, with all their hearts, to eat of the tree of life, to enter into full Covenant Symmorphy with Him. And the wicked thought ruling over the center of all human obstinacy against God, the rule of the flesh, is “‘I’ must do what God says; ‘I’ must please God.” – No, you will not.

Why did God anoint with His Holy Spirit Buddy Cobb in my life? Because I would not have listened to him if he had not been anointed. And if I had not listened to Buddy Cobb for 21 years, then I would never have come to total despair in myself. And if I had not come to despair of ever pleasing God, I would never have seized life with all the ferocity of my heart when Jesus offered the fruit of the tree of life to me.

The False Lord Flesh
Lord Flesh is called a “test” given by God to man, a test of evil. Our flesh is the earthen vessel in which the treasure of Christ is found, that all power may be of God and not of us.

The false Lord Flesh is hostile to everything that is Christ and must be acknowledged by fighting against it. Our flesh is the very flesh of Christ, flesh of His flesh; as we see Him alone, He takes full responsibility for it.

Lord Flesh is filled with sin; our flesh is filled with the Holy Spirit. The false Lord Flesh must die permanently before Christ can be known; our flesh is all the life of Christ revealed in our dying body.

Our Flesh
Lord Flesh is filthy because of all the earthly lusts raging in it. Our flesh is pure and holy, sprinkled with blood and washed with pure water.

Christians use the false flesh to keep themselves far away from God and God far away from them. We enter with all that is our flesh boldly into the Holiest place in the universe, and there turn around, and from there go forth every moment in these bodies of the likeness of sinful flesh as the revelation of God, just as Jesus did.

To Christians, the flesh rules. To us, Christ is everything we are, especially our flesh.

Next Session: 17. How Was the Cross Perverted?