Did Jesus Come in the Likeness of “Sinful Flesh,” or “Sinful Nature”?

God sent his Son in the likeness of what?  In the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3).  What does that mean?  It means all have sinned by the use of our human body.  Look around and watch people sin with their flesh.  They sin with their tongue (lying, etc.), with their hands (stealing, killing others, etc.), with their feet (walking in places where sin abounds and where they will sin), they sin with their eyes (what they watch), etc. etc. etc..

So God sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (flesh that had sinned, not because of their nature as falsely taught, but by application).  Jesus came in the flesh that was weak.  He hungered, he got thirsty, he grew tired, he slept, he aged, he was capable of bleeding to death just like other humans.  Why?  Because Christ had mortal flesh as we have and dies the same as mortal flesh dies.

1Co 1:25  “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God  is stronger than men.”

2Co 13:4 “For though he was crucified through weaknessyet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.”

Christ could not put away sin in the flesh unless he totally identified with the flesh.  In order for Christ to overcome flesh, he had to dwell in flesh and be subject to its temptations and weakness.  And now that God sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, he was faced with temptations in all points like as we are (Heb. 4:15), yet Christ did not give into the temptations of the flesh (no one, including Jesus, was/is fighting some mysterious “other self” that co-exists, striving for supremacy.  This is pure philosophy).

Jesus was faced with temptations in all points as all human beings are, but he did not sin, he walked according to the Spirit of life.  Jesus, in human flesh, overcame the human flesh where all others had failed.

Heb 2:14 “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

Heb 2:15 “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The human race alone has the authority to deal with sin in the flesh.  This is not saying that flesh in itself is sinful, it is sinful because we have used our flesh as an instrument to sin. Jesus took part in the same flesh and blood that he might triumph in the same flesh.

Heb 10:19-20 “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;”

The Greek word “sarx” is always translated “flesh” (as in fleshly body), and nothing more.  Note in the verse above that it tells us about the nature of flesh in general.  Jesus had “flesh” like we have.  He appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh (flesh that had been indulged in sinful behavior by all others).  Was it Jesus’ nature that appeared sinful or his fleshly body?  The obvious answer is that it was his fleshly body and nothing more.  It would be heresy to say that Jesus appeared in the likeness of sinful nature, which is how the NIV translates the word “sarx” at times.

Rom. 8:13 “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.”

Note how flesh has to do with the deeds of the body.  We are the ones who can control our body.  What manifests in the body is what comes out of the heart of a person.  (Matt. 12:35)

“Sarx” = “flesh” and nothing more.

More later…

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