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The Battle Within

February 24, 2013

Some believers are weakened by what they perceive as a battle within themselves. You see this portrayed in cartoons and movies as an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other. Some have even gone so far as to say that they have questioned their sanity due to the tug of war that takes place. The truth is that it is the battle between flesh and spirit. Once recognized, we see that we must concentrate our efforts on the spirit, and kill off the unreasonable demands of the flesh.

Bernie Parsons 

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The Battle Within


by Bernie Parsons


Presented to Load church of Christ on 02-24-2013

Presented to Globe church of Christ on 03-03-2013


In the last lesson, I spoke about helping the spiritually weak become strong. There are many obstacles to gaining strength, and we must be aware of what is likely the biggest danger to us.

It is a battle that rages within each believer, a war between the flesh and the spirit.


I want to examine some detailed passages where Paul addressed this situation.


Romans 7:14 "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."


In this part of the writing, the apostle Paul refers to the law of God, which is spiritual, and how it is at odds with the human fleshly body. A person learns the law of God, and in his mind wishes to do it. However, he ends up sinning – why? It is because that there is another law of the body parts, or members, which is sin. This sinful law of the flesh leads humans to sin. It becomes a war of the spiritual law of God in the mind versus the law of sin in the flesh.


How can we win this war? Through Jesus Christ! But, this war is ongoing. It never ceases.


Romans 7:1 "Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."


Going back to earlier verses, we see the complete context of what Paul was writing. In verses 1 through 13, Paul establishes that the Law of Moses, through use of commandments about the flesh, caused the mind to dwell upon those sins, and the body to act upon those sins.


However, in Christ Jesus, we are delivered from that law, and instead, now serve God spiritually. With the mind now centered on serving God and one another, we think less about the flesh. The letter of the law forced thoughts of fleshly sin, but our thoughts are now upon the spirit.


Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”


In Christ, we have left the previous letter of the law, which prompted us to sin by forcing us to think about it all of the time. We walk after the law of the spirit, as did Christ. The sinless savior condemned sin in the flesh. If we live with our minds on the flesh, we oppose the will of God and are sinful. If we walk with our minds on the spirit, we show that we are spiritual.


Romans 8:9 “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.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."


Believers in Christ think and behave in the spirit, not according to the overwhelming desires of the flesh. If the spirit of Christ lives in us, we are the children of God and live spiritually. If we reject the spirit of Christ, we do not belong to Him, or to God.


With Christ in us, a transformation takes place. We no longer think about the flesh and how to fulfill its desires. Instead, we think about His spirit, and our spirits, and we live righteously. Our bodies then become instruments of righteousness, discharging the holy will of God Almighty. We kill off the sins of the body as we walk in the spirit.


We are adopted as the children of God, and must live to please our heavenly father.


We look forward to the redemption – full deliverance achieved by the ransom paid by Jesus on the cross – of our bodies.


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