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What is the flesh?

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… (John 1:14 KJV)

The flesh is a crucial truth found in the Bible from the Old to the New Testament. It is one of the words that often trigger sinful or negative impressions in our minds. However, if we step back and review the usage of the term flesh, we find a range of meanings that are critical for us to understand ourselves and how God, sin, and Satan operate through us.

The key to understanding the flesh is the truth that there are distinct meanings of the word. This is a simple but crucial principle of correct Bible interpretation. Of the senses of the term, there are three that are I will show in this brief devotional. First is flesh as the body, followed by flesh as our entire human nature. The third is flesh as the seat of sin. In John 1:14, the Word became flesh, which means the Word became a human being. It does not imply sin.

In Galatians 2:20, Paul tells us we live in the flesh. Again, this means we are living here on the earth in the body. When the scriptures use the flesh against the Spirit, it refers to our pure human nature without the Holy Spirit against the influences of the Spirit of God. And when Paul commands us not to walk in the flesh, he refers to the seat of sin in our fallen human nature that rules us principally through lust. Even here, the flesh is not the same as the body but refers to inward and outward aspects of our nature.

Read more: What is the lust of the flesh?

Meditate

What is the meaning of flesh as used in John 1:14, Galatians 5:16, 19? 

Apply the Word

Understanding the word “flesh” will make a powerful impression on who you are as a human being, a believer, and as the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Be conscious of the different meanings of the flesh.

Pray

Ask the Father for a deeper understanding of how His Spirit dwells and operates in us. 

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