11-17-20 Worship Rhema of Flesh and Spirit music or anything can’t be mixed along a scale
Just like this truth, “if a = b then b = a” in math, which is the symmetric property of equality, just as “if a not= b, then b not= a” by the property of negation, the Lord said to me: “You have heard it said that ‘You cannot perfect in the flesh what was begun in the Spirit.'” Yes, I remember that was said in the NT – turns out it’s Galatians 3:3 where the Jewish Christians were being tempted to go back to obedience to the OT. Yep, Law-keeping is “in the flesh.” But how does this fit the math equations?
This is a lot to digest, because most Christians and worship musicians are doing just that – trying to use “in the flesh” resources and abilities or skill-sets to finish out, complete, or perfect the things that belong to the Spirit’s realm, like obedience, prayer, worship, ministry, etc. But Christians are made by the Spirit and thus start out that way, and so they should have had evidence of God-events (i.e., “demonstrations of the Spirit”) at their new creation. That’s what the early church taught. I didn’t until I was water-baptized, and that is no doubt when I was saved because I felt the Holy Spirit overwhelm me and take the burden of sin from me. I had gone to numerous bible studies, studied the bible, and even believed in its truth for many months without any evidence that God was within me until I was water-baptized!
Well, the next part God said really blew me away: “What you haven’t heard before that is equally true is that ‘you cannot perfect in the Spirit what is begun in the flesh.'” Think about that! You can’t improve on, finish out, complete, or perfect the actions of the flesh by adding the things of the Spirit to them. You can’t make a demonic black-metal song a Christian, godly song. You can’t make greed okay by using it to help your megachurch get bigger. You can’t make homosexuality okay by becoming an Episcopalian or Methodist because those churches will likely approve of your LGBTQ decision. The Bible still clearly says that all these are works of the flesh condemned by God, just as living in adultery, pornographic lust, stealing, or fraud. In fact wherever on a 1-10 scale the action of the flesh is, it is still flesh unless it is 0. Only then can it possibly be Spirit.
Galatians 5:17 also explains the “if a not= b, then b not= a” symmetry of negation to understand the above: “For flesh lusts/craves (a) against (not = ) the Spirit (b), and the Spirit (b) against (not = ) the flesh (a), for these are opposed (not = ) to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (a will not lead to b, nor b lead to a). What? Yes, we can accept the flesh lusting for things that are against or opposed to the lusts/cravings of the Spirit (a not= b), so we become blocked from the good we inwardly crave to do (a will never lead to b). We all have had that Romans 7:14-25 failure experience that Paul describes of himself as a Jewish-Christian. But the Spirit also lusts/craves things that are against or opposed to things that the flesh lusts/craves to do (b not= a), thus blocking the flesh from accomplishing what it desires (b will never lead to a). Now that is the victorious Romans chapter 8 life by the domination of the Spirit experience that Paul wants all Christians to get to. This is exactly what God says in Ezekiel 36:27, “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules.”
The key to experiencing victory in the Christian life is to get from a lifestyle of discouraging defeat of Romans 7 to a lifestyle of encouraging victory in Romans 8. But how? There is no gradual transition! You can’t ride the fence, adding a little Spirit to better the flesh or a little flesh for pleasure to worsens the Spirit. They absolutely oppose each other, so like oil and water, they won’t ever mix, no matter how much you shake the bottle. You can’t keep one foot in hell and one foot in heaven because they are too far from each other. The only way to get from chapter 7 to 8 is complete surrender and death to self in order to be resurrected with Christ to a completely different-in-kind New Life – and the the starting point is Romans 6 water-baptism. But the continuation of this surrender is mindset and lifestyle of “offering our bodies as living sacrifices” in Romans 12. Surrender is by definition 100%. “The seed must fall to the ground and be buried before it can raise to new life,” and “We must take up our cross daily.” Both are required to live victoriously! The first is a defining event and the second a process that recognizes failure but then encourages determination to get back up from falling and persevere in the race to the finish line.