The Christian's Resurrected Body

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'O Death, where is your sting, O Hades, where is your victory?'

This past Sunday was that day on which many throughout the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Naturally, I had the privilege of preaching on that topic, mainly from 1 Corinthians 15. We looked at the 'Fact' and 'Significance' of Christ's resurrection. One trail I was tempted to go down was Paul's discussion about the Christian's resurrected body, later in that chapter. Allow me to list briefly what is in store for every child of God on that glorious day, when 'this mortal puts on immortality.'

1. Our resurrected body will be like Jesus's resurrected body. As was discussed this past Lord's Day, the risen Christ has become the 'firstfruits' of those Christians who have 'fallen asleep' (1 Cor. 15:21). Just as farmers can forecast the coming harvest based on the crops that appear first, so too can we forecast what type of resurrected body Christians will receive on that day. Jesus's resurrected body is a pledge of our resurrection, guaranteeing that it will happen, and indicating as to what type of resurrected body the Christian will receive at the last day.

2. Our resurrected bodies will be incorruptible. The word 'incorruptible' in verse 53 literally means 'imperishable,' while the word 'immortality' means 'exempt from death.' The bodies we all have now will see decay after they die. Like the items in your kitchen pantry, our present bodies have a shelf life and expiration date. Not so with the Christian's resurrected body. Just as we have a soul that can never die, we shall receive a body that will never die. Christians whose bodies are alive at the time of the resurrection will be transformed into this glorious state (v.51). The 19th Century Southern Presbyterian, Robert Alexander Webb, made the following comparison between the current and resurrected bodies of believers:

'His best powers begin to wane when he is grown; he totters in old age; lies down in the limpness of death; he is carted to his grave; the future body on the other hand, will be instinct with strength and energy, inexhaustible in its resources and clothed with undreamed capacities, possessing the immortalities of youth; the pleroma of endurance and the powers of unimagined achievement.'

Even those dear saints who've had disabilities and deformities in this life will have such glorious bodies! Psalm 103:3 says that God 'forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases!' The stammering tongue will sing his praises, the deaf will hear the Savior's voice, and the lame will jump for joy!

3. Our resurrected bodies will be recognizable. If in fact we may look at the resurrected Jesus in Scripture and make inferences about our resurrected bodies as Christians since he is the 'firstfruits' of the resurrection, then we will be able to recognize each other in our resurrected bodies. (See Mt. 28:9, 17.) This ought to bring joy to the Christian, because he will be reunited with those beloved believers who have gone to glory before him! As a pastor, I look forward to seeing not only Christian relatives who have already died, but also those beloved saints I've pastored over the years who've also gone to heaven before me. I also look forward to meeting other Christians for the first time. I'm hoping to meet saints such as King David, Rahab, the Apostle Paul, and of course, seeing Jesus himself, face to face!

4. Our resurrected bodies will be similar to our present bodies, but gloriously better. Cornelius Venema wrote that there will be 'substantial continuity' between the two. Take Jesus's resurrected body, for instance. It was in a 'pristine condition' and at a 'higher level,' notes Louis Berkhof. J.I. Packer says that it was 'fully glorified and deathless.' How can I believe this about the Christian's future body? I can simply look at the resurrected Jesus on the pages of the gospels, and at Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 15:20. Jesus was recognized by his disciples (Mt. 28:9,17), enjoyed a meal with them (John 21:15), and had flesh and bones (John 20:27-28). Yet, as Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:42-49, our resurrected bodies will be glorious, powerful, spiritual and heavenly! When one reads the gospels, he will not only find that there was something different about Jesus's glorified body, but that it was also similar to his pre-resurrected body.

As I mentioned this past Sunday, even unbelievers will be raised from the dead (John 5:28-29). Their bodies, however, will be suited to endure the fires of hell forever. So the message is to flee to Jesus, who has become 'a life-giving spirit' (1 Cor. 15:45). Flee to the one 'who lives and was dead, and is alive forevermore!' Flee to the one who 'has the keys of Hades and Death!' (Rev. 1:18)

Christian, as your present body ages, and you feel its pains and limits, hope in the resurrection! Are you suffering from cancer, from deformities, from pain? Hope in the resurrection! Christian, do you struggle with sin? Hope in the one who will deliver you from 'this body of death!' (Romans 7:24) For in the New Heavens and New Earth, in which righteousness dwells, there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, for the former things, (which are our present things), will pass away! (See Rev. 21:4)

Taking Back Sunday (part 2)

Ex. 20:8-11/Ps. 92  

Some people just love to make lists. Some make grocery lists, to do lists, or project lists.  Perhaps this appreciation for such lists can be attributed to the satisfaction of knowing that we've accomplished something, and are working our way towards completing our goals.  

Yet this concept of marking off an item on a list can be deceptive when it comes to Sunday.  Perhaps you've noticed sometimes it seems that Christians 'check off the box' on their list of things to do on God's holy day.  "We've gone to church, now we can...," the thought goes.  This mindset overlooks what God actually requires of the day, and that, for our good.  

For those who might be a little nervous, wondering whether or not I am going to intrude upon 'family time,' or something like that, have no fear.  We will simply seek to state what is clearly taught by Scripture. 

Today I simply want to note that the Lord's Day is just that.  It belongs to Him and it lasts the whole day.  Exodus 20:9-10 says, 'Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God...'  While all of our time belongs to the Lord, and in one sense, all of life is worship (Rom. 12:1-2), there is to be a whole day set aside for the Lord our God.  It is the day of rest, the day He 'hallowed.'  (Ex. 20:11)  (I'll address the change of the day from day seven to day one at a later time.)   

The commandment itself refers to the Sabbath day, not the Sabbath morning.  This is why the Jewish custom was to observe the day from sundown to sundown.  (The Genesis account of creation, in stating days one through seven, includes 'morning and evening.' Gen. 1:1-31)  My point is this:   If we think we are keeping the Lord's day merely by attending morning worship, we are mistaken.  To have the attitude that we've 'checked the box,' and think therefore it is ok to go about our normal business for the rest of the day, is contrary to the commandment.  

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Psalm 92, entitled 'A Song for The Sabbath Day,' says that it is good...'to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night.'  This is why historically, Christians have worshipped on Sunday morning and Sunday evening.  At the very least, we ought to have such 'book ends' on the day, 'morning and evening,' and historically, those bookends have been 'morning' and 'evening' worship.  Thus the Westminster Shorter Catechism, speaking about the fourth commandment (remembering the Sabbath Day), says that the requirement for the commandment is keeping holy to God...'one whole day in seven' (Q. 58), and that the Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days' (Q. 59).  The day belongs to Him!          


-Pastor Kevin          


Taking Back Sunday

This past year a certain cable tv provider launched a commercial campaign entitled, 'Make Room for Sunday.'  As a Christian and as a pastor, the message was offensive to me: ‘Make NFL games your priority on Sundays.’ Part of my growth as a Christian has been largely due to my understanding of the biblical view of Sunday, and so the message of the cable tv ad is in that respect, a challenge to my own spiritual growth.

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In one of these commercials, a young brother and sister were on their front lawn selling lemonade, on a bright, Sunday afternoon.  A jogger stops by to do her neighborly duty and buy a cup.  The mother of the siblings rushes out, pouring all of the children's lemonade into one, colossal Solo cup. There is humor in that the jogger is surprised by the amount she gets for the price (more than needed), the children are out of lemonade, and the mother's motive becomes clear:  she wanted to bring the children back inside, so she wouldn't have to look after them, and thus miss the NFL game.  The commercial climaxes with the mother and two children on the sofa cheering for their favorite football team. Thus, she 'Made Room for Sunday.' All of this was made possible by the cable tv provider.  That’s what Sunday is all about, right…time with family?

I suppose the ad could have been a little more palatable for Christians if it showed mom or dad rushing the family out of church early in order to get home for the game.  But that would raise the issue of Sunday being for the Lord, and not for professional sports-not good publicity for cable tv or the NFL.  Or maybe the issue is just not on the radar for the majority of Americans, perhaps even Christian Amercians.  

As a Christian and as a pastor, I want to encourage you, not to 'Make Room for Sunday,' but to 'Take Back Sunday!'  Make it a priority!  See that you and your family cherish it, not merely as a commandment, but as the gift that it is, from the Lord, and in the words of Isaiah 58:13, to 'call the Sabbath a delight!'  In order to help with this, our next few installments will be on this theme, 'Taking Back Sunday.’


-Pastor Kevin 


Two Ways To Live

Have you ever wanted to share the good news of Jesus Christ, but hesitate because you might not know what to say?  You're not alone.  We've all been hesitant to share the gospel with others for the same reason.  Sure, there are other, more serious reasons as to why Christians don't share their faith as did the early church. (Acts 8:1-4)  The question is, can you give a reason for the hope that is within you? (I Pet. 3:15) 

For now, I'd like to introduce to you a simple, six point outline of the gospel of Christ.  When I say 'simple,' I mean that it is easy to memorize, and is very basic.  Certainly it should be expanded upon at some point, but it contains the core elements of the gospel message. They are:  

1:  Creation.  

2: Sin.  

3: Death, Judgement (Hell) 

4: Jesus' life and death.  

5:  Jesus' resurrection and glorification. 

6: Call to Faith and Repentance 

'Protestant?'

“…God’s Truth Abideth Still…”  

On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis on the door of the Wittenburg castle church.  These were his ‘talking points’ which he wished to discuss with the church of his day. The PROTESTant Reformation was already in progress, but this hurled the issue into the forefront.  Here are some major figures of the Reformation, the movement from which churches like our have sprung.  Hope you enjoy! -Kevin


John Wycliffe  Known as “The Morning Star of the Reformation,” Wycliffe called the corrupt clerics into account. Appealing directly to the Bible, he rejected the Roman Catholic view of the Lord’s Supper, (called “transubstantiation”) and called the pope “Antichrist.”  Wycliffe, and his preachers, called “Lollards,” attempted reformation in England.  In 1382, he (possibly with the help of others) translated the Bible into English.  

Jon Hus  Influenced by the teachings of Wycliffe, this Czech preacher convinced many of his beliefs.  Eventually he was excommunicated but appealed in 1414 at the Council of Constance.  The church imprisoned him for heresy and burned him at the stake on July 6, 1415.  Many of his followers continued in what became the Moravian Church.  

Gutenberg Printing Press  The advent of this invention in 1492 by John Gutenberg allowed the Reformers to “quickly” copy tracts, books, and especially the Bible.  Prior to this press, men would take a slate of wood, write their text on the wood, and then carve it leaving the raised letters as the type.  Gutenberg’s press featured movable type which made the process much faster.    

Erasmus’s Greek New Testament  In 1516, this “Prince of Humanist learning” deposited his Greek-Latin New Testament.  Most every reformer used the Erastian text.  Ironically, Erasmus would prove to be an enemy of the Reformation, publicly debating Luther over the free will of man. 

Martin Luther   As early as 1515, Luther taught “Justification by Faith.”  On October 31, 1517, this Augustinian monk nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle.  Although this act typically invited public debate, it acted as a catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.  The Roman Church threatened him with excommunication in 1520.  He refused to recant and was excommunicated.  

Diet of Worms  In 1521, Luther was again asked to recant at this official assembly (Diet) of Roman Clerics.  After 24 hours of deliberation, Luther gave his famous answer, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or plain reason…and my conscience is held captive by the Word of God…I cannot and will not recant…Here I take my stand, God being my helper.  Amen” Luther ate not his words, nor any worms!

John Calvin  This French Reformer developed and systematized many of the teachings of the Reformation with the first edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion.  This work was first published in 1539/1541 by Calvin at the age of 27.  This fugitive of the Roman Catholic Church fled from his native land in order to procure a life of peace, solitude, and study.  Halted by Farel in Geneva, he helped to reform the church in Switzerland.  Calvin is also known as the father of Presbyterianism.  

William Tyndale   This English Reformer studied Greek at Cambridge only to later translate Erasmus’s Greek New Testament into English.  He probably did this while at Wittenberg, visiting Luther and others, seeking a place of refuge. He completed his revised version in 1534. Tyndale was strangled and executed at the stake in 1536.     

 John Knox  After they attacked St. Andrews the French took several prisoners, one of which was John Knox.  After his release, he worked with Thomas Cranmer in England, and eventually made his way to Geneva, where he studied under John Calvin and pastored a congregation of English refugees.  He returned to Scotland and the rest is “history.”   


Provisional Godly Fear

Today we continue with the topic of 'The Fear of God,' summarizing the work by Arnold L. Frank.  Last time we discussed the fear of the ungodly (non-Christian), and the fear of the godly (the Christian).  The ungodly have a fear of God in three areas: a fear that seeks to supplement the completed work of Christ, the fear of the 'almost Christian,' and the fear of the terrified.  Among the godly, there sometimes exists the fear that questions God's wisdom, the fear that questions God's mercy, and the fear that shrinks back from God.  All of these, including those on the part of the godly, are ungodly fears!  What then, constitutes a godly fear of God?  

In chapter 4 of his book, Frank begins to discuss what he calls a 'Provisionally Godly Fear.' This fear of God is provisional, because by nature it is temporary.  It is also godly, because of its author and what it produces.  It is brought about by the Spirit of God, who works to some degree in the hearts of all men, but especially in the godly, and in the latter, unto a specific end-conviction of sin. (Jn. 16:8) Some, however, like Felix, become convicted by the gospel, but say they want to hear more at a more 'convenient time.' (Acts 24:22-27) For Felix, that time never came!   

Once those who see their need for Christ by the Spirit and the law of God and put their faith in Jesus, they move from 'Provisionally Godly Fear,' to 'Perpetually Godly Fear.'  In other words, there comes a time in a person when 'the Spirit ceases to be the 'spirit of bondage again to fear (Rom. 8:15a), and becomes the 'Spirit of adoption,' (Rom. 8:15b).' This marks a transition from a godly, temporary fear, to life long, godly fear among the godly.  The turning point is one's conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ, and was so aptly conveyed in what is probably the most famous hymn in the English speaking world:  

  T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear

And Grace, my fears relieved

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed

-John Newton, Amazing Grace


Next time we will examine this 'Perpetually Godly Fear' in more detail.   

The Fear of God

To this day I still have childhood memories of my dad tinkering around the house.  When he was not at work, he was either in his recliner with his nose in the newspaper, working on one of our cars in the garage, or fixing the plumbing in the kitchen.  My dad was a 'jack of all trades,' with the exception of one thing: electrical work.  He had a healthy respect or 'fear' of electricity and would rarely try to perform such repairs.  

When it comes to the 'fear of God,' some have defined it as having a 'healthy respect' for God. God is powerful. God can also be deadly! (Think of Lot’s wife, Nadab and Abihu, Ananias and Saphira, Herod, etc.) But should our fear of God drive us away from Him?  What does it mean 'to fear the Lord?'  In his book, 'The Fear of God,' Arnold L. Frank helps to break down what the Bible says about such fear.  He mentions no less than six types of biblical fear, some good, some bad.  Today I would like to touch on the first example, 'Exclusively Ungodly Fear.'  

At the core of this ungodly fear is the inherent knowledge of God who is of 'purer eyes than to behold evil...' (Hab. 1:13). Both unbelievers and believers (godly/ungodly) will at times express ungodly fear.  Allow me to summarize.  

The Fear of The Ungodly 

The fear that needs to supplement the work of Christ.  Frank writes, 'This is the fear of those who are persuaded that something must be added to the necessity of faith in Christ in order to have a right standing with God.'  This has been expressed in the Protestant Reformation as being 'justification by faith plus works.' The Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, might come to mind.  Frank explains that it was Luther who, 'in a prolonged vigorous effort tried to supply that which would be sufficient to give his soul confidence that God was pleased with him.' This fear is ungodly because it recognizes God's holiness but not man's complete sinfulness, and in an attempt to appeases one's guilty conscience the unbeliever seeks to outweigh bad works with 'good' works.  

The fear of the 'almost Christian.' This is the fear of the ungodly who are 'in the house,' but are not 'of the house.' They 'have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof' (2 Tim. 3:5). This is the fear of the one who is the wicked and lazy servant of Matthew 25:24-30.  When he addresses his master as 'Lord,' Frank warns, 'he is being only technically correct and superficially polite.' They honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from him (Matt. 15:8).  

The fear of the terrified.  This is the fear that drives men away from God.  It is the fear of fallen Adam and Eve in the Garden that causes them to attempt to flee from God's presence (Gen. 3:10). This characterizes the prodigal who has gone away from his father's home, without hope and without God in the world.  

The Fear of The Godly 

The fear that questions God's wisdom.  Instead of saying with Job, 'The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord,' this fear drives one to ask, 'Why me?'  Franks explains that this fear is ungodly because 'there is no agreement with the sovereign rights of an infinitely wise God to send in circumstances that He knows to be best.' 

The fear that questions God's mercy.  This is the fear that takes notice of afflictions but not of God's daily mercies.  It is that of the indolent servant in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30).  

The fear that shrinks from God.  This is the fear that is seen at Mount Sinai (Ex. 20:18-20).   As Thomas Manton sated, 'we are to fear God, and yet we are not to be afraid of God.' 


So then, what is a godly fear?  Great question!  I hope to answer that over the next few entries!  

For now, Grace and Peace!  -Kevin 

[See 'The Fear of God, A Forgotten Doctrine,' by Arnold L. Frank, Copyright 2009 (2nd. ed.), Nordskog Publishing.]    

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Several Benefits of Presbyterianism

The abuse of a thing does not necessarily negate its validity.  If I gorge myself on food, or sleep too much, it doesn't follow that food and sleep are evil.  (See Ecclesiastes 3:13 and Psalm 127:2). So it is with all God given forms of authority, including church government.  

In a recent post I briefly laid out why we believe that the Presbyterian form of church government is biblical.  Now I would like to list several practical benefits of Presbyterianism.

Safety.  "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14), "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you" (Hebrews 13:17). We who are the sheep of the Lord's pasture need protection from wolves in sheep's clothing.  We need guides and teachers of the flock who not only feed us, but warn us of destructive doctrines of demons.  It is part of the elder's job to provide this protection (Acts 20:28-30).  

Wisdom.  This is related to the first benefit.  Elders are to be godly, mature Christian men (I Timothy 3:1-7).  Do you need counsel concerning your calling in life? Your marriage? Living the Christian life? Then why not go to a trusted elder?  The Lord has put these men in our lives for such things.  Of course, 'test the spirits,' and be discerning, comparing their counsel with the word of God.  (See the Bereans in Acts 17:11).  

Accountability.  Christians are called to exhort one another daily (Hebrews 3:13).  We all need accountability.  Sometimes we sheep start to leave the fold.  If we wander from the straight and narrow, part of their job is to come after us, and call us back to the fold (Matthew 18:1-20).  Moreover, within a Presbyterian form of government, all of the elders are accountable not only to the Lord, but to one another in the Lord.  This is true locally at the church they serve, as well as regionally at the Presbytery level, and nationally at the General Assembly level.  If elders fail (and they sometimes do), then it is up to the broader church to correct them.  

Balance.  Related to accountability is balance.  The elders of the local church are to see to it that the pastor is sound in doctrine and life.  Moreover, because the elders of the local church are accountable to each other regionally and nationally, this should, and often does provide balance.  What do I mean?  Not all churches in each Presbyterian denomination look the same, but they all have the boundaries of Scripture, and hold to a doctrinal standard as well as a form of government.  Wisdom and accountability should keep the churches balanced, in that there should be no 'off kilter' doctrines or practices within the body.  In our own denomination, for instance, you will find that our ministers and elders hold to differing views of eschatology (last things), which views must be in harmony with our doctrinal standards (The Bible! and the Westminster Confession and Catechisms).  In other words, while there will be strong leaders in the Presbyterian system, the concepts of parity (equal authority) and accountability should prevent authoritarian, or even cultic personalities and the practices associated with them.  

Perhaps these are more talking points than a complete list.  Can you name a few more blessing of biblical, elder rule in the Church of Jesus Christ? 


Blessings! 

Who 'Runs' The Church?

Who runs the church of Christ? Is it one man at the top, or is it the whole congregation? Here at Providence, we agree with those who say that Christ alone is the head of the church. (Eph. 5:23) How exactly, though, does the Lord Jesus govern his church as he is now at the Father's right hand in heaven? As you might have guessed, we believe that the Bible answers this question.

Years ago a pastor named Thomas Witherow (1824-1890) wrote a piece on this very subject. In his work is entitled, 'The Apostolic Church, Which Is It?' he notes that some form of church government is inevitable, and that through the ages, there have been three recurring forms: Prelacy, Independency, and Presbyterian. One need not look for long in Cumming to find Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian churches, all of which fall into one of these forms of government. To Witherow's point, even non-denominational churches have some sort of structure.

'Prelacy' refers to rule through a line of individuals such as archbishops, bishops, deacons, archdeacons. Historically these have been Roman Catholicism, the Church of England, and Methodists, to name a few. Churches that have followed the independent model include congregationalists and Baptists, although our Reformed Baptist brethren often are elder rule and sometimes are members of associations that are similar to Presbyterian governments. The Presbyterian form of government is one ruled locally by its elders (a session), regionally by its presbytery (the elders who assemble regionally), and nationally by its general assembly (the elders who assemble nationally.) Obviously, Presbyterians hold to this form, as well as other Reformed churches.

Witherow explains that there are six principles found in Scripture concerning the government of the church, and then argues that the presbyterian form best meets those principles. (What did you expect?)

Here are those principles:

1. The office bearers were chosen by the people. (Acts 1:13-26; 6:1-6; 14:23. 'Appointed in Acts 14:23 refers to a vote by stretching out the hand.)

2. The offices of bishop and elder are identical. (Titus 1:5-7 'elders/overseer' are the Greek words 'presbyter' and 'episkopos.' Acts 20:17, 28-32; Philip. 1:1. It's been pointed out that the different terms describe the character of the man fulfilling the office, and the function of the office, namely that he is to be a 'mature' man, and that the function is 'rule.' The practical result is that of parity between all the men who hold this office.)

3. Each NT church had a plurality of elders. (Titus 1:5; 14:23; Phil. 1:1; Acts 20:17)

4. The act of ordination was performed by the presbytery. (I Tim. 4:14; Acts 13:1-3)

5. The privilege of appeal was to the assembly of elders, and the right of government was exercised by them in their corporate character. (Acts 15:1-23; Acts 16:4)

6. Christ is the King and Head of the church. (Ephesians 1:20-23; Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18; Mk. 12:17)

Hopefully this will give some rationale as to why we are 'Presbyterian' in government. In a later post, I hope to demonstrate some of the practical benefits of such a government. Until then, the Lord Bless you! -Pastor Kevin

The Flesh's Counteroffensive

 'It is every man's duty to endeavor to repent of his particular sins, particularly.'                                    -Westminster Confession of Faith 15.5 

For the past few months our ladies' fellowship has been trekking through Lundgaard's 'The Enemy Within,' a book about the power and defeat of sin.  The work serves as a practical help in the Christian's fight against the flesh.  The chapter entitled 'Loving God With All Your Mind' struck me in particular.  

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After challenging readers to think carefully about what it means to love God with our minds as we engage in the battle against sin, Lundgaard raises the issue of the flesh's counteroffensive, with which every Christian will be familiar. Once we determine to fight against sin, the flesh will tempt us to the following:  

1.  Don't get specific.  "The flesh wants your mind to be content to think in general about what please God," Lungaard explains.  "For example, sin tries to persuade your mind to be happy with having a general aim of doing things to the glory of God, without ever considering particular ways to glorify God in your marriage or your work or in a conversation."

2.  Be content with naked duty.  'The deceitfulness of the flesh says, 'You ought to pray, so pray; you ought to tithe, so tithe; now you've done your duty, so go and do what you want.'   

3.  Get into a routine.  "The ultimate success of the flesh," says Lundgaard, "is to get you to obey perfunctorily."  In other words, the flesh would be just fine with us 'going through the motions.'  (Amos 5:25-26 addresses such a mechanical, heartless and outward conformity to God's word.)       

We need to realize that the flesh will resist our Spirit given desire for Christ likeness, in these specific ways.  The solution, as Lundgaard later shows, is to keep our eyes and affections focused on the cross of Christ!  (Heb. 12:1,2).