By and large, I find that most Christians find Paul’s “new flesh” theology to be more of a metaphor and not really all that applicable to real life. Sure, our old flesh of Adam and Eve is dead and we’re remade new in the new resurrection flesh of Jesus, but few seem to think or feel as though that has changed anything. They still feel just as trapped in the sins of the old flesh as always and everyone around them communicates that that’s just life.
I think we often get so stuck in the false reality that our sin paints for us (ie. “You’ll never be free of this no matter what you do”) that we often can’t believe in Paul’s Holy-Spirit-infused-pre-resurrection body theology, even though that’s the true reality of the Christian. The old flesh is so loud and vicious and the Holy Spirit is often so calm and gentle that we struggle to listen to him. On top of that, we know the old flesh so well that we can’t really imagine anything different.
But Paul’s new flesh theology explodes with color. He knew it was reality, not just because of the revelations the Spirit was teaching him, but by his own experience. The Christian reality truly is that our sin doesn’t have to win anymore, because we have the Holy Spirit in us who has defeated sin and will do so every time we yield ourselves over to him. Sure, it will be a struggle at times, but it’s one that we can always win if we’re willing to partner with Christ; for even the resurrection is already-but-not-yet. That is to say that our sin-free-resurrected-bodies that are to come are already breaking through today when we partner with the Holy Spirit to conquer the old flesh.
So if no one ever told you before, I’ll tell you now in hopes to change your direction: Yes, you can overcome your sinful compulsions, addictions and attitudes. No, you don’t have to stay there.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Romans 8:1-11 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net. Below are the various AI-created pictures I typed into existence via Mid Journey to mock up artwork for today’s post.