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The physical aspect of human beings, which distinguishes them from God and is therefore frequently used in the NT as a symbol of human sinful nature in contrast with God’s perfection. (The Greek word for “flesh” is sometimes translated by other words and phrases in the passages cited in this theme.).
As individuals or in relation to others Ps 84:2 See also Ge 2:23-24; Ge 29:14; 1Co 15:39 The following two examples from Paul, where the normal word for “flesh” underlies the translation “body”, make clear that to live “in the flesh” is normal human experience; the phrase does not necessarily imply that human nature is sinful, even though in many other instances a specific connection between “flesh” and “sin” is intended: Gal 2:20; Php 1:22-24
The tendency to sin Ro 7:18 Paul does not mean that no goodness at all exists in people; nor that the physical aspect of human beings is inherently evil. He means that humans are invariably infected by evil and subject to its power. See also Jer 17:5
Confidence in the law is futile Ro 8:3 Because of the sinfulness of human nature, God’s law is powerless to bring people into relationship with God; Gal 3:3 Even the attempt to find acceptance with God through keeping his law is an act of the sinful nature because it involves rejecting his offer of salvation through his grace. See also Ro 7:25; Php 3:3-9
God’s provision of church discipline in eliminating the sinful nature 1Co 5:5 The discipline of excluding a sinner from the church community is intended to bring him to repentance and so abandon his sinful course of action. Repentance provoked by physical suffering is possibly also in mind.
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