130 – THE DESIRE OF THE FLESH 4
It was amply proved in the previous essays that man, since the Adam of Gen.2:7, was made from the dust of the earth, that is, of flesh; and he was formed with the desire of the flesh in him, because there is no flesh that does not have the desire of the flesh in it (Gal.5:24). This desire of the flesh, an indispensable component to the spreading of the species, is part of the nature of the flesh of men, and deceives men in respect to their understanding and reason of things. Paul tells us, “If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit” (Eph.4:21-22). This deceit drives men to the filth of the flesh (2 Pet.2:10). This lust forces men to practice wickedness, leading to death. Paul says that, when he wished to do good, he could not do it, and was led to the practice of evil because he was made of flesh. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not” (Rom.7:18-19). The carnal lusts of man conceive sin without the consent of this man, and the consummation of sin begets death (James 1:15). The desire of the flesh is, therefore, the wicked power that destroys every ethic and moral values needful to the true life—that is, the spiritual life connected to God the Father—and it kills, spiritually.
1. The desire of the flesh feeds vanity, and vanity is a futile, frivolous thing; it is the desire to shine, show off, and attract all attention of others to self, ridiculous self-conceit, vainglory, and ostentation. Solomon, the wisest and richest of all men, said, “And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure…Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind” (Eccl.2:10-11). “Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas” (Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. Eccl.1:2). Why did Solomon make this declaration? Because he was pulled down by the desire of the flesh and of the eyes. Solomon had seven hundred women and three hundred concubines (1 Kings 11:1-3).
2. The desire of the flesh does not know modesty, for modesty is caution, secrecy, and honesty; not to show oneself in public, not to exhibit oneself, even when one is clothed. Women nowadays exhibit themselves without clothes, because they banned secrecy.
3. The desire of the flesh, the power that rules human actions, suffocates chastity, driving women to libidinous practices. A shameless young lady undresses before her boyfriend. It is important to remember that the concept of chastity has disappeared more than forty years ago. Modern society is amoral. In the times of the apostles there was lack of chastity and the apostle spoke of those times: “They also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention” (1 Tim.5:13).
4. The desire of the flesh destroys chastity. Now, chastity is the abstinence of sensual pleasures, purity. Those who do not listen to unprofitable talk are chaste. Those who do not look at immoral and indecent scenes are chaste. The orgies of Dionysius, celebrated in Egypt and in Greece where the cult of sex, lust and dissolution ruled, which later passed on to Etruria, and after that, to Rome, under the title of bacchanalia, with its scandalous banquets and libertinism—all of it in honor to Bacchus, the wine god. In Rome the corruption was so great that, with the advent of Christianity, chastity joined to faith became the fundamental point of the Christian life. It grew so much that many dissertations on virginity were left to us. Tertulian, Cyprian, Ambrosius, Jerome, Augustine, and Leandro wrote in the western literature. In the east Metodio, Anastasio, Basilio, Gregory of Nice, John Crisostomo. All of them agreed in one aspect: When one lost virginity in the body, it had been long lost in the mind and soul. The will was contaminated when the body yielded.
5. The desire of the flesh develops the unchasteness. Chastity is the act of restraining oneself. Moderation is a virtue, daughter of chastity. The chaste person does not look at the other’s wife, neither at his daughter’s. The chaste is free from blenorrhage, AIDS, and other venereal diseases. All venereal diseases are for the unchaste and lascivious. King David’s unchastity was the cause of his downturn and of his lineage. If David had checked his carnal impulse, he would not have committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, the Hittite. He would not have planned the death of Uriah to rid himself of the adultery, and he would not have kindled the vengeful wrath of Jehovah, who sent such curses upon his house that Amnon, David’s firstborn and heir to the throne, violated his sister Tamar, practicing a monstrous incest. Absalom, Tamar’s brother conspired against Amnon, and killed him. Finally Joab publicly killed Absalom. What David did was a disaster of eternal consequences. Innocent died for the sins of the father, for this was the justice of Jehovah (2 Sam.11-12).
6. The desire of the flesh is the essence of the old man and has the purpose of feeding prostitution, multiplying greed, spreading wantonness and intemperance, fostering dissolution and pornography, accepting every aberrations—all the things the Word of God condemns (1 Cor.6:10; Eph.5:3-5; 1 Tim.1:9-11).
7. In 1 John 2:15-17, we read that the desire of the flesh does not come from the Father, neither is in accordance to the will of the Father. All those who walk along the desires of the flesh do not get saved. Man was created with the desire of the flesh in him, though, and Jehovah affirms that he was who made man (Is.45:12; Jer.27:5). Jehovah declares himself to be the God of all flesh (Jer.32:27). Now, the will of the Father is to create a new man in Christ, with no desire of the flesh in him (Col.3:5-10; Eph.4:22-24). It would be unthinkable for the same God to create man programmed to do evil and then condemn him for this, and finally send his Son to save man. The millions of men who lived before that were all condemned, and after Christ the doors of heaven were opened to all men, full of desires of the flesh as those who were condemned.
Even a blind person can see that Jehovah interfered in creation to change the direction of the purposes of God the Father. So Jesus came down to save and recreate man, as was originally the purpose of the Father in the beginning, and to prove that the Father is love. What is so staggering is that Jehovah, having sent plagues, curses, having promoted wars and death, may be considered good.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira