Dying To The Flesh

Haftarah Reading: Pesach (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
Gospel Reading: Romans 8:1-17
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

Pesach teaches us so many truths they would hardly fit in one book, so let’s focus on just one here.

Through abstaining from leaven during Pesach, we learn the necessity of denying our flesh and walking in the Spirit. It teaches us how to live in Yeshua’s Kingdom, where we can’t cling to our own will but must adopt the will of our King. But this isn’t a heavy burden . . . just read Romans 8 to remember how marvelous this type of living is. The King’s way, the way of the Gospel, is the way of life. As Romans 8:1-2 so beautifully declares, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua. For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (TLV*)

Accepting Yeshua’s sovereignty in our lives causes the Holy Spirit to come and dwell within us: “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Ruach – if indeed the Ruach Elohim dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Ruach of Messiah, he does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:9)

The Spirit breathing new life into us, dead in our sins, is graphically illustrated by the famous passage in Ezekiel 37:1-14. Although that passage is primarily speaking of Israel’s return to the Promised Land, it’s a very similar process to the Spirit’s work in our individual selves. Compare Ezekiel 37:5-6 – “Behold, I will cause Ruach to enter you, so you will live. I will attach tendons to you, bring flesh on you and cover you with skin. Then I will put breath in you. You will live. You will know that I am Adonai.” – to Romans 8:11 – “And if the Ruach of the One who raised Yeshua from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Ruach who dwells in you.”

So if the Spirit dwells in us, empowering us to live like Yeshua (“For all who are led by the Ruach Elohim, these are sons of God” Rom. 8:14), “we do not owe anything to the flesh, to live according to the flesh” (Rom. 8:12). Why should we be concerned about living in the flesh? “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). Many of our daily choices are based on our flesh, what will satisfy our physical and self-interested desires. We make the choice to snap at our family member because they annoyed us; we pass on the chance to speak blessings to our friends because we’re too busy with our affairs. We can all think of something we do every day to cater to our flesh.

The more we make these choices instead of yielding to the way of life the Spirit wants to teach us, the more our spirits will become deadened like Ezekiel’s dry bones. Instead of becoming increasingly conformed to Yeshua, thinking His thoughts and doing His deeds, we become increasingly accustomed to living life our way and not hearing His voice. The process is subtle, but this is what happened to Israel.

But Adonai is always beckoning. We can stop making choices to please ourselves and start choosing His way at any time – but the sooner the better. Ezekiel 37 shows Israel at the bottom of their pit, when they are repentant and ready to receive the Ruach, which will give them power to live in Messiah’s Kingdom. “I will put My Ruach in you and you will live. I will place you in your own land. Then you will know that I, Adonai, have spoken and that I have done it.” (37:14) May we always be attuned to the work of God’s Spirit and make the choice that reflects Yeshua.

*TLV: Tree of Life Version