Climbing Up From The Crypt
ne of the more intriguing aspects of living in the last generation is found in the realization that a significant amount of Spiritual truth actually emanates out of the larger secular culture – and the continuing fascination of the American populace with horror films, vampire tales, and macabre stories of every stripe is an outstanding example.
Many believers have wondered just why so many are irresistibly drawn to the disgustingly gory films in which some mad psycho stalks, and ultimately murders, the key characters in the movie. The bizarre fascination with vampires and zombies that is evidenced among the nation’s youth, may actually be explained as a Spiritual externalization of the ongoing grip that death has on humanity at large, and America in particular.
Dead To The World, Alive In Christ
Ironically, the Scriptures have told us all along that the “old man,” the one who is symbolically crucified with Christ, will regularly try to climb up out of the crypt, and overcome the Spiritual man who is resurrected through the life found in Jesus Christ. The mature believer knows and understands that one of the primary struggles seen in the life of the believer is our ongoing mandate to kill that carnal self, even as we seek to energize and nourish our Spiritual self:
“For I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
This verse, and dozens more just like it, tell us that by identifying with the death of Christ, our physical life, which is filled with sin, is extinguished. At the same time, by identifying ourselves with the resurrected and glorified Christ, we have seen our inner Spiritual man (or woman) born again, and renewed in His life.
This is more than mere symbolism, for as we exhibit the faith that is required to receive this amazing transference of His life into us, the Scriptures tell us the faith itself functions as a catalyst that releases God’s power, and enables this Spiritual rebirth to occur. In a very mystical series of supernatural revelations, the Word of God declares that God justifies His amazing free gift of eternal life to us because of the faith that is manifested in the process:
“But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Getting Back In The Grave
Ironically, back in the world of the horror genre, we see a real life version of a seemingly endless Night of the Living Dead, where zombie-like Christ-rejecting individuals live in a place where their old man is still dominant. In strange days such as these, we find an eerie example of why the “outer man,” or the “old man,” the one who has been symbolically crucified in Christ, must be consistently put back in his casket, in order for us to continue in the righteousness that is found in the “new man” who has been Spiritually resurrected in Christ:
“…put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. “ (Ephesians 4:22-24)
The flesh and blood man, also called the “natural man,” is the one who is born into sin, and can never see the kingdom of God:
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God…” (I Corinthians 15:50)
But the Scriptures teach us that God has prepared an astounding inheritance for the Spiritual sons and daughters of God, those who have been born again as the Spiritual saints who will share in His glorious kingdom:
“…that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and…the riches of his inheritance in the saints…” (Ephesians 1:18)
However, our old man, the dead man who was born into sin, has more than just a physical body that desires to sin, he also has a carnal mind which is at war with our new man in Christ. It is self evident the term carnal is associated with flesh, as most recognize the connection between the root word and contemporary terms like carnivore (as in a flesh eater), or even carnival (as in a fleshly or festive party-like environ).
This “carnal mind” empowers that old sinner, and just like the vampires who are so difficult to kill, he continues to try to take back the leadership of the believer’s life:
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God…So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” (Romans 8:7-9)
Climbing Up Out Of The Crypt
The very idea of the term carnal being combined with the term mind might seem to be somewhat oxymoronic, but the mind can be controlled through the baser instincts, or from the higher calling of God. For instance, the opposite of the carnal mind is the mind of Christ, and the New Testament exhorts us to allow Christ’s mind, or perspective, to rule over our lives.
“Let this mind be in you, which also was in Christ Jesus. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Philippians 2:5, Romans 12:2)
However, as long as we draw breath, our carnal nature maintains an ongoing war against the mind of Christ; and just like the nightmarish characters seen in the video games and the slasher films, the evil that inhabits this fallen world looks for an opening to turn us away from the way of life.
The New Testament vividly shows how this zombie-like dead man wars against the Spiritually alive man in Christ, and how he or she continues to seek to climb up out of the crypt in order to seize the reins of decision, purpose, and choice.
Knowing there is no temptation that is not common to all men and women, the Apostle Peter urges the believers to continue to resist the evils found in this life, and to persevere in the pursuit of righteousness:
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” (I Peter 2:11)
The Apostle Paul poignantly writes of how his flesh continues to fight against his higher calling in the Spirit, in an ongoing attempt to wrest control of his life. The learned teacher tells us how this carnal mind periodically drives him to do things from which he has chosen to abstain:
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:18,19).
The Victory Is In The Cross
Even though most of us have read the various verses that tell us our victory is found in the cross of Christ, we frequently fail to find the avenue that will expedite the power of God, so that we may resist the Devil’s temptations. Many who continue to struggle with their old carnal nature wonder if they will ever come to the point where they will consider their walk with God to be victorious.
Some find themselves drawn to the rigidity found in the Old Testament law, and the strict conformity mandated by keeping the Ten Commandments, and the various feasts and calendric cycles found in the Old Covenant. Eventually, this course of action will result in a different kind of carnal mind, as even the order and seeming simplicity of strict commandment keeping only postpones a reckoning with our carnal man.
The genuine victory over sin is found in the centrality of Jesus Christ as the perfect embodiment of God in human form. We can compare our struggle with His, and even though He was perfect in all His ways, He was murdered for the sins that we continue to commit.
As we recognize Him to be the actual image of God, we can also see that through His magnificent sacrifice, we ARE joined to the Father – and God’s wonderful forgiveness and grace is extended to us even when, or rather especially when, we fail. Like a Father teaching His boy to ride a bike, when the child falls, His Dad dusts him off and encourages him to try again.
This occurs because God has purposed to re-make us into His children, and that adoption into God’s marvelous inheritance is not removed because we can so easily revert to our evil ways. The sin we commit will always lead us back towards death, but the Holy Spirit always reminds us we that don’t have to continue in the guilt and degradation of our carnal nature, for
“I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Thus, every time we stumble, or miss the mark in some Spiritual goal we’ve set for ourselves, God sees us as His sons and daughters who have fallen short. He doesn’t instantly disown us, or determine He made a mistake in adopting us -- He simply reminds us He desires fellowship with us immersed in His righteousness, not ours.
Sometimes it takes years and years of struggle, but God is longsuffering. Eventually, like that vampire in all the movies and TV programs who ultimately gets a wooden stake through his wretched heart, our old man will truly die through the eternal work found on that wooden cross where he was crucified so very long ago.
- James Lloyd
Copyright ©2009/2010 Christian Media Research
HOME | SNAPSHOTS | BACK TO NEWSLETTERS
© 2009 - 2010 CHRISTIAN MEDIA RESEARCH, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED