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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 10/18/09
We looked at two important subjects that every believer must have an understanding of: First we looked at the Angelic Conflict. Then secondly we looked at the subject of glorifying God. We have now begun a third important principle of doctrine we need to learn and apply:
Knowing or recognizing no one after the flesh.
This particular subject is derived from, therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. (2CO 5:16)
The phrase “according to the flesh” is the key here because it is a reference to knowing or recognizing no one on the basis of our own flesh or the thought pattern of our old sin nature. Recognizing or knowing no man after the flesh means after human viewpoint.
When you regard people from the flesh or human viewpoint you feel threatened by them. You recognize someone is better looking than you or someone has a better personality, better talents, etc. Whatever it is you feel, recognizing or knowing others according to your flesh eventually causes you to feel threatened by people, by their success, by their talent or ability. This inevitably results in such sins as resentment, jealousy, insecurities, bitterness, paranoia, or uncertainty about yourself. When in reality, you should be having confidence.
Recognizing or knowing no man after the flesh means that you believe ZEC 4:6b, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”
So the apostle Paul says in 2CO 5:16, Therefore from now on…, notice the word therefore because it is a reference to verses 14-15. Because He died for all (verse 14), because we who live do not live unto ourselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf (verse 15). Therefore, in 2CO 5:16, from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh or according to the old lifestyle of the OSN, or according to our old way of thinking which is human viewpoint. Recognizing or knowing no man after the flesh means on the basis of the former standards of our fleshly human viewpoint. This is when we get were proud, arrogant, always insecure, feel threatened.
This means that if we are going to live the spiritual life, with such knowledge of knowing the angelic conflict and knowing the glorification of God, we are to no longer look at life the way we use to. We now have a new way of thinking because as verse 17 puts it, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.Because of all this, the fact that we are new creatures, and that we have a new system of thinking, and that the Lord Jesus Christ died for all, we are now qualified to love as His ambassadors (2CO 5:20). With this new mental attitude of recognizing or knowing no man after the flesh, we have an entirely different attitude toward people and God’s will for our life and their life. In1TI 2:4, He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2PE 3:9, The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.\
Recognizing or knowing no man after the flesh means that people no longer disturb us or upset us because we are not thinking with our flesh. We are not thinking with a judgmental critical presumptuous viewpoint. We have not entered into and become controlled by the great transgression, the sin of presumption. This is why we read in PSA 19:12-13, Who can discern his errors? [who really knows why they think the things they think, say the things they say, do the things they do]Acquit me or clear me of hidden faults or Clear me from hidden and unconscious faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
Note that presumptuous sins or the sin of presumption is called the great transgression. All of us need to be kept from such sins as presumption. By the way, let’s say that your conclusion is even correct, remember the words of our Lord to Peter. JOH 21:22b, “What is that to you? You follow Me!” Or the words of the apostle Paul, ROM 14:4, Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
So in 2CO 5:16, when we obey the command to recognize no man according to the flesh; our capacity for love increases, our flexibility and tolerance and understanding develops, we live in our brand new nature no longer looking at people the way we use to. The apostle Paul says in 2CO 5:16b....even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. This does not mean we are not to know the Lord according to His flesh, because in His flesh He was perfect. t means we do not even try and know Him according to our own flesh or on the basis of our human viewpoint and presumptions.
What is knowing Christ according to the flesh or from human viewpoint? It means that before we grew up spiritually, we lacked the doctrine to really know Christ from the new man or the new creatures we have been made to be. We were religious unbelievers or babes in Christ, immature believers, ignorant of doctrine. Therefore the Lord could not speak to us directly because as Paul said in 1CO 3:1-6, And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
In 2CO 5:16, Paul is saying from now on we know no man according to human viewpoint even though we have known Christ after human viewpoint yet now we no longer know Him like that. What does this mean? It means that we are no longer minus Bible doctrine. We now love Him because of the doctrine we have in our soul, which is printed on the neurons of our brain. We are back to verse 14, the love for Christ controls us or keeps motivating us. We now have a new attitude toward Christ and therefore we now have a new attitude toward ourselves and toward people.
We love, because He first loved us. (1JO 4:19)
We are no longer thinking like babes or immature believers, When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things (1CO 13:11). This is when the dynamics of divine viewpoint takes over.
Back in 2CO 5:17 which tells us why we can have fantastic dynamic power printed on the neurons of the brain. The moment we personally believed in the Lord Jesus Christ there was a tremendous amount of work accomplished by God the Holy Spirit and the grace of God.
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2CO 5:17)
This means that when you don’t recognize or know yourself after the flesh you believe that you are a member of the Royal Family of God. You recognize that your transgressions have been wiped out  like a thick cloud (ISA 44:22). You recognize that your God is merciful to your iniquities, and  remembers your sins no more. Because you think with the mind of Christ, with divine viewpoint and not human viewpoint, you recognize PSA 103:12, As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
What mind do you think with? The divine viewpoint or the fleshly carnal human viewpoint of the OSN? Knowing no man after the flesh means understanding and believing passages like ISA 38:17c For You have cast all their sins behind their back. In this passage Isaiah says in effect, It seems it was good for me to go through all those troubles. Throughout all Isaiah’s problems, failures and sins, the Lord held on tight to him as his lifeline. The Lord never lets us tumble over the edge into nothing.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord; And He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. (PSA 37:23-24)
Knowing no man after the flesh means that you believe and apply passages like JER 31:34c For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. Knowing no man after the flesh is based upon the believer having compassion for others. It is compassion which motivates forgiveness. There must be compassion on the part of the one who forgives. And God is compassionate.
We read in PSA 78:5-38 that God established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should teach them to their children, That the generation to come might know, {even} the children {yet} to be born, {That} they may arise and tell {them} to their children. That they should put their confidence in God, And not forget the works of God, keep His commandments, not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation. They forgot His deeds, His miracles that He had shown them. He wrought wonders before their fathers, In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; And He made the waters stand up like a heap. He led them with the cloud by day, all the night with a light of fire. He split the rocks in the wilderness, And gave {them} abundant drink like the ocean depths. He brought forth streams also from the rock, And caused waters to run down like rivers. Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert. They put God to the test By asking food according to their desire. Then they spoke against God; They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? "Behold, He struck the rock, so that waters gushed out, And streams were overflowing; Can He give bread also? Will He provide meat for His people?" Therefore the Lord heard and was full of wrath, a fire was kindled against Jacob, And anger also mounted against Israel; Because they did not believe in God, And did not trust in His salvation. He rained down manna upon them to eat, And gave them food from heaven. Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance. He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens; He directed the south wind. When He rained meat upon them like the dust, Even winged fowl like the sand of the seas, Then He let {them} fall in the midst of their camp, they ate and were well filled. While their food was in their mouths, The anger of God rose against them, And killed some of their stoutest ones, And subdued the choice men of Israel. In spite of all this they still sinned, did not believe in His wonderful works. So He brought their days to an end in futility, their years in sudden terror. When He killed them, then they sought Him, And returned and searched diligently for God; And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer. But they deceived Him with their mouth, And lied to Him with their tongue. For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant. But He, being compassionate, forgave {their} iniquity, and did not destroy {them}; And often He restrained His anger, And did not arouse all His wrath.
So, this is why Paul said in 2CO 5:14, For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;  The love of Christ has to do, first of all, with His deity. Jesus Christ is God and He loves you, He always has loved you. He has the power to love you and He has the consistency to love you. HEB 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever (HEB 13:8). Jesus Christ loves us. How do we know that? The one who loved us and gave Himself for us, 2CO 5:14b one died for all, therefore all died. The love of Christ is grace manifested in His soul and it is something that can be duplicated in us even though we possess and old sin nature.
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2CO 5:14-15)
Verse 15 reveals the next installment of grace in the soul, we are not going to live for ourselves, which is subjectivity, but to live for others, which is objectivity. The phrase that they who live should no longer live for themselves, themselves is the personal pronoun heautou which is a dative of disadvantage. Meaning that it is a disadvantage that you live for yourself. How do you live unto yourself? Forget doctrine, ignore it, reject it, stray from it, build up scar tissue.
So, knowing no man after the flesh means that you believe and apply passages like PSA 85:2 You did forgive the iniquity of Your people; you did cover All Their sin. Think of it, the Lord has not covered some of your sin, but all of your sin.
Recognizing or knowing no man after the flesh means that you believe the apostle Paul when he quoted David in Psa 32 when he said in ROM 4:7-8, Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account. Have you become so familiar with these verses and this principle of doctrine that it no longer has an effect on your life. 1JO 2:12 says that Your sins are forgiven for His names sake.
Knowing no man after the flesh means that you believe the best about other Christians and apply passages like 2CO 5:17,Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.When you don’t recognize or know yourself after the flesh you then believe the word of God when it teaches you that you have equal privilege and equal opportunity. Equality comes to us at the point of entering into union with Christ through the baptism of the Spirit. Because of this there is no such thing as a handicap in Christ. The baptism of the Spirit eliminates the handicaps of life. Whatever they may be, real or imagined, GAL 3:27-28.
All handicaps of life are eliminated through the baptism of the Spirit. Handicaps from environment, education, genetics, bad decisions, poverty, etc. all of these handicaps real or imagined are knocked out completely. You have exactly the same privileges as all other believers. Equal privilege is emphasized therefore in 2CO 5:17, when it says, you are a new creature. As a new creature you have the ability to have the strength and power to live the Christian life. If we are commanded to do something we may rightly expect to receive form the Lord the power to do so. But if you do not feed the new nature the old nature will prevail.
What does Paul mean by saying in ROM 13:14, Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for your flesh? He meansput on the new man and do not be foolish enough to feed that old man within (OSN). Don't be a fool! Do not be fool enough to lead yourself into temptation. Do not be fool enough to judge yourself according to the flesh. Do not make a provision for your flesh to allow it to condemn yourself resulting in the condemnation of others. Do not put your flesh in a position where you know it will be stimulated. This includes self-introspection, or being around certain people that have a bad influence upon you. Avoid them. You do not pray about this or argue about this. If experience teaches you anything, it teaches you that you do not have the power or the ability to change yourself. If experience teaches you anything, it teaches you that certain people bring out your OSN so, make no provision for your flesh.
Withhold food from the old man. Make him starve and die of lost of vitality. Mortify the deeds of the flesh. The greatest way to mortify something is not to use it. If you do not use your muscles, they will become weak. If you do not use your brain, you will become stupid. However, you need to concentrate on who and what the new creature is. We need to also be aware of the fact that whenever someone gets occupied with putting off the old man there is a tendency to become legalistic. They are forever examining themselves and dwelling upon their sins. They try to get rid of their sins thereby imposing certain restraints upon themselves. Some of them become morbid, introspective and depressed. Stop being what you are not, be what you are.
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