I. THE FALLEN MAN BECOMING FLESH
Genesis 6:3a is the first verse in the Bible which says something concerning the fallen man as flesh. This verse indicates that man fell to such an extent that he became totally flesh. The fallen man is flesh.
II. THE FLESH VERSUS THE SPIRIT
The flesh is versus the Spirit. In Galatians 3:3 Paul said, "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" The flesh is condemned and repudiated throughout the entire book of Galatians (1:16; 2:16; 3:3; 4:23, 29; 5:13, 16-17, 19, 24; 6:8, 12-13), and from chapter three every chapter gives a contrast between the flesh and the Spirit (v. 3; 4:29; 5:16-17, 19, 22; 6:8).
III. THE FLESH LUSTING AGAINST THE SPIRIT
The flesh not only is versus the Spirit but also lusts against the Spirit. Galatians 5:17 says, "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these oppose each other that you would not do the things that you desire." There is a warfare between the flesh and the Spirit.
IV. THE WORKS OF THE FLESH
THAT DAMAGE THE CHURCH LIFE
The apostle Paul spoke of the works of the flesh that damage the church life (Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Cor. 3:3-4). Here I do not list all the works of the flesh; I mention only the works of the flesh that damage the church life.
A. Enmities, Strife, Jealousy,
and Outbursts of Anger
Enmities, strife, jealousy, and outbursts of anger are of one group, concerning evil moods and fleshly feelings.
B. Factions, Divisions, Sects, and Envyings
Factions, divisions, sects, and envyings are of another group, concerning parties. A faction develops into a division, and then a division becomes a sect. Jealousy and envyings are two different words in the Greek text. Jealousy is actually envy in a smaller state. When jealousy is intensified and becomes greater, reaching "manhood," it turns into envy. Envy is more bitter and more severe than jealousy. Paul classified jealousy with the first group of evil moods, but he classified envy with the second group of parties. This second group is not just a matter of evil moods but of evil doings. Envy begins with jealousy. When jealousy becomes mature, it is envy. The above two groups of items are the damaging items to the church life revealed in Paul’s writings. First Corinthians 3:3 and 4 show that the flesh was a damaging factor to the church life at Corinth.
(Basic Lessons on Service, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)