TODAY -

The flesh profiteth nothing

Lunminthang Haokip *



The Visible Flesh of Man : The human body is a dynamic combo of the body, the soul and the spirit. The body is a lump of flesh that reacts and responds to, and takes orders from the mind and the heart. One can feel pain, touch, see, smell, give signs, and express happiness and sorrow through the bodily flesh.

Within the human body is the invisible soul philosophers throughout the ages, including Aristotle, debated on, as to whether it is possessed only by human beings or also by other biological and non-biological entities as claimed under 'animism.' Socrates and Plato also opined that "the soul must have a logical faculty, the exercise of which was the most divine of human actions."

Yanki Tauber's Take on The Soul: Christians believe that it's only 'men and women of God's creation that have the immortal soul within the body. The 19th Century Lawyer cum song-writer, Gerald Horatio Spafford, wrote in his popular hymn, "It is well with my soul." Rabbi Yanki Tauber, a Jewish-Hasidic scholar, put it beautifully this way: "The soul is the 'self, the T that inhabits the body and acts through it.

Without it, the body is like a light bulb without electricity, a computer without the software, a space suit with no astronaut inside. With the introduction of the soul, the body acquires life, sight and hearing, thought and speech, intelligence and emotion will and desire, personality and identity." This statement compliments Genesis 2:7, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

The Spirit of Man: The spirit resides deep inside the inner core of a human being. It is at odds with the carnal oddities of the flesh and is grieved when a person excessively panders the flesh at the cost of harming the spirit. The spirit cannot die with the body. It also gives evidence to the universal truth than God created 'man in His own image.'

The Maker keeps the spirit in the 'masterpiece' of his creation, man, like the black-box is placed inside a plane that survives any kind of air-crash. Of it, the prophet Zechariah said thus: "The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him (Zechariah 12:1)."

One may aspire to achieve many more lofty targets while being alive, but sudden expiry of one's life will make the body 'return to dust' and the spirit, to the Creator. Ecclesiastes 12:7 confirms this bitter truth: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

Refusal of Pride to Abide : The countdown had begun on the short earthly Ministry of Jesus when he uttered the words given in the text in John 6:63. Descending from His throne in heaven wherein He reigned over the highest divine affairs, His one-point agendum was to teach and save mankind from the agony of hellfire.

The Jewish religious leaders, equipped with their age-old traditional doctrine, could not digest the finer contents of the 'new approach' to salvation delivered for their own good by the Son of God. Their self-righteousness was their undoing. Notwithstanding repeated revelation of the Truth of heaven by the OT prophets, most Jewish leaders, refusing to yield 'trusted ground', staunchly stood by the 'man-modified' beliefs that exchanged 'minds' down the centuries, and opposed the 'only Way to-eternal life.'

The Spirit is Life : While many could not understand the gems of His words, the few who understood, were not willing to accept, 'as if they belonged to a rival 'modem day political party.' Whereas the Messiah preached on 'things of the spirit that would retain life after death, the taught, including His own disciples, 'who were in the flesh', stumbled over the 'figurative appeal that they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood.'

The holy practice adhered to even today, which is called the Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper by believers all over, is a symbolical rite to remember the Saviour in referring to 'bread' as His body and 'wine' as His blood. Jesus' answer to 'meandered minds-gone berserk' who trusted more on the misguided fleshly half-baked-knowledge of their own, in a bid to drive His measured message home was: "It is the spirit which quikeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63)."

Nothing Good Conies out of The Flesh : Racism, com-munalism, fanaticism, hatred triggered by people's success or 'good name', apartheid, clannishness (closer home) and ultra-nationalistic emoting seem to sentimentally ride roughshod over individual merit, achievement and personal stand of the often-wronged victims of mob 'fists of fury.'

Fleshly aggressiveness on the part of one group is counter-produc-tive in stirring up 'hornet's nests' of many more similar aggressiveness of other groups in the opportune time. Parts of the world we live in, grope hopelessly in fear and depravity because the dangerous 'will of the flesh' is let loose to derive sadistic pleasure out of cruelty of men on men.

Our planet could have been a much better place to co-exist in had the key decision-makers in privileged positions taken the wise warning of Prophet Jeremiah recorded in Jeremiah Ch. 17:5, "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD."

The Just Suffered : Jesus Himself, in the worldly sense, was a victim of ill-conceived fleshly plotting that germinated out of 'potion-ed notions' ignited by the age-old 'green-eyed-monster' called jealousy, that defied Godly caution and endangered reason.

Enraged by the well-deserved sobriquet sensible Jews used to hail Jesus, 'King of the Jews', the chief priests and the multitude got stirred up to bay for the blood of Jesus, shouting, "crucify Him, crucify Him (Luke 23:21)."

The Governor of the land, Pilate, who could have saved the shedding of 'innocent blood,' passed the buck on to his bete noire, Herod the king, with whom he clinched a temporary 'truce deal' to appease the people.

To fulfill God's will, Christ was ultimately crucified for no fault of His; nevertheless, the descendants of the 'willful perpetrators of evil' had to pay a heavy price for having falsely accused the "Lamb of God" of being 'guilty' of make-belief 'sedition' etc.'

The Absence of Goodness in Man : We are aware of the negative potential 'expletives' hidden in our psyche nursing which may time them to bomb with an exploding thud in times of 'chance ignition of combustible atmosphere.' Yet, we draw comparisons with 'worse' players in social field as the 'yardstick' and somehow, with tongue-in-cheek and un-checked, consider ourselves doing 'much' better in goodness. It is the prompting of the flesh that soft-pedals the evil streak in us to go self-indulgent in the misleading path to the own-righteousness rating.

No Goodness in Self: To know our spiritual worth, it takes a close encounter with the extreme suffering of Jesus, who submitted Himself to undergo third-degree treatment on the cross so that sin-infested mankind may receive first-degree righteousness by accepting Him as their personal Saviour. Saul, who later was known as Saint Paul worldwide, was no different from us prior to his Damascus road experience.

Later, after being rebuked tersely by Christ Himself, he candidly wrote in in Romans 7:18: "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."


* Lunminthang Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an IAS (Retd)
This article was webcasted on July 24 2022 .



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