Walk not after the Flesh, but after the Breath

In Romans chapter 8, Paul used “flesh” and “breath” for the two contrary ways of living, “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath]” (8:1), “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath]” (8:4). These are simply expressions he defined earlier in his letter, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly [kryptos 2927]; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit [breath], and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (2:28-29).

Paul began Romans with “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth [trusts]; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (1:16). The gospel of Christ by which both Jews and Gentiles are saved is the message that Christ Himself preached: “that they may have glory of men … thine alms may be in secret [kryptos 2927]: and thy Father which seeth in secret [kryptos 2927] himself shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:2,4); “that they may be seen of men … pray to thy Father which is in secret [kryptos 2927]; and thy Father which seeth in secret [kryptos 2927] shall reward thee openly” (6:5,6); “that they may appear unto men to fast … appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret [kryptos 2927]: and thy Father, which seeth in secret [kryptos 2927], shall reward thee openly” (6:18). Salvation consists of walking with conscience toward God in all we do, and never with any motives of receiving praise from people, “whose praise is not of men, but of God.” This is what Paul meant by “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath].”

“For the law of the Spirit [Breath] of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2). This law of the Breath of life in Christ Jesus is the righteous requirements of the law He taught for the Breath of God to raise us to eternal life. The Breath of life comes by the law of Christ—the righteous standard of the law and the prophets as He defined it, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Mat 5:17), “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12). We must live by the righteous moral standard of the law that Jesus Christ taught in His sermon, “except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20).

Christ said that we must hear and do the moral righteousness of the law that He taught, “whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24,26). And Paul said the same: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom 2:13); “the things contained in the law” (2:14); “the work of the law” (2:15); “keep the righteousness of the law” (2:26); “fulfil the law (2:27); “the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us” (8:4); “he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (13:8); “love is the fulfilling of the law” (13:10).

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (8:3). The law couldn’t atone for our sins because of the weaknesses of its priests and sacrifices, “the weakness and unprofitableness thereof … were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death … offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins … high priests which have infirmity” (Heb 7:18,23,27,28). But God’s own Son “condemned sin” by His sacrifice so that “the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath]” (8:4). We’re now dead to our sins so that we should live righteously after the breath, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness” (1Pe 2:24).

“For they that are after the flesh do mind [phroneo 5426] the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [Breath] the things of the Spirit [Breath]” (Rom 8:5). To “mind” the flesh is to “mind [phroneo 5426] earthly things” (Phl 3:19), the things of this world and the praise of men, “whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). But to “mind” the breath, “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [phroneo 5426] on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:1-2). It’s to live with good conscience toward God: “I have lived in all good conscience before God” (Act 23:1); “to have always a conscience void of offence toward God” (Act 24:16); “their conscience also bearing witness” (Rom 2:15); “my conscience also bearing me witness” (Rom 9:1); “the testimony of our conscience” (2Co 1:12); “a good conscience” (1Ti 1:5,19); “a pure conscience” (1Ti 3:9); “for conscience toward God” (1Pe 2:19); “Having a good conscience” (1Pe 3:16); “a good conscience toward God” (1Pe 3:21). Walking after the breath is living morally righteous with good conscience toward God.

Listen to Jesus!

We’re now living in the time Paul said would come, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables [mythos 3454]” (2Ti 4:3-4). The Greek mythos is where the English “myths” is derived. The myths being taught today that the one true God is a Trinity of co-equal Persons, that man is an immortal spirit living inside a body that goes to heaven or hell after death, and that salvation is by faith didn’t come from Jesus Christ. But people have been turned to such myths and don’t want to hear the truth. They won’t listen to Jesus!

Everything the Son said is the truth: “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jhn 1:17); “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jhn 8:32); “And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” (Jhn 8:46); “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jhn 14:6); “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (Jhn 18:37); “the truth is in Jesus” (Eph 4:21).

Jesus claimed He was begotten of God, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son … because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jhn 3:16,18). His begetting was His beginning. Several times He called Himself the Son of God, and twice from heaven His Father called Him “My beloved Son.” However, He never called Himself “God,” and His Father never called Him “God.” Before His death, after His resurrection, and after being seating at God’s right hand, He called His Father “My God.” The doctrine of the Trinity is simply a myth that people want to hear. They won’t listen to Jesus!

Jesus never taught that people leave their bodies at death and go to heaven or a place of fire called hell. He taught the resurrection of the physical body, “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (Jhn 5:29). And He taught that the resurrected body goes to a place of fire called geenna: “thy whole body should be cast into hell [geenna 1067]” (Mat 5:29); “having two eyes to be cast into hell [geenna 1067] fire” (Mat 18:9); “having two hands to go into hell [geenna 1067], into the fire that never shall be quenched” (Mar 9:43). But people want to hear the myth of going to heaven. They won’t listen to Jesus!

Jesus said that we must live according to the standard of righteousness He taught in His Sermon on the Mount or we won’t be entering His Kingdom, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20). That “in no case enter” is that there absolutely will be no exceptions. We must live righteously.

Jesus also said that if we hear and do what He commanded, we’ll be like a house built upon a foundation that won’t fall, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Mat 7:24-25). But if we hear and won’t do what He commanded, then we’ll be like a house built upon sand that will be destroyed, “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Mat 7:26-27). But people want to hear the myth that we simply need to believe and have faith. They won’t listen to Jesus!

After having been seated at the Father’s right hand, the Son gave messages to seven churches and concluded each by calling Himself “the Breath” figuratively seven times, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith unto the churches” (Rev 2:7,11,17,29, 3:6,13,22). These warnings were as if to say, “You had better listen to what I’m telling you because I’m the one that makes the final decision whether or not God will raise you to eternal life by His breath!” Eternal life is by God breathing life back into our bodies in resurrection. And since this determination has been given to the Son, He is the Breath metaphorically.

Being saved by the Savior is contingent upon listening to Him—agreeing with all He claimed, living by all He taught, and submitting to all He commanded. But if we won’t listen to Him, we have no hope of salvation. We’re utterly hopeless and can’t be helped. Paul prophesied of the situation today, “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables [mythos].” People are listening to myths. They won’t listen to Jesus!