Flesh: Good or Bad
The Greek word sarx, “flesh,” has a wide range of meanings—some positive and some negative. Positively, it can mean simply the physical body (Acts 2:31), humanity in general (John 1:14), or all living creatures (1 Peter 1:24). As part of God’s creation, “flesh” in this sense is good. However, Paul most often used the term in a more negative and technical sense for the sinful disposition of humanity after the fall and our inability to obey in our own strength (Romans 7:18). One theological dictionary notes, “Everything human and earthly is sarx, and as people trust in sarx in this sense, it becomes a power that opposes the working of the Spirit. . . . Subjection to sarx is not fate but guilt. A life oriented to it serves it and carries out its thinking.”1
- Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey W. Bromiley, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 1005.
Taken from Michael J. Svigel, “Flesh: Good or Bad,” Let’s Talk about Our Walk, Part 2, in Supernatural Living in a Secular World. Copyright © 2009 Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.