What is the Flesh?

While our inward man (spirit) is being transformed into the likeness of Christ,

our outward man (flesh) stubbornly pulls us in the opposite direction. Paul said 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.” Paul then described the tug-of-war which occurred between his spirit and his flesh, a struggle to which many believers can relate. Thankfully, this battle can be won through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let’s discover what the Bible says about flesh (basar in Hebrew, sarx in Greek).

Bible on a table
Bible on a table

Your flesh is your physical, earthly body. The biblical word flesh literally means the soft substance of the living body which covers the bones and is permeated with blood. “Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews” (Job 10:11). Flesh is also mortal and is naturally susceptible to fatigue, illness, and pain. The Bible tells us that “all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust” (Job 34:15).

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (I Peter 1:24).


Your flesh by nature serves its own lusts. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15). This is because your flesh is under the law of sin, and the law of sin ultimately leads to death. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13). “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death”

  • (Romans 7:5). Thanks be to God Who has provided us a way of escape from the condemnation of the law of sin!
  • Although your flesh is inclined to serve sin, your renewed mind (in your spirit) will serve God and bring the
  • flesh under subjection to the Holy Spirit. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:25). “For we are the circumcision, which
  • worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).

Your flesh establishes habit patterns to help you cope with life.

Flesh patterns can be defined as ways you operate independently of God. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit”

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