Self Justification – Part 2


The root of the problem is not with justification but with self. The Bible calls it the flesh or carnal mind. The fundamental nature of the flesh is to trust our own reasoning over God’s Word. Faith cannot be achieved or managed by the flesh.

Galatians 3:1-9 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? After starting in the Spirit, are you now finishing in the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing, if it really was for nothing? 5 Does God lavish His Spirit on you and work miracles among you because you practice the Law, or because you hear and believe? 6 So also, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 7 Understand then, that those who have faith are the sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and foretold the gospel to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Berean)

What happened in the Garden of Eden?

Genesis 3:22-23 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. (ESV)

Why is the carnal mind such a bad thing? Not only was it birthed in disobedience, “self” became the replacement for God as man’s total provider. Man became self-aware and  began using reason and feelings as his guide. He became self-reliant, self-seeking, selfish, and independent.

Philippians 3:3-5,8-9 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has reasons he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day… 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but rubbish, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (NKJ)

Carnal ideas will never produce spiritual fruit.

Romans 7:18  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. (NKJ)

Romans 8:3-8 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (NKJ)

James 3:14-18 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (NKJ)

Jeremiah 17:5-10 Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. 7Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. 8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. 9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? 10I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds. (NKJ)

John 5:30 Jesus said, “I can of my own self do nothing…” John 15:5 “…apart from me ye can do nothing.”

Everything I have done and can do apart from Him is nothing! Trust Him and you really can do all things through Christ because He is giving you His strength. (Phil 4:13)


Engage in Spirit Beat every Monday am in your inbox, and enjoy the deeper teachings in the Word at your convenience throughout the week.  We are those “in the know,” so get the beat, the Spirit Beat.

1 Comment

  • Heidi Lewelling, Th.D. says:

    We will continue to explore the meaning of self-justification and how to deal with it in the weeks ahead.