Flesh vs Spirit - Flesh is Not Body by Mapping Rom 8:1-16

There is much confusion about flesh and body. While flesh and body are closely related, they are not the same. This can be made clear by a study of Rom 6 and 8. In this post, a mind-map of Rom 8:1-16 is done. A visual map rather than a paragraph of text help clarifies the understanding. Flesh is used in contrast against the Spirit. Body could be ruled by the Spirit or the Flesh that leads to two very contrasting end points of life and death. It is then better to classify our status as either the New Man in Christ or the Old Man in the flesh. Whether New or Old, we have a spirit and soul(mind) that live in a Body. Body per se is the creation of God and is precious. Rom 6:13 tells us to present our body not for unrighteousness but as instruments of righteousness and Rom 12:2 tells us to present our body as a living sacrifice to God. So we need to take good care of our body.

Here is the visual map of Romans 8:1-16.

A great advantage of a visual map is that it shows the relationships among concepts very clearly. We proceeds from higher level concepts and drill down to finer concepts to increase our understanding. Another good thing about visual map is that you can start from anywhere and trace back to gain increasing understanding of the concept.

I have number of concepts so that you can follow it. It is just a starting point. You may start with any concept you like.

The Key Concepts

  1. New Man.
    1. The difference between a believer and a non-believer is the concept of a born again New-Man by the Spirit of God. Our spirit is rebirth and is connected to the Spirit of God.
    2. Our body remains the same. 
  2. Old Man.
    1. The key differentiation of old vs new is that old is ruled by the Flesh whereas the new is ruled by the Spirit. 
    2. The Flesh has sin because the Flesh want to be his own God and does not recognize the true Creator God as God. Rom 8:7-8 tell us clearly that the will of the Flesh is against God.
    3. This sin of the Flesh causes the body to walk in unrighteousness and brings forth death.
    4. The only way to get rid of sin in the Body is through Jesus Christ 8:3 and be rebirthed into Christ (Node 6) and then we become children of God.
  3. Spirit of the New Man
    1. The Spirit of the New Man is life and peace (with God too).
    2. It has the righteousness of Christ (not the self-righteousness of our Flesh).
    3. It is freed from sin and fear. 
    4. It is child of God. 
    5. We know God as our Father in our spirit and we cry through our body to call God as Abba (an intimate way of addressing our loving father).
  4. Body
    1. Can be led either by our Spirit or by our Flesh.
    2. If led by our Spirit (rebirthed of God), the our body does work of righteousness and bring forth greater vitality of life and eventual eternal life with God.
    3. If led by our Flesh through its passion, we walk in unrighteousness and is a living death or dying and eventual to eternal death.
  5. Flesh
    1. Is not the body but of a mind, mind of the Flesh.
      Tim Keller defines Flesh as the mindset of man wanting to be his own god and to be in total control. See The Keys to Peace and Joy - Learning from Tim Keller
    2. It is against God. Cannot please God, Actually rejects God and wanting itself to be God. Adam's partaking the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is essentially telling God the he wanted to be his own judge of what is right or wrong. He does not want to be accountable to God but to himself.
    3. The consequence is death - existence in separation from the Source of Life --- God.
  6. In-Christ - Our New Membership in the Body of Christ
    1. We shall have no condemnation.
    2. We have fulfilled the Law in Christ.
    3. We are sons of God.
    4. We follow the new Law of Life of God.
You may also random pick any concept and trace back to learn more.

Hope your knowledge and understanding on this key concepts of Flesh, Spirit and Body are enlightened by this visual map.

Lim Liat (c) 8 Feb 2013


Unknown said...

What mapping software was used to create this map? It is different from the other maps on this site and is precisely what I am looking for.

Unknown said...

Reposting to set the email followup. Sorry.

Lim Liat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lim Liat said...

The software for the mindmap is Freemind at http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

or its derivative Freeplane at

Unknown said...

Thanks for enlightening me. God richly bless u

Unknown said...

Can u brethren send me daily posts of your blog or how do I read it? Such insights into Christan doctrine in Africa is very rare

Unknown said...

Had to read more and understand about the flesh and body well explainhad to read more and understand about the flesh and body well explain thank you

Jc said...

to make things a bit clearer, when speaking of the flesh most of the time it’s talking about your soul and body as a whole. The body cannot do anything without the willful expression of the soul. You think it before you do anything. And for the most part the use of the flesh is used as a negative term,which before Christ in our lives it is, but now since we are to walk and live by the spirit, the flesh(soul) must be trained to follow through with the leading of The Holy Spirit that stirs your spirit to live by the fruits of The Holy Spirit. Paul states the he often brings his flesh under submission,under the submission of what? Well none other than the leading of The Holy Spirit. He also says let your mind(soul) be renewed by The Word of God, if you allow this to be done,you will renew/retrain your soul to think righteous and holy thoughts therefore your actions of the regenerated flesh(soul&body) should be righteous and holy...1 Thessalonians 5:23
And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

Unknown said...

So in short, Flesh = Soul + Body