Knowing No Man After the Flesh
All mankind whether in the faith or not makes many judgments every single day. We do this every time we respond, think and act to the various stimuli (all things) the Lord is working in our lives. Decision making is judgment making and the Lord is working all of it, even declaring to us our very thoughts (Amo 4:13) even giving us the words we speak (Pro 16:1). That is just how powerful our sovereign Lord truly is that the world and all in unbelief know not.
Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Php 2:13 For it is God [it is NOT YOU] which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
It those few given to know these truths, by coming through the fire that our first learning to trust in the Lord. Once the Lord starts this work in us, we grow in our understanding that the Lord is working all things and has predestinated our entire lives (Psa 139:16) declaring the end from the very beginning (Isa 46:10).
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
The title of this study comes from this well-known Scripture that tells of the complete paradigm shift those of the household of faith are to exhibit in conducting ourselves in these clay vessels.
2Co 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
What does “know no man or Christ after the flesh” really mean from a spiritual and practical significance? We hope to explore the answer more thoroughly in this article.
The very next verse helps zero in on what knowing no man after the flesh is all about. Those that “know no man after the flesh” are those in Christ (in the true faith in the His Body of true believers) that are striving to be like the Lord and following His example.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The precious few given the Spirit of Christ and dragged to His Body (Joh 6:44) are those given the gift, a measure of Christ’s faith, and who are now walking differently as compared to their former selves and the entire carnal world.
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
We don’t even know ourselves anymore in the flesh when we walk as the new man. Faith has us no longer condemning ourselves for the things the Lord has wrought in our life.
The short answer of what it means to “know no man after the flesh” is to walk by faith and not by sight (using our carnal physical senses).
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
2Co 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight [physical/carnal senses]
Simply put, those “being justified “ (saved, delivered, judged, etc) by the process; are doing it BY FAITH.
Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
With the root of faith established, we thereby grow through the many trials the Lord brings that is continuing to teach us how to see things from God’s eyes.
Col 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
Col 2:7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught [in and by judgment – Isa 26:9], abounding in it with thanksgiving.
God is not a respecter of people
Contrary to many trapped by the letter and not seeing the Spirit in all Scripture, the Lord is not a respecter of persons. All men are viewed the same and given the same judgments and the same rewards, there is NO DIFFERENCE except the timing of when we seek Him.
Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
The punishments and the reward, the entire process is ONE process that comes alike to all men (Ecc 9:2) in the times appointed.
Col 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Col 3:25 But he that doeth wrong [we all do wrong before we are taught and caused to do right] shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
Rom 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Rom 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
The Lord is no hypocrite. Our commands are to do what He does and follow His example in how we are to judge all things. Here is what He does.
Joh 8:15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
Joh 8:16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
How to do we make these judgments every day to the many stimuli in our lives yet follow Christ and judge no man? We do it by walking by faith according to the Word rather than the wisdom and logic of the carnal world. Judging by the Spirit is how it can be said we judge no man and even that we “know no man after the flesh”. The Word of God is what judges every man but even that only in the appointed times, the last days, the end of the carnal age for every man.
Joh 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
Joh 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
We judge each another today by the words of fire we speak, share and meditate on. But we ourselves are judged not by a man but by the living Word, Christ in us and spoken by His Body. This is how the fire spreads among us and will, in turn, spread to all mankind in the “will be” fulfillment of the Lake of Fire. This is how we attain the mind of Christ being raised from the spiritually dead [the carnally minded].
1Co 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
It is Christ, the living Word within us that is doing the judging. It is the authority of Christ within us, the Word, which we are to follow in conducting ourselves and judging righteous judgment rather than judging in the flesh.
Joh 7:24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.
With regarding to knowing men and how we are to make those judgments; we are to judge the fruit and the Spirit in the man rather than their appearances.
1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
Far too often we are impatient and judge hastily based on appearances, [in the flesh] having respect of persons which is contrary to the commands of the Lord in the Old Testament. The Lord changes not!
Lev 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
Pro 24:23 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.
Also in the Old Testament, Scriptures about balances and weights refer to much more than our just our honesty in handling money [spiritual knowledge is also money or riches]. These OT symbols on measures ultimately speak to our faithfulness to the Lord and how we judge all matters of life (1Co 6:3).
Diversity in our judgment, playing favorites or being partial is using diverse weights and measures. That is what a carnal mind does in justifying things in the flesh.
Pro 20:10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are an abomination to the LORD.
It is the mature man of Christ who has learned to measure all things by the Word of God which is how we can discern good from evil.
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
James calls out the church (you and me) who in our immaturity continue to show respect of persons, knowing men after the flesh.
Jas 2:1 (NKJV) My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality [respect of persons]
Whatever is not of faith is sin and including our having respect of persons and judging according to the flesh. James continues to give a seeming outward physical example yet remember “my words are spirit” and all of these words are signified.
Jas 2:2 (NKJV) For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes,
Jas 2:3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,”
Jas 2:4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges [of men in the flesh] with evil thoughts? …..
Jas 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you do well;
Jas 2:9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Knowing men after the flesh is judging men in the flesh and is contrary to faith. This puts us right back under the law for the lawless and in bondage to the carnal mind and its accusing and or excusing thoughts (Rom 2:14-15) about men.
Every Man is Jesus Christ
Knowing no man after the flesh includes us coming to see that EVERY MAN is Jesus Christ who is both the first adam and the last adam in every man.
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Rev 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
With the mind of Christ, we are able to look at every man and see them as Jesus Christ. It is coming to see and live this truth that defines our maturity.
Mat 25:40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Judging in the flesh has us knowing men in the flesh rather than the Spirit. We no longer know Christ in the flesh and now we begin to see Him in every man regardless of where anyone may be in the faith or the road to maturity.
Gen 1:27 So God created [is creating] man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Knowing that Christ is every man and that men are truly clay in His hands, we will look at some natural behaviors and reactions of our flesh, so we can be on guard within ourselves and within the brethren to help one another.
Favorites: We need to be aware the Lord will use our preferences for people to try our faith and to teach us righteousness showing us the partiality that lies hidden in our hearts. Having such preferences itself is not sin, it is only when we apply a different plumbline and let those carnal desires interfere with being Christ UNIFORMLY to all men.
1Ti 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
In the end, all will be in Christ and in Christ we are told ….
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by [the free gift of] faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
The Body of Christ (All men in the end) comes from all nations, tribes and tongues there being no respect of any person, creed, race or nation by the Lord.
Rev 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
Deu 10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
Preeminence: The Lord shares His glory with no flesh and we are told often to be on guard the spirit of preeminence. This is the same as a Nicolaitan spirit which is also a homosexual spirit where one man has dominion over another. Being like our Lord will have us hating this Spirit any place we see it.
Rev 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
We all battle this spirit within ourselves and we have seen it in others who seek adulation from men even do many good works and using that for carnal gain.
Mat 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Mat 23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
Mat 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
The Lord has established offices in the Body of Christ (Eph 4:11-12) for the edification of the church who bring only what the Lord has given them (1Co 4:7) to bring. Everything is to be done for the Lord’s glory in all things.
Col 1:18 And he [the Lord] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Angel Worship: Carnal minds naturally are drawn to give thanks and praise to those who bring favor to them. It is right to give thanks and acknowledgment to those the Lord uses to bless us. Yet we are denying the sovereign Lord when we go to far and bow before men who have done for us what was their reasonable service. Twice we have the example of John being rebuked for bowing before his fellow servant who revealed the mysteries of Christ.
Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Rev 22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
Rev 22:9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
Recipients of such worship love their brother or sister and put them right turning the praise and worship back to God. To Him alone goes all praise and glory and honor.
Rev 4:9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
Rev 4:10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
Rev 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
We are going to be tried over and over again by the Lord to burn all partiality in judgment from our heavens and earth. We are getting to the place where we only say or do what we see our Lord doing. That is the mature man in Christ who lives by faith and is obedient to the commandments.
Joh 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son [you and me Lord willing] also does in like manner.