Are You Walking in Spirit or in the Flesh?

Part 1 of the Spirit, Soul and the Body series examined the spiritual ‘organs’ God has provided to us within our “Inner Man“. However, the Bible contains many strange statements that are not easily understood – especially the warning to “walking in the spirit” and to not “walk in the flesh“:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but [who walk] after the Spirit.”  (Romans 8:1)

Much research and questioning is often required to discover what these topics truly mean and the doctrines below closely associate with “walking in the Spirit“. 

  • Holiness (Heb 12:14-16)
  • Sanctification (1 Thes 4:4)
  • Righteousness (Matt 5:20)
  • Truth (John 18:38)
  • Predestination (Rom 8:29)

Therefore, this article will endeavor to explain what “Walking in the Spirit” vs “Walking in the Flesh” means from the Bible’s perspective.

Introduction to Walking in the Spirit

Portraying the "pilgrimage" of a soul through the darkness of this world by walking in the spirit to eternal life with Christ.
The “pilgrimage” of a “soul” to eternal life with Christ

God speaks to Christians through His words recorded in the Bible.  In Romans 8:1, the Apostle Paul commands Christians to “walk in the Spirit” and NOT to walk “in the flesh”.  But what does this mean in the practical sense?

This article will look at what “walking” spiritually represents, and what are the outcomes if Christians fail to “walk” as God requires.  Before we do this, it is better to first appreciate that the unseen “spirit world” exists everywhere around us, prior to understanding how it is possible for one to “walk in the spirit”.

What The Spirit World Represents

The Bible says that the world in which we live comprises both the physical world that we are able to touch, see, hear, smell and taste together with the spiritual world.  However, the Bible says that our physical world is “temporal”, which is opposite to the “unseen” or spiritual world that is “eternal” (2 Cor 4:18).

Similarly, there are certain attributes the Bible ascribes to the human spirit (Job 32:8; Prov 20:27) that Christians need to be appreciate about their own personal spirit (Prov 20:27).  In this, God has defined each human as being a “living soul” (Gen 2:7).  This definition means we are a three-part being that comprises:

  • A body of flesh, blood and bones;
  • A soul;
  • A spirit.

The Bible refers to:

  • The human “body” as “the body of sin” (Rom 6:6);
  • The human “soul”as being “lost” because of the lusts, passions and desires that make it function (1 John 2:16-17).
  • Every human “soul” is in desperate need to hear the Gospel of its Salvation from Hell.
  • The Bible indicates that the soul resides wherever blood is found in the body (Isa 53:12).
  • The human “spirit” is considered by God to be either “alive” or “dead” towards Him (Rom 7:6)
  • The human “spirit” MUST be “born-again” (John 3:3-8) if it ever hopes to live eternally with our Creator.
  • The Bible indicates the human “spirit”  resides under our physical heart or in the “belly” region (Prov 20:27).

Continuing on, the Bible refers to our physical “body” as representing the “Outward Man” (2 Cor 4:16).  It is also termed a “vessel” (or container – 1 Thes 4:3-7), because it carries within it our “Inward Man” who is invisible and eternal (Rom 7:22; 2 Cor 4:16) – that cannot die (Mark 9:44-48).

Our “Inward Man” or Spirit and Soul

Our “Inward Man” refers to each individual’s combined spirit and soul.  The “Inward Man” represents our “person” (or person-ality) that dwells within our physical body.  To illustrate this point, the human “soul” can be related to an astronaut and his body a spacesuit. 

When he (meaning the soul) requires the body to function (the spacesuit) to move in the alien environment (this world), the “Outward Man” (or spacesuit) operates according to the astronaut’s instructions.  This is generally how our bio-mechanical bodies function — where our spirit man inside tells our outward (physical) man to do certain things the soul desires in this world.

For as THE BODY [or spacesuit] WITHOUT THE SPIRIT [of the astronaut inside] IS DEAD [or dis-functional], so faith without works is dead also.”  (James 2:26)
The spacesuit symbolizes our earthly body and the astronaut inside symbolizes the human soul.

Death and the Spirit and Soul

When death occurs to the “Outward Man”, the “body” goes to the grave to await its resurrection.  However, when the “Inward Man” departs the deceased body (Luke 23:46), it travels to where it awaits its resurrection and the time when it will be reunited with its eternal body.

In other words, if the “Inward Man” allows his “Outward Man” to die as a sinner (Ezek 18:20) this means the “Inward Man” will go to “Hell” (Luke 16:23-25) to wait in torment for his judgment to occur at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-13). This is where he will appear before Christ in his resurrected “Outward Man” (Rev 20:6) to give an account of every idle word he or she has spoken during their lifetime on the Earth (Matt 12:36). 

Fortunately, those “righteous souls” that ascend into Heaven after the death of their “Outward Man” wait in their “mansion” in Heaven (John 14:2) to be reunited with their glorified resurrected bodies that will occur (very soon) at the First Resurrection – or ‘Rapture‘ (Rev 20:6).

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [in our natural bodies] and remain unto the coming of the Lord [in the air prior to the Tribulation] shall not prevent them which are asleep [in the graves].  16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air...”  (1 Thes 4:15-18) 

These “righteous souls” will ultimately rule and reign with Christ (2 Tim 2:11-13) throughout eternity in “the New Heavens and the New Earth” (Isa 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13).  More about this will be discussed in another article.

The Spirit World’s Inhabitants

From the foregoing statements, it can be seen that scripture indicates the spiritual world is “eternal” in nature and unseen by the human eye – nevertheless it contains spirit beings that inhabit it, such as:

  • The Godhead – God the Father; Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7).
  • Seraphim (Isa 6:1-3)
  • Holy Angels (Psalm 103:20; Rev 14:10)
  • Spirit horses (Rev 9:17-18)
  • Evil spirits (Acts 19:12)
  • Evil angels (Eph 6:11-13; Jude 1:6)
  • Satan (Job 2:1; Luke 10:18; 2 Cor 11:14)

To be truly “born-again”, Jesus said that every newborn Child of God must be able to “SEE” God’s kingdom:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be BORN AGAIN, HE CANNOT SEE the kingdom of God.”  (John 3:3)

Therefore, it stands to reason that if Christians cannot explain what God showed them when they had their “born-again” experience, such people may NOT be “born-again” as they believe.

“Walking in the Spirit” — An Analogy

Attempting to see the Kingdom of God in our mortal bodies is not possible in an un-regenerated (or “carnal”) state (Rom 8:7).  Once our human spirit has been awakened by the preaching of God’s words contained in the True Gospel, our spirit awakes to the spirit world in a similar manner as a newborn baby opens its eyes to see the world around it. 

In this, the Child of God’s spiritual eyes begin to “see” what our spiritual parent (God the Father) chooses to reveal to each of His children — in much the same manner as an earthly father shows his child those things that he wants his child to see.

A father walking in the spirit shows his son what he wants him to see - just as God the Father shows His children on earth what He wants them to see.
A father showing his son the things he wants him to “see”

As this ‘newborn’ child of God obtains spiritual nourishment from the “sincere milk of God’s words” (1 Peter 2:2), he or she must commence growing spiritually from being a newborn “babe” (Heb 5:13) into a “strong young man in Christ” and even to becoming a “father” (1 John 2:14). 

At some point in between these levels of maturity, every Christian must commence their spiritual “pilgrimage” (Heb 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11) that will lead them towards their eternal home (Heb 11:13).

The Christian’s Spiritual ‘Pilgrimage’

Each Christian’s “pilgrimage” in the spirit world MUST involve “walking” from their current spiritual location to another spiritual destination that only our Heavenly Father knows the exact route.  Such a journey involves walking through the spiritual “darkness of this world (Eph 6:12); so each soul requires spiritual “light” in which to see the path ahead:

Thy word is a LAMP unto my feet, and a LIGHT unto my path.”  (Psalm 119:105)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

Therefore, the Bible relates this “pilgrimage” (or journey) similar to what a cross-country foot race might be like — where the contestants need to use maps to help them navigate their way to the finish line — even in darkness. In the spiritual sense, this means the Bible is the source of the light in the spiritual darkness of this world. 

These “pilgrims” might also need to climb mountains, ford rivers and streams, and be able to fend off any wild animals or robbers along the way.  So, the Bible refers to these challenges this way:

“...and let us RUN with patience THE RACE that is set before us ...lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”   (Hebrews 12:1-3)  
Know ye not that they which RUN IN A RACE run all, but one receiveth the prize? SO RUN, that ye may obtain.”  (1 Cor 9:24)
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith
Running a marathon race

As can be seen in the above scripture verses, ALL Christians are required to “RUN” in a spiritual “RACE to obtain Salvation.  In this requirement, skills and stamina are necessary to be able to navigate the route to cross the Finish Line — the day you die (John 19:30) and to overcome the many obstacles along the way (Rev 3:21). 

Stamina and perseverance (Eph 6:18) are necessary to “press towards the final mark” for the prize (Phil 3:14) — this representing eternal life with Christ, commonly known as Salvation and the “crown” that goes with it (2 Tim 4:8).

“Walking in the Flesh” —  representative of ‘Religion’

As the previous notes have revealed, entry into Heaven at one’s death requires the individual Christian to have:

  • Heard the True Gospel  of Jesus Christ
  • Responded accordingly by repenting (stopping) of ALL past sinful behavior and accepting Christ as Savior;
  • Pressed into God’s kingdom by reading, believing and doing IN FAITH what the Bible says;
  • To have experienced the ‘New Birth’;
  • Grown spiritually from being a “babe in Christ” towards being a “Strong young man in Christ”;
  • Been “walking” and are currently “running” the spiritual “race” required of all Christians;
  • Overcome Satan’s devicesthat he uses to prevent Christians from completing their “pilgrimage”;
  • Working towards meeting Jesus Christ at their death to receive their “crown” (2 Tim 4:8; James 1:12).
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”  (Psalm 116:15)

Satan’s role in the Christian’s ‘Pilgrimage’

On the contrary, it is Satan’s will that every believer in Christ Jesus accepts an alternative scenario (or lie) to each of the above requirements. 

To help this happen, Satan has established churches that have created false doctrines that lead God’s “sheep astray” (Isa 53:6) from following the “Narrow Way” that leads to eternal life (Matt 7:14).  Embracing such beliefs represent “heresies” that God requires every Christian to detect and speak out about to warn others:

But there were FALSE PROPHETS also among the people, even as there shall be FALSE TEACHERS among you, who privily shall bring in DAMNABLE HERESIES, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”   (2 Peter 2:1 )
For there must be also HERESIES AMONG YOU, that they which are approved [by God] may be made manifest among you.”  (1 Cor 11:19)

The Bible classes “heresies” as “works of the flesh” that will prevent Christians who embrace them from achieving eternal life with Christ:

Now THE WORKS OF THE FLESH ARE MANIFEST, WHICH ARE THESE; Adultery, fornication... HERESIES ... and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, THAT THEY WHICH DO SUCH THINGS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”  (Gal 5:19-21)


A battle occurs in the spirit world between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ for every soul born on the Earth.  The ONLY weapon that people have against losing their soul to Satan is discovering and applying Biblical and Absolute TRUTH to every circumstance! 

To help you further understand more about what has been written here, I encourage you to read my articles on The New Birth and the True Church of Jesus Christ together with other topics on this blog to determine if your soul might be “ensnared” in one of Satan’s nets.

Feel free to comment below or to contact me if you have any questions.


3 Replies to “Are You Walking in Spirit or in the Flesh?”

  1. If you have never been born again (John3:3) then you have the wrath of God abiding on you (John 3:18, 3:36b) and not one of your best works can ever please God because “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:8). Since you have rejected Christ, if indeed you have, you reject your only hope of eternal life and have standing before you the eternal state of the wages that you have earned (Rom 6:23). Because everyone has sinned (Rom 3:23) Jesus came to earth and was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life but became sin for us so that when God the Father looks at us, He doesn’t see our sinfulness but He sees the righteousness of Christ and He imputes His righteousness to us (2 Cor 5:21). Today, if you have heard His voice, repent and trust in Him because today can be your day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2). If not and Jesus returns before you are born again, you face a Christ-less eternity and the everlasting wrath of God (Rev 20:11-15).

  2. Thank you for a great unfolding truth.
    God bless and Praying that God will continue supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus to help you diseminate this message of salvation to the lost preparing and the preparation of his true church for his second coming.

    1. Thank you Robin for your comments and your encouragement. I have been preaching this message in various forms for many years but very few Christians respond as God would like.

      Please keep up your praying for the lost souls in the churches. Most have been mislead by the many false gospels being preached today. Unless they repent from these and embrace the True Gospel that Paul said was a “mystery” (Romans 16:25 and Ephesians 6:19) which requires that “works of faith” (1 Cor 12) be undertaken to produce the required “fruit” into God’s kingdom (John 15:1-8) then they have no Salvation.

      Blessings brother!

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