Letting Jesus Get under Your Skin

Letting Jesus Get Under Your Skin

Normally, when we say, “he gets under my skin”, it is in a derogative way to say someone annoys us—that they are a nuisance. Some people are annoyed by Jesus. He makes them feel sinful. He tells them the truth, and the truth bothers them—it makes them uncomfortable.

On the other hand, another way to use this expression (although it is less used this way) is to describe a close relationship—a oneness, like a marriage. Two people become one flesh. They are Mr. and Mrs. They are so intimate and in love that they know each other’s thoughts, they sympathize with each other’s feelings. They are under each other’s skin. In this way, Jesus wants to get under our skin. He wants us to be one with Him and allow Him to live in us.

Paul had this kind of relationship with Jesus. Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Because Jesus is risen from the dead, we have a living eternal King. We are to abide in His Kingdom. We do not have to physically die before we experience this Kingdom and the presence of the King. Jesus said the Kingdom is in our midst—wherever He abides—that is, corporately among us, and individually within us.

Luke 17:20-21 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

At the moment of our baptism, we died to ourselves and were raised unto a new life, born of the Holy Spirit. As we live by the Holy Spirit, Jesus abides in us. He gets under our skin. He works through us in this world. His life in us is a witness that He lives, but only if we reckon ourselves as dead. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

Because Jesus now lives in us, we have His grace and power to overcome the world, sin, and the devil by obeying the Holy Spirit within us.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Jesus accomplished three things at Calvary: 1. He put the old Adamic man of sin to death. 2. He stripped Satan of his rule and power in our life. 3. He established a new covenant, where thru faith in Jesus Christ, a person can become a child of God when he is born of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, we are either in Christ or in Adam. To put it another way, we are either in God’s family or in the Adam’s family. (Remember TV? The Adam’s family was a bunch of spooky folks from the netherworld.) However, those in the Adam’s family think God’s family is weird and kooky, because we have life, joy, love, and peace in a world that lacks those things.

Yes, we belong to a different Kingdom than this world—a kingdom where there is no nationality, no black or white, no differences between us, for we are one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Because Jesus defeated Satan on the cross, stripping him of his rule and power in our life, Satan can no longer make us do anything. Don’t say, “The devil made me do it.” The devil can’t do squat. He can only tempt us, and we choose what we will do. We used to be slaves to sin, captives of the devil, and unable to do right, but now we are free to choose righteousness.

Jesus was crucified once for all mankind. Jesus took our death and gave us His eternal life. Jesus took our sin and gave us His righteousness. Therefore, if we are in Christ, we have been crucified with Christ and we no longer live. We are a new creation, risen from the dead in Christ Jesus through baptism. Jesus lives and reigns in us now. Consequently, by the grace of God, we walk according to the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and not according to our flesh. Sin no longer has dominion over us.

Romans 6:1-14 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Observe any cemetery. Those people in the cemetery are dead. Dead people can’t sin. If we have died with Christ, we are dead to sin. We can choose to sin, to be a slave to sin, but we don’t have to sin. I repeat, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Let this statement become your mindset, your decision maker, and your lifestyle.

How can I be dead to sin, and yet, still be alive? Our salvation puzzles us. Here’s why: We are a three-part being—spirit, soul, and body, created in God’s image, who is also a three-part being—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our spirit was saved by grace when we heard the Word, believed in Jesus Christ, and were born again of the Holy Spirit, which often occurs at baptism. At that time, we became a new creation, a child of God, with Jesus Christ abiding in us. However, our soul—that is our mind, will, and emotions—is being saved and renewed daily by the washing of the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. Our body will be saved in the future. It will be resurrected to be like Jesus’ body when He returns.

This is why we sometimes doubt our salvation. Part of us feels saved and part of us doesn’t. Part of us is being renewed daily and part of us is getting older and weaker each day. That is why it is important to realize what occurred at our baptism. We died to ourselves, our old life, and were raised unto a new life in the Spirit where Jesus gets under our skin. Now our mind, will, and emotions are in the process of being renewed by the Holy Spirit to conform to Jesus. Our body will continue to suffer the effects of sin by getting weaker until our spirit and soul depart from it and live eternally with Christ. At the second coming of Jesus, our body will be resurrected and transformed into a body like His. Nevertheless, our first resurrection—the resurrection of our spirit and soul—took place at baptism. We have been raised with Christ.

Colossians 3:1-10 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

This renewal is a lifelong process. The life of Jesus, the Holy Spirit in us, stops us from sinning and makes us like Jesus—sons of God—able to do what Jesus does.

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Before our salvation, we were slaves to the flesh and the law. Sin and the law were under our skin. In effect, we were married to sin and the law.

When we were saved and baptized, we died through the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. Death breaks the marriage covenant we had with sin and the law. We were raised to begin a new life in the Spirit. Now we are free to be married to Jesus Christ. He is our husband and we belong to Him. Therefore, we are released from sin and the law, to walk by the Spirit. We have grace to deny self and say “No” to temptations. Instead of bearing fruit for death, Jesus is now under our skin and He produces His fruit in us.

Romans 7:4-6 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

So, why do we still struggle with sin? Why do we sometimes doubt our salvation? Why do we not always feel victorious? You should know the answer by now, but I will describe it in terms that you won’t forget. Are you ready for the answer?

The answer is our stinking thinking. Our minds—a part of our soul—still needs to be renewed. We are still thinking like the world and responding to our fleshly desires. We are not considering ourselves as dead. The purpose of this message and other messages I have preached about sin is renew our minds so we can enjoy the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:17-24 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Why are our minds still needing renewal? Well, consider how much time you spend watching TV with how much time you spend reading the Bible. Consider how much time you think about things of the world instead of the things of Christ. Does that help identify the problem?

We must spend time every day in God’s Word to renew our minds and correct our thinking. What we focus upon is what we will follow. Keep your eyes and your mind focused on Jesus.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast (stayed on God), because he trusts in you.

Proverbs 7:1-4 My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as  living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Consequently, we need to stop conforming to the world and thinking like the world thinks. Yes, the world will consider us weird and kooky, but the world’s way of thinking leads to death.

We must think like God and do what He says in His Word. His Word is Truth. If we don’t, we will find ourselves depressed and still slaves to the flesh. Power over the flesh and sin comes through the mind. All temptations begin with a thought. Likewise, faith comes through the mind, by hearing the Word of God and doing it.

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

When we feel unspiritual and doubt our salvation, it is because our minds have become unspiritual and need renewal. When we are tempted, the tempter accuses us and condemns us. That is the time to set our minds on the Spirit instead of our flesh. Rebuke the accuser in the Name of Jesus, and focus on the Truth.

When we sin, we are not condemned if godly sorrow from the Holy Spirit leads us to confess our sin and repent. Then we receive forgiveness and God’s cleansing. Our mind is renewed.

Romans 8:1-17 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

That brings up another point. When you are suffering, don’t let the devil tell you the reason is because God doesn’t love you. God let Jesus suffer because He loves you. Are we greater than Jesus? The sin of this world and Satan cause the suffering, and no one is immune to it as long as we live in this world. If Jesus gets under our skin, we will share in His sufferings in this world and we will also share in His glory. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.

Romans 8:28-39 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isn’t this encouraging? Do you see how the Word of God will renew your thinking?

Life after the flesh is hard and depressing, but we don’t have to live that way. Jesus has made a Way of blessing if we let Him get under our skin. When He does, He not only gives us life, but life abundant. Ask the Father to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Then you will have power to be His witness and He will make you more than conquerors over sin and the devil. Jesus gets under our skin to help us win the battle and receive the prize.

Philippians 3:12-21 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Let Jesus get under your skin. Become increasingly intimate with Him. Let Him sanctify you completely. Press on and give Jesus total obedience, and you will have His peace and joy.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.