When I think of essence, I picture a lot of parts boiled down to its highest concentration. Essential oils is an example. It takes pounds of a plant to yield a small amount of oil.
Ecclesiastes 10:1 says, “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.”
In using essential oil and a dead fly as an example, I want to look at John 6:63. Jesus’ words to me are the essence of nothing. It says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits NOTHING. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
Anything we do in our flesh is like a dead fly in ointment. It is fouled up and has to be thrown out! Isaiah 43:7 says that we are created for His glory. Our fleshly reactions, doing things independent of the Lord, and our exaltation of self dishonors the Lord.
Romans 8:6 says, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Verse 10 says, “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” We can couple verse 10 with Romans 6:6. It says, “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
We are not slaves of sin. Verse 1 says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” We were set free from the slave-block of sin at salvation.
Progressive sanctification is learning to say ‘no’ when confronted with the temptation to sin. All sin is done in the flesh (which profits nothing).
Nothing means that it is futile. Here is Strong’s definition of futile: fruitless, empty, hollow, unreal, unproductive, lacking substance, ineffectual, void of results, and worthless. Hmm. Why would we want that?
How then shall we live? Romans 6:11 says, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Dead to sin means that we have no response to its temptations. The only recourse satan has over the life of a believer is when they are in their flesh.
Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Ephesians 4:22 says, “That you put off, concerning your former conduct…” Verse 23 tells us how, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Verse 24 says, “And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
Note how verse 23 is sandwiched between verses 22 and 24. We put off, renew our mind, and put on. We shed any thought of the flesh by renewing our mind with truth. We fight our flesh with God’s word hidden in our heart. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”