“And especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries.”
A “self-willed” person is stubborn, contumacious, obstinate, or presumptuous. This person is full of self and self-pleasing. He delights in himself. He is dominated by self-interest and does not consider others. He arrogantly asserts his own will over others. He so overvalues his opinion that he does not consider any other view. This is the arrogance of self-will. He thinks he is so much better than anyone else that he looks down on others. This implies that he is better than others. In this case, it is self-will against God, “I know better than God.”
Self-will places itself sovereign over God’s will.
Every Christian has a titanic tug-of-war between his divine and human natures. Human nature, however, dominates the non-Christian. They do what they please without any restraint except the restraint of the mores of society. If society can stretch its conscience like a rubber tape measure, individuals can justify any action they want. The Christian cannot do this because he has no confidence in the flesh.
Php 3:3, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh…”
Ro 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”
The “flesh” has areas of strength whereby it produces acts of religion and morality but is still raw flesh. God never uses the flesh, converts the flesh, refines the flesh, or educates the flesh. He bypasses the flesh.
Religion makes the flesh respectable and passes it off as a substitute for the fruit of the Spirit. The devil is doing a thriving business in the area of religion. His emphasis is not to rail against brothels and bars but to bolster false belief as supreme. He focuses his attention on launching religions and other alien viewpoints to God and His Word.
Religion is the devil’s ace trump. If he can deceive by religion, he will lead many astray. He loves nice, cultured, educated, religious people who reject the blood of the cross as the only way of salvation. Religion is the substitute for the real thing.