To hear the beliefs that many christians have, one would have to conclude that salvation is a matter of both the spirit and the flesh, which actually nullifies salvation, for salvation is not of works, and works are manifested in the flesh.
Anytime a christian says that someone who does [X, Y, or Z] sin, and doesn’t “repent” of it, will not enter heaven, that person is making salvation a matter of the flesh, which invalidates the truths of salvation.
Salvation comes by belief, which is a matter of the spirit, not of the flesh—it is spiritual, and not physical. As soon as the notion of having to do this, or not do that, to be saved, enters the discussion, then it is no longer about salvation, but of works.
Man is told that he must believe in Messiah Yahoshua, and then confess Him before others (which is to endure in that belief, or faith), for it is often during that time of enduring in belief that many fall away. Most of the time, it’s because they cannot withstand the arrows of the enemy, and those are very often slung at them by christians who hold to a false path to salvation, like those who believe that once someone makes a decision, or prays a prayer, he is saved.
It is those who believe and then also endure in that believe before other people, who will then be given the covenant. They are those who have identified with Messiah, which is to repent of their unbelief (this is represented in the Outer Courtyard of the tabernacle), and then endured in that belief as the Holy Spirit led them toward receiving salvation (a journey that is represented in the Holy Place), and then they were led in their belief to the point of receiving the covenant, which is being born again, and is represented by the covenant within the ark (a symbol of the bride with the indwelling Holy Spirit), and that is shown by the Holy of Holies.
If, at any time in that progression of being led by the Holy Spirit, the one who believed falls away, he will not proceed to the Holy of Holies, and thus, he will not receive the covenant. He will not be born again. And, as we’re told in Hebrews 10:26, those who sin willfully after receiving “knowledge of the truth” (which is to believe, but it is not salvation), there remains no more sacrifice for their sin of unbelief, which is the only sin that condemns. They are those who fall away before receiving salvation (Hebrews 10:39).
So, why is there so much emphasis in the New Testament about the many sins of the flesh that believers are told to abstain from? Why are there so many passages that deal with the crucifixion, or denial, of one’s flesh? It’s because that is something that applies ONLY to those who have already been made righteous by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Once someone receives the Holy Spirit, he is told that he is a child of Yah. Being a child is eternal; once someone is a child, he is always a child, as salvation is an eternal judicial decree of adoption by the Almighty that cannot be altered or negated by any human. Salvation is a legal construct, and man does not have the power or authority to override the will of the Judge.
So, being adopted, the child then has a choice whether to be an obedient child, or a disobedient child. As it is with human parents—when one’s child is obedient, he is generally rewarded for it, either materially, or at the very least, by a closer fellowship. When one’s child chooses to disobey, there will be no reward, and the relationship will be strained, but that child is still the parent’s child.
And, no child of Yah will ever suffer the punishment of hell, for there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yahoshua, which are those who don’t live according to the flesh (works of the law, which governed the flesh), but live according to the Spirit (who is the real substance of what the written law foreshadowed).
Romans 8:9 provides more information concerning who it is that is in Messiah. “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of Yah [the Holy Spirit] dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Messiah [the Holy Spirit], he does not belong to Him.”
Those who do not have the Holy Spirit are not “in Christ.” They are not His. Those who do have the Holy Spirit are “in Christ,” and they are saved, not by the flesh (or its works), but by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
So, salvation is not a matter of the flesh, but of the spirit. Those who believe in Messiah Yahoshua (present tense), and endure in that belief (their faith is tested), SHALL BE saved (future tense). Once someone receives the Holy Spirit, it is then his duty to sanctify himself, which is to sacrifice (deny) his flesh. That applies ONLY to those who have been eternally adopted by the Most High God.
Whenever works are made a part of receiving salvation, it becomes no longer salvation, and is seen by the Father as filthy rags. Salvation is of the spirit, but those who have received it are rewarded, or not rewarded, according to the works of their flesh. Salvation determines eternal destiny, but works of the flesh determine level of reward for those who are saved.
For more information: The Way of the Thief