Posted in A Commentary by John Stott

John Stott

The way of Christian victory

What must we do to control the lusts of the flesh and to bear the fruit of the Spirit? The brief answer is this: We must maintain towards each the proper Christian attitude. In the apostle’s own words, we must ‘crucify’ the flesh and ‘walk by’ the Spirit.

a). We must crucify the flesh.
The phrase occurs in verse 24: *Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires*. This verse is frequently misunderstood. Please note that the ‘crucifixion’ of the flesh described here is something that is done not *to* us but *by* us. It is we ourselves who are said to ‘have crucified the flesh’. Perhaps I can best expose the popular misconception by saying that Galatians 5:24 does not teach the same truth as Galatians 2:20 or Romans 6:6. In those verses we are told that by faith-union with Christ ‘we have been crucified with him’. But here it is we who have taken action. We ‘have crucified’ our old nature. It is not now a ‘dying’ which we have experienced through union with Christ; it is rather a deliberate ‘putting to death’.
What does it mean? Paul borrows the image of crucifixion, of course, from Christ himself who said: ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mk. 8:34). To ‘take up the cross was our Lord’s vivid figure of speech for self-denial. Every follower of Christ is to behave like a condemned criminal and carry his cross to the place of execution. Now Paul takes the metaphor to its logical conclusion. We must not only take up our cross and walk with it, but actually see that the execution takes place. We are actually to take the flesh, our wilful and wayward self, and (metaphorically speaking) nail it to the cross. This is Paul’s graphic description of repentance, of turning our back on the old life of selfishness and sin, repudiating it finally and utterly.
The fact that ‘crucifixion’ is to be the fate of the flesh is very significant. It is always perilous to argue from analogy, but I suggest that the following points, far from being fanciful, belong to the notion of crucifixion and cannot be separated from it.
First, a Christian rejection of his old nature is to be *pitiless*. Crucifixion in the Graeco-Roman world was not a pleasant form of execution, nor was it administered to nice or refined people; it was reserved for the worst criminals, which is why it was such a shameful thing for Jesus Christ to be crucified. If, therefore, we are to ‘crucify our flesh, it is plain that the flesh is not something respectable to be treated with courtesy and deference, but something so evil that it deserves no better fate than to be crucified.
Secondly, our rejection of the old nature will be *painful*. Crucifixion was a form of execution ‘attended with intense pain’ (Grimm-Thayer). And which of us does not know the acute pain of inner conflict when ‘the fleeting pleasures of sin’ (Heb.11:25) are renounced?
Thirdly, the rejection of our old nature is to be *decisive*. Although death by crucifixion was a lingering death, it was a certain death. Criminals who were nailed to a cross did not survive. John Brown draws out the significance of this fact for us: ‘Crucifixion…produced death not suddenly but gradually…True Christians…do not succeed in completely destroying it (that is, the flesh) while here below; but they have fixed it to the cross, and they are determined to keep it there till it expire. Once a criminal had been nailed to the cross, he was left there to die. Soldiers were placed at the scene of execution to guard the victim. Their duty was to prevent anyone from taking him down from the cross, at least until he was dead. Now ‘those who belong to Christ Jesus’, Paul says, ‘have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires’. The Greek verb is in the aorist tense, indicting that this is something we did decisively at the moment of conversion. When we came to Jesus Christ, we repented. We ‘crucified’ everything we knew to be wrong. We took our old self-centred nature, with all its sinful passions and desires, and nailed it to the cross. And this repentance of ours was decisive, as decisive as a crucifixion. So, Paul says, if we crucified the flesh, we must leave it there to die. We must renew every day this attitude towards sin of ruthless and uncompromising rejection. In the language of Jesus, as Luke records it, every Christian must ‘take up his cross *daily*’ (Lk. 9:23).
So widely is this biblical teaching neglected, that it needs to be further enforced. The first great secret of holiness lies in the degree and the decisiveness of our repentance. If besetting sins persistently plague us, it is either because we have never truly repented, or because, having repented, we have not maintained our repentance. It is as if, having nailed our old nature to the cross, we keep wistfully returning to the scene of its execution. We begin to fondle it, to caress it, to long for its release, even to try to take it down again from the cross. We need to learn to leave it there. When some jealous, or proud, or malicious, or impure thought invades our mind we must kick it out at once. It is fatal to begin to examine it and consider whether we are gong to give in to it or not. We have declared war on it; we are not going to resume negotiations. We have settled the issue for good; we are not going to re-open it. We have crucified the flesh; we are never going to draw the nails.

Posted in A Commentary by John Stott

John Stott

The fruit of the Spirit

Here we have a cluster of nine Christian graces which seem to portray a Christian’s attitude to God, to other people and to himself.
*Love, joy, peace*. This is a triad of general Christian virtues. Yet they seem primarily to concern our attitude towards God, for a Christian’s first love is his love for God, his chief joy is his joy in God and his deepest peace is his peace with God.
Next, *patience, kindness, goodness*. These are social virtues, manward rather than Godward in their direction. ‘Patience’ is longsuffering towards those who aggravate or persecute. ‘Kindness’ is a question of disposition, and ‘goodness’ of words and deeds.
The third triad is *Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control*. ‘Faithfulness’ (AV ‘faith’) appears to describe the reliability of a Christian man. ‘Gentleness’ is that humble meekness which Christ exhibited (Mt. 11:29; 2 Cor. 10:1). And both are aspects of the ‘self-mastery’, or ‘self-control’, which conclude the list.
So we may say that the primary direction of ‘love, joy, peace’ is Godward, of ‘patience, kindness, goodness’ manward, and of ‘faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’ selfward. And all these are ‘the fruit of the Spirit’, the natural produce that appears in the lives of Spirit-led Christians. No wonder Paul adds again: *against such there is no law* (verse 23). For the function of the law is to curb, to restrain, to deter, and no deterrent is needed here.
Having examined ‘the works of the flesh’ and ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ separately, it should be even clearer to us than before that ‘the flesh’ and ‘the Spirit’ are in active conflict with one another. They are pulling in opposite directions. There exists between the two ‘an interminable, deadly feud’. And the result of this conflict is: ‘so that what you will to do you cannot do’ (end of verse 17, NEB). The parallel between this little phrase and the second part of Romans 7 is, in my judgment, too close to be accidental. Every renewed Christian can say ‘I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self’ (Rom. 7:22). That is, ‘I love and long to do it. My new nature hungers for God, for godliness and for goodness. I want to be good and to do good.’ That is the language of every regenerate believer. ‘But’, he has to add, ‘by myself, even with these new desires, I cannot do what I want to do. Why not? Because of sin that dwells within me .’ Or, as the apostle expresses it here in Galatians 5, ‘because of the strong desires of the flesh which lust against the Spirit’.
This is the Christian conflict – fierce, bitter and unremitting. Moreover, it is a conflict in which *by himself* the Christian simply cannot be victorious. He is obliged to say ‘I can will what is right, but I cannot do it’ (Rom. 7:18) or, speaking as it were to himself, ‘ye cannot do the things that ye would’ (Gal.5:17, AV).
‘Is that the whole story?’ some perplexed reader will be asking. ‘Is the tragic confession that “I cannot do what I want to do” the last word about a Christian’s inner, moral conflict? Is this all Christianity offers – an experience of continuous defeat? Indeed, it is not. If we were left to ourselves, we could not do what we would; instead, we would succumb to the desires of our old nature. But if we ‘walk by the Spirit’ Verse (16), *then* we shall not gratify the desires of the flesh. We shall still experience them, but we shall not indulge them. On the contrary, we shall bear the fruit of the Spirit.

Posted in Şah

Sept 2011 FIDE Rating List

Alexander Morozevich – the biggest climber on the new rating list

The top 100 list:

Name Nat Elo
1 Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2823
2 Anand, Viswanathan IND 2817
3 Aronian, Levon ARM 2807
4 Kramnik, Vladimir RUS 2791
5 Karjakin, Sergey RUS 2772
6 Topalov, Veselin BUL 2768
7 Ivanchuk, Vassily UKR 2765
8 Ponomariov, Ruslan UKR 2758
9 Grischuk, Alexander RUS 2757
10 Kamsky, Gata USA 2756
11 Gashimov, Vugar AZE 2756
12 Nakamura, Hikaru USA 2753
13 Radjabov, Teimour AZE 2752
14 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE 2746
15 Gelfand, Boris ISR 2746
16 Svidler, Peter RUS 2740
17 Morozevich, Alexander RUS 2737
18 Adams, Michael ENG 2733
19 Wang, Hao CHN 2733
20 Leko, Peter HUN 2728
21 Vitiugov, Nikita RUS 2726
22 Moiseenko, Alexander UKR 2726
23 Giri, Anish NED 2722
24 Nepomniachtchi, Ian RUS 2718
25 Le, Quang Liem VIE 2717
26 Wang, Yue CHN 2716
27 Jakovenko, Dmitry RUS 2716
28 Vallejo Pons, Francisco ESP 2716
29 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime FRA 2715
30 Movsesian, Sergei ARM 2715
31 Shirov, Alexei ESP 2713
32 Caruana, Fabiano ITA 2712
33 Jobava, Baadur GEO 2712
34 Dreev, Aleksey RUS 2711
35 Li, Chao b CHN 2710
36 Tomashevsky, Evgeny RUS 2710
37 Almasi, Zoltan HUN 2710
38 Dominguez Perez, Leinier CUB 2710
39 Malakhov, Vladimir RUS 2710
40 Naiditsch, Arkadij GER 2707
41 Berkes, Ferenc HUN 2706
42 Navara, David CZE 2705
43 Bacrot, Etienne FRA 2705
44 Andreikin, Dmitry RUS 2705
45 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw POL 2704
46 Efimenko, Zahar UKR 2703
47 Laznicka, Viktor CZE 2701
48 Polgar, Judit HUN 2701
49 Short, Nigel D ENG 2698
50 Zhigalko, Sergei BLR 2696
51 Fressinet, Laurent FRA 2696
52 Inarkiev, Ernesto RUS 2692
53 Sutovsky, Emil ISR 2690
54 Motylev, Alexander RUS 2690
55 Van Wely, Loek NED 2689
56 Sasikiran, Krishnan IND 2689
57 Riazantsev, Alexander RUS 2688
58 Nielsen, Peter Heine DEN 2687
59 Volokitin, Andrei UKR 2686
60 Eljanov, Pavel UKR 2683
61 Grachev, Boris RUS 2682
62 Bruzon Batista, Lazaro CUB 2682
63 Rublevsky, Sergei RUS 2681
64 Akopian, Vladimir ARM 2681
65 Smirin, Ilia ISR 2678
66 Kasimdzhanov, Rustam UZB 2678
67 Gharamian, Tigran FRA 2676
68 Kobalia, Mikhail RUS 2674
69 Sokolov, Ivan NED 2673
70 Harikrishna, P. IND 2672
71 Areshchenko, Alexander UKR 2672
72 Potkin, Vladimir RUS 2671
73 Korobov, Anton UKR 2671
74 McShane, Luke J ENG 2671
75 Ni, Hua CHN 2670
76 Onischuk, Alexander USA 2669
77 Feller, Sebastien FRA 2668
78 Roiz, Michael ISR 2668
79 Bu, Xiangzhi CHN 2666
80 Kryvoruchko, Yuriy UKR 2666
81 Zvjaginsev, Vadim RUS 2666
82 Georgiev, Kiril BUL 2664
83 Timofeev, Artyom RUS 2664
84 Balogh, Csaba HUN 2662
85 Alekseev, Evgeny RUS 2662
86 Mamedov, Rauf AZE 2660
87 Ding, Liren CHN 2659
88 Sargissian, Gabriel ARM 2658
89 Bologan, Viktor MDA 2656
90 So, Wesley PHI 2655
91 Lupulescu, Constantin ROU 2655
92 Ragger, Markus AUT 2655
93 Seirawan, Yasser USA 2652
94 Fridman, Daniel GER 2652
95 Milov, Vadim SUI 2651
96 Istratescu, Andrei FRA 2650
97 Cheparinov, Ivan BUL 2650
98 Petrosian, Tigran L. ARM 2649
99 Kurnosov, Igor RUS 2648
100 Meier, Georg GER 2648
101 Azarov, Sergei BLR 2648

The top 100 women:

Name Nat Elo
1 Polgar, Judit HUN 2701
2 Koneru, Humpy IND 2600
3 Hou, Yifan CHN 2578
4 Kosintseva, Nadezhda RUS 2560
5 Lahno, Kateryna UKR 2554
6 Muzychuk, Anna SLO 2545
7 Kosintseva, Tatiana RUS 2536
8 Ju, Wenjun CHN 2536
9 Stefanova, Antoaneta BUL 2528
10 Dzagnidze, Nana GEO 2525
11 Cmilyte, Viktorija LTU 2525
12 Danielian, Elina ARM 2517
13 Sebag, Marie FRA 2512
14 Zatonskih, Anna USA 2508
15 Harika, Dronavalli IND 2505
16 Chiburdanidze, Maia GEO 2500
17 Gunina, Valentina RUS 2499
18 Galliamova, Alisa RUS 2498
19 Zhao, Xue CHN 2497
20 Khotenashvili, Bela GEO 2497
21 Socko, Monika POL 2490
22 Zhu, Chen QAT 2490
23 Cramling, Pia SWE 2489
24 Atalik, Ekaterina TUR 2481
25 Ruan, Lufei CHN 2477
26 Mkrtchian, Lilit ARM 2475
27 Krush, Irina USA 2472
28 Xu, Yuhua CHN 2472
29 Dembo, Yelena GRE 2471
30 Skripchenko, Almira FRA 2470
31 Kosteniuk, Alexandra RUS 2469
32 Munguntuul, Batkhuyag MGL 2465
33 Javakhishvili, Lela GEO 2464
34 Ushenina, Anna UKR 2462
35 Paehtz, Elisabeth GER 2461
36 Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan SCO 2456
37 Muzychuk, Mariya UKR 2456
38 Shen, Yang CHN 2448
39 Pogonina, Natalija RUS 2446
40 Hoang, Thanh Trang HUN 2446
41 Gaponenko, Inna UKR 2445
42 Zaiatz, Elena RUS 2441
43 Rajlich, Iweta POL 2440
44 Khurtsidze, Nino GEO 2440
45 Matnadze, Ana GEO 2433
46 Moser, Eva AUT 2432
47 Tan, Zhongyi CHN 2429
48 Houska, Jovanka ENG 2427
49 Khukhashvili, Sopiko GEO 2426
50 Vasilevich, Tatjana UKR 2423
51 Repkova, Eva SVK 2423
52 Huang, Qian CHN 2421
53 Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina RUS 2421
54 Peptan, Corina-Isabela ROU 2421
55 Tania, Sachdev IND 2419
56 Li, Ruofan SIN 2419
57 Bodnaruk, Anastasia RUS 2417
58 Cori T., Deysi PER 2416
59 Foisor, Cristina-Adela ROU 2416
60 Zhukova, Natalia UKR 2416
61 Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman IND 2415
62 Batsiashvili, Nino GEO 2413
63 Paikidze, Nazi GEO 2412
64 Turova, Irina RUS 2410
65 Romanko, Marina RUS 2409
66 Ovod, Evgenija RUS 2408
67 Madl, Ildiko HUN 2399
68 Wang, Pin CHN 2397
69 Melia, Salome GEO 2396
70 Michna, Marta GER 2396
71 Vasilevich, Irina RUS 2393
72 Alexandrova, Olga ESP 2392
73 Girya, Olga RUS 2390
74 Zdebskaja, Natalia UKR 2389
75 Galojan, Lilit ARM 2389
76 Zhang, Xiaowen CHN 2387
77 Majdan-Gajewska, Joanna POL 2386
78 Kashlinskaya, Alina RUS 2385
79 Tsereteli, Tamar GEO 2383
80 Shadrina, Tatiana RUS 2378
81 Fierro Baquero, Martha L. ECU 2378
82 Bojkovic, Natasa SRB 2378
83 Zozulia, Anna BEL 2377
84 Peng, Zhaoqin NED 2377
85 Matveeva, Svetlana RUS 2377
86 Gara, Ticia HUN 2375
87 Kononenko, Tatiana UKR 2375
88 Milliet, Sophie FRA 2374
89 Kovanova, Baira RUS 2369
90 L’Ami, Alina ROU 2368
91 Guo, Qi CHN 2367
92 Vajda, Szidonia HUN 2367
93 Lomineishvili, Maia GEO 2366
94 Pham, Le Thao Nguyen VIE 2362
95 Wang, Yu A. CHN 2360
96 Stockova, Zuzana SVK 2360
97 Gaprindashvili, Nona GEO 2360
98 Guramishvili, Sopiko GEO 2359
99 Rudolf, Anna HUN 2359
100 Pokorna, Regina SVK 2359

The top 20 juniors:

Name Nat Elo Born
1 Giri, Anish NED 2722 1994
2 Le, Quang Liem VIE 2717 1991
3 Caruana, Fabiano ITA 2712 1992
4 Feller, Sebastien FRA 2668 1991
5 Ding, Liren CHN 2659 1992
6 So, Wesley PHI 2655 1993
7 Yu, Yangyi CHN 2646 1994
8 Negi, Parimarjan IND 2631 1993
9 Matlakov, Maxim RUS 2630 1991
10 Sjugirov, Sanan RUS 2627 1993
11 Safarli, Eltaj AZE 2627 1992
12 Hess, Robert L USA 2625 1991
13 Salgado Lopez, Ivan ESP 2614 1991
14 Kovalyov, Anton ARG 2612 1992
15 Ipatov, Alexander ESP 2591 1993
16 Swiercz, Dariusz POL 2585 1994
17 Robson, Ray USA 2583 1994
18 Zherebukh, Yaroslav UKR 2580 1993
19 Hou, Yifan CHN 2578 1994
20 Hovhannisyan, Robert ARM 2578 1991