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Just reinforcing what you said, Frank, which thought you said well. Paul as one born under the Law had his Romans 7 experience (in the wilderness of Arabia, I think... Mount Sinai, "in Arabia..."). He had a great struggle with "lust," or "covetousness" or "concupiscence," they are all the same word in the Greek. We are not told just what form this lust or covetousness took, but Paul quotes the commandment, "Thou shalt not covet..."
But even those of us who are not under the Old Covenant know well the struggle with the same thing, which "law" awakens in us... and we know what it's like to cry out, "O wretched man that I am..."
| 2010/8/18 14:50||Profile|
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appolus on 2010/8/18 13:39:02
" Is the old man still alive? If he is dead, then what raises its ugly head?"
Oh what a topic to add at this point! and yet it is very relevant to this discussion. This deserves a thread of its own but I could certainly not sustain a conversation on that topic while this one is still running.
I think we are hitting the familiar struggle of scripture and experience. If we find that our experience does not square up with what the scripture seems to say plainly what shall we say? There are two main ways that we can go faced with this apparent dichotomy. We can use our experience as the controlling model and interpret the scripture in the light of that experience OR we can use the scripture as our controlling model and interpret our experience in the light of the scripture.
Our tendency is to say the Bible says A but my experience seems to be B, therefore what the scripture must mean by A is really B. Suppose we take a radical approach and say the Bible says A but my experience seems to be B therefore I must challenge my experience and look to God to bring my B into line with the Scripture's A. Hope that isn't too complicated.
The danger is, of course, that the conservative will say this will bring down the whole structure of our theology. I think we have to take the risk. well over 50 years ago AW Tozer challenged the evangelical textualisation of Christianity. 'because we have the word' he said 'we think we have the experience'. This it the source of the quotation that Robert W made some time ago. Tozer protested that in place of the genuine biblical experience of the witness of the Spirit we had 'substituted logical deductions drawn from proof texts'. During the 1950s and 1960s we institutionalised this by adding the category of 'seekers needing assurance'. The absence of 'assurance' was then 'cured' by a form of bible based brain-washing; those very verses that Tozer had warned about.
Let's suppose, for the sake of following this through, that for any man 'in Christ' it is literally and dynamically true that 'our old man was co-crucified with Christ'. If this is so then we have to find another explanation of whatever it is 'that raises its ugly head'. If 'our old man was co-crucified with Christ' then we have eliminated that possibility from our enquires (as the police here might say) and we shall have to find another suspect.
I would reason the same with regard to whether or not the Old Covenant exists today. If it is true that Christ took away the first in order to establish the second then the first is 'taken away' and is not available for those living today. So if we are not living under the power, privilege and responsibility of the New Covenant we are living under a do-it-yourself pattern of our own creation and one which has no divine authority.
My own take on Romans 7 is not that it is an inevitable template for every believer but is Paul's own personal testimony. My own testimony may follow his but not necessarily so.
| 2010/8/18 17:21||Profile|
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Good answer brother Ron. I agree with 99% :) I believe that the sin nature and the old man are parts of we multi-faceted people. The old man was completely enslaved to sin and dies with Christ. The new creature is free to follow Jesus in victory. When the new creature sins after coming to Christ, its because he chooses to. Prior to Christ the old man was in charge, now Christ is in charge. Anyway, as you say, thats another subject. Thanks for your reply brother, and any day brother Tozer is quoted is a good day :)..........brother Frank
| 2010/8/18 19:09|
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This ugly flesh and body of sin cannot enter the kingdom of God. That is why we have the privledge of this flesh, corn of wheat, can be planted in the ground and come forth a new creature, it will produce good fruit by its new nature, which I already have by the Spirit of Christ in me, and my soul is being conformed to the Image of Christ by the Holy Spirit. This mind is my war now, I know that no good thing dwells in me. But by the Spirit of God and the New Nature of the Seed of Christ in me, I am eternally saved, was saved, am being saved in my Mind/Soul, which is now the Mind of Christ warring against the mind of my soul, creating in me the exact thing the Law is for. I hate what I do and the things I do I don't want to do, making the Law of God Perfect and me under the power of it condemnation. But, It is no longer I who sin but sin that dwells in my flesh. Who will set me free from this body of death, "praise God through Christ Jesus", I am set free. Now through the power of the Holy Spirit I can overcome the flesh, not in my own power, when I say I will do this or that, but by the only Power on earth that can set me free, by the Power of the Christ Seed and His Mind warring against my mind, and the only One that can give the Power to give me the capacity and power to take up my cross which was and is the Cross of Christ, and overcome this sin daily to be conformed to the image of Christ that is in me, The Holy Spirit Himself. I fail every day, but in the Spirit I can not fail.
Gaebelein's Annoted Bible (he says it much better)
1. The Law and its Dominion. 1-3.
2. Dead to the Law and Married to Another. 4-6.
3. Concerning the Law; its Activities and Purpose. 7-13.
4. The Experience of a Believer in Bondage to the Law. 14-24.
5. The Triumphant note of Deliverance. 25.
Verses 1-3.--The law is now more fully taken up. We have learned before that by the works of the law no man can be justified before God. But when the sinner is justified by faith, does he need the law to please God? Can obedience to the law produce in him the fruit of holiness unto God? What is the relation of the justified believer to the law? Is he still under the dominion of the law or is he also delivered from the law and its bondage? These questions are answered in this chapter. An important principle is stated in the first verse. The law has dominion over a man as long as he lives. The law has dominion over man (both Jews and Gentiles). The law, which is holy, just and good (verse 12) condemns man, his sinful nature and the fruits of that sinful nature, and in this sense it has dominion over every man and holds him in its grasp. But when death takes place, the rule of the law is broken. It cannot touch a dead man. The penalty of the broken law is death, when that sentence is executed, the law can have no longer dominion.
An illustration from the marriage law as instituted by God is given to make this clear. Husband and wife are united in a union till death dissolves it. The married woman is bound by that law to her husband as long as he lives. When he dies she is free and can be married to another. And we are become dead to the law by the body of Christ. The body of Christ means the death of Christ on the Cross. On the cross He bore the judgment which is our due. He bore the penalty and the curse of the law for us. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Ga 3:13). The penalty of the broken law has been met and the law is vindicated. Inasmuch, then as His death is our death, in that we died with Christ, the law can have no more dominion over us; "we are dead to the law by the body of Christ."
Verses 4-6.--The old union is dissolved. Death has done its work and it is now possible after being freed from the law to be married to another. In Galatians the question about the law and its authority is viewed from another side. The law was the schoolmaster unto Christ; now after faith is come, the full truth concerning redemption by the death of Christ is made known, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Ga 3:23-25). Being then dead to the law by the body of Christ we are married to another. And this other One is He who died for us and who is risen from the dead. Justified believers are in a living union with a risen Christ; He lives in us and we live in Him. And the result of this most blessed union is fruit unto God. The law could not produce any fruit whatever but only death; nor can the legal principle bring forth fruit unto God in a believer. Ephraim was joined to idols as we read in Hosea. But Ephraim observed the Lord, heard Him and became like a green fir tree. And the Lord adds, "From Me is thy fruit found" (Ho 14:8). The parable of the vine and the branches (Joh 15) illustrates in a simple and blessed way the apostolic statement, "Married unto another--that we should bring forth fruit unto God." As the branch is in closest union with the vine and the sap of the vine produces the fruit, so are we one with Christ, and abiding in Him we bring forth the fruit unto holiness, the fruit which pleases God.
And "when we were in the flesh" (our former state) the passions of sins were by the law. The law by its holy character brings out what the natural man is and stirs up the passions of sins. But it is different now. We are delivered from the law and we can serve in newness of Spirit. We have a new nature, even eternal life, and in that we can render a true spiritual service.
Verses 7-13.--"Is the law sin?" is the next question raised. It springs logically from the statement that the passions of sins, coming out of an evil, sinful heart, were by the law and bringing forth fruit unto death. Still another "God forbid" is the answer. The law was given that we might have through that law the knowledge of sin. "I had not known sin, but by the law." I would not be conscious of lust, unless the law said, "Thou shalt not covet." The law given by a holy God is God's detective. The law forbids and the commandment at once brings out what is in the heart of man. Therefore, no blame can be put upon the law. Sin is that which must be blamed. Sin is lawlessness, rebellion against God and the law brings out that rebellion. Therefore apart from the law sin was dead, that is, dormant. But as soon as the commandment is given, the evil heart rebels against it and man is detected to be a sinner and a transgressor. Let us notice the change of the pronoun "we" to "I." Some thirty times this little word "I" is found in verses 7-25. We are brought upon the ground of personal experience; it has to be discovered and learned experimentally. The Apostle personifies this experience and speaks thus personally describing how a believer learns the lessons about the law, how the law cannot help a justified believer, and but makes of him a wretched man. It must also have been his own experience.
"For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." This is the experience of a man who is ignorant of the spirituality of the law. He thinks himself alive, but when the commandment came, its spiritual demands realized (the law is spiritual, verse 14), the false notion of being alive was detected, for sin revived and he died, which means that sin, discovered by the law, condemned him to death. "And the commandment which was unto life was found for me to be unto death." In connection with the commandment, the law, it is written, "This do, and thou shalt live." And so in this experience--he tries next to get life by the law, but he found it was unto death, for the declaration of the law is "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Ga 3:10; De 27:26). He speaks of sin, his evil nature, as one who had deceived him into all this, so that the law could manifest its power in slaying him. Verse 12 is the real answer to the question, "Is the law sin?" The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good. And because the law is holy it gives knowledge of sin and detects sin, bringing it to light in all its hideousness and then pronounces the sentence of death. One other question is asked, "Was then that which is good (the law) made death unto me?" God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceedingly sinful." It all comes back upon sin (the evil nature, the flesh). Thus by the commandment sin becomes exceeding sinful.
Verses 14-24.--But all this must be learned by experience, especially the fact "I am carnal," the knowledge that in my flesh there dwelleth no good thing and that I have no power, I am powerless against indwelling sin. What person is it who describes his experience in these words? Some have applied it exclusively to the Apostle. Others state that it pictures an awakened sinner and not a converted man. The man described is born again, but is in bondage to the law and is ignorant of his deliverance in Christ. We find first the statement "we know that the law is spiritual." This is the knowledge which a true Christian possesses concerning the law. And the Christian who knows this great truth, that the law is spiritual, also has learned another truth. "I am carnal and sold under sin." Here then it is where experience begins. True Christian experience is to know our full deliverance in Christ and to walk in the Spirit; the experience of a Christian in struggling with the old nature and discovering what is that old nature, the flesh, is put before us in verses 15-24. That we have here a converted person is seen by the fact first of all, that he does not want to do evil, he wants to do good and cannot do it and therefore hates what he does. The carnal nature, the flesh, which is still in a converted person, is thus demonstrated as enslaving him, however, he is no longer a willing slave, but he hates that old thing which has the mastery over him. In hating it and condemning sin, he does the same what the law does, for it also condemns sin. In this way he consents to the law that it is good. The seventeenth verse is of much importance. "Now then it is no more I that really do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." He learns the difference between himself as born again, in possession of a new nature, and the old nature. He begins to distinguish himself as in possession of a new nature that wills to do good, hating evil, and sin in him, the flesh in which dwells nothing good, but all that is evil. "For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh dwelleth no good thing, for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." It is a great discovery to find out by experience, that although the believer is born again, he has a nature in him which is evil, which cannot bring forth a good thing. But the will is present with him to do good, because he is born again; however, he finds not the power in himself to perform what is good. And now the conflict between the two natures is on. It brings out some important facts. "It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me." He as born again, no longer loves sin; he hates it. Because he does that which he does not want to do he can truthfully say "it is no more I that do it." Furthermore he delights in the law of God after the inward man. This can never be said of an unconverted man, but only he who has a new nature can delight in the law of God. But he finds himself in helpless captivity to the law of sin which is at work in his members. He finds out that while he has a new nature to will good and to hate evil, he has no power; sin is too strong for him. And this is to teach the believer that he must get power to overcome outside of himself. All his resolutions and good wishes cannot supply the strength to do. That he is self-occupied, seeking power by what he does and tries to do, is seen from the use of the little word "I." The name of the One in whom we have deliverance, Christ, is not mentioned once. The case is clear, it is the description of the experience of a believer, who is justified, born again, in union with Christ, dead with Him, risen with Him and indwelt by the Holy Spirit; but he lacks the knowledge of this and tries by his own efforts and in his own strength, through keeping the law, to obtain holiness. Having discovered that nothing good dwells in his flesh; that the flesh is not himself, but sin in him and that, because it is too strong for him, he is powerless, the cry of despair is uttered by him. "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" He has reached the end of self. He looks now for deliverance from another source, outside of himself. The answer comes at once. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." In Him there is deliverance and what that deliverance is, we shall learn from the first four verses of the eighth chapter. The two laws are mentioned once more in the last verse of this chapter. With the mind, as born again, he serves the law and the law gives him no power; in the struggle with the old nature he is enslaved by the law of sin.
Praise God in Christ I can do all things, even when I don't walk in the Spirit, for He brings me back under the Law of Christ, who loves me and gave Himself for me.
| 2010/8/18 19:25||Profile|
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by appolus on 2010/8/18 21:09:26 writes:
"Good answer brother Ron. I agree with 99% :)"
That's a good score.. I don't agree with myself all the time! ;-)
| 2010/8/19 4:23||Profile|
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Krautfrau - you wrote " A time of wandering is common for the children of God, not many enter into fullness quickly unless during a revival. During this time, God`s presence leaves them and they grow weary and cold until the day when they can cry out `O wretched man that I am who will deliver me` (from my sin nature) if the Lord grants them repentant and tender hearts. Otherwise they stay stiffnecked in their sins, thinking that they are not expected to be 100% obedient or that they can always come to say sorry (but do the same thing again) Brethren this is not love nor is it holiness.
If they respond to the Holy Spirit`s movement in them the new covenant is made clear and the necessity for Christ`s righteousness to be imparted through faith. Under the new covenant, disobedience is punished severely - they shall surely perish Deut 8:19 because it is not mans ability that enables him to obey absolutely it is the strength and the keeping power of the Lord our God so now there is no excuse.
Deuteronomy should not be thought of as concerning the people of Israel but as concerning all of God`s people. If the new covenant, after coming to Christ initially has not been made between us and God then we are in the flesh and flesh cannot see God.
"Take heed to yourselves that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside and serve other gods and worship them" Deut 11:16. What are we putting before the LOrd brethren? What comes first in our lives? Is it a partner, children, a job, our reputation as a Bible teacher? If we are not functioning within the new covenant then we will perish ie we will have no spiritual authenticity in our lives, our inward will not match our outward, we will be hypocrites and only our close family will know how empty and lacking in grace in the crisis we really are. Let Deuteronomy convict us in the name of the Lord."
I am Responding to the comments above:
I believe the "wandering time," or "desert time," is a reality and meant to lead the child of God to the cross -to the wretched man experience and the reality of new covenant life - which is Christ himself, "the good land." Now, there are many who are very learned and who emphasize various doctrinal and denominational influences in all of this. I have to say though, while often some relate to Romans 7, how many consider they are to come out of Romans 7 into Romans 8. This is to say, sanctification is of course an ongoing process, but there seems to be a crises that many experience as well, in which God revealse the still lingering flesh, self life, sin nature - or whatever you want to call it. Then the Lord also reveals the fact of our co-crucifixion with Christ, and our resurrection with him as well. Now, I said all this because I think the experience of many is that of living under law, which relates to the old covenant, whereas living under grace relates to the new wine adn the new covenant. So then I have a question for you specifically and for any others who may care to comment. If indeed, there is an experience or crises, which I say there is/ coming differently in people, then what happens to the one who goes through this and comes to a new spiritual plane (I do not mean to say that we come to a place of being above other believers...no, we should actually be even more aware then of weakness of self). I want to say though, that brother Zac Poonen has stated this often as well - that only a very small portion of Christians have come into the new covenant life. Again, though, does this not create a problem for people who do come in (I know all true Christians are new creations in Christ - I don't mean to say they are not). I want to ask, how you now relate to teh body of Christ...do you find fellowship in a church where the cross is not seen in its fullness, where new covenant life is not taught in this way? Can you be in a fellowship, which law is expounded (not like the 10 commandments and so on, but law in the sense now of flesh adn man made rules, programs). Anyway, many may jump on this as stating that I or this philosophy means I am placing some Christians as super-Christians, above others adn all of that....but no. Paul said follow me as I follow Christ....He spoke often of a crucified life. He did not say he was a super Christian, but obviously he lived a new covenant, Christ life....how else could he say, Rejoice inthe Lord always, and the kingdom of God is not found in food and so forth but in righteousness, peace and joy and so forth - I add this to say, we are spurred on to holiness, victory over sin, living in love, and so on in the New Testament (and particularly in the actual New Covenant life written about in the NT). Well, lots of rambling, but these things puzzle me - so when I see other believers speak of such things as you say "granting them repentance," and an understanding that God wants 100% obedience, or new covenant, resurrection life I would say, well then I want to ask more of how you walk this out...how you find fellowship with other believers, etc.
Please respond...God bless.....Mkal
| 2010/8/19 20:57||Profile|
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You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD. If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; Lev 26:26 NKJV
that sounds good... but what about this...
But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you. And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. Lev 26:1419 NKJV
that doesn't sound so good...
it is easy to forget that the Sinai Covenant had a sword in its hand...
And I will bring a sword against you that will execute the vengeance of the covenant; when you are gathered together within your cities I will send pestilence among you; and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. Lev 26:25 NKJV
Aren't you glad that Covenant with its blessings and its curses has been 'taken away' and a New Covenant 'established' in its place?
| 2010/8/21 7:41||Profile|
| 2010/8/21 7:50||Profile|
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Philologos, any thoughts or comments on my 2nd generation "gap theory" post?
| 2010/8/21 8:59||Profile|
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BeYeDoers on 2010/8/21 10:59:37
"Philologos, any thoughts or comments on my 2nd generation "gap theory" post?"
Can you remind me of the date? I don't think I could wade through all this to find it.
| 2010/8/21 12:22||Profile|