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eagleswings
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 Re: "The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" by G.W. North



28..This is the death Paul was talking about, this rigid refusal to become personally interested in and involved with sin, except as far as it was necessary to destroy its power over humanity and remove it. That this death was demonstrated and gloriously effected at the time of Christ's physical death was absolutely right according to the nature of things, making that death all the more wonderful and infinitely more powerful and effective. The subtlety of sin is that it has created in mankind a state of unconscious death, with the result that people physically alive are quite unaware that they are dead with a death more terrible than physical decease or the diseases that cause it. This death is existence in a state of death towards God, (of being unaware of Him, and not knowing Him or that He even exists), as being opposed to eternal life, which consists in knowing God. When God gave the law to Israel He did so in order to convince them of sin by making them aware of Himself and what He wanted and did not want and would not have. Paul says the law enhanced sin, that is, it focussed attention upon sin, lighting it up and making it appear what it was; with customary frankness he illustrated this from his own life and experience. Like us all, he was born fallen and dead by the sin of Adam. He was in sin, though not consciously; he did not know what sin was. Not understanding it, he was quite unaware of it, so he lived happily with it, and felt really alive. Then came the time when, by some means or other, (possibly at Bar-mitzvah when the law came to him, as to every boy) sin came to him; when that happened it was enhanced to him personally. He instanced this enhancement by referring to his inward struggle with sin in relation to the tenth commandment, 'thou shalt not covet'. He had coveted many a time without knowing that it was covetousness, or lust. Then one day he realized the meaning of the law, and it dawned on him what he was doing and had always been doing. He had been existing in sin, totally dead to God, very much alive to self, and he knew he was a sinner.



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Roger P.

 2004/4/25 10:53Profile
eagleswings
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 Re: "The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" by G.W. North



29. As every other 'normal' person, he had been living in the grip of lust, wanting this or that or him or her for one purpose or another. In total ignorance of true spiritual life, he had lived only to satisfy his own physical, mental, aesthetic, or religious desires; he had certainly not known this was sin. But when this realization dawned on him, and he recognized that all his behaviour and everything associated with it was sin, he died. All his enjoyment had been self-indulgence, and it turned sour on him; his former life passed away. In desperation he turned wholeheartedly to religion for help and became a Pharisee. He adamantly refused to do anything that broke the ten commandments, or in any way infringed the ordinances of God as the Jews interpreted them; he treasured the law and delighted in it in his mind. As touching the righteousness that was in the law he was blameless, excelling just about everybody in the country, but he was dead, he could not live what he believed; he was one great mass of inward contradiction and corruption and he knew it. He found that nothing could halt or reverse what was going on in him; he discovered that sin was governed by law, that a spiritual process was at work in his members and he was its slave. Neither law nor will, nor religion, nor good works, nor circumcision, nor anything else could stop him from sinning, or take sin out of him. A power was dominating his mind so that he sinned as by law; it was inbred in him, he did it naturally. Sin, he discovered, was his nature, his lord, his custodian, his predestination. He was conformed by it and to it, an unwilling slave of a tyrant master. Sin had slain him, he was dead, in death; it was in him. First it had been a death he did not know, now it was a death he did know, or thought he did, but how to get rid of it or get out of it he did not know. O what a death.



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Roger P.

 2004/4/26 17:58Profile
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 Re: "The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" by G.W. North



30. In this conscious state of death he existed for many years, groaning over his wretchedness and crying out for a deliverer, thinking there was no way out and becoming harder and harder as time went on. When he met the Church he found a company of men and women who had discovered the secret that had eluded him, and he hated them for it. Brooding over his condition and refusing to believe the gospel, his zeal reached fanatical proportions, and he sinned yet more; breathing out threatenings and slaughter, full of bigotry, blasphemy and blood lust, he worked out a plan to destroy all the Christians and stamp out Christianity in his lifetime. Fanatically he threw himself into a frenzied extermination programme. He was so convinced he was right, that he actually achieved the remarkable distinction of living with a clear conscience towards God, at the same time being a murderer of men and a hater of Jesus Christ, so dead was he. But in various ways the Lord began to deal with him, gradually goading him along, till, in his wretchedness, he cried out within himself for deliverance from himself. Conflicts and contradictions raged within him, confusing all his thoughts, but all to no avail. He was the embodiment of sin and hated himself for it; but he had committed himself and, filled with pride, he went rushing blindly on in total ignorance of salvation and what it was about. But Christ loved him none the less, and one day came in mercy to him and shone upon him. He was blinded, the light was so intense. He fell to the ground, his body was laid in the dust, he could eat no food, he was incarcerated in darkness, he was brought to death. It was a terrible experience. Physically he was still alive, but he did not know what was happening to him or when it might end; all he could do was pray and cry out to God. His state was dreadful, unforgettable, so were his prayers; they were heart cries, that was all. He had no difficulty in recalling them, they were all much about the same, pitifully full of ignorance and despair. To him it seemed his body was full of death; he knew he was a dead man. 'O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?' he cried; perhaps he was still saying it when the Lord delivered him.



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Roger P.

 2004/4/27 9:40Profile
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 Re: "The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" by G.W. North


31. Like Unto His Glorious Image

When Ananias laid his hands on him, all the raging turbulence within Paul ceased at once and for ever. He received into himself the Holy Spirit and, by Him, the spirit of Christ, which could not be imparted by Him in the days of His flesh. Thereby He brought His death, the complete works and effects of it, to Paul, to his whole spirit, soul and body. It was profound. Paul became a new man. The Lord did not bring His bodily death to him, He brought and applied the effects and accomplishments of it to him: the man Paul still lived. Christ brought in to him that death which He accomplished for him while yet breathing in the body of His flesh on the cross, His own personal death to sin on behalf of man. To Paul it was as final in the spirit/soul realm as physical death is in the bodily realm, and more permanent. Short of physical death it was as the commencement of a new life to Paul. Christ's death was a great personal triumph, but not just for Himself, He died for others also: for everyone who was to be a partner with Him of His life and a member of His spiritual body. That death therefore had to be made available to them. For this, God sent the Holy Spirit, for He is the Spirit of the life which was in Christ Jesus while here in the flesh (as well as in eternity) enabling Him to live on earth dead to sin. He came because He had to, there was no other way we could be made members of the same body (in which He wrought the miracle) and live and walk in the same element in which He lived and walked. Jesus was the man of the Spirit, He lived entirely in the Spirit, physically and spiritually, and His physical body was the medium in which He wrought the miracle for His spiritual body of many human members. If any man saw the truth of identification and unification with Christ it was Paul. He saw the fundamental necessity of it, both for God and for man. He also fully realized that, apart from these things, the whole plan of redemption would not have been proposed, for it could not have worked; redemption is set upon and proceeds from identification and unification of Christ's people with Himself. The whole idea of substitution, necessary as it was, had to resolve itself into identification or all would fail. Substitution teaches 'instead of me', identification declares 'as me'. Paul saw, that as Christ had accomplished everything as a whole and at once, every basic thing had to be done in him as a whole and at once also — not piecemeal. He understood why human beings were made as they were, and fully grasped the deeper meanings and desires of God which underlay the words of God spoken in the beginning, 'let us make man in our image after our likeness'. Everyone, and everything to do with each one's salvation throughout the whole of life here and hereafter was proposed, conformed arid predestinated by one person and one act in eternity and we all were justified into that pre-arranged and prepared position.




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Roger P.

 2004/4/28 6:35Profile
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 Re: "The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" by G.W. North



32. Paul's failure had lain in the fact that, being unregenerate, laws contrary to the law of his mind were working in his members, warring against him. He had thought and wished and willed good, but the members of his body did otherwise; they seemed to have a will of their own. Powers not under the control of his mind were working in him, in his mind, in his body, throughout his whole system, in his mind particularly; all nature was under sin's dominion. There was a law operating in all his members which he could neither change nor control; he was corrupt through lust. He realized that the body must be brought to a death. For this reason, and to do this thing, Christ comes into us. He broke the power of the law of sin and death, which would have dominated over his will in His own body, and because He wants our bodies to be conformed to His body He comes into us to bring all those contrary powers and activities in our members to death. In love and holiness He makes us partake of His essential death, the greater one, so that being planted together in the likeness of His death, we should be also of His resurrection.



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Roger P.

 2004/4/29 6:38Profile
eagleswings
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 Re: "The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" by G.W. North



33. The Great Man that He was, He had to become as mere man and be raised from the dead by the glory of the Father; the Spirit of life quickened His dead body because of His and the Father's righteousness. He had to be raised because He had conquered sin. It would have been sin if He had not been raised — He deserved it. In us the death of Christ and the quickening of the Spirit work together. Christ's death to sin must permanently abide and work in us; if that death did not operate in us sin would work in our members instead. In the same way, because of righteousness, the Spirit must abide in us also, for it is He who brings to us the Spirit of Christ who operates in us this same law of liberty from sin and death. It is only right that all who will have the death to work in them should have the life too, otherwise it is impossible to be and to do righteousness. This is the only way a person can be kept free from sin; this is that death into which we are baptized and buried and planted. Like everything else of major significance in spiritual life it is a two-way experience — we are baptized into it and it is baptized into us.


END




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