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RobertW
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 Re:

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I mean, it seems difficult to describe the struggle that's going on in me without saying something about two opposing somethings, principles, desires, urges, etc.



I wrestled with this same question for years and refused to believe that the struggle did not exist. I also believed there were two opposing 'somethings' and to me it was the Holy Spirit and 'the Flesh'. I defined 'the flesh' as a carnal nature that is constantly trying to regain control of the heart. I believed strongly that there was some connection between the body and the sin nature because I saw biblical evidence that the body was made 'vile' and we needed to be clothed upon by our glorious body. I saw death as the axe God used to sever the body from the soul and thus dispense with the carnal nature.

I am not so sure now that I was right in all this. As was pointed out to me by many- if this is true "death is the Savior." I do still believe that there is something 'residual' in the born again that will be finally done away with at physical death- but I do not see this as a factor strong enough to be called a 'sin nature'.

I believe the struggle originates in our natural desires being elevated to unnatural levels. [i]Temptation is a proposition to the intellect to fulfill a good appetite in a bad way[/i] (P.R). Our appetites have to be maintained at reasonable levels or they will seek to control us. Yet this in itself is not enough. Why?

[i]And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even [u]we ourselves groan within ourselves[/u], waiting for the adoption, to wit, the [u]redemption of our body[/u]. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also [u]helpeth our infirmities[/u]: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.[/i] (Romans 8)

The presence of the Holy Spirit in our life when we are walking full of the Spirit will 'helpeth' us keep that infirmity in check. It is not enough to merely have the appetites under control- there must be the empowering of the Holy Spirit.


Can we begin a conversation on just what this "smelly old coat" could be? In reading MacAurther's writings they seem to not say a whole lot less about believers have an inner 'struggle' than one who believed in two natures and he even states that Sin is still resident in our 'humaness'. These are very obscure terms (struggle, humaness, etc.). At first glance the article appears to be a contradiction if you pin him down on the points. I am not criticizing him as I highly respect his teachings. I just don't think he can make that 'bird' fly as he has written it.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/7/20 8:51Profile
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 Re:

Excellent points Ron and Robert.

To summarize, if I understand correctly, we have this "new man" who has not yet been made perfect. This "new man" has a struggle within and this struggle is between flesh and Spirit however, flesh does not refer to the physical body but man's immaterial being. To my thinking, this seems to lead right back to two natures.:-?

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2005/7/20 10:12Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

Hi Ron,

What is a nature? I don't know if we ever defined that one?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/7/20 10:27Profile
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 Re:

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Hi Ron, What is a nature? I don't know if we ever defined that one?



Great question, this is critical to our discussion. I would apply the follwoing meaning to 'nature' in the context of this thread;

[i]When we speak of the nature of a man, or an individual of the race, we mean his particular qualities or constitution; either the peculiar temperament of his body, or the affections of his mind, his natural appetites, passions, disposition or temper.[/i]

-from [i]Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of American English[/i]

I am applying the understanding of the term 'nature' to refer to a set of characteristics, or disposition. A nature is not something that acts of itself but the believer can be seen as acting from the perspective of a nature.

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2005/7/20 11:01Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

Quote:
A nature is not something that acts of itself but the believer can be seen as acting from the perspective of a nature.



So are we referring to:

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men [u]of like passions[/u] with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: (Acts 14:15)

Elias was a man [u]subject to like passions[/u] as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.(James 5:17)

[b]Homoiopathes[/b] or "like [b]Pascho[/b]

Pascho is 'suffering'.

I see a clue here:

Forasmuch then as Christ hath [u]suffered[/u] for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath [u]suffered[/u] in the flesh hath ceased from sin;


What can we learn from this passage? What suffering did He endure that if we do likewise we will "cease from sin"?






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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/7/20 11:10Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
To summarize, if I understand correctly, we have this "new man" who has not yet been made perfect.


Ron
I think this 'new man' is complete just as the 'old man' was complete but 'I' am capable of growth. There is a little progress report in Luke's gospel which I think is fascinating.Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. the word for 'increase' is also used in Luke 2:52; Rom. 13:12; Gal. 1:14; 2Tim. 2:16; 3:9,13 which gives us the sense of definite 'development'. The 'new man' was here on earth and was complete, but continued to 'increase'. If He had not increased He would, presumably have fallen behind God's perfect plan/schedule and consequently become 'incomplete/imperfect.

Progress is a necessary aspect of 'perfection/completion'. Here is an explosive question. If Jesus had not 'developed' would He have been 'as a babe' and unable to take 'meat'? (1 Cor 3:2) Would He have lived His life 'walking as a man' (1 Cor 3:3) and hence become 'carnal'? Is a carnal man, a spiritual man who is not walking in the Spirit?

As regards Webster's definition of 'nature', how useful is this? He is defining a theological concept rather than a biblical revelation. Was Christ's body 'vile'? (I am using Robert's word here) I presume you are thinking of Phil. 3:21 Who shall change our [u]vile[/u] body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. but 'vile' also needs a definition. It derives from the Latin vilis which simply means 'cheap or base'. In its original use is simply meant something of 'humble' aspect or station. The ASV gets the sense better,blockquote>“who shall fashion anew the body of our [u]humiliation[/u], that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself.”
(Phil. 3:21, ASV) The 'humblest' station in medaeval life was the 'villein', the most 'base' element of society, but not 'vile' in a moral sense.

No, the 'new man' is the counterpoise to the 'old man'. The 'old man' was our corporate solidarity in Adam. I often draw attention to the mixture of plural singular in the phrase 'our old man' was co-crucified... He we have a plural possessive pronoun and a singular noun. We do not have an individual 'old man'; we share one. I am not sure that we have an 'individual 'new man' either. The 'old man' did not struggle, and I don't see the 'new man' struggling either. 'I' may struggle but not 'our new man'. make sense?

Paul's reference to the 'old man' in Ephesians is enlightening (I think) too. Eph. 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; The 'which is corrupt' is phtheiromenon which is a present participle in the passive voice and in the masculine gender agreeing with 'the old man'. The verb has a definite article preceding it. I'm sorry about this but I will try to explain how I see the significance of that. A present participle preceded by the definite article indicates 'characteristic'. So if it were active voice we would have something like 'the corrupting one'. The 'old man; would then be characterised by his 'corrupting' influence. However, it is passive voice which implies that the 'old man' is the 'being corrupted one'. This 'image' too is be 'renewed' (re-olded?) It is receiving its 'life' from a source which keeps its 'image' rock steady in its corrupt rebellion against God. (If you have any friends who dabble in bible Greek now would be a good time to talk to them and ask them if they think my interpretation is right.) Your first thought may be 'it is the 'way of life/conversation' which is continually being corrupted, but 'conversation' is female gender so the verb would not agree with it; the verb is in agreement with the masculine gender of 'man'.

A crucial issue here is Christ's humanity. To be goel-redeemer He must be our kinsman, so his humanity must be the same as ours in essence. He did not take a different kind of body to those the rest of us have, but was made in 'the likeness of sinful flesh'. Not in 'sinful' flesh but the 'likeness of sinful flesh'. 'flesh' becomes 'sinful' or otherwise as a result of associations of soul and spirit. (there may be trouble ahead ;-) )

I'll pause...


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Ron Bailey

 2005/7/20 13:50Profile
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 Re:

Interesting thoughts, I'll have to chew on them for a while.

Quote:
As regards Webster's definition of 'nature', how useful is this? He is defining a theological concept rather than a biblical revelation.



It seems that the meaning of the term 'nature', as we are using it in this thread, is a theological issue because the terms old nature/new nature aren't found in scripture. But this doesn't mean we can't use and define those terms, rather it can be helpful to our undertsanding. As an example of this, the term 'trinity' comes to mind.

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2005/7/20 14:16Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
But this doesn't mean we can't use and define those terms, rather it can be helpful to our undertsanding. As an example of this, the term 'trinity' comes to mind.


Agreed, and in the context of trinity we know we are using a man-made label to express the ineffable. The word 'trinity' comes at the end of the argument rather than at the beginning. It is a conclusion rather than a starting point.

I was rather trying to avoid the Humpty Dumpty scenario where words mean whatever we want them to mean. I may call my dog a goldfish and it will do little harm. If, however, I begin to follow someone else instructions for 'keeping goldfish' it may have serious repercussions for my dog. :-D


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Ron Bailey

 2005/7/20 14:31Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

I'm no prosecuting attorney, but it seems that somehow the soul and body have to be suspects in all this. I say that because the body has already received its death sentence and is essentially on death row. The spirit suffered death immediately at the fall. The only one left is the soul.

I realize it is impossible to somehow condemn sin in the physical body. That would be dualism. our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Ghost. Which leaves me with a way out of this. Paul talked about not desiring to be "unclothed"- but "clothed upon" (with our glorious body).

So when we speak of our 'humbled' body are we talking about our bodies being in a state of [u]inutility[/u] as is the rest of creation? I'm thinking out loud here. If that is so then what we have here is a body that is not sinful but at the same time is not physically able to carry out the will of God as our glorified bodies will be. This is an argument for 'weakness' as opposed to 'sinfulness'. The angels carry out the will of the Father like a bolt of lightening- we halt back and forth wondering if we 'can' or cannot do what God has said. Why? The spirit is willing but the flesh is [u]weak[/u]. We are to pray that the will of the Father would be carried out on earth as it is in Heaven? Ever stop to consider this? That is instant obedience without hesitation! We cannot do that in this body of humiliation any more than we can sin to our full potential. So can we say that when God put the body in inutility to slow the progress of sin after the fall it also 'handicapped' our ability to walk in instant obedience?






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Robert Wurtz II

 2005/7/20 14:53Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
I see a clue here:

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

What can we learn from this passage? What suffering did He endure that if we do likewise we will "cease from sin"?



I've been thinking on this a bit. It seems the suffering could be a few things; I suppose it could be suffering physical death, sin would certainly cease then. It could be suffering for righteousness sake by denying the flesh, "crucifed with Christ" comes to mind. Such a person has ceased from sin but can we say he no longer has sin dwelling in him? He has ceased from the guilt and dominion of sin but can we say he has ceased from the burden of it.

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2005/7/21 20:01Profile





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