Saturday, May 31, 2014

Because of the Truth, I'm Responsible to

Because of these truths, I am responsible to:
1. Reckon (count, act as though) yourself to be dead to sin and alive to God. (Romans 6:11)
2. Do not allow sin to reign because its reign has been terminated. (Romans 6:12)
3. Do not present the members of your body to sin as weapons of unrighteousness, but to God as weapons of righteousness. (Romans 6:13)
4. Serve God in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old way of the letter of the law. (Romans 7:6)
...because the letter kills but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)
5. Walk according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)
6. Set your mind on the things of the Spirit, things above. (Romans 8:5, Colossians 3:2)
7. Put to death your members (the deeds of the body) on the earth. (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5, 8)
8. Resist the devil and he will flee. (James 4:7 1 Peter 5:9)
9. Take the way of escape. (1 Cor 10:13)
10. Put off the old man (see #5 in the first section). (Ephesians 4:22)
11. Put on the new man. (Colossians 3:10; Eph 4:24)
See Ephesians 4:25- 5:21 and Colossians 3:5-24 for what to put off and put on.
Galatians 5:19-26 for the deeds of the flesh vs. the fruit of the Spirit
Flesh
adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, wrath, selfish ambition, dissension, heresy, envy, murder, drunkenness, revelry, passion, covetousness, malice,blasphemy, filthy language, lying, stealing, corrupt speech, bitterness, clamor, foolish talking, coarse jesting, pride, boaster, strife, whisperers, backbiting, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful, disobedience to parents, violence
Spirit
love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, tender mercies, humility, meekness, forbearance, forgiveness, thankfulness, truthfulness, work, edifying speech, grace, righteousness, redeeming time, spirit-filled, speaking/singing/teaching one another with various songs, submitting appropriately, obey and honor parents, prefer and honor others, selflessness, compassion
12. Lay aside every weight and the sin that easily trips me up. (Hebrews 12:1)
13. Be renewed in your minds. (Ephesians 4:23; Romans 2:2)
...by spending time memorizing and meditating on the Scriptures. (Psalm 1:1-3; Joshua 1:8)
14. Exercise and practice your powers of discernment. (Hebrews 5:14)
Train yourself in godliness. (1 Timothy 4:7)
Because breaking bad sinful habits requires the practice of new habits.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Truth to Know and Believe

 In summary from our study of victory in Christ here are --
Truths to Know and Believe:
1. While I was still a sinner Christ died in my place. (Romans 5:8)
2. Just as Adam's sin made me a sinner, Jesus' life and sacrifice made me righteous. (Romans 5:16, 19)
3. I died to sin when I died with Christ. (Romans 6:1-3)
4. I am crucified with Christ. (Galatians 2:20)
5. My old man was crucified with Him. (Romans 6:6)
6. The body of sin has been rendered inoperative. (Romans 6:6)
7. I've been freed from sin and its reign. (Romans 6:7)
8. Sin will not have dominion over me. (Romans 6:14)
9. I am not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:15)
10. I've been forgiven of all trespasses and the handwriting of ordinances that was against me has been taken out of the way and nailed to the cross. (Colossians 2:14)
11. I am a slave of whoever I obey – either sin leading to death, or obedience leading to righteousness, to holiness to eternal life. (Romans 6:16-23)
12. I have become dead to the law through the body of Christ. (Romans 7:4)
13. I am free to bear fruit to God and to serve in the newness of the Spirit. (Romans 7:4,6)
14. The law is holy, just and good. (Romans 7: 12)
15. The law is spiritual but I am fleshly. (Romans 7:14)
16. When I would do good, evil is present in me, that is in my flesh. (Romans 7:18, 21)
17. I am now not under any condemnation because I am in Christ. (Romans 8:1)
18. I am free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)
19. The sin in me was condemned in the atonement of Christ. (Romans 8:3)
20. The righteous requirement of the law will be fulfilled in me as I walk according to the
Spirit. (Romans 8:4)
21. If I live according to the flesh, I'm embracing death, I'm an enemy of God, and I cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8)
22. I have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)
23. As a Christian, my body is dead because of sin, but my spirit is alive because of righteousness, and the Holy Spirit will also give life to my mortal body some day. (Romans 8:10, 11)
24. I am not a debtor to the flesh to follow it. I don't owe it anything! (Romans 8:12)
25. If I live according to the flesh, I will die, but if I put to death the deeds of the body by the power of the Spirit, I will live. (Romans 8:13)
26. The Spirit will be victorious over the flesh. (Galatians 5:17)
27. The one in me is greater than the one in the world. (1 John 4:4)
28. God will not allow me to be tempted or tested above what I am able. (1 Cor 10:13)
29. God will finish what he started and conform us to the image of Christ. This is a certainty. (Phil 1:6; Romans 8:29)
30. Under the New Covenant I've been given a new heart, new spirit, God's Spirit and motivation to do right. (Ezekiel 36:26)
31. God will discipline me as a loving Father so that I will share in His holiness. Without that holiness I won't see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:10, 14)
32. Having been sanctified and perfected, my conscience has been cleansed once for all. (Hebrews 9:9; 9:14; 10:2; 10:22; read all of chapter 10 carefully)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Final Victory

Last time we saw that the Bible describes sin as dwelling in our bodies. Our living spirit along with he power of the Holy Spirit are to put to death the deeds of the body and to set our minds on spiritual things. This is the method for gaining victory.

In this last post on this subject I want us to look at the promise of ultimate victory. In Romans 8:9-11, Paul writes these words, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

What he is saying here is that even though the body is dead and dying, the Spirit of God who lives in us will ultimately give life to our mortal body as well. The place where sin has found a refuge will be replaced by a new body where righteousness rather than sin will dwell. In the mean time, we groan, eagerly waiting for our adoption, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:23).

It's interesting to see that the Bible calls our current physical body a “soulish” body (1 Corinthians 15:44). The word translated “natural” in most translations is the word pseuche which as we have seen before is the word for soul. So Adam was made a living soul and he possessed a soulish body. But there is also going to be a spiritual body. Christ was a life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45). He tells us that both a soulish body and a spiritual body exist but the soulish comes first and then the spiritual. When our soulish body has been replaced by a spiritual body, then our redemption will be complete. Sin wil no longer have a foothold.

1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Put to Death the Deeds of the Body

The answer to defeating sin and living a life that is pleasing to God is to use the power of the Holy Spirit within us as believers to put to death the deeds of the body. This is what Paul has told us in Romans 8:13. The motivation is internal and the life is internal. He describes this method as the newness of the Spirit as opposed to the oldness of the letter (Romans 7:6). Instead of an external law that has to be obeyed by shear natural human effort, we now have the resources within and the law written within as the resource we need to be victorious.

But why does he speak of putting to death the deeds of the body? How is the body the problem? As I mentioned in a previous post, we are composed of body, soul and spirit. A Christian has a renewed spirit. The soul has been damaged by sin and so the mind, will and emotions are not what they were originally created to be. The body is weak and subject to sickness and death.

I don't want to get too complicated, but let's see if this is understandable. We know that there is more to us than our physical nature. In other words, we have a brain to think and experience emotions. Emotions also involve our hormonal system. These are all intertwined with each other. But the Bible teaches that when we die, we will still have thinking capability and we will still be able to love God and praise him, so it must be the case that part of these functions now as we are in the body are immaterial and part of these functions are due to physical processes. I believe that in the physical side of our being we have developed sinful habits and sinful methods for dealing with life. These become ingrained in our physical nature. This is where sin continues to reside.

In Romans 7 Paul writes these things: “For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death (verse 5).
If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good (verses 16-21).

So you see, he is attributing the problem to sin that is in his members or in his body. The Bible doesn't portray the body itself as sinful or evil the way a gnostic would, but it describes the body and I believe the physical parts of the soul as the seat where sin has taken up residence in a Christian. And this is where it needs to be attacked. Therefore we are told to put to death the deeds of the body. We are told not to yield the members of our body as servants to sin and unrighteousness. We have the inner capability to do this because of our living spirit and the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mind of the Spirit vs. Mind of the Flesh

In Romans 8:5 Paul told us that walking according to the Spirit means setting ones mind on the things of the Spirit, whereas setting ones mind on the things of the flesh means setting ones mind on the things of the flesh. Last time I gave you a list of examples for each category. Verse 4 has told us that the righteousness of the law will be fulfilled in us if we walk according to the Spirit and set our minds on the things of the Spirit.

Now in verse 6, Paul makes a stunning statement. He says that to be fleshly minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. The fleshly mind is at enmity with God and cannot please God. In verse 13 he says, “If you live according to the flesh you will die.” That means if my normal mode of life is to have a mind set on the kind of things in the flesh list I shared with you last time, I will die. He had written back in chapter 6 that if I yield the parts of my body to sin and disobedience, the result of that will be further disobedience will ultimately result in eternal death (Romans 6:16-23). He wrote the Galatian Christians and told them that they would reap what they sow and then he gave them two examples. He said that they could either sow to the flesh or they could sow to the spirit. If they sowed to the flesh, they would reap corruption (Galatians 6:7-8).

So this is a pretty strong warning to me. Yielding myself to the things of the flesh, to the kind of things I listed for you earlier, puts me on the road that leads ultimately to my eternal ruin. I for one do not want to be on that road! So it behooves me to be setting my mind on the things of the Spirit which results in life.

He says in Romans 8:13 that if we through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body, we will live. That is the answer right there. Christians have within them the Spirit of God as well as their own revived spirit and so we are to use the power of the Spirit within us to put to death the deeds of the body and in so doing, we will live.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Hymn of the Week - Crown Him With Many Crowns

1. Crown him with many crowns, 
 the Lamb upon his throne, 
 Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns 
 all music but its own. 
 Awake, my soul, and sing 
 of him who died for thee, 
 and hail him as thy matchless King 
 through all eternity. 

2. Crown him the Lord of life, 
 who triumphed o'er the grave, 
 and rose victorious in the strife 
 for those he came to save. 
 His glories now we sing, 
 who died, and rose on high, 
 who died, eternal life to bring, 
 and lives that death may die. 

3. Crown him the Lord of peace, 
 whose power a scepter sways 
 from pole to pole, that wars may cease, 
 and all be prayer and praise. 
 His reign shall know no end, 
 and round his pierced feet 
 fair flowers of paradise extend 
 their fragrance ever sweet. 

4. Crown him the Lord of love; 
 behold his hands and side, 
 those wounds, yet visible above, 
 in beauty glorified. 
 All hail, Redeemer, hail! 
 For thou hast died for me; 
 thy praise and glory shall not fail 
 throughout eternity. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Resources Available to Combat Sin

A Christian has the internal resources to live a life pleasing to God. He has a new heart, a new spirit, God's spirit and internal motivation to be obedient. The question becomes, will we use the resources we have to live a life that is pleasing to God and that honors and glorifies him?

In Romans 8, we have several keys to help us understand how we are to use what we have been given to live victorious and obedient lives.

First we have the umbrella of protection that I've already discussed and that is that a Christian is under absolutely no condemnation or judgment from God. His sins have been completely forgiven and will never be brought up again. He does not fear the judgment because God has declared him completely righteous. This is not because he has been righteous, but because the very righteousness of God has been imputed to him and placed on his record.

Second, in verses 2 and 3 we are reminded that we have died to the law. The law no longer has jurisdiction because as we saw earlier, a Christian is seen by God to have died with Christ and to be raised with him and therefore there is no further penalty for sin. Sin requires death. I've died. Issue closed.

Romans 8:4 says, “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Here we begin to see how this works. The righteous requirement of the law will not be fulfilled because we try to be obedient to some external list of rules. The righteousness of the law will be fulfilled in us as we walk according to the spirit. As I said yesterday, a Christian has had his own spirit made alive plus he has God's spirit in him as well as a God-given motivation to do the right thing and so these factors work together to provide internal obedience to the law of God. But it takes place as we walk according to the Spirit. That is we walk in unison or in step with the Spirit of God who indwells us.

Paul goes on to explain in verse 5 that a person who is according to the Spirit is one who puts his mind on the things of the spirit. The one who is according to the flesh is someone whose mind is on the things of the flesh. What are these things? A list of the things of the Spirit might include these kinds of things: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, tender mercies, humility, meekness, forbearance, forgiveness, thankfulness, truthfulness, selflessness, and compassion. Things of the flesh would include things such as these: hatred, contentions, jealousies, wrath, selfish ambition, dissension, heresy, envy, murder, drunkenness, covetousness, malice, blasphemy, sexual sin, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, filthy language, lying, stealing, corrupt speech, bitterness, pride, boasting, strife, and gossip.

So what Paul is saying here is that there are two mind-sets a person can have. He can either have his mind set on the things of the Spirit or the things of the flesh. The question we need to ask ourselves is what is our mind-set? Generally speaking where is our mind. What kinds of things do we think about and what kind of responses come out of us when faced with a sudden obstacle?

Do these two choices of spiritual or fleshly-mindedness represent possible choices for a Christian to pursue or are these distinctions between Christians and non-Christians? That is the question we want to look at next time.