|From the Pastors Desk|
|Redemption||Introduction to the Soul||Lesson 1|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|2 May 2004||Bible Lessons
We have been looking at the redemption of Israel from slavery in Egypt, which is a picture or shadow of our Spiritual redemption form the slavery of sin.
It was nice of God to provide Redemption for any human who would receive it, but WHY did He need to go to so much trouble?? After all He is God, and God can do anything He wants to. Right?
So why didn't He just forgive all the sins and get it over with? Why did God spend so much time developing such an elaborate program filled with promises, that involved the Second Person of the Trinity incarnate in human form and dying on the cross?
Those are good questions, but those questions only deal with one aspect of redemption, that of being redeemed from the slavery of original sin. Redemption also has to do with freedom from personal sin that keeps many Christians bound by its powers.
Listen to Paul's account of his personal struggle with this dominating power of sin.
Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 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. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
Notice that Paul, twice, puts his finger on the underlying problem of slavery to personal and daily sin. Once in Romans 7:17, and again in Romans 7:20, he point to the problem -- "sin that dwells in me".
21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Paul goes on in Romans 7:21 to state that this evil force is ever present with him, not just as an unpleasant influence, BUT as a law. He continues in Romans 7:23 showing the overpowering force of that law, in that it made a captive or slave of him to sin.
Therefore in desperation, Paul cried out,
Paul points out, that within his own power, this situation was hopeless. However, the Believer can be free through Jesus Christ, Who provided Redemption from both the original sin we were born with, AND this personal sin that constantly dogs us every moment of life, defeating us Spiritually and enslaving us to evil.
Most of us can remember the joy and relief when we accepted Christ as our Savior, and had His Redemption applied to our original sin. However, after that day of Salvation, many know nothing but struggles with and defeats by the sin that is in their members.
The purpose of God's Redemption was not simply to save us from the penalty of sin, which is eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire. Yes, God wants each of us to experience that salvation, BUT He wants SO MUCH more for each who have become a part of His Redemption.
John 10:10 …I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
In spite of God's purpose and provision, many cry with the Apostle Paul, "but how to perform what is good I do not find" "O wretched man that I am!"
Many Christians, in an effort to achieve this freedom from personal slavery to sinning, often turn to the religious clichés such as: "hang in there", "turn it over to Jesus", "do the best you can, God will do the rest", etc.
Far too many Christians are so desperate that they are turning to what I call "Religious Spiritism". They try to achieve a certain "feeling" through emotions, whether in song, in prayer, spoken word, etc. HOWEVER, once the feeling wears off, they must go back for another fix of "Religious Spiritism". There is nothing wrong with feelings, but the feelings should come as a result of freedom from sin, NOT as a means to obtain that freedom.
Some become so defeated in this process, that they redefine what is right and wrong. Then equipped with their own definition of right and wrong, they declare their actions right, even though they are blatantly contrary to the clear declaration of the Word of God.
The Word of God is clear as to what is right for a Believer and what is wrong. Not only does the Word declare what we should and shouldn't do, it shows us how to do what we should, and how to avoid what we shouldn't.
Sad to say, if we don't follow the Biblical prescription in these matters, we will do that which is wrong, and very seldom do that which is right.
Ephesians 4:17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.
Most personal sins are practiced while climbing the "corporate ladder" of the religious world. The world says that if you want to succeed, you must become prominent, so elevate yourself, no matter what it takes. Some Christians bring this "corporate ladder" into the Spiritual realm.
Therefore, instead of putting off the "old man", they are literally elevating the "old man". They have gone "past feeling" and have "given themselves over" ( Ephesians 4:19) to the same things as the unsaved. The Holy Spirit goes on with His instructions to Believers in…
Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
The Scriptures are pretty clear about what the Believer should and should not do in regards to sin. Following the clear teaching of the Word of God is not legalism!!
IT IS OBEIDENCE !!
In this passage, most of the attention is directed to our relationship with other Believers. There are instructions concerning other areas, but most have to do with how we respond and interact with others of like precious faith.
In these passages, we are clearly instructed to do certain things and not to do certain things. However, in the text of these passages, we are not given many instructions as to HOW we are accomplish these tasks. Therefore, we are still faced with the searching question that Paul raised in Romans, "but how to perform what is good I do not find".
Many Christians become
When God gives a command, he always gives the power and instructions to follow that command. The problem is NOT with God's instructions or lack of instructions. The problem is OUR lack of understanding and use of God's instructions.
Too many of us think of God's instructions as similar to the "help menu" on a computer program. We think that we should be able to simply type in a question and the answer pops-up.
God's Word is not a index of problem solving answers. God's Word is a progressive revelation of God's Person and His program.
The Bible is not an answer book, it is the ANSWER!!
The Bible is the living word or expression of God, Himself. It is called food, and as we continue to feed on its totality, we are nourished by it, and are able to partake or draw upon God's divine nature.
Any part of the Word of God is valuable and good for us Spiritually. However, if we are desirous of knowing and living God's will for our lives, then we must have a clear grasp on the totality of the Word.
Let's continue to look at the Holy Spirit's instructions to Born Again Believers as to their manner of living.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you. 5:1 Therefore be followers of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.
The problem still remains -- "but how to perform what is good I do not find". Now that is where the examples and shadows of Israel in the wilderness come in.
1 Corinthians10:5 But with most of them (Israelites in the Wilderness) God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should (1) not lust (greed) after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do (2) not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 8 (3) Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 (4) nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 (5) nor murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
The Holy Spirit not only gave us instructions of what to do, He gave us examples of how to and how not to do them. However, these examples become of greatest value when they are compared with all other Spiritual information in the Word of God.
1 Corinthians 2:13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
So let's begin to compare those examples and instructions so as to develop a clear picture of:
We need to start at the beginning, and we will end up in the Book of Revelation and eternity future. In the beginning God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit created.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life(s); and man became a living being (soul).
The strange looking figure to the left will be our symbol of the Body of mankind.
To understand why we can or can't appropriate God's Redemption on a daily basis, we must understand a little of how God made mankind, and the purpose for which each aspect of creation was intended.
We also must understand what happened to all aspects of that creation, because of sin. Then we must establish what God provided in His Redemption for our daily living, so we can live above sin, and also just how to access and appropriate that daily provision.
God formed our body, or our "Soul House" from the lowest or base elements of creation. He formed the body from the "dust of the ground".
As you can see from my great art work, God, wanted us to have a perfect body, so He must have given Adam a shinning head, not encumbered with hair. So as you can see, I am striving to achieve that perfect body, or at least a perfect head!?!?
Back to reality. God formed the body from the "dust of the ground". This in no way takes away from that marvelous marvel called a body. Only God could take a hand full of dirt and make a body with all its wonders.
Making the body from the dust, does point out that even before sin, the body was made a little lower than the angels. The Bible says that all created elements will pass away. All those created elements are temporary. The body, created by God, was intended to be a temporary dwelling place for the soul, even before sin.
The soul, as we will see, was not made from any created elements. The soul of mankind was breathed from God into that body made of the created elements of the dust. Therefore, we have the two, the temporary body and the eternal soul as one unit.
There are many wonderful aspects of the body medically, chemically, etc. Very few of these aspects will be of any great interest as to Redemption and its reality in our daily living.
However, there were five gifts of God to the Body that are of great interest when it comes to daily Redemption. Those area are:
None of the five are absolutely necessary for the existence of the body. There are many people who do not have the use of one or more of these five and do quite well physical. Sometimes those without the use of some of these gifts live "better" than we who have the use of all of them. However, these five gifts of God provide many benefits, not the least, the enjoyment of life around us.
As we will see later, these five are essential to the growth and development of the soul. It is through the five gifts of God that we take in information to feed the soul. It is through these five gifts of God that we express, to others, God's love or our selfishness.
When that marvel of God's Own making was completed, He, Personally, breathed "life" into that Body. It was not just physical life that was breathed, for we know from both science and the Bible that the life of the flesh is in the blood. The breath of God made that body a living (eternal) being, or we will refer to this living being as the soul.
From Scripture, we learn that the soul is capable of many things. In our study we will concentrate on six of these capabilities.
We will look more closely at these six capabilities later in our study. For now, we need to see that the first humans were able to fellowship directly with God. There was nothing between God and mankind to prevent complete fellowship. God had just finished the six days of re-creation and everything was good.
Genesis 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 2:17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (dying you shall die)
There was nothing wrong with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because all that God had made was good. The wrong came about through disobedience to God's clear word. When that disobedience took place, Adam and Eve not only died Spiritually (separated from their source of life), they became slaves to a human nature. Before sin, they could only do good, now they can do nothing of Spiritual quality.
Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Proverbs 17:20 He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, and he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.
Proverbs 21:4 A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.
Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.
Sin seeks to be secretive or to stay under cover, until it has gained a following. This will be a valuable lesson to examine, as this study progresses. Let's simply establish that fact in closing this lesson.
Genesis 3:8 And they (Adam & Eve) heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
John 3:20 "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Genesis 11:4 And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2004|