|From the Pastors Desk|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|16 May 2004||Bible Lessons
The Holy Spirit tells us that the recorded history of Israel, especially while in the wilderness, was intended as:
These examples and shadows are for the purpose of guiding us into the area of things to come, directing us into a life of holiness and pointing out things we are to do and things we are to avoid.
It is sad to see the complacency of so many Christians in this matter of redemption. Christians are very pleased that God provided redemption for us, but why does He have to bore us with all those details?
To the logistical mind, there certainly seems to be a better and easier way to accomplish the task of redemption. After all, if God is really God, then He has the power to do whatever He pleases. Right??
Therefore, He should allow me to receive redemption and live my life in a good moral manner, without all that detailed and boring information that has no relevance to my life today. The least God could have done, was to forgive my sins, AND then make me so I wouldn't WANT to sin anymore.
Allow me to try to put some perspective to those questions and comments about God's actions. Obviously, I can't reason as God Himself reasoned, so I will put the actions of God into the framework of human reason.
To really understand this process, we would need to take an extended study of the essence of God, which will come later. So we can move into these "deep" things with some understanding, let me give an abbreviated look at one aspect of God's essence.
Some of us humans may have moments of "veracity", but for the most part, we live in that "gray" area between real truth and outright lying.
God does not have moments of "veracity".
Let's find out what "veracity" is. Veracity is not a word you will find in a Bible concordance. However, the term veracity sums up or embodies a number of Biblical terms and concepts.
When the Bible speaks about humans being truthful, it is often used in the traditional sense of this definition. When the Bible speaks of God's actions and words, certainly this definition would apply.
God always "adheres to the truth". He always "conforms to fact and truth". However, when the Bible refers to God's person or His essence, then this very good human definition falls FAR short of describing God.
God not only "adheres to the truth"
It is impossible for Him to have ANY shade of untruth within Himself. Look how it is stated by the Holy Spirit in…
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;
Titus 1:1 would be an interesting study, but that must comes later. For now, let's see what the Bible says about the essence of God in regards to Who He is. This passage also give us a clue as to WHY God couldn't just forgive all sins in the Garden, and then live and let live.
First and foremost, for this study, we need to note the middle of Titus 1:2. "God, Who CANNOT lie" -- Untruth is not within His ability.
Also note. This redemption was promised BEFORE time, and the process continues until "in due time" the revelation of that promise was made known.
John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want (determined) to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
On the opposite side of veracity from the essence of God, is the person of the Devil or Satan. The Devil "does not stand in the truth". It is impossible for him to be positioned in the truth, because there is NO TRUTH within his person.
Therefore, he is a liar (negative-veracity), and he is the propagator of lying. When a person perverts the truth or lies, that person is operating by the power of and in the realm of Satan, through demonic power.
It is important for us to have some understanding of the resources or essence of BOTH God and Satan, if we are to understand why God created mankind as He did, and why the process of redemption is as extensive as it is.
This process of redemption is a battle between God and Satan, right and wrong, righteousness and unrighteousness, AND you and I are EITHER surrendering to one or the other.
There is NO middle ground!!
As we will see, we were born slaves to original sin, or we often refer to the original sin as the Old Sin Nature - OSN. Because we are born slaves to the OSN, we can only act according to that nature.
Therefore, we must be freed from that slavery to the OSN through the redemption of God for original sin, and we must constantly live in the provision of that redemption to be freed from personal daily sinning.
It is important to understand, as we will establish later, that even when we accept God's redemption, the OSN is not done away with. The OSN will be removed from our being at death or the Rapture.
In the meantime, the OSN is an ever present enemy that can easily bring us back under its control, UNLESS we are constantly and consciously living and walking in the Spirit.
Look again at Paul's description of his personal struggle with the OSN.
Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin (OSN). 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 (OSN) 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 (OSN) that dwells in me.
"sin that dwells in me"
Paul says that within his own power, this situation is hopeless. Now let me tell you, IF Paul had a problem with the OSN (and he did), then you and I will have an even a greater problem with that old nature.
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 our ever moment of life, defeating us Spiritually and enslaving us to evil.
Part of that defeat is directly due to our lack of knowledge or to put it another way our ignorance. Not ignorance of the facts or Biblical information, but ignorant of the experiential knowledge of the truths of redemption.
Paul uses a word for experiential knowledge. That word is not used much anymore, except in bookkeeping or accounting. That term for experiential knowledge is "RECKON".
We will look a little closer at the word reckon later in this lesson. For now, let's see the background or context of this word as used in this one passage.
Romans 6:5 For if we have been united (redemption) together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man (OSN) was crucified with Him, that the body of sin (OSN) might be done away with (to render entirely idle or useless), that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
That's the "bottom line" of redemption. We are united in God with Christ!! We refer to this transaction as the New Birth, more later in our study.
Through that union with God, the OSN is rendered entirely useless or impotent. Therefore, we SHOULD no longer be slaves to the OSN, and in turn, we SHOULD no longer be slaves to personal sin.
Notice three factors:
Notice that great big word "SHOULD". Just because we are in union with Christ and have knowledge, that does not mean we will automatically be free from the domination of personal sin.
Armed with the first two (union and knowledge), we should no longer be slaves. However, we know that many Christians are bound by personal sin such as:
These are just the
Jumping ahead in this passage, let's see what the Holy Spirit says we are to do about this defeating and enslaving condition.
Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
I wish we had the time to take all the context of this passage. In the earlier passage, we were told that we should be able to break the slavery of sin in our lives. Then in Romans 6:11, he explains HOW we are to go about breaking that strangle hold.
We can DIE TO SIN (in Christ).
Christ has already done all that needs to be done to break the slavery to original sin. Christ paid the debt for our original sin through His death, and He has provided all we need to break the slavery of personal sin through our union with Him.
Even though Christ has provided ALL we need to have freedom from original sin and personal sin, He will not force us to accept or appropriate to our personal lives what has already been provided.
We can't add to what Christ has done for us in redemption. However, we do have a part in the appropriation of God's provision to our own lives. The part we have in this process, is called "obedience".
We show that obedience by faith in accepting what God has provided for original sin - OSN. God has provided Eternal Life that becomes ours when we accept Christ as our personal Savior.
Romans 6:11-12 shows our part in appropriating Christ's provision for our personal daily sins through obedience. Our part in this daily freedom from the power of sin over our lives is summed up in that one word of Rom 6:11.
The short definition of the Greek word for reckon is…
Back in the "good 'ol days" when I was a young man (I was a young man, once), someone would ask, "Can you do this or that?" After a quick inventory of resources or abilities the answer might be, "I reckon I can."
Such an answer was made because of a "confident expectation" based on ones ability, resources, time, etc. When the question was related to money or purchasing things, this type of confident expectation was based on a knowledge of how much money one had, and the experience of what that amount of money could buy.
Therefore, the reply to the question, "Do you think we can buy such 'n such?" would be "I reckon we can." This reply was not based on some mystical hope that it would begin to rain pennies from heaven. Instead, the reply was based on experiential knowledge of how much they had and what that amount would purchase.
One might be asked, "Can you run the 100 yard dash in 10:5 seconds?" If the answer was "I reckon I can", that answer would had to be based on the fact and experience that they had run the 100 yard dash within that time or less.
Reckoning such an accomplishment could not come about by the person saying, "Well, I have never run a dash of any kind, and certainly not a 100 yard dash. However, if I think hard enough that I can, and if I repeat often enough that I can, I reckon that I can."
That is not reckoning anything!!
Reckoning is not based on what I wish or a fantasy of what I might receive. Just because a person BUYS a lotto ticket.., well… that would be no reason to make plans to buy a 15 bedroom house with a 6 stall garage filled with luxury cars.
Reckoning is based on the inventory of what I do have, and the experience of past proper use that resource. It is from the term "reckon" that we have our process of reconciling financial books. You can't reconcile your financial books unless the figures in the ledger balance with what you have and what you have spent.
We have had some large corporations attempt to reconcile their books, when in reality, they were working with imaginary funds that were never placed in the account or had been taken out of the account without being properly noted.
Many Christians are trying to operate their Christian endeavor in a similar manner. They say or think that, "I'll sing awhile, clap awhile, praise awhile, and when I feel real good about myself, I'll say:
Please understand that singing, clapping praising or feeling good is not wrong. But these things will not and can not bring freedom from the bondage of personal daily sin. These things can be a result of experiencing that freedom, BUT they cannot produce freedom from the bondage of sin!
Let's close this lesson by looking at some related passages dealing with freedom from the daily bondage of personal sin, and applying those passages to what we have learned so far. Then in the next lesson, we will bring back our "smoo" and the soul and start to see how these and other factors fit.
James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
We need to be careful in "becoming" or setting ourselves up as the directing/teaching of the Spiritual actions of others. As a Christians, our lives are to be examples to others to follow. When a person "sets themselves up" as the director of the lives of others, they BETTER be real sure that is their calling from God. Even when it is a person's calling, they had better be REAL sure that their living matches their message and directions.
James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
This passage points out the control of the Old Sin Nature over the very basics of our lives. More on this subject later in the study.
The Bible, in James 1:19, says that we are to be slow to speak and swift to hear. We need to stop and take inventory of the immediate and eternal results of our words. If we don't, we will find that those words were fueled by Hell, itself. Not a good source for Christian speech!!
James 3:11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring can yield both salt water and fresh.
As a Believer, we have the New Nature through the New Birth, but we still have the OSN received through natural birth. One and only one of those natures can control our lives at any given time. More later.
James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there.
If any of these things are present in our actions or living, we are under the control of the OSN. As we see in this passage and many others, the OSN is at best controlled through natural desires or lust, and at worst through demonic power.
James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
True discipleship is based on abiding in God's Word. This has its application through the process of "Reckoning", as was introduced earlier and will be seen more clearly as this study progresses.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 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."
2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well-known to God, and I also trust are well-known in your consciences.
It is important that we use God's provision and learn to render useless the OSN in our daily lives. Even though we have received the New Birth, we still must give an account as to our manner of life, as a Believer.
We are not told, in Scripture, what type of judgment will take place at the Judgment Seat of Christ, but Paul speaks of this judgment as the "terror of the Lord". Therefore, he tries to persuade people to live a life that is free from the domination of personal sin.
Romans 14:12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
Matthew 25:23 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls.
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2004|