Introduction | The New Man | To Become a New Man, Old Things Must Pass Away | Born Again, the Change from Old to New | Born of the Spirit | Born of the Word | The New Man is Created in Righteousness & True Holiness | Sons of God | A Pure Heart | The Spiritual Man | Salvation | Freedom From Sin | Temptation | The Fear of the Lord is to Hate Evil | Not in the Flesh | Christian Maturity | Conclusion
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A change had to take place in the nature of man in order for man to return to fellowship with God. Man was found sinful and bent on rebellion from the time of Adam’s disobedience. Throughout every generation, from Adam until John the Baptist, man was found a rebel. Adam’s sin brought darkness and slavery to sin upon all mankind. Adam died because of disobedience in the Garden of Eden; He lost the spiritual life which made him a true son of God. Death began to reign, and sin became man’s taskmaster. Because of sin men became the objects of God’s wrath for, “the soul that sins, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20) God has not changed His mind on the point, and never will. Yet the wonder and the glory of the gospel reveals God who so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus to die for the ungodly and rebellious man so that anyone who will believe might be saved!
The first section of this booklet discusses who we are in Christ and what God has said about those He calls the redeemed. The Bible reveals what salvation has provided. As a free gift God has given us that which is far beyond what anyone could ever do through their own abilities and religious observances. Through Christ Jesus God brought forth the miracle of change that makes us His sons and daughters. Although the Lord had pronounced judgment on man He made a way to bring all who were willing back into His family. God could not have fellowship with sinful man. Therefore, for man to live in unity with God it was necessary for God to make a way for man to be born again. He had to make a way for man to become a “New Man” with a new heart and spirit. Through Adam’s disobedience every person was under the domination of sin. Therefore, God made provision to purge man and make him new, through the blood of Jesus Christ and through the circumcision of the new birth Jesus destroyed the sin nature. God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to condemn sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in those who would believe. The Father made us “new” so that we might receive the glory of His Holy Spirit. He removed all of our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ and gave us resurrection life. He raised up a new creation within the heart of man and filled us with His knowledge and His ways. The new creation that God has made is the habitation of the Father, Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit! God now dwells in us and walks in and we live and move and have our being in Him. The new creation is a place wherein only righteousness and holiness should dwell.
The second part of the booklet presents practical doctrines on walking in this newness of life. The spiritual man is the man who walks in the Spirit. By knowing the promises of God, and holding fast to those truths taught in the word, we can walk in this newness of life. Jesus was our example; He walked through life without sin, doing the will of the Father. Now we are to do the works of Jesus, to follow Him and to keep His commandments. God has not left us without the power to do those things, which He demands! He has given us of His life and the fullness of the Holy Spirit. It is God who will bring His sons and daughters to maturity. He who by His own power destroyed the works of the Devil and made us new will also protect, perfect and establish us in His will and ways. God patiently and persistently teaches us to walk in the Spirit so that every evil thing and satanic desire will have no power over us.
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” (Colossians 3:10)
When Paul wrote to Christians at Ephesus and Colosse, he reminded them that they had put on the new man. The new man created in Christ Jesus is the fruit of His offering at calvary. It is the new man that we have all been baptized into by death and burial with Christ the Lord. The newness of life, the abundant life is the life that the Father created by His Word when He raised us up together with His Son. The blood of Jesus, the blood of the new covenant brought all of this to pass. Without Jesus, and His blood we would forever be stained with sin. The power of death would reign over us until we died a hopeless and eternal death. Without the resurrection of Christ we would still be in our sins ruled by a nature unlike God. However, through the miracle of salvation we have been raised up together with Christ the Lord (Colossians 3:1-4). Through His sacrifice, and the resurrected life, we have put off the old man, with his corrupted and evil nature, and received as a free gift from God everything that is new! Paul reminded them, as well as us, that old things have passed away and turns their attention to what salvation has bountifully supplied. Without the redemption that comes through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, man is hopelessly lost, dominated by sin. The power of the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed man from the deep stain of sin and made him new. When Adam sinned, all of mankind died with him and became evil in their hearts and separated from God by wicked works. Through Christ Jesus, all who have believed have been brought back into fellowship with God and have been given a new heart a new nature with their fruits unto holiness and the end thereof eternal life (Romans 6:22).
There have been those who would make all this a process and unknowingly take away from what Christ finished at Calvary. They would leave us still in bondage and slavery to sin while we struggle to put on the new man. This is not the gospel preached by Paul. He, in every case and in keeping with the prophets, (Romans 3:21) declared that a man was made acceptable to God by a miraculous change wrought by the faith of Jesus Christ. This change delivered us from the old nature and brought forth the new. As a result of this change, all who will believe become “the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
It is important to realize that the old must be put off before the new can be put on. There must be a death and burial before there can be a resurrection. The Lord did not leave us half delivered but completed the work in a day. As instantly as the man with leprosy was cleanses those washed in the blood are made perfectly whole. We are now complete in Him and of His fullness have all we received (Colossians 2:10; John 1:16). The scripture says, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed…” (Romans 6:6) The “old man” is that body of sin that was cut off and removed by the circumcision of Christ (Colossians 2:11). Nothing could be more absolute and certain with respect to what God has done the old man is crucified, put to death that nature of sin has come to an end and now Christ Jesus lives here. Even as Christ Jesus was crucified the miracle of salvation allows us to be crucified together with Him that we might be delivered from the life that was held in slavery to sin (1 John 3:8). Our Savior Christ Jesus the Lord, through death, destroyed him (Satan) that had the power of death and our Deliver delivered us (Hebrews 2:14)! Our Savior came and rescued us from the hand of the one who took us prisoners and brought us back into His house. He through the act of His great power translated us into His kingdom (Colossians 1:13). We have now through faith in His blood, “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9; Romans 6:6). The old man with its sinful nature has no fellowship with Christ, that man cannot be subject to the Spirit of God nor understand His ways. The dominion of sin and all its power has been destroyed by the cross of Christ. By faith in His blood and the resurrection all who would believe are a new creation.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) We have been made one with Jesus and only Christ the Lord reigns in our life all of the old things are passed away. The old man and his ways have ceased from being in our lives. This should be no surprise to the people of God, for this is why Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8) When Jesus neared the time of His crucifixion, He proclaimed the end to Satan’s reign for all who would believe “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31) The work of redemption removed from the heart the power and dominion of sin by creating a new heart and a new spirit for the Holy Spirit to live in (Ezekiel 36:26). The Lord went right to the father and source of sin and stripped him of his power and authority. The prince of this world has been cast out of the lives of all those who have come to he cross of Jesus Christ. One day soon Satan will be cast out of the world as well and eternally confined to the lake of fire. As certainly as he was cast out of our lives through the authority of Christ Jesus he will be cast out of the world never to be seen again. The Lord Jesus who has brought this to pass by the authority of His word not only had power to cast out devils with His word that possessed and ruined peoples lives 2000 years ago but He has the same power today to rid us of every evil influence for He is the One who “…spoiled principalities and powers and he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15)
A dramatic and revolutionary change has taken place- the old has passed away and behold everything is new! This is the message of salvation a miracle of a new creation proclaimed by the Word purchased by the blood and brought into existence by the operation of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came upon the chaos and darkness of our lives and brought forth the life of Jesus Christ. The message of reconciliation is the leading theme of Paul’s gospel. The basic meaning of the Greek word “katallage” is exchange. The life of God was exchanged for ours. He who knew no sin became the sin offering that we might be made the righteousness of God by Him. At the very heart of the gospel is the theme of reconciliation. This is one of the most powerful words associated with redemption. This same Greek word can also be understood as ‘change,’ the change that takes place from the exchange. The message of salvation is the message of change a change from the old to the new. Every person must be changed before they can be accepted into the family of God. We have been given both the message and the word of reconciliation but for the word to produce its miracle it must be believed. If our message is not the message of change then how can it be the gospel! The Good News is that the days of our captivity is over for the Deliver has come and we have been set free! As ministers of reconciliation we declare that “old things have passed away and behold all things are new! And all things are of God for everyone who will believe (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)!
Those of us who were once alienated from God and enemies because of the sin and iniquity in our lives have now been reconciled (Colossians 1:21-22). This change can only take place through the redemption made possible by the blood of Jesus by whom “we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:11). Now we who once stood under the condemnation of death and were stained with sin are presented holy and without blemish and reproach (Colossians 1:22). The change is complete on God’s part but must be believed and received on the part of man. Those who would try to bring this change about some other way will never find it. The ministry of reconciliation is the ministry of righteousness a righteousness that is imparted to us by the Spirit of the living God (2 Corinthians 3:8-9).
Being born of the Spirit and of the Word does not produce a partial change but a radical and miraculous one. The power of change worked a miracle of translation making us no longer of this world (John 17:14,16; Colossians 1:13). The child of disobedience ruled by the spirit of disobedience was set free from the prince and the power of the air the god of this world and made servants of righteousness (Ephesians 2:2-3; Romans 6:22). The body of sin was removed by the circumcision of Christ and the twisted nature of sin was washed away by the waters of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:6). Change form darkness to light, from old to new, from sin to righteousness, from disobedience to obedience and from Satan to God! The change was so complete that the old man was put to death and a new man raised up by resurrection life (Romans 6:16-22; Colossians 3:1-3). The man of sin was destroyed, and the man of God brought to life. The life of Christ Jesus is imparted to everyone who will receive the free gift of reconciliation. The darkness is gone the true light now shines for the light of life has come and lives and abides in the heart of the redeemed. (John 1:4, 1 John 5:11).
Man must receive a new heart and a new spirit. The one we inherited from our parents cannot come into agreement with the ways of God. God promised that He would give us a new heart and a new spirit and that He would also put His Spirit within us (Ezekiel 36:26). The way that God made this possible was to first destroy Satan’s claim on man through the death of Jesus (Hebrews 2:14; 2 Timothy 1:10). When anyone calls upon the name of Jesus the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon them and create the miracle of a new creation.
When we were born of our parents they did not transfer to us a spiritual life in God but instead an earthly and purely human existence. Even worse because of Adams sin His disobedience was passed to every person. Sin and death and the wicked influences of Satan imposed dominion over the hearts of every man (Romans 5:12-21). Therefore, when Jesus said that which is born of the flesh is flesh He was expressing the limitation that men have that separates them from the realm of the spiritual. Men in this state are ruled by their senses and every devilish inspiration. When we are born of the Spirit the miracle makes us the possession of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit we are untied with God both in His ways and His purposes. The new nature under the rulership of the Holy Spirit is the servant of righteousness and bring forth fruits unto holiness (Romans 6:22). When we are born of the Spirit, the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16). Now we live according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. The evil desires of the sin nature (the flesh nature) that are opposite to the desires of the Spirit no longer work from within but are confined to the world of darkness (Galatians 5:17) As long as we walk according to the Spirit, we will not agree with sin, rather, we will reject it. While at the same time as long as a man remains dead in his trespasses and sins, he can never do the things that God desires for they are contrary to him. In Romans 7, Paul expressed the state of a sinful man seeking to be justified by the law. He was able to discern the beauty of the commandment, and the ways of God, but was unable to do those things that would please the Lord because a nature of sin remained in control. Praise God now that we have been born of the Spirit and live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit we walk in Gods ways by our nature Romans 8:3-4; Galatians 5:25) The Spirit of God leads us and strengthens us to walk in all the ways that please the Father. The Spirit reveals to us every truth of God and gives us the ability to understand that truth. (John 16:13) Through His presence in our lives, we are able to walk worthy and be fruitful in every good work.
When we are born of the Spirit, our soul and spirit (inner man) become united with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (John 14:20-23, 17:20-23) Doing the will of the Father should be foremost desire of our hearts and minds. Jesus Christ our Lord did nothing of His own will but only the will of the Father. If this was necessary for our Lord, how much more should we be committed to not doing our own will and following after our self centered interest. Jesus was led in all the will of the Father by the Holy Spirit and it is the same Holy Spirit that leads us into all of the perfect will of the Father today. We are to follow Jesus in the same obedience and submission. We have received an unspeakable gift having been cleansed and made holy, without blemish, through His redemption. Now all we must do yield ourselves to the Spirit of truth and be lead and guided by His divine unction.
When we become the offspring of the Spirit, we receive the witness of His presence. The witness is the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Galatians 5:22-23) In 2 Peter 1:3-4, the new creature is the one that became a partaker of the “divine nature.” By the divine power of God we have been given all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” The divine power of God, which has imparted the divine nature, is the Holy Spirit. The glorious beauty of life and godliness has been given to us through the indwelling of the Spirit of God. The divine power of God, through the blood of Jesus, has broken the bands of spiritual corruption and imparted the glory of the Father into our lives. As new creatures, we have escaped the corruption of sin and ungodliness. As we walk in the light of God even as Christ Jesus is in the light, the Spirit of God works in our inner man bringing forth the fruits of righteousness. God so insist upon the change that Peter writes that He who lacks these things that pertain unto life and godliness is “blind and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” (2 Peter 1:9)
It is important to emphasize that when we receive the divine nature, we were purged from sin! Sin has to be totally purged before the Spirit of God can come into the temple, and the blood of Jesus Christ is the only power that can purge sin. Sin is removed so that the Holy Spirit may come in and through Him we are empowered with the life and strength of God to do all those things that pleases the Father. Those who were under the Law attempted to walk in God’s ways but were unable because they lacked the impartation of the life of God. “Is the law then against God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” (Galatians 3:21) The impartation of the life of God came by the Spirit of God. Through the life of God in man the righteousness of God flows from our inner most being like a well spring and like rivers. If we walk in the ministry of the Spirit, we shall never fall and “an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:11)
When we are born of God the Holy Spirit filled us with the knowledge of God. Before Adam rebelled, he had the knowledge of God but when he reached out and took hold of sin he lost that knowledge. When we are born of the Spirit, we are renewed in this knowledge. The knowledge of the Spirit of God enables us to know those things that are freely given to us, which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) Through this knowledge we are able to know “…what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;…all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19) This knowledge teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12). By the mind of Christ that we have received the lies and deceptions of Satan are exposed. The wisdom and the revelation of the Spirit causes us to behold the truth and beauty of the Father’s ways. We have been given an understanding of how to walk in righteousness because we have been renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created us (Colossians 3:10).
The image of God’s spiritual likeness, that Adam had before the fall, has now been renewed in those who have been redeemed. The knowledge of God has opened our eyes to the beauty of His ways and given us an understanding so that we can keep His commandments (Psalm 119:34). Just one touch of God’s presence and our lives are filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation. We are filled with the knowledge of His will and discover that there is nothing better. The blessedness and the holiness of God’s righteousness becomes all that we desire. When we allow the Spirit of truth to fill our hearts our eyes are opened up to understand the meaning of life.
The Lord has not only begotten us of the Spirit but also of the Word. The word of God is living and powerful, it is spirit and life. All things were created by the Word of God and it is through the same word that we have been made a new creation. Being begotten of the word of truth we become children of the truth, brethren of the Eternal Word Christ Jesus and coinheritors with Him (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7). God’s word is like an incorruptible seed that produces those who are of the truth (1 Peter 1:23). Through the new birth the laws of God are written on our hearts and minds and because of this miracle we by nature walk in Gods ways (Hebrews10:16; 2 Corinthians 3:3). The same Word of truth that described the ways of God produces a nature that manifest His word. Through the word of truth our lives are empowered to bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The central theme of the glorious gospel is that the Word of life, Christ Jesus, was made flesh, and by His reconciling work has brought many sons unto glory. Jesus said to His disciples “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3). The word that declares redemption and produces faith in the hearts of those who will hear brings forth the miracle of cleansing and regeneration. God has sanctify us and cleansed us by the washing of water of the word that we might be a holy community who fully represents everything that He is (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:26).
The Psalmist said, your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalms 119:11). God in His love has written His word in our hearts and by His Spirit we are able to do it. Being born of the word of God the word of truth unites our heart with the author of the word so that we might do those things that He has commanded (Romans 8:4; Hebrews 8:16). The word of God is the rule of authority that must govern our hearts and through it the thoughts and intents of our hearts are revealed. The word of God will work within us with the divine power of God bringing about a strict conformity to His commands (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 7:19; 1 John 2:3-4). The Word of God is a living, reproductive power in the heart of man that will produces those things which God has intended (Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 13:8,23). When the Word is received into an honest and sincere heart it brings forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness. Righteousness is the manifest character of God in our lives (Romans 6:16-20).
The sons of God who receive the Word of God are described as being those who cannot sin. “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9) This very powerful statement refers to the individual who allows the Word to have preeminence in his life and remains in submission to it. Those who have overcome the tricks of Satan are those who are strong and who have the word of God abiding in them (1 John 2:14). The word of our testimony is power and authority to cast down every imagination and overthrow every work of Satan. Jesus said that if we would allow His word to remain in us then whatever we ask it would be done (John 15:7-8). The word that we have been born of is in our hearts and mouths (Romans 10:6). It is the word of faith that produces miracles, cast out devils and conveys the authority of the Kingdom of God.
The reality and vastness of the creative power of God’s Word is witnessed by the stars in the heavens and all that is in the earth. God simply spoke and the miracle took place. As the Word of God spoke all of this into existence, by the same power He responds to the repentant and believing heart and brings forth the new creation in the inner man. When we call upon the name of Jesus the creative power of His Word springs to life within our hearts. The word of God received becomes the living life giving spirit and life power of God within our passions, emotions and appetites. We then become “living epistles” and our lives become the expression of the will of the Father. Being born of the Word we now need to walk in the truth for if we continue in His word, then we are truly His disciples” (John 8:31). We will abide in Him if we allow His Word to abide in us.
Now that we know we have been born of the Spirit and of the Word, the above statement is very simple to understand. God’s Spirit, which has given us knowledge and understanding of God, is living in us. The very truth of God Almighty is written in our hearts. Therefore, it is easy to understand that the righteousness and true holiness of God is in our innermost being. The very law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus has brought the issues of life into our hearts ( Romans 8:2, John 7:37-39). As we have already stated, the Law that God gave Moses was ineffective as God’s agent for redemption because it was powerless to impart the life of God. This righteousness is the product of God’s life in the heart of man “…for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness would have been by the law.” (Galatians 3:21) To receive the life of God in our hearts, is to receive His righteousness. God, through Christ Jesus, has given us an unlimited source of righteousness, a river of life. As a fountain issues forth water, so life issues forth righteousness.
There is only one true example of righteousness and holiness; it is nothing less than the Holy Trinity. God alone is the one who possesses the standard of righteousness and true holiness. God’s Holiness is witnessed by the seraphim crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy” night and day without ceasing, a continual testimony by His creation that Holiness belongs unto Him. This same message is declared by the four living creatures (zoa) and the twenty-four elders in Revelation. As they look at the ways and conduct of the person of Almighty God, they cry out continually, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” for this is what He continually is. Gods’ Holiness describes more than merely being set apart unto a particular lifestyle or function. “Holy” is the description of what God is. This is more than the utterance of some reverent tone; it is the description of God’s character and ways. It is the summation of His judgments, righteousness and purity. His very nature and essence are Holiness.
God has commanded that His people are to be holy “for I am Holy.” (Leviticus 11:44) If they are going to belong to His family and be a part of His Kingdom, then they will not touch the unclean things of this world. The same command is repeated in the New Testament, “So be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy for I am Holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16) Without the holiness of God, “no man shall see God.” (Hebrews 12:14) This is very much the same message found in Matthew 5:8 concerning the purity of heart, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Holiness and purity have been imparted as free gifts. We could never have earned such a place with God. Holiness and purity were put within us “by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:5)
This degree of holiness and purity could not come from man’s filthy works. God the Father took degenerate and unholy man and, through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, regenerated him. God renewed man to the original position and state that Adam possessed before the fall. He did this “not by any works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy he saved us.” (Titus 3:5) God reached down, He reached way down, and took man, as miserable and wicked as we were, and saved us.
He cleansed us from all our filthiness through the blood of Jesus Christ and broke every bondage and chain of Satan’s dominion over our lives. He then restored to us the fellowship with the Holy Spirit, which mankind lost in the garden of Eden. Because of the mercy and work of God, the Holy Spirit brings to our life the full dimension of God’s Holiness and, as a result, we are those who have been renewed and created in “true holiness” in Him.
The culmination of the message of becoming a new man is that God calls us His offspring. The truth that we are now sons of God is clear from 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” Adam was a spiritual son of God when God formed him from the earth. (Luke 3:38) However, when he rebelled against God he was no longer a spiritual son. Rather, he became a child of the devil. Mankind is not referred to as sons of God throughout the Old Testament. Fallen men are children of disobedience and as such cannot be children of God. (Ephesians 2:2, 5:6) Through the new birth, we are the issues of God and He is now our Father. In John 1:12 the message of sonship is brought to our attention as being he result of redemption: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” The power to become sons was given through the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
The message of sonship is an overwhelming and glorious proclamation. The intensity of this message is heard when John said, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God, therefore the world knoweth us not because it knew him not.” (1 John 3:1) When Jesus was praying for His disciples He made the most outstanding statement regarding their position and experience with God. He said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14,16) Jesus testifies here of the consequence of being born again and receiving sonship. When we are made sons we are not born of the will of man nor by any natural means, but by the will of God. (John 1:13) In these places, the results of sonship is made clear, we are like the only begotten, our relationship to the world is the same as His. What a glorious result of the New Birth!
Jesus is not ashamed to call us brethren and surely we should not reject nor shy away from such an adoption. The adoption that we have received has resulted in the very Spirit of the Son crying from our hearts’ “Abba Father.” Sonship is far more than a position that we have received with God, it is an experience. We have felt and witnessed Sonship in our lives for, “the Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:16) As sons of God we are heirs of God. We have “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled … reserved in heaven.” (1 Peter 1:4) We are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:17) God has planned for us to sit on thrones and to rule with Him for all eternity. He has declared that we shall judge angels and be clothed with the fullness of His authority. (1 Corinthians 6:2-3) what a privilege to be made part of the royal family of God! Jesus unreservedly included us in an equal position in the family when He said, “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:17)
It is important to understand that our responsibility and position as sons does not begin when we are in glory with God. We are called to walk as sons now. We are to walk even as the Lord Jesus walked. (1 John 2:6) He is the pattern Son and God has ordained that we should walk in His footsteps. We are to be even as He is in this world. (1 John 4:17) the depth of this call is understood in the statement of our Lord Jesus when He said, “…the works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works than these shall ye do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12) Paul testified to this Christian experience when he declared that God had called him “to reveal his Son” in him. (Galatians 1:16) As children born from above, we should walk as children of light and not according to this world.
The importance of having a pure heart is captured in one very simple statement: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) This pure heart brings forth the holiness, without which “no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) Only those who have a pure heart have the ability to see God. Seeing God not only means physically beholding Him, but also understanding Him. The only way that we can know God is by the Spirit. Even so, there is no understanding Him without a pure heart. Without a pure heart there is no knowledge or fellowship with Him.
The heart refers to the inner man, the soul and spirit. In order for the heart to bring forth the sweet water of righteousness it had to be changed. Sweet water cannot come forth out of a bitter fountain, (James 3:11) just as a corrupt tree cannot bear good fruit. (Matthew 7:17-20) Through the blood of Jesus Christ, every stain of sin is removed. (Revelation 1:5; 1 John 1:9; Ephesians 1:7) As a result, the very presence of god has come and made Hi abode with us. When Jesus “by himself purged our sins,” (Hebrews 1:3) He sat down, the work was finished and it guaranteed that those who would believe and obey the truth would have their souls purified of all sin. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” (1 Peter 1:22; 1 Timothy 1:5) “…purifying their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:9) As a result of the heart being made pure, we can now love purely (unfeigned). The very divine love of God issues forth from a heart that was once a deceitful and wicked place, but has now been purged, and made a holy dwelling place for the Almighty God.
Just think of the magnitude of the blessing that we have received into our inner man. The Father and the Son have come and made their abode with us. (John 14:23) All three persons of that one and glorious God are dwelling in our hearts by His Spirit which He has given unto us. (1 John 3:24) Truly the work of redemption has made their dwelling place a glorious and holy sanctuary. What could be more pure than a heart that has been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb? By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the heart issues forth the life of God out of a good treasure. We have this wonderful “treasure in earthen vessels.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)
The heart is made pure by circumcision. Circumcision of the heart is the removing of the sin nature by the blood of Jesus Christ. A central scripture to the meaning of heart circumcision is found in Colossians 2:11. “Ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:” This is not a progressive work that results from our own discipline, it is a gift of God’s grace! Heart circumcision is the same as that act of putting off the old man. The “sins of the flesh” and the “old man” are synonymous, they had to be put off. Heart circumcision identifies the individual as belonging to God, just as circumcision in the flesh identified the Jews as God’s chosen people.
It is very interesting to note that circumcision was performed on the instrument given to man to bring forth life. This is a testimony to the promise God gave to Abraham of delivering man from the power of sin. When the power of sin, which gripped man’s heart, was broken, the heart of man could bring forth the issues of life. Wickedness has to be cut away from the heart so that the issues of life can come forth. Now the only state which merits acceptance by God is that of a circumcised heart. “…neither circumcisions availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15) The new man has a distinctive mark that identifies him as a covenant child of God; a circumcised and pure heart.
When we talk of the spiritual man, we are referring to the individual that has received the grace of God in Jesus Christ and subsequently has been redeemed and made alive unto God. The Greek word translated spiritual man is “pneumatikos,” and is indicative of both the soul and the spirit. This is seen by the following passages; 1 Corinthians 2:15, 3:1, 9:11, 14:37, 15:44-46. Such a person lives in the ways of the Holy Spirit, desiring that which pertains unto righteousness, holiness and godliness. He no longer lives under the control of Satan, but rather lives in submission to the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:1-13; Galatians 5:16-26) His soul does not desire the lustful and sinful pleasures of the world. Rather, with the mind of Christ, he learns to hate evil and desires those things which are of God.
The natural man of 1 Corinthians 2:14 refers to the man who has the sin nature, otherwise called the “flesh.” This state of the inner man cannot receive the things of God. It is contrary to the ways of the Spirit and cannot walk in the righteousness of God. The spiritual man, on the other hand, refers to the new man who has been made alive unto God. It is the spiritual man which worships God in spirit and in truth.
The spiritual man is the product of having experienced the inward resurrection. The inner man, that was dead to God and righteousness, has been resurrected unto life. We distinguish it as a separate event from the outward resurrection. The inward resurrection, unlike the outward resurrection, takes place at the time a person is born again. It occurs when a spiritually dead person is quickened, or made alive. (Ephesians 2:5) Thus, a spiritual man is raised alive to the things of the Spirit of God. When we receive resurrection life and are raised up a new man we are able to walk in “newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
The inward resurrection is the result of an inward crucifixion with Christ. This crucifixion is the operation of God; not the self denying acts of man. The nature of sin, which is the “old man,” was put to death through the death of Jesus Christ. When the old man was crucified, the reign of sin and death, which ruled our inner man, was destroyed. (Romans 6:6; Hebrews 2:14) God, through the resurrection life that is in Christ Jesus, “raised us up together” in Christ. (Ephesians 2:6) now that we are raised up together with Christ, “…seek those things which are above, where Christ is seated on the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)
The work of God to bring out a new, spiritual man is His work alone. Man was bound to sin and unable to fulfill the law of God. The Father sent His Son to die and shed His sinless blood un order that we could be changed. As we have faith in His blood for the purifying of our hearts, (Acts 15:9) we need to continue in faith. The spiritual man has not only been made free by God, but walks in the Spirit and maintains that spiritual walk by the power of God.
Throughout the Old Testament, the meaning of salvation is deliverance from one’s enemies. When someone is delivered from his enemies, then such a person is no longer under the authority of their reign. Why should salvation be any less than that today? Take heart, for it isn’t. We have received salvation from the enemy of our souls and he no longer has any authority over our lives. We have been translated from the kingdom of darkness where Satan rules into the Kingdom of God where the Father rules. (Colossians 1:13)
The promise of being made free from sin was first given to Abraham. God allowed him to see the salvation that He had ordained through the Eternal Word, Christ Jesus. He promised Abraham that his seed would possess the gates of his enemies, thus declaring the total conquest that Christ Jesus would have over Satan. We know that God was referring to Jesus Christ as the seed because of what Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16) Throughout the Old Testament the Messiah is described as the deliverer, the one who would free mankind from his enemies. The deliverance that he Messiah would bring to mankind is witnessed in the exodus of Israel from Egypt. Both Moses and the Passover Lamb testify of he work of redemption through Christ Jesus. As Moses was sent to proclaim God’s Word and to move with power and authority to deliver Israel from Egypt, even so was the Word sent from heaven to deliver mankind from the bondage of slavery. For just as the Israelites were under the cruel bondage of Pharaoh, mankind has served under the cruel bondage of Satan. When Israel left Egypt, there was no feeble one among them. Every one of the Israelites had been touched by the supernatural hand of God. They were no longer slaves to Pharaoh and he had no more authority over their lives. Also, now, as many as have been delivered from the slavery of sin are no longer under Satan’s dominion.
We had been slaves to sin and made to serve with rigor. Jesus Christ faced Satan and defeated him in every confrontation. Even as the Lamb was sacrificed on the night of Passover, God gave the blood of His first born to redeem man. Through the sacrifice of the blood of His firstborn, He broke the power of the angel of death and brought healing and salvation to as many as will believe Him and receive the promises.
God taught all Israel of their need for the blood of the lamb, to cleanse them of their sins, by giving them the law. The law revealed to man his sinful nature by contrasting man’s will with God’s. When man evaluated himself in light of the law, he saw that he was undone. The law made man’s sin “exceeding sinful.” (Romans 7:13) The high priest demonstrated every year that the only way into the holy presence of God was by he blood of the Lamb. Although the blood of animals could never take away sin, it testified of the blood that would be shed to take away sin. The blood of the Lamb of God, once shed, would finish the work. There would be no need for another sacrifice.
Although there were in excess of one million people which came out of Egypt, there were only two besides Moses that were willing to receive the promise of God. God had not only delivered them from their enemies, but had prepared a land of plenty for them to dwell in, a place where God was their King and His blessings and provision would meet all of their needs. Both of these blessings were granted together. The very night that they were delivered from slavery they were give the land of Canaan. In fact, by faith, these blessings were theirs 430 years prior, for God had promised both to them (Genesis 15:13-21). In reality, the whole point of being delivered from the bondage of Egypt was to receive the promise of the inheritance. These two events are not mutually exclusive. Israel had been sanctified by God to receive the promise through His covenant with Abraham. He delivered them from the bondage so that they might receive that promise. However, the people did not believe God and saw the giants in the land as an impossible enemy which they could never defeat. They did not enter into God’s rest because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 4) God’s rest would have been complete freedom from all their enemies and total dominion over them.
Today this same example of unbelief is practiced by so many. We hear of the wonderful promises that are in Christ Jesus, and then proclaim that we are unable to live in these promises. Man looks at the lust of the flesh and of the eye, and at the pride of life, and cowers, unable to overcome them. The belief is that lusts rules the land, and it is impossible for us to drive them out. The captain of our salvation has appeared to lead us in driving all our enemies before us, yet, there are few witnesses who believe the testimony of God and will declare that the inheritance is ours. Despite the testimony of unbelief, we have been delivered out of the hand of bondage and given a place of complete freedom from all those who would rise up against us. This is the gospel and Word of the Lord that was once delivered unto the saints. Let us, as Caleb and Joshua, give a good report of the freedom that God has provided to them that will believe.
Throughout the dealings of God with man, His desire and designs for man have been most evident. His purpose for man was, and is today, that man conduct himself in the same moral behavior as God. “According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4) He told Abraham to walk before him and to be perfect. (Genesis 17:1) He proclaimed to Israel that they were to love Him with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength, (Deuteronomy 6:5) and that they were to keep all of his holy ways by walking in His commandments and statutes. His call to man for perfect holiness and righteousness is declared in every statement that He ever made to Israel and mankind as a whole. The issue of God’s perfect will and desire for all mankind is undeniable. He wants man to walk before Him and to be perfect even as He is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
God wants men to be sinless members of His own family. When we refer to sin, we are simply talking about those things that are contrary to God’s ways. Sin, in reality, should have been the most unnatural things for man to do. This is so because man was created in the image and likeness of God. That image and likeness naturally does that which is holy and right. Man, through disobedience, became bound to sin, but one thing is for certain, God’s plan for man has not changed. He is going to have men living before Him, those who will by nature do those things that are written in the Law. (Romans 8:4)
God found fault with the first covenant and therefore He has done away with it. The inability of the law to impart the life of God into man was the fault that God found. Ishmael, Abraham’s first son, is an allegory of the Law. The Law is not God’s promise and therefore cannot fulfill His will. Through the Law man must rely on his own discipline to fulfill God’s desire. Just as Ishmael, conceived of a bondwoman, could never fulfill the promise and will of God, the law was only bondage instead of freedom. To look to the law for justification leaves one in despair and vexation, even as Sarah was vexed by Hagar. It is a constant reminder that the promise has not come. God did away with the bondage to sin by bringing the promise. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5) The righteousness of God that was revealed in the law was not bondage. The bondage was in not being able to fulfill the call to righteousness and true holiness, because of the power of sin.
The first glorious confirmation to the receiving of the promise of God in the New Testament is found in Luke chapter 1. A man of God named Zacharias began to speak by the Holy Spirit when his prophetical son was born. He declared the long awaited deliverance of Israel and of all mankind. He was not speaking of some misinformed ideology of the coming Messiah, but was testifying of the salvation that would be experienced by the receiving of the promise. “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:67-75) Now, at last mankind would be delvered out of the handoff his enemies. This enemy was not the Roman empire or any other Gentile oppressor of Israel. The enemy that the Holy Spirit was referring to is Satan. Finally, after 4000 years of enslavement to that wicked taskmaster and his nature, deliverance had come. Because of being delivered out of the hand of our enemy, we can now live in holiness, without fear.
Thirty years after this event, John, the son of Zacharias, proclaimed redemption’s song. The greatest words that mortal ears have ever heard “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) God’s will for man is summed up in these words. Jesus Christ did not merely come to “cover up” sin in the life of man, He came to take it away. He came to destroy it and do away with its presence from the heart of man. Jesus said , with regard to Himself, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36) He had been talking to the Pharisees about their bondage to sin when He made this statement. He made the entire issue very plain and simple. He said, “…whosoever commiteth sin is the servant of sin.” (John 8:34) However, the good news is that the redeemer has come to set us free from sin. “…ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18) He has come to remove sin from our hearts and to deliver us from all bondage to it.
God has made us to understand the entirety of the sin issue in light of the grace of God that has brought salvation. It is written “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1) “God forbid!” We have been delivered from sin. The Son has set us free! If after we have received the grace of God and “are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid!” (Galatians 2:17) We are no longer children of darkness. Sin is not a part of the ministry of Christ. We are God’s holy people, a royal priesthood. We are to “shew forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) The Lord has made us children of the light. He has equipped us with the armor of light. He has made us the light of the world; a city set upon a hill which cannot be hid. He has given us His light “in whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) We should be fully persuaded that what God has promised He is also able to perform, then we can receive from God.
“…God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) This passage sets the standard and the following scripture is the test for every person. “If we say we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness we lie and do not the truth.” (1 John 1:6) If we are in Christ, then there is no darkness at all. This is the testimony of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The entire message of 1 John is “…these things write I unto you that ye sin not.” (1 John 2:1) This is truly God’s will for the believer. The entire epistle declares our freedom from sin. If we keep his commandments, we “know that we know him” and we are “made perfect in love.” “We know that whosoever is born of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (1 John 5:18)
“If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) This passage would seem to be a contradiction to all that was said in the last paragraph. Rest assured there is no contradiction at all. The application is very similar to that in John 8. The Pharisees were unwilling to recognize their need for Jesus because they were unwilling to recognize that they had sin. Jesus said, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” (John 8:30-36; 9:41) Every man was concluded under sin. This is Paul’s message in the first part of Romans. “All have sinned,…” (Romans 3:23) A man who does not see his need for the blood of Jesus is puffed up and walking in darkness. He has followed his own way, instead of the way of life in Jesus Christ. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) As a result of this cleansing and of His indwelling power, we are to walk “in the light as he is in the light.” (1 John 1:7) He is the light of the world, and the eye kept single upon Him will keep the entire body full of light. Is there any sin in Him? Of course not.
How is it that we are able to keep ourselves? (1 John 5:18) If we are willing to yield ourselves in obedience to God and remain in harmony with His word, then we “are kept by the power of God through faith.” (1 Peter 1:5) We have been taught to abide in Him. (John 15) When we trust in Jesus, we will be strengthened and always find that way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13) When we walk with God in submission, Satan cannot touch us, and that is Bible fact! Just how free are we from sin? Free indeed! Completely free!
Just because we are free from sin does not mean that we cannot sin. Adam was free from sin yet he was drawn away with Satan’s deception and sinned. We are guaranteed b God through the blood that we can be victorious over all sin. It is left to a willful and conscious decision on our part. Every day, through every temptation, we must choose to obey God. If we will continue in submission to His Word, we cannot sin. This is so because in every situation God’s Word leads us into righteousness. The Psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11) If we obey God’s Word and are willing to be led of the Spirit, we find strength and understanding to say “no” to sin. Sin cannot overthrow our will, it has no more dominion over us. If those born of the Word are willing to remain obedient to God’s Word, they will not sin. “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:14)
God, in His goodness and mercy, has made a provision for us through our High Priest Jesus Christ. If you sin and come to God in true repentance then the mercy of God meets you with the blood of the Lamb. “If any…sin, we have an advocate,…” (1 John 2:1) “If we confess…He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) The blood completely cleanses you so you are as if you had never sinned. Every stain of unrighteousness is removed and you are without offense before God. Now that you are free, walk in freedom. If God has made us free, we can remain free through the same power which has made us free. It is abiding in Christ (John 15) which allows us to walk in this freedom, without Him we can do nothing.
There have been many saints who have confused temptation with the sin nature. They suppose that only when an individual can no longer be tempted is the nature of sin removed. This is very far from the truth. It is extremely important that one does not confuse temptation with sin. Jesus was tempted and yet He was holy and pure, having no sin nature. (Hebrews 2:18) From where did His temptation come? Temptation came from the tempter. Temptation is not the product of inward sin; it is the product of the forces of hell which saturate this world. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16) It is the filthy and ungodly deeds and suggestions of the god of this world that inspire temptation. Satan wanted to overthrow the sinless Lamb of God, and tried to do so through his wicked suggestions, yet Jesus remained victorious through it all “and condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3)
We live in the same situation; evil desires and thoughts now war against our souls. (1 Peter 2:11) As noted above, these lusts, that are not of the Father, are in the world, not in us. We are of the Father, we are His sons, and we are not of the world. (John 17:14,16) The evil desires and thoughts are not from within the redeemed heart, but from without. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. Satan, from outside the redeemed man, continually attempts to regain dominion over us, yet, as the redeemed of the Lord, we are to eschew all such evil enticement. “…gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he…is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” (1 Peter 1:13-15) If we will submit ourselves to the Spirit of God and gird up the loins of our mind, we will only experience strength and victory. If we continue in this faith, we ill have the testimony of our Lord, “…in all points tempted…yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
The thought of sin, which is temptation, is not the same as the act of sin. When Jesus declared that “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart,” (Matthew 5:28) He described a person who has conceived wickedness in the heart and will commit the act if given the opportunity. Any involvement with pornography is a good example of this. An example of the progression of temptation left unchecked is described in James 1:13-15, ‘But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust is conceived, it bringeth forth death.” The key here is in the conception. Sin takes the God given desires of man, and twists them into evil acts. Temptation will not damn the soul, but sin will.
It is clear from God’s word that all temptation comes from Satan. God does not tempt man. Men are tempted when they are drawn away as Satan’s enticement begins to work unchecked in their thoughts. When a thought that is contrary to the ways of God enters our mind, we must gird up our minds and bring it to an immediate stop. If we allow it to continue it will overcome us and conceive sin. Satan many times uses the suggestions and actions of those who are his servants to inspire temptation. This is why we must set no evil thing before us. Paul told Timothy to “flee youthful lust.” He was not asking him to run away from some evil thing inside of him. Rather, he was simply telling him not to give place to the devil. You cannot flirt with temptation, for if you do, you will be overcome by it and “…of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” (2 Peter 2:19)
Temptation must not be yielded to; it must be resisted. God will not allow Satan to tempt us beyond what we are able to withstand, “But will with the temptation also make a way to escape tat ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) There is a great blessing for those who stand against (endure) temptation: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life.” (James 1:12) Temptation was a vexing and grieving experience for Christ Jesus to endure, yet, for our sakes, He endured it. The scripture tells us that “(he) suffered being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18) We are told in 1 Peter 4:1 to “arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” The reason we have ceased from sin is revealed in the second verse of this passage. Such a one does not “live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lust of men, but to the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:2) The individual who is willing to stand faithful to God will be given strength to endure temptation.
As long as Satan is free to continue to propagate his wickedness in this world, the redeemed child of God will have to endure temptation. We will experience this battle against our souls for the remainder of our natural lives, “But be of good cheer I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Christ Jesus has given us the ability to overcome even as He has overcome (Revelation 3:21) If”…now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:” realize that it is “the trying of your faith,” (1 Peter 1:6-7) God wants our faith to be more pure than gold, and every time we say no to sin our faith is seen to be ever so pure. It is shown to be the faith of Jesus Christ. On that great and wonderful day of the appearing of our Lord and Savior it will be “found unto praise and glory and honor.” (1 Peter 1:7)
The wages of sin is death, both for the believer and unbeliever. Our strongest desire should be to do the will of God. Being lead away into the lust of sinful desires should never be an occurrence in our lives. We should realize that there is no room in our heart for the love of God when the lust of the world. “If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) The world and all of its lust is going to pass away, “…but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (1 John 2:17) This should be incentive enough to say “no” to sin and not allow it to be conceived in our hearts. The cure to every temptation is to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
We must know that we are “the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21) and that Satan has no part at all in us, or we will think that sin is inevitable in our lives. If we believe such a lie, then we will never have the faith by which to stand and be victorious. We will be defeated before we ever face the temptation. When temptation comes to draw us away, if we believe that somehow we are a slave to sin, than certainly we will be overcome. We are called to do the will of God. “…he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (1 John 2:17) When temptation would try to draw us away, we are called to be doers of the Word. We are not to follow after the desires of men, but rather, submit our members “as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:13) If we stand on the Word of God and proclaim to the tempter that we are the holy property of God, and refuse to obey his wicked lies, then, by the shield of faith, we will quench every fiery dart of the wicked one.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)
Many things have been said about the meaning of the fear of the Lord. Most often people refer to it as a reverence for God in the light of judgment. But there is a much clearer understanding given to us in the scripture. In Proverbs 8:13 we discover clearly the definition for the fear of the Lord, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the forward mouth do I hate.” God’s wisdom hates evil and very heart that is united with Him hates evil as well. We discover throughout the scripture, that every blessing on earth and in heaven is established in our lives through wisdom. The fear of the Lord is where wisdom begins. Wisdom is described as being the fear of the Lord and the fear of the Lord is also referred to as the beginning of wisdom. When we walk in the wisdom of God, which is the knowledge of the holy, then we hate evil.
When God made us new creatures, He placed within our hearts a godly sorrow concerning sin and a true hatred for evil. We become a peculiar people that “hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 23) He gave us a true remorse for past sin and a desire and conviction to turn from it. The grace of God that brings salvation has taught us to hate evil and to deny and refuse all ungodliness. (Titus 2:11-12) God, through Jesus Christ, gave us this wisdom when He renewed us in the knowledge of God. This great gift is a part of the new birth. Have we found in our hearts the knowledge of this rich treasure? The knowledge of the holy was imparted to us through the Spirit of God, but the only way that we can realize what God has done in or lives is by living according to His Word. The things that many holy men desire to see and understand, and sought earnestly for and never came to possess, have been freely imparted into our lives. In order not to neglect so great a salvation we should have the same adoration for the knowledge and ways of the most high.
In Proverbs 2:1-5, we receive the instruction of how to understand the gift of wisdom. “My son if thou wilt receive my words and hide my commandments with thee: So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, ad apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” This passage causes us to understand that the fear of the Lord is a great inheritance. It is like great riches, for which a man would apply himself and search earnestly all of his life. Now, it is easily obtained, it is the free gift of God in Christ Jesus. We have been given this treasure, but it should be daily our delight. By holding it with this diligence, as valuable hidden treasure, it will have preeminence in our lives.
Wisdom’s testimony to us is, “Whoso findeth me findeth life.” (Proverbs 8:35) Wisdom was with God from the very beginning, “she was daily his delight.” The role that wisdom played in the heart of God was the guide for all that He did in creation. (Proverbs 8-9) Wisdom leads in the way of righteousness. This attribute of the knowledge of God tends to life. The life and righteousness of God are equated throughout the scripture. God’s very own Word is a product of the wisdom that He possesses and a description of how to walk in life. If we walk in wisdom we will walk according to God’s Word, and we will naturally do those things that are contained in His Word. Righteousness and life will be seen in those things which we do because wisdom is our sister and understanding our kinswoman. We will by nature do those things that are contained in the law because we are possessors of the same wisdom that set forth these principles.
By wisdom we are able to see the end of all sin and understand the foolishness and vanity of it. We will be able to look beyond its temporal and meaningless pleasure and see the evil and destruction that is associated with its act. In this wisdom of God, we find a great strength and resolve to say no to sin. What man could desire that which he hates? We see the plague of death for what it is and understand the justness of God for creating an eternal hell where all sin is bound eternally.
One of the oral traditions of Jews is the “fear of sin.” In God’s dealings with Israel, He made very clear to them His attitude toward sin. He portrayed before their eyes the eternal consequence of sin and they learned how abhorrent sin was to God. They were made to understand that “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) and “the soul that sinneth it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20) The children of Israel were commanded to put sin away from their midst. If a person was found in sin they were to be stoned, burned or hanged. We know that they were to die without mercy if they sinned (Hebrews 10:28) They came to an understanding of the horridness of sin. From all of this, it is easy to understand why the oral tradition of “the fear of sin” existed. The Israelites had a wonderful school maste5r to teach them the necessity of God’s wisdom and show them their great need for Christ.
God’s hatred for sin has been undeniably made clear to all humanity by the severity in which he has dealt with is. God is a God of love, but His burning hatred for sin caused Him to hollow out the earth and set it on fire; a fire so great that it will burn for all eternity with God’s hatred for sin. Sin is not a small matter that can be easily overlooked. It is not something that God lightly excuses and tolerates in His creation. Sin cannot be permitted, for it is the very plague of death. God’s love for humanity is unquestionable, as demonstrated at the cross, but His hatred for evil is also unquestionable. He is longsuffering and not willing that any should perish, but unless a man is willing to turn from his sin and accept the way of escape from the wrath that is to come, he will surely perish. The sinner will be thrust into outer darkness. The ungodly will burn forever with the torment of hell. Every person who goes on in sin will experience the eternal consequences of sin. It does not matter if you claim to be saved by grace; God does not have an unequal balance of justice. He hates divers weights and measures. (Proverbs 20:10, 23)) Those who sin will die!
The man who will not walk in the hating of evil will not walk in the Spirit. He will not have the operation of the Spirit in his life. He will be barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of God. If one is not walking in the hating of evil, then he is not walking in the new man. This is so because the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge of God, hates evil. We are called to walk in the hating of evil, “perfect holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) It is the very nature of the Spirit of God to hate evil, and therefore, of the new man that is renewed in His image. Those who would accept anything less are like a city without walls. They are defenseless against the reign of sin and the corruption of this world, and it is certain that such shall perish.
Sin is a deadly poison; it is the “sting of death.” (1 Corinthinas 15:56) Those who would regard it as any less are fools! They are void of the knowledge of God, and are clouds without water. The idea of living free from sin is a ridiculous fairy tale for those who have never learned to hate it. Consider the strength and stability that there would be in your life as a consequence of yielding to the hatred of evil. In every situation you would be more than a conqueror. Sin would not be given a chance when you yield to the hating of evil that is at work by the Spirit in the life of the believer. Just as you would naturally abhor the thought of drinking sewer water, likewise, by the Spirit, you will abhor sin and therefore not yield to temptation.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phillipians 2:12-13) One of the greatest prayers you can pray is, “Lord teach me to hate evil.” The very presence of God’s own Spirit is within you and He is the master of hating evil. If we will yield our will and thoughts to Him in this matter, we discover the vast supply of hatred for evil which He has freely given. “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth… liberally,…” (James 1:5) If a person is going to be taught of God, then they will yield their members to Him as servants. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.” (Romans 6:12) The body is the Lord’s; it belongs to Him as a possession which He bought with the blood of Jesus. It is His’ very own. As God’s servants, we are not to obey the lust of sin. We are to obey God alone. However, God will not force us to obey; we must submit our will to Him, or He will not be able to work in us.
All who sin against wisdom by choosing to do things contrary to the righteousness of God “love death.” (Proverbs 8:36) Learning to choose the good and refuse the evil is a great pleasure. As we delight ourselves in God, we find pleasure in righteousness, our eyes are opened to the path of life and we discover that in His presence is fullness of joy. God sets before us life and death, good and evil and He petitions us to choose life. Each time that we choose that which is good, we are choosing life.
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.” (Romans 6:13) When sin knocks upon our door we should rise up in the anointing of the fear of the Lord and put it to flight. Even as Samson rose up in the anointing of God with a jaw bone of a donkey and overthrew the Philistines. Our members are holy and undefiled and we are not to make them unholy with sin. God forbid that we should desecrate His holy dwelling place. Instead, “Yield yourselves unto God.” (Romans 6:13) This is the work of the believer. There is nothing more nor less to our calling. With this act, God, by Himself, takes care of all the rest. Whether it is salvation or maturity, everything is by Him and given to us as a free gift. Our calling is simply yielding ourselves unto God.
God has created this new man by the Word which was made flesh and who gave His life that we might receive remission of sins. The Holy Spirit moves upon our earthen vessels in conviction, righteousness and judgment, and brings forth the new man upon repentance. If there is to be a witness of redemption in our lives, then we must yield to Him. If the new creature is to be manifested, then we must submit to His working, that Jesus might be expressed through our lives. If our members are going to be the very instruments of God by which He declares His righteousness, then we are going to say no to sin. As His anointing works in our life, the hating of evil will work through our members and the righteousness of the new creature will be seen. The new man is the willing “servant of righteousness,” (Romans 6:18) not the captive slave to sin.
What does it mean to be “…not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,”? (Romans 8:9) Paul is declaring the effects of redemption to the Romans, summarizing the discussion of the preceding two and a half chapters. He is definitely not referring to the natural body when he says, “we are not longer in the flesh.” It is certain that he is referring to the transformation of the inward man. The “flesh nature” of sin is what we are not longer in, after being born again. Rather, we are now in the Spirit. He concludes that, if we are not in the Spirit then we do not belong to Christ. The divine nature has been given to the man who previously was in bondage to the flesh, or sin nature. Instead of sin reigning, the Sprit reigns over the life of God’s people.
The motions of sin are no longer at work from within as they were “when we were in the flesh.” (Romans 7:5) Under the dominion of the sin nature there was only the condemnation of death. (Romans 7:8-25) Now that we are “free from the law of sin and death” and are under the “law of the Spirit of life.” (Romans 8:2), “There is therefore now no condemnation. (Romans 8:1) There is no condemnation because the dominion of sin has been removed and we are those who “walk not after the flesh.” (Romans 8:1) God has not changed His opinion about sin and the flesh nature, it is still under condemnation. The only thing that has changed is the heart of man. The once polluted heart, over which sin reigned, has been set free and brought into the liberty of the Spirit. There is therefore now no death sentence upon those who are in the Spirit and not the flesh. We have been delivered from the condemnation because we have been delivered from the flesh nature.
It is important to rightly divide the intended meaning of the word “flesh” from the context in which it appears. Sometimes, for example, “flesh” is used in reference to the earthly body. Jesus “was made flesh.” (John 1:14, Romans 8:3) Paul said “that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (2 Corinthians 4:11) It would be wrong to understand the meaning of “flesh” as something sinful in these passages. However, many times the word flesh is used in light of the power and source of sin. In Galatians 5:19 the works of the flesh are revealed to be those things pertaining to sin. We understand that those who sow to the “…flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.” (Galatians 6:8) In the case of the flesh of Jesus, sin cannot be implied; however, when used of the sinful state of man, we understand it as the ruling nature of sin.
When the flesh is used in contrast to the Spirit, it emphasizes the opposition of two natures. The Spirit is the nature of the redeemed, and the flesh, of the unredeemed. These two natures are contrary to one another and can never agree. The redeemed child of God has the nature of God within. The lust of the flesh and all that is of the world, is in the world. The child of God is not of the world (John 17:16) nor is the lust of the flesh in him, it is in the world.
The Spirit nature is very much at home in the corruptible body of man. In fact our bodies are referred to as being the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was incarnated into humanity to prove to all men that sin did not belong. He did this by being made “in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3) Sin plainly does not belong in humanity! God made humanity to be holy and without blame before Him in love. Because of the gift of salvation, the flesh was crucified through repentance and faith in the blood of Jesus. Those who are “in Christ,” have “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:24) We are now living and walking in the Spirit. The old man is crucified with Christ and the body of sin no longer lives, Christ lives. The flesh nature was crucified with Christ that “the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should no longer serve sin.” (Romans 6:6)
“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) You will not, because the two are contrary to one another and will never agree on anything. Just as light cannot dwell with darkness, neither can the Spirit dwell with the flesh nature. The lust of the flesh brings forth the works of the flesh and those who do such are the servants of sin and their father is the devil. “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (1 John 3:10) True righteousness is not of God and this righteousness will only be manifested on our lives by the Spirit. The lusts of the flesh are of the “Prince and the power of are” the “god of this world” the “spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Those who are the redeemed of the Lord are new creatures and have the evidence in their lives that they are led of the Spirit. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. There is nothing that could be more simple to understand.
There is no one who, through their own discipline, can crucify the sin nature. This work is only accomplished through repentance and faith in the finished work of Calvary. Those who were under the law, through all of their rigorous discipline and observance, could not crucify the flesh. Their self-righteousness was as filthy rags in the sight of God. The law was powerless to impart the life of God, the source of all strength and power to do His will. The law could never accomplish this. Man, with or without the law, could not rid himself of the dominion of sin. The law could declare to man his bondage to sin, but was powerless to free him from it.
A man cannot walk in the Spirit and the flesh at the same time, because these two natures lead in opposite directions. The privilege of being in the Spirit is brought to us a free gift. As a result, we are able to resist all temptation and walk free from sin. By the Spirit of God we grow and learn to move beyond our frail human ability and reason. God’s children do not walk in the Spirit as a result of doing good, they do good as a result of walking in the Spirit. Without this operation of the Spirit in our lives, we would not be able to grow in grace and mature in Christ.
To grow in Christian maturity is not become free from sin. God has brought about this change in our lives by His own work. Now that we have been made righteous by God, we learn to walk in that righteousness. Sin should be a dead issue for the believer. Jesus Christ our Lord had to learn obedience, “Through he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8) The sinless Lamb of God, who was never disobedient, learned obedience. To learn does not mean we have to fall. We are strengthened in our inner man when we resist temptation and yield to the Holy Spirit. As newborn believers we are to “desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2) God made us holy and perfectly righteous before Him that we might learn how to walk in holiness and perfect righteousness. God has given a perfect salvation that we might learn perfect obedience.
We learn obedience by submission to God. We previously spent our lives in the kingdom of darkness, walking in wicked works. God, by His glorious power, translates us into “the Kingdom of His dear Son.” Now we must learn how to walk according to the things of the kingdom of God. Jesus learned obedience in the midst of being tempted to be disobedient. Jesus learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8) We will learn obedience in the same way. We will be tempted to follow after the prince and the power of the air, the god of this world, but we perfect holiness in the fear of God by saying no. As we grow in the Word of God, we come to “full are” as we have our “senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.” (Hebrews 6:1) The foundation must first be laid that we might build on it and move forward. The foundation is the work of salvation that was given to us while we were yet sinners, a transformation that took place apart from our own works. Rather, it came by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The foundation and principles of salvation are repentance from dead works and faith towards God. We turn from sin and wickedness to serve the living God. These principle things are settled in our hearts at the new birth. We are established in the truth of God’s Word as we are taught the doctrine of baptisms, the laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. From these principle truths, we are able to grow and mature in the things of God. If any of these things are missing, it will hinder our ability to grow in God and we will spend our life working on laying the foundation.
We must know that these principles are established in our lives, then we can properly grow in God. We go on to perfection as we daily come to understand the work of salvation that has been completed in Christ Jesus. Through His Spirit, which works within us mightily, we learn to walk in perfect obedience. Paul said, “but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16) By daily yielding ourselves to Him, the presence of the Holy Spirit can work within us. The finished work of Calvary has brought us as close a walk with God as we desire. Maturity does not make man more acceptable to God, the blood of Jesus alone makes man acceptable. It is obedience and operation in the authority of the Holy Spirit which will be perfected in our lives.
The most dangerous thing that one can do is to look at sin as an inevitable power that will take dominion over him one daily basis. Under such a lie one will never learn obedience. As a result he will never resist the devil, he will always be defeated. Believing such a lie one will never learn obedience. As a result he will never resist the devil, he will always be defeated. Believing such a lie, a man does not have the defense of God’s word as a buckler and a shield. However, if you know that you are able to depart from every wicked thing. You will be bale to stand in the strength of God’s Word which Satan cannot overcome.
God placed Adam in His garden. He gave him a place of ruler ship with Himself and expected His man to walk in perfect obedience. Adam refused. When Adam was tempted by Satan, he gave in and rebelled against the command of God. As a consequence, all mankind has been separated from God. Through Christ Jesus, God has redeemed us back unto Himself. He has set before us life and death, even as He did for Adam. God has restored us to the same position of Holiness and Righteousness and asked of us perfect obedience to His Word. As we reign in life by Christ Jesus, we have the opportunity to be God’s man and stand against all of the forces that would slander God’s Holy name. The choice is ours. Satan has no more dominion over the redeemed child of God than he had over Adam. If you will fulfill God’s will and plan for your life, then you will do as Christ Jesus did, instead of what Adam did. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
A son who will not learn obedience will not reign with Christ. A son who will not learn obedience is not a son at all. As a child of God, if you will simply walk in a place of repentance and brokenness before God, and will allow God to teach you to hate evil, you will grow. You can be certain that sin shall not have dominion over you. If you sin, it is because you allowed it; you were not forced. Our heavenly Father has mercy and longsuffering enough to bring you to a place of perfect obedience. However, if your heart becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin and you begin to accept sin as an inevitable part of your life, you faith in Jesus Christ has been made shipwreck. You will not learn obedience and you will die in your sins. Only the truth of God’s word causes us to grow. Only by yielding to His Spirit and Word will you ever learn obedience.
This message is one of glory and blessing. It brings joy and strength to the believer. This is the good news to the man who has desired to know God. The call to obedience is a welcome call to the man who recognizes sin for the bondage that it truly is. Bless the Lord, and forget not all His benefits, including the benefit of being made a new man by the work of God. Take this message of joy and hope and cry out to God in thanksgiving for a great and marvelous salvation. Enter into God’s presence with all boldness; with praise and thanksgiving for fellowship in the family of God. This glorious message of unity is Christ in you, the hope of glory!