Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; The Secret of the Ages, part 35 (Overcoming sin and suffering).

Class Outline:

Tuesday October 8, 2019


By looking at how Christ handled and overcame suffering, though none of it was by His own cause, we can discover how to overcome our self-induced suffering.


If you do not overcome your own patterns of sin, you will never be equipped to overcome the sins that others do against you, the suffering that you haven’t caused.


We have to live the life of the kingdom of God in the face of much opposition. It takes discipline (“I buffet my body”), perseverance (“I press on toward the goal for the upward prize”), diligence (“fervent in spirit, serving the Lord”), and always in dependence on God bottomless grace (“yet not I, but the grace of God with me”). All of these things Christ did during His life. He sets the example for us to follow. And the promise is that by our faith we will overcome.


Often we deserve our suffering, but we still have to come to a solution concerning that suffering, and we have to stop the pattern of sin that is causing it.


In the West, where Christianity is not much persecuted and life is easy, we must be careful of Satan’s lullaby - ease lulling us to sleep, making our Christianity lethargic, passive, inane, and apathetic.


1 Th. 5:1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 


1TH 5:2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.


1TH 5:3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.


1TH 5:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 


1TH 5:5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;


1TH 5:6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.


What is sin?


Sin is the perversion of something good. Sin and evil cannot exist independently. God’s adopted sons learn how to enjoy the good they desire in God’s way.


There is no such thing as liking badness for its own sake. The nearest to it is cruelty, but in real life people are cruel in order to get something - a sensual pleasure, money, power, or safety. But pleasure, money, power, and safety are all good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much. There is no excuse for sin, but when examined, sin is the pursuit of something good in the wrong way. This means that we can be good for the mere sake of goodness but you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. And this shows us why Satan is always trying to imitate God, but not being God, he always commits sin.


There can be confusion over the plainest things stated in scripture due to personal desire. Some things should never be over-thought.


EPH 4:17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,


EPH 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;


EPH 4:19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.


EPH 4:20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,


EPH 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,


EPH 4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside [aorist middle infinitive] the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,


EPH 4:23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,


EPH 4:24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.


We could never lay aside the old man and put on the new in our conscience if this was not actually done for us in practice by our Lord’s sacrifice. We can only act upon that which God has done.


COL 3:9 Paul uses an aorist participle which points to the putting off of the old man and putting on the new as having happened at salvation. The infinitive he uses in EPH 4:22 can mean we have put it off or should be putting it off. I personally think that Paul means both in the spirit of the point that we can only do what God has done for us. So, God says to us, “Go and see. I have done it for you. Go and see it.” “Lay aside the old self. I have done it for you. I have laid him aside. Put on the new self. I have done this. I have put him on you. Do them and you will see.”  


We can only do what God has done for us. We can only walk in righteousness when God has made us righteous. We can only live sanctified when God has sanctified us. We can only exist without condemnation when God has forgiven us and removed our debt of sin. We can only love when God has put His love in us. We can only produce the fruit of the Spirit when the Holy Spirit indwells us.


COL 3:1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.


COL 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.


It is simply put: do this and don’t do that. Seek this and don’t seek that.


COL 3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.


COL 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.


COL 3:5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.


The verb is nekroo (the noun is used often of the spiritual condition of the unsaved). It literally means to put to death. It is in the active voice, meaning you and I have to do it. Put it to death.


This is a sentence where an English translation can remove the harshness of what is said. “Consider” is too flimsy for this verb. Paul writes, “Therefore, mortify the members that are upon the earth.” An aorist active imperative - put them to death!


So, why am I commanded to do what Christ has already done? This is the lesson of the mystery. We do because Christ has already done. He killed my flesh and now in my conscious mind, as the sun of understanding and faith rises upon my conscious mind, I joyfully and purposely put to death the flesh and all of its passions and desires. I lay him in his grave and walk away.


The reality is that though I do this, the flesh will not stop hounding me to dig him up, so to speak, but I fight day after day, though it is wearisome at times and difficult, but the life of Christ that I am is worth that fight.  


This is living in the mystery that has been opened up to the believer in this age.


Certainly, I could not do this. Only Christ was ever qualified to kill it, and He did. We were crucified with Christ. So why have a command to “put to death the members of our earthly body?”


Christ crucified my flesh, now I must put it to death in my conscience as well as my continual consciousness of thought. Ignorance and forgetfulness make me foolish.