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Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; The Secret of the Ages, part 23 (Overcoming sin and suffering).

length: 64:57 - taught on Sep, 11 2019
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Class Outline:

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


“By monstrously magnifying the characteristics attributed to his opponents and then reducing their characteristics to a few simple, lapidary slogans, that are repeated year in and year out, day after day, hatred will be intensified until it becomes a burning, vehement, contagious emotion that will convert multitudes into mobs animated by the desire for destructive vengeance, mobs fit for the gangster violence and lynch-law that always goes with violent revolution.” [Voigt]


I find it fascinating that this method actually works. It is still working today, and it has even worked in some Christian churches and denominations about other churches or denominations that they consider as rivals or in antisemitism against Jews. Of whom is this insightfully said by Voigt?


ROM 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


ROM 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.


ROM 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,


Christ did what the Law could not do - dethrone sin by condemning it to death.


ROM 8:4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.


ROM 8:5 For those who are according to [present participle - consistently] the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit [qualities of the Spirit], (set their minds on) the things of the Spirit.


Those according to the flesh “mind” the flesh’s things: its physical lusts - gluttony, immorality, slothfulness, uncleanness; its lust of the soul - mental delights, sinful pleasures of the imagination, sensual indulgences, or “tastes” - whether art, music, literature, etc.; its spiritual lusts - of pride, envy, malice, avarice, and religions of human merit: in a word, every unclean thing and every clean thing perverted by unclean persons.


Then there are the redeemed, those according to the Spirit who mind the Spirit’s things: salvation, the gospel, the Person of Christ, the fellowship of the saints, the word of God, wisdom, insight, prayer, praise, prophecy, the blessed hope of Christ’s coming, divine virtue, walking as Christ walked. And while it is true that more often than they would like, they fall woefully short of these things, yet they mind the Spirit’s things to some degree, and whether they know it or not, or whether they have come to believe it or not, the Spirit’s things are now the only life available to them.


1CO 15:44 If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.


1CO 15:45 So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.


1CO 15:46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.


1CO 15:47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.


1CO 15:48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy [in the flesh]; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly [in the Spirit].


1CO 15:49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy [in body], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.


1CO 15:50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.


The name New Testament is given to the second half of the English Bible. The name comes from the Latin Novum Testamentum, which itself is a translation of the Greek He Kaine Diatheke (the new covenant or secularly, the last will and testament). Diatheke is used by the Greek translators of the OT for the covenant made by God to the people at Sinai. It is later used by our Lord when He named the cup “the new ‘covenant’ in My blood,” which supersedes the old covenant. The word really meant an arrangement made by one party which may be accepted or rejected by another party, but which he cannot alter; and which, when accepted, binds both parties by its terms.


The old covenant of Moses involved a revelation of the holiness of God in a righteous standard of law which those who received it were solemnly enjoined to keep it. The New Covenant embodies a revelation of the holiness of God in an utterly righteous Son, who empowers those who receive the revelation to become son of God by making them righteous.


These wonderful truths in the NT cannot be altered. They must either be accepted or rejected, and when you and I believed in Christ as our Savior, we accepted them and so we are bound to them just as much as God is bound to them.


ROM 8:5 For those who are according to [present participle - consistently] the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit [qualities of the Spirit], (set their minds on) the things of the Spirit.


ROM 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,


The King James rendering of this verse is wrong and obscure.


ROM 8:6

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [KJV - wrong on this verse]


God does not say that “to be carnally minded” is death, but that the mind of the flesh, in which the unbeliever is, is death. The mind of the Spirit, who indwells the believer, is life and peace.


By the KJ reading we might conclude that we die every time we sin, but that is false. We are alive. The unbeliever is dead because he is born that way, the believer is made alive by the Spirit and is always alive, possessing eternal life, and being filled with the life of Christ and the peace of Christ through the Holy Spirit within, which is a reality when faith in the truth is mixed with every experience.  


Paul doesn’t use a verb in verse 6, he writes of the mind of the flesh and the mind of the Spirit (both genitive of sarkos/flesh and pneumatos/Spirit).


The Greek word for “mind” that Paul uses here is phronema which refers to what one has in his mind, or his thought, or the object of his thought. 


Our minds are not always life of Christ and peace, but we have been designed for that sole purpose. We are according to the Spirit (vs. 5), having been born of God, and indwelling us is the Mighty One, the Comforter, whose whole mind, disposition, and manner of being is life and peace, and He is God within us. The life is the life of the risen Christ, which the Spirit supplies, and this peace is also of Christ which the Spirit is within you to supply.


Again, Paul’s point is that this is now who we are who are saints in Christ. We are not those who are according to the flesh or have a mind of the flesh, again remembering that Paul is referring to the thinking within the mind. The unbeliever has no other choice, and though our silliness and ignorance and lack of faith will cause us to set the thinking in our minds to that which is sinful, we must come to understand that we have no other choice but to possess minds of the Holy Spirit.


ROM 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,


ROM 8:7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;


The unsaved mind is hostile toward God. The saved mind is life and peace and is able to put itself under God’s orders (hupotasso - “subject itself”).


Perhaps no one text of scripture more completely sets forth the hideously lost state of man, all of whom are born after the flesh.


ROM 8:8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.


“The path of faith is the most hateful path possible for the flesh. Faith gives the flesh no place - leaves not ‘part’ for man’s will and energy. The flesh will go to any degree of religious self-denial, or self-inflicting sufferings - anything but death!” [Newell, Romans Verse by Verse]


There is deliverance in Christ for us in which by faith we reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.


Are we willing to have God show us how, or wherein, we are still holding fast to any sin, or any indulgence of the flesh?


Do we know that the sentence of death has already been brought down, by God’s grace, on this particular thing when our old man was crucified with Christ?


Then we shall enter into the place of reckoning ourselves dead to sin, and to this darling sin, and to all sin - as God commands His saints, and we shall please Him as He has made us to do.


COL 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,


COL 1:10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;


COL 1:11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously


COL 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.


1TH 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.


HEB 11:4 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.


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