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Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; The Secret of the Ages, part 28 (Overcoming sin and suffering).

length: 66:19 - taught on Sep, 19 2019
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Thursday September 19, 2019


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,


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.


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


Peace is not the absence of suffering or conflict but the ascendency of virtue above them.


The enemy of peace is not only the armed outward foe, but the also the foe within ourselves. If freedom and peace are loved they are always protected. We must submit to the authority of the Spirit within us; every day, every hour or the enemy will find a way and peace and freedom will elude us all our lives.


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;


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


ROM 8:9 However, you [the believers in Rome] are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.


Verse 9 begins emphatically. ROM 8:9 Humeis de ouk este (second person plural)


“YOU” (emphatic use of the pronoun) are not in the flesh but in the Spirit.


“if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you,” - if the Holy Spirit has made you His home. Such a gift could never be the result of works. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ. Paul is making an emphatic appeal to the believers in Rome that they understand who God has made them to be through the death and resurrection of Christ.


We looked at 2PE 1:4 that there is a divine nature in us. We couple this with 1JO 3:9 that there is a divine seed in us, and I believe that passage bears repeating.


The Holy Spirit is in us to give us victory over sin and produce His fruit, GAL 5:16-25. That coupled together with us being made new, possessing a divine nature, as well as the fact that the power of sin over us has been broken; and we find that each of us are in the sphere of the Holy Spirit. Nothing besides ignorance of this sweet reality, the fulfillment of thousands of years of promises from God, is stopping us from experiencing His life, the life of Christ.


1JO 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are [not a metaphor, God does indwell us]. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.


1JO 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.


This is a celebration of the fulfillment of God’s promise concerning man. God said in GEN 1:26 that He would make man in His image, in His likeness, and in this age it has begun to be fulfilled.


1JO 3:3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.


1JO 3:4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.


John stood in resistance to the evil of false doctrine in the church. “To practice non-resistance to evil is to promote the dominion of Satan.” [Voigt, Unto Caesar]


And this isn’t only a church problem. Satan desires control of the church and the world. Carl Marx and his disciple Lenin believed that a world was coming where sin was done away with, and they were quite right, yet the means of it they did not know. Their belief was that capitalism was the sin of man and that there was a type of man, the proletariat, that could make the world a paradise, without even the need for governments. The method of achieving it was revolution, and in that they are somewhat right, for certainly Christ’s mission might in one way be seen as a revolution.


In this we see that Satan has created nothing. Marxism has a new humanity, a sinless world, a millennial kingdom, but it comes by means of the murder of millions and it is completely void of God. It gives no reasons or examples of how or why it will work. It has no answers for its incongruities. Yet God creates these things through His own sacrifice and is Himself the creator of a new human through love and is Himself the Ruler Prince, and government.


Satan is still in the pursuit of church rule and world rule. Marxism was not a philosophy or a science. It was a religion. The left, the Marxism of the present world, is also a religion. You cannot convince a religious zealot that he is wrong through science, philosophy, or theology. He believes what cannot be seen. Our faith, the Christian faith, is in a Messiah and a kingdom that was promised long ago and the nation of Israel, and the accomplishment of Jesus of Nazareth, stand as proof of its promise.


Christianity possesses transcendent truth, perfect moral law, and freedom of a creative and inquiring mind, while Marxism and the left see these things as enemies.


1JO 3:5 And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.


1JO 3:6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.


1JO 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;


1JO 3:8 the one who practices [present participle] sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.


The false teachers that John had to deal with, who blended Gnosticism with Christianity, with their sophistry found that they were capable of not merely condoning sin, but of making it seem virtuous. They didn’t claim perfect morality, but they did claim that they had learned the heights of truth so deeply that no matter what they did, they were in essence sinless. This is a convenient non-truth for an immoral, heartless, arrogant man who does not love, but only loves himself and offers proof of his false religion through his own intellect - meaning that he has made God in his own image.


The confidence and brashness of the claims of the false teachers, and the fact that they once were in the fellowship of believers and were loved, made it all the more disconcerting and unsettling in the hearts of the faithful. John’s epistle is written to reassure them.


The false teachers intellectually defined their sin as virtuous. John makes clear - all sin is lawlessness.


Righteousness is consonant with the character of Christ as sin is consonant with the devil, who has been sinning and rebelling against God from the beginning.


Just as in Rom 8, the one who practices sin is of the devil. He has not other choice than to be minded towards the flesh, perpetually according to the flesh.


ROM 8:5

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.


The believer has been changed. Christ changed him. He is alive by the Spirit, in the Spirit, and in Christ. He is righteous and justified. His sin crucified. Though he will struggle with sin in various areas, and he may sometimes “look” like he has not changed, but he cannot be perpetually lawless. There is in every believer a fight against sin. To all judgers, give him time to wage that fight. It might take a while before victory is visibly manifest.


For the unregenerate, sin is natural, but for the regenerate sin becomes unnatural and opens the conscience to struggle against it. 


1JO 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin [present indicative], because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin [in the habitual and approving manner of the false teachers], because he is born of God.


God’s seed abides in the believer. God’s nature abides in the believer. And the Holy Spirit has made the believer His home.


These truths lead to a difficult statement, “he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”


This becomes a difficult statement because Christians sin, and sometimes they seem to sin a lot. Although, there is no way to compare the frequency of sin in a believer with what that frequency would have been if he was never born-again. In other words, if we were able to calculate the number of sins committed by a believer during his worst year, could we know how many more sins he might have committed in the same year if he was not a child of God? Certainly not.


The difficulty of the statement makes us want to weaken John’s words out of regard for human infirmity, but we must not. His words are sharp and uncompromising and we must keep them that way. They are not to be used to doubt our salvation or that of others, but to know that we have been made the new humanity in righteousness and sin is now as unnatural to us as breathing under water. This is the truth of those whom God has made to live in the Spirit and walk by the Spirit.


The false teachers were lying to the Christians that lasciviousness and all forms of sin were still on the plate for God’s people. John is sure to firmly refute that.


“he cannot sin” - in the habitual and approving manner of the false teachers (against whom this letter is written).


1JO 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice [present participle] righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.


1JO 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;


1JO 3:12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous.


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