The relative vocabulary of the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, is rather small. One Hebrew scholar that the biblical lexicon is so restricted that it is hard to believe it could have served all the purposes of everyday existence in a highly developed society.
A language that evinces a strong commitment to using a limited set of terms again and again, is making an aesthetic virtue out of repetition.
The Bible is not as concerned with using a lot of synonyms as modern writers are. There are plenty of synonyms, but comparatively fewer than we find in modern writing.
That is not to say that the Bible doesn’t seek to write poetically, with imagery, with idioms, and with things like style and tempo. It does all of these things, but it is also highly repetitive.
In a survey of the entire Bible, we would find that God has orchestrated all of history to include a grand message that is frequently repeated. And they are not just repeated in the way that history repeats itself, which is true, but the events of the world have a cyclical or “full circle” existence to them.
The mystery is that in this age we are fellow heirs, fellow members of Christ’s body, and fellow partners in Christ’s life. We are subjects of the King and His kingdom and no other life is available to us.
Being who we are in Christ, having what we have in Him, it might seem that it should be smooth sailing in a heavenly life that is easy. Even though knowing all this to be true, Christians still struggle. They have to fight the good fight, take hold of the eternal life in them, buffet their bodies and make their slave, study to show themselves approved, confess, repent, etc.
We now turn to the means of overcoming the suffering in the body and mind that arises when we sin, and further, when we reject the flesh and our sin.
Christ’s suffering and our own
Jesus suffered on so many levels it is difficult to comprehend them all. None of His suffering was self-induced - none.
The Bible says that no one ever hated his own flesh, and yet, the one person who does the most damage to my flesh is me.
There isn’t a Christian alive who doesn’t want to break free of the patterns of sin that hinder his spiritual life, these things are likely the cause of his greatest mass of suffering.
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.
Christ relied upon the Father’s provision.
He relied upon the Father’s word.
He forgave them.
He rebuked them when necessary, yet still with forgiveness.
Jesus understood the greater life that sin had no part in.
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.
There are many more things that we could identify in the Lord, mercy, love, compassion, truth, steadfastness, endurance, encouragement, patience, wisdom, that the Lord put forth against the sin that assaulted Him. Even when we are guilty and we have committed the sins that reap pain within ourselves, do we not overcome with the same things - the same virtues?
There are some that would have us use these things only after offering some form of penance to God for the sin we committed, but this flies in the face of the truth revealed that our sins are forgiven through the blood of Christ and that God does not remember them so as to hold us to account.
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”).
This should give us pause concerning our own suffering. And while it is true that Jesus never suffered as the result of His own sin, He suffered because of sin from others.
So 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.
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 badness being liked 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 [“what does the Greek say?” - meketi (no longer) humas (you) peritpatein (present active infinitive)] 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.”
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 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.
COL 3:6 For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come,
COL 3:7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
The wrath of God comes upon sin - showing the worthless evil that it is. Argument - why value it at all and not avoid and hate it?
COL 3:8 But now you also, put them all aside [put off from yourself]: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
COL 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside [aorist middle participle] the old self with its evil practices,
COL 3:10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him
Do no deceive by lies. It’s just what Christ said when He told us to stop making vows. There is no longer need for a vow from us for we will never deceive. How is that possible? Simple. We have laid aside the old self and put on the new self who is being renewed into the image of Christ.