New Covenant Ways – BT5b: Old commandments will absolutely not make you holier
New Covenant Ways – BT5b: Old commandments will absolutely not make you holier
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Many Christians think that learning about “OT commandments for righteousness” will thus make them holier, but we see Paul has said the opposite – “the Law came in to increase the trespass” (a) and “in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and/thus through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure” (b) for “the dunamis dynamite-enabling-power of sin is the Law” (c). I had a roommate that bragged about reading through the book of Leviticus and later I found him increasingly addicted to video games and drugs. Another roommate said bragged about this too and his screen saver increasingly had half-naked women on it instead of pictures of race cars! The Law fuels sin! Paul urges Christians that “sin shall actually have absolutely no dominion over (d) you, because you are ongoingly absolutely in fact not under Law but under unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace” (e). <Notes> a) Romans 5:20, b) Romans 7:13, c) 1 Corinthians 15:56, d) rule, lordship, authoritative dunamis dynamite-enabling-power over, e) Romans 6:14.
Sin’s dunamis dynamite-enabling-power comes from trying to be “led” or “walk/live” by commandments of the Law in order to be “right and pleasing” to God! Paul says “the cravings of the flesh oppose the cravings of the Spirit, but if you are led by the means of the Spirit, then you are absolutely not under the Law. Now the works of the flesh are evident….[naming many sins]” (a). Remember the “works of the flesh” aren’t just sins of the body – but the “dead, lifeless works of the Law” – see New Covenant Ways – BT6. In the same breath, Paul relates “works of the flesh” as “cravings of the flesh” to being “under the Law” and contrasts this against “cravings of the Spirit” and being “led by the means of the Spirit.” <Notes> a) Galatians 5:16-18.
You simply can’t seek to please God through obedience to commandments of the Law and also be “led by the means of the Spirit” – you have to choose! The former leads you into more sin; the latter frees you: “But I say [with strong urging], ongoingly walk/live by the means of the Spirit and [then] you definitively/wholly will absolutely in fact not teleo execute-accomplish-finish the cravings of the flesh” (a). More rules aren’t the answer – more Spirit is! The “promise” of the completely-different-in-kind New Covenant isn’t more gramma writings or commandments within them or even to now have the ability to go back and do the old ones! Perfecting the flesh will never lead to the things of the Spirit – see Might & Power – BT3. <Notes> a) Galatians 5:16.
That’s what Paul is going to say in Romans 8:1-11, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law (a) of/belonging-to the Spirit of zoe genuine-life has already set you free in Christ Jesus from the Law (b) of/belonging to sin and death. 3 For God has already done what the Law (b) made asthenes beggarly-poor-weak-feeble-impotent by the flesh (c) adunatos absolutely-powerless-to-do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the [singular] righteous requirement (d) of the Law (b) might be pleroo fulfilled-to-completion in us, who already walk not in possibility kata down-from/according the flesh (c) but kata down-from/according the Spirit [These are statements of fact for Christians – see v. 9]. 5 For those who live kata down-from/according the flesh (c) actually, ongoingly set their minds (e) on the things of the flesh, but those who live down-from/according-to the Spirit [actually, ongoingly set their minds] on the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mindset (f) on the flesh (c) is definitively/wholly death, but the mindset (f) on the Spirit is zoe genuine-life and peace. 7 For the mindset (f) on the flesh (c) is hostile to God, for it absolutely in fact does not submit to God’s law [of the Spirit] (g); indeed, absolutely in fact is not dunamis powerfully-enabled to. 8 Those who are [located] IN (h) the flesh (c) are absolutely in fact not dunamis powerfully-enabled to please God. 9 You, however, are absolutely in fact not [located] IN the flesh (c) but [located] IN the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells [located] IN you. Anyone who does absolutely in fact not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. 10 But if Christ is [located] IN you, although the body (c) is already dead-lifeless-useless (i) because of sin, the Spirit is zoe genuine-life because of righteousness (j). 11 If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells [located] IN you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will (k) also give zoe genuine-life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” This is referring to the “blessed hope” of our body’s glorification (l). Wow, what an incredible understanding!
<Notes> a) nomos generically means instruction, principles, ways, b) context: instruction, principles, ways of 613 Mosaic OT commandments, c) see Identity: outer man or bodily members, will-power, d) i.e., obedience to the entire OT Law in order to be blessed by God with zoe genuine-life – Galatians 5:3, e) verb phroneo: a worldview/outlook/mindset of the inner being, not a particular preoccupation, f) noun of phroneo, g) by proximity and flow of argument, this is referring to ‘the law of the Spirit” and not the Mosaic OT Law. “Pleasing God” in the New Covenant is following the Spirit, not following the Mosaic Law. h) the preposition en with the dative can be location IN, accompanied WITH, or BY the means of as determined by context, i) just as “dead works of the Law” are – Hebrews 6:1, 9:14, j) in context, Christ’s righteousness, not ours, k) future tense: a reference to bodily resurrection, l) Titus 2:13; Ephesians 1:12; Colossians 1:27; Galatians 5:5; Romans 8:23-25; 1 Peter 1:3.
Again, Paul is using OT words for Jews, unlikely Gentiles, and reframing/reapplying them for New Covenant “realities” to replace the OT “shadows” of scripture – see Bible Info – BT1. Romans 8:2-3 clearly shows that the “Law of sin and death” is the OT Law of God that Paul once considered “good, holy, righteous, and Spirit-kind” from Romans 7:12, 14, 16 as it dwells in his Jewish-Christian mind/inner-being/heart but that also “become weakened asthenes (beggarly-poor-weak-feeble-impotent) by the flesh’s outer-being or bodily members,” but psyche/soul consists of intellect, emotions, and the will, and this is still part of the flesh, albeit the “power” of man’s “might and power” (Zechariah 4:6), and thus still weakens the Law.
The solution to “sin and death” isn’t more “Law of commandants for righteousness” or even to uphold the current OT Law. The solution has already happened to Christians: The Holy Spirit is the completely-different-in-kind “nomos law of instruction/principles/ways” and is the same WHO that has already set us free from the OT “Law of instruction/principles/ways” that only brought us sin and death! Complete obedience to the entire OT Law (a), which is “the [singular] requirement of righteousness” (b) was completely met by Christ, completely condemning sin [located] IN His flesh (c), so that “so one act of righteousness leads to justification/righteousness and/coupled zoe genuine-life for all men. . . . so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made/declared-righteous/justified” (d). <Notes> a) Galatians 5:3, b) Romans 8:4, c) Romans 8:3, d) Romans 5:18-19.
Therefore, now no Christian is “of/belonging-to” or “kata down-from/according-to the OT Law” but “of/belonging-to” or “kata down-from/according-to the Spirit’s Law.” These are facts! Every Christian is “of/belonging-to” or “[located] IN the Spirit” not “of/belonging-to” or “[located] IN the flesh,” exactly because the “Spirit of God dwells [located] IN them,” they “have the Spirit of Christ,” and thus “belong to Him” (a). They presently/ongoingly have the completely-different-in-kind mindset/worldview of the Spirit, not just the appetites of their bodily members or psyche/soul! Our poor English translations obscure that Paul is talking about facts that we should be praising God for! These are NOT exhortations to create better Christians but for Christians to know who they are and live from that reality – see Identity! <Notes> a) Romans 8:9.
The Law Christians should follow is NOW “the Law of the Spirit” not the OT Law of God that is in context the Law of Moses! The former results in “zoe genuine-life and peace” and the latter “sin and death!” The former is the only way to “please God” NOW because “the flesh” working through the OT Law to “multiply sin and give it power and making it exceedingly sinful” absolutely cannot please God because of the weakness of the flesh! But Paul is a realist in Romans 7:23, 8:10 – the Christian still has the flesh’s outward-being or bodily members (and psyche/soul) that is absolutely useless, as good as dead, because of sin, but the GREAT NEWS of the gospel is we have the indwelling Holy Spirit because of Christ’s righteousness (not ours), and one day we will even have our sinful bodies resurrected and glorified! That is our blessed hope.
Meanwhile, if you are stuck in sin and death, it could because you are stuck, as Paul was as a Jewish-Christian, in the OT Law of commandments trying to “measure up” to God, find approval, and please Him. Like Paul did in Romans 7:24-25, you will need to come to the same point of total surrender of control and say: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver/save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God thru-the-realizing-channel-of Jesus Christ our Lord!” Then you can get out of the obsession on the problem of sin and the despair of Romans 7 and get onto experiencing the freedom of Romans 8 “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are [located] IN Christ Jesus, for the [New] Law of the Spirit of zoe genuine-life has set you free IN Christ Jesus from the [old] Law of sin and death, for God has done what the [old] Law, asthenes beggarly-poor-weak-feeble-impotent by the flesh, adunatos absolutely-powerless-to-do.” Thank God for Jesus and His Spirit of holiness!
Lord, although I wish Paul had written better Greek and wasn’t so wordy like a lawyer, thank You for revealing to him that everything the Law was, and 97.4% of the OT that is based on it – see Logos Word of God – BT5a, failed to produce the righteousness, holiness, goodness, and Spirit-likeness that You intended, not by Your fault but because of the asthenes beggarly-poor-weak-feeble-impotence of our flesh. The result is an explosion of sin leading to death. Thank You that Jesus came to do away with it all, by fulfilling in His flesh perfect righteous obedience, taking our sin INTO His flesh, dying under the judgment, paying the price of our sin, and then giving us His righteous holiness by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord for propitiation or atonement! He ended the old covenant to give us a completely-different-in-kind New Covenant righteousness and ways to learn and please God – by the means of the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual Education, The Law increases awareness of sin but also multiplies sin, the power of sin is the Law, the craving of the Spirit and flesh oppose each other, the Law has dead works that are flesh too, The Law of sin and death, New Covenant pleasing of God is obeying the gospel of faith and love, Christians now are called to follow the Spirit of Christ, The Law of the Spirit sets us free from the Law of sin and death, the Law of Christ is simply to unconditionally love one another as He loved us, If you are stuck in the O wretch man that I am of Romans 7:25 go to the Holy Spirit of Romans 8