“Knowing this, that the old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6)
The sole emphasis of any attempt to expostulate upon the scriptures must be the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and nothing else. Too often the focus of attention is lured away from this singular theme and diverted to other subjects. We have all heard men, of diverse intention known only to God, attempt to speak on varying subjects from the book of the Revelation. They wax eloquent with great details of the ‘so called’ world to come, or of the antichrist, or the beast, or of the supposed rapture and the millennial kingdom to follow. They speak of social decay and disorder, the impending global destruction of the great battle at Armageddon and the final judgment when both the just and the unjust shall be judged. These subjects have dazzled and captivated many while being very lucrative and divisive. While they are of passing interest to some, they occupy every waking moment of a great majority of the religious world as the expostulators attempt to fill in the gaps of unanswered questions with manifold theories and identify illusive futuristic figures and events with speculation and fear. With all these extensive calculations and prognostications they are ignorant of the most important subject matter. Because they seek and search by the wisdom of man their attention and conclusions are based upon earthly evidence and they do not perceive the spiritual truth. The inspiration which John received, on the island of Patmos while in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, is, first and foremost, the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Every type, foreshadow, prophecy and the fulfillment thereof, must be of Him, “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10).
Such is the case with our text. According to the good pleasure of the eternal Godhead, the Saul of Tarsus had been made, “a servant of Jesus Christ, called an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God”. In order that he might proclaim the ‘power of God unto salvation’, Paul was outfitted and taught by the Spirit of Wisdom from birth to manhood that he might be made “ready to preach” (Rms. 1:1 & 15). God, who cannot change, ordained that this vessel be afore prepared, perfectly outfitted and thoroughly furnished as the prophet was many years earlier, “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee. Before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jer. 1:5). Paul did not say that he had finished his seminary training and completed an extensive understudy and internship with men of influence and propriety. He had not aligned himself with a well establish foreign mission group or secured sufficient sponsorships to sustain himself in the field and was now ready to preach. Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of the Church, had been made willing and able by Him who was working IN him both to will and do His good pleasure. The power of Him that sits upon the circle of heaven and commands the armies of heaven, that same fullness of the Godhead which dwelt bodily in Jesus of Nazareth, had outfitted this chosen vessel of mercy with all the necessary ingredients, education, training, physical and mental prowess, to perform His Most Holy will and in the fullness of time gave him the will, power, after the inward man, to perform that which He had ordained.
Let no man confuse you with the subterfuge of great swelling words or with a dissertation of foreign languages, there is no difference between the gospel of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him (the Word); and without Him was nothing made that was made” (John 1:1f). There is only one Word and He is God, “for there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Spirit and these three are one” (1 John 5:7). This is the Word that “was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14). The prophets foretold His advent and the angels proclaimed it saying, “glory to God in the highest and on earth peace good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). The law gave a shadowy earthly representation of His glory and majesty with the beauty of His Holiness seen in the feasts and sacrifices. The heavens above declare His glory, every mountain and hill is made low at His presence as the whole of creation clearly demonstrates the invisible things of God. All of creation shouts forth the gospel of Jesus Christ which is the power of God unto salvation everyone that believes; to the Jew first and then unto the Greek (Rms. 1:16). The preaching of this marvelous gospel must be a declaration of the truth of the deliverance of God and the righteousness which is revealed from faith to faith. No amount of human logic, ancient research or pious meditation can reveal any truth of this gospel for, “the just shall live by faith” (1:17).
Faith is the only evidence of truth. Faith is the only evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and of being ‘born from above’. Faith is the evidence of the pleasure of God for His people, for, “without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must first believe that He is, and He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Hime is the rewarder of them that diligently ” (Heb. 11:6). But this faith cannot be discerned by the natural senses of Adam because it is, “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (11:1). With all of the natural abilities which God created in Adam, he has not the capacity to perceive, understand or receive such things and therefore he does not comprehend the gospel of Jesus Christ. He sees no need for deliverance and scoffs at the idea of any type of judgment.
Yet the same gospel of deliverance also proclaims, “The wrath of God, revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Rms. 1:18). The preaching of this gospel must be not only of Him who is, “like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot and gird about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and hairs white like wool, as white as the snow, and His eyes as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword and countenance as the sun shineth in his strength.” (Rev. 1:13-16), but also who is seated upon the white horse whose name is Faithful and true; who “in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes as a flame of fire and on His head many crowns; and a name written that no man knew but He Himself. And he was clothed with vesture dipped in blood and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies of heaven followed after Him upon the white horse, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations; and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:11-16). This Word is alive, full of power, active and thoroughly effective to His purpose; “So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper whereto I sent it” (Is. 55:11). It is in the mouth of every saint of God unto His praise and as a sharp twoedged sword in their hands, (Ps. 149:6). It is also the judgment of the strange woman whose, “lips … drop as the honeycomb and her mouth is smoother than oil; but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword” (Pro. 5:3). This Word is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart of every child of creation, “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow,” (Heb. 4:12).
This is the gospel of the Anointed Deliverer of God which Paul was assigned to preach by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God and for which he was made not ashamed. He had been brought forth at his appointed time, in the exact social political, economical and religious status as was necessary. He had received the education and training that made him a ‘Pharisee among Pharisees’, zealous for the law and Israel, as he knew it. He excelled in all his endeavors and became wealthy in his vocation above all his kinsmen. “But when it pleased God, who had separated me from my mother’s womb and called by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen” (Gal. 1:15), then he knew that he had been made ready, willing and able to, “say among the heathen that Jehovah reigneth: the world also is established that it shall not be moved: He shall judge the people righteously” (Ps. 96:10) and to proclaim peace and liberty to the people of God; “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings that publishes peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth” (Is. 52:7).
The man who, at one time, boasted himself blameless, spoke no more about the keeping of the law and the righteousness that could be obtained from it, but rather said that, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rms. 3:23). No one has the ability in Adam to measure up to the standard of Holiness since their father Adam could not. Neither has anyone an excuse for deliverance because of ignorance, “because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them” (1:19). He sets forth the completely hopeless situation of every descendant of Adam and extols the virtue and power of the Sovereign God. He gives great details about the character of the ‘old man’ who from the garden of Eden attempted to justify himself by keeping the law of God; “Behold, thou art called a Jew and restest in the law, and makest thy boast in God, and knowest His will and approves the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide to the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law, dishonourest thou God? The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you” (2:17-24).
The seed of Adam, with eyes wide open to the knowledge of good and evil with all passion and the unbridled emotions of the flesh, being dead to the righteousness of God, was given over to the devices and desires of the flesh by the hand of the same sovereign Lord that had created him; “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened”. Just as father Adam who thought he had an understanding of the situation and the remedy thereof, “Professing themselves to be wise they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the image of corruptible man and birds and four footed beasts and creeping things. Wherefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts to dishonour their own bodies between themselves” (1:24). There is no difference between any of Adam’s prodigies due to national heritage and no reward for any duty or works. Nor is there any need that the natural man must be educated or coerced into an understanding of these things for God has shewed it unto him, (1:19). “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” (2:1). No one needed to show Adam that he was naked. When he ate of the fruit and died, his eyes were opened, he knew he was naked and he was ashamed. He was not ashamed of being without clothing. He was ashamed that he stood naked, (discovered or exposed) before God and he knew he had done evil. There was no ‘moral majority’ to convict him of his opprobrium; God had revealed it to him. By the knowledge of good and evil he knew he had done wrong, he knew his disgrace and he knew that a covering was in order.
This is the mind set and conduct of the old Adamic man. He knows what is good and what is evil and acts according to a depraved nature. He knows the judgment of God is his due and tries to appease His righteousness with polluted hands and a corrupt mind. God gave him the law and covenants to show him how sinful he is and he attempts to keep it to show how righteous he is. The handwriting and ordinances became the whip in the hand of the taskmasters to force man to, “for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks…ye shall no minish from your bricks of your daily task” (Ex. 5:17 & 19). Pharaoh and his work mongers demand that by the works of the hands of the flesh man should supply the ingredients for his righteousness to build his own house, just as Adam attempted to make his own covering. But by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified in His sight (Rms. 3:20) and great is the fall of that house built on the sand (Matt. 7:27). It matters not if that sand foundation is the works of man who was formed from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7); or if it is the keeping of the law of Sinai which was engraven in stone by Moses which law they could not keep (Ex. 34:1); or if it is the love and worship of the nation of Israel since God told Abraham, I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth (Gen. 13:16) and the sand of the sea (22:7); or even if it be the worship of nature itself since God has set the sand for the boundary of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass (Jer. 5:22). Anything built upon the foundation of dust, sand or anything which is of the earth earthly shall not stand when the rain descends, the floods come and the winds blow. There is one foundation and He is the anointed Rock of God (I Cor. 3:11). He built His house before the foundation of the world when Wisdom hewed out seven pillars (Pro. 9:1) and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.
The steps of each person have been ordained of God according to His good pleasure; “O Lord I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). Nothing in the desires, intentions or actions of the creature can alter the course set by the Creator; for the creature does not exist but by the hand and will of the Creator, “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). When a mortal earthen vessel, which has been outfitted for destruction, with its depraved nature, dead in trespasses and sin, is united with the seed of the serpent by the hand of God the result is a child of Satan. “Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). No matter how benevolent, moral or religious these individuals may appear, they act, think and live after the nature of their father the Devil. Many of these ‘workers of iniquity’ have compiled a very impressive list of great works; “Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me ye workers of iniquity” (Matt. 7:21f). (Did you ever consider that ‘prophesying, casting out devils and many wonderful works’ could be classified as works of iniquity? It is not the work but the worker. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5).)
These people need not be the most evil, malevolent or loathsome person ever known to man to qualify as a child of the Devil, all that is needed is the eternal hatred of God towards them and the seed of the serpent within them. When Rebecca felt the twins struggling in her womb she went and inquired of the Lord and He told her, “Two nations are in thy womb and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other and the elder shall serve the younger”. God did not have to wait to see how the children would turn out, nor did He take a ‘look see’ peek down the annals of time to see what they would do. He had affixed an everlasting love upon the one and an equally everlasting hatred upon the other; “For the children being not yet born, neither having done good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand not of works but of Him that calleth; it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated” (Rms. 9:11-13).
God has appropriated His wrath, from everlasting, against all the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men based upon His Holiness and the good pleasure of His will. He focused this wrath upon this helpless child, who had come into this world with a body dug from the pit and of the same lump as his father Adam, which was perfectly outfitted for destruction. His body was corrupt being of the earth, his soul was dead in trespasses and sin, by the single act of that one man, “wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rms. 5:12), and being of the seed of the serpent, he was at enmity against his brother, Jacob. This qualified him as a murderer from the beginning, for, “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). His eyes were blinded to the truth and his ears were deaf to the Word of God calling him to repentance. God had blinded his eyes and hardened his heart; that he should not see with eyes nor understand with heart and be converted and God be obligated to heal him. “These things saith Isaiah when he saw His glory and spake of Him” (John 12:41). Esau spoke lies in hypocrisy having his conscience seared with a hot iron (I Tim. 4:2) and since he did not have any desire to retain God in his knowledge, God gave him over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not proper. He was filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness and maliciousness. He was full of envy, murder, debate, deceit and malignity. He was a whisperer, a backbiter and a hater of God. His conduct was despiteful and proud. He was a boaster and an inventor of evil things. He had no respect for law or government being disobedient to parents, without understanding and a covenant-breaker. His perversion was without natural affection, implacable and unmerciful. He knew that there is a judgment of God and that they which commit such things are worthy of death, yet, not only did he do the same, but Esau, had pleasure in them that do them, (Rms. 1:28). The limitation of the life of Esau, appointed unto him by Almighty God, was to live out his existence to have his manner of life after the god of this world, following after the lusts and desires of the flesh according to the nature of his father the Adam while performing the works of his father the devil. He went estranged from the womb speaking lies because his father was the father of all lies and, although he sought it with tears, he could not find repentance. (Does this sound like ‘god loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life’? No wonder this never made it into the little tracts and handbills of the Arminian neo-evangelical movement.)
“Thou wilt say then unto me, why doth He yet find fault? For who can resist His will? Nay but, O man, who art you that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed, why hast thou made me thus?” (Rms. 9:19). God has the right and the power to do as He pleases and none can stay His hand. Since all His works are verity and judgment and all His commandments are sure, this predestinated lot of Cain and Esau is purposed and designed in full accord with His most perfect Holy Will.
The chosen children also inhabit an earthen vessel, fashioned of the same lump of clay of the earth and sinful in Adam but the similarities end there. This vessel or ‘tabernacle of this dwelling’ has been marked and identified with the blood of the Passover, which is the seal of the Father in their forehead. The judgment of God has been averted from the guilt of sin by the earthen vessel and enacted upon His sacrifice, who, knowing no sin, became the sin of His people, “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide Himself a sacrifice for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8).The covering of precious blood, provided by His appointed sacrifice, prepared the earthen vessel unto glory. The blood was not shed for the eternal seed which is born from above as it cannot sin and is in no need for a sacrifice. The vessel must be swept and cleaned so that there is no leaven within the house, (Ex. 12:19), nor any found within its borders, (Ex. 13:7). Thus it is made an acceptable dwelling for the seed which is born from above; born not of the will of the flesh but by the washing of the Spirit. The vessel is not reborn any more than the huts in Egypt were transformed by the striking of the blood of the lamb on the door posts and lintels but rather it was set apart, by the Holy Spirit, for the intended purpose. Jesus told the Pharisees that they washed the outside of the cups and platters but within there was extortion and excess. He said they where like whited sepulchers which appear beautiful outward but are within full of dead bones and of all uncleanness (Matt. 23:25f). By His sacrifice He made a covering of the outward and cleansed the inside of the vessel, purging it from sin, that there might be life within. The soul that died in the garden has been quickened, (Eph. 2:1), and the old man has been removed, (Rms. 6:6). “O God, I will render praises unto thee, for thou hast delivered my soul from death:” (Ps. 56:12). In the finished work of God’s anointed, the soul is made alive, (quickened), unto God and dead unto sin. The exact opposite of what occurred in the garden when Adam became separated from God and his eyes were open to know good and evil. In Adam, all became alive unto sin and dead unto God.
“Moreover, the law entered that the offence might abound” (Rms. 5:20). God has but one law. It is Holy, Pure and eternal and by His law the heavens and earth were created. There never was nor ever shall be a time when there is no law of God. Many have leveled the charge of ‘Antinomian’ against the poor child of faith because he does not believe in salvation by anything but grace through faith; not of works lest any should boast. Those who ardently contend for a moral and or civil ‘law’ have a contrived system of ‘duty faith’ which is not supported by the scriptures. These cast forth virulent aspersions against anyone who has felt the burden and the galling yoke of the law, accusing them of being against God’s law. Then parade mock trophies of numbers and achievements as proof of their belief that Christ ‘Christianized’ the law so that man can keep it. Like the Jewdeizers that infested Galatia, they seek to place that yoke upon the shoulders of the child and chastise him for not being obedient. Then comes the ever illusive and blasphemous concept that obedience to this law will result in temporal blessings from above. This drives the weak one into deep despair and confusion, but, thanks be unto God, the Good Shepherd does not abandon His sheep to such wolves. He will come and tend to His flock at His appointed hour. The household of faith is not against the Law of God, they have been freed from the pattern of the Law by the fulfillment of the True Law that they may keep the whole Law in Christ.
God’s law is as eternal as He is. It is by this law that He created all things and that all things function and perform exactly as He has ordained. His law has not changed since the beginning and is as immutable as He is. But in the fullness of time, after the foundation of the world, after the destruction of the earth by the flood, much after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were brought forth and given the promises and after 450 year captivity and oppression in the land of Egypt, He gave an earthly representation or pattern of His Holy Law to His servant Moses. There in the wilderness of Sin upon Mt. Horeb, “the law entered that the offence might abound”. Sin entered into the world by the single act of Adam and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men. In order for there to be sin there must have been law for, “sin is the transgression of the law”. Therefore death reigned from Adam to Moses, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (3:23), but sin was not imputed or ‘charged to one’s account’ until God gave the handwriting of ordinances to Moses. The law then gave a description in type of what God’s Holiness was and how that man could not measure up to that standard but rather fell short of the mark. This ‘ministration of condemnation’ was given by God as a testimony against the house of Israel, (Deut. 31:26), because He had created them a stiff-necked and rebellious people. Moses said, “Behold while I am alive ye have been rebellious against Jehovah and how much more after my death (27). The result of the violation of the law is death, “For the wages of sin is death” (Rms. 6:23). Therefore whosoever cannot meet the perfect demands of the Holy and Just God is guilty of sin and under the sentence of death. The law is this ‘ministration of death’, for by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified”. It stands against all the inhabitants of this earth who shall be judged by it. But Gabriel, “strong man of God” confirmed the oath (new covenant) with many for one week and in the midst of the week, when He was cut off, He caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease, (Dan. 9:27). Then that great prince who stands for the children of thy people who is like God (Michael), delivered every one whose names were written in the book (Da. 12:1) from the guilt of sin, the curse of the law and the judgment of God. Was the law sinful? God forbid! The law is Holy and Spiritual and the commandments were good. But sin, that it might appear sin, worked death by the commandments that it might appear exceedingly sinful. “I had not known sin but by the law; for I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin taking occasion by the commandments wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. Without the law sin is dead” (Rms. 7:7f).
The keeping of the carnal representation, in the customs and ordinances of the Sinai law, could never appease the Spiritual demands of a Holy God because the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean set apart to the purifying of the flesh could not purge the conscience from sin and dead works, (Heb. 9:13f).Yet God commanded the children of Israel to not only keep the law but to live in it. So the observance of the old covenant became a curse upon all who lived in and by it daily, demonstrating that each was a sinner. “For as many as are under the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal. 3:10).
When a bullock was brought for the sin offering in compliance with the handwriting of ordinances, it was a testimony that the bringer was a sinner in need of the remission of sin, “for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17:11). The Passover blood identified that the sin had been paid for and the judgment of God was satisfied. The ram signified that he was not at peace with God and could only be by a sacrifice. The scape-goat signified the taking away of all the sins of the children of the house of Israel being led into an uninhabited land by a fit man. The other kid of the flock was the required blood sacrifice for the sins of the entire house of Israel. Everything in the Feasts of the Lord, every last detail in the building of the Tabernacle and the fashioning of the Mercy seat even down to the utensils used in the order of the service of the tabernacle, demonstrates that God is Holy and Sovereign and man is not.
The Messiah did not come to fulfill the types of the Mosaic Law as types. He did not come to make the shadows better shadows or the pattern more pleasant pattern. He did not come to make it possible for Adam to keep the types either. He came to fulfill the types in the truth of the heavenly law of God and to redeem (buy back) those that were under this curse. Jesus never went into the temple and presented a sacrifice for two reasons. First, he did not need to for He was without sin. Second, He was not here to fulfill the old covenant but to establish the new. “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). He did go up to Jerusalem on a number of occasions in observance of the Feast Days but not in obedience to the pattern but in the revelation that He was the true fulfillment of the Feast and to proclaim the coming Day of the Lord.
Jesus was a son of David of the tribe of Judah. He was not of the house of Levi and could never be an High Priest under the ‘law’ of Moses, “who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5) since there is nothing concerning the tribe of Judah in the service to the altar. Aaron, a son of Levi, and his seed were to attend to the tabernacle and the ministration of the law. David of Judah, the lawgiver and the holder of the scepter until ‘he unto whom it belongs to’ (Shiloh) came, was to be the king. No other had the right to sit on the throne and by the promise of God no one but the son of David ever did sit upon the throne. When the time of the Beloved (David) was ended and all foes and enemies were ‘under his feet’, Solomon, the King of Peace, came forth, set up his temple, unto which no building of man can ever compare in glory (Ezra 3:12) and he reigned in Peace. (As an additional note for your consideration, there is a millennium between King David and his son Jesus of Bethlehem, he who is born King of the Jews.) But Jesus, being Messiah was both the King and the Priest, “Behold the man whose name is the Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place and he shall build the temple of the Lord: even he shall build the temple of the Lord and he shall bear the glory and shall sit and rule upon his throne and shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zech. 6:12f). He is an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, who having no beginning of days nor end of life, represents an eternal priesthood. This consolidation of power of King/Priest, representing the eternal heavenly truth, is seemingly a serious departure and violation of what was presented in the pattern given in the mount, but, “If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law), what further need that another priest should arise after the order of Melcisedec and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law” (Heb. 7:11).
This change required the putting away of the first covenant, the old or former covenant and the establishment of the new. The two cannot and do not co-exist. The son of the bond woman (the Mosaic Law and Jerusalem which from below) could not co-exist with the child of promise (grace and Jerusalem from above which is the mother of the children of promise) (Gal. 4:24). Therefore God told Abram to hearken unto the voice of his wife and cast out the bondwoman and her child for the son of a bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free, (Gal. 4:30).
Joshua/Melchisedec, the King/Priest, did not take the old wine bottles and put new wine in them, nor did He take a new piece of garment and attempt to mend the old garment. He, by fulfilling the truth, abolished the types, “For there is truly a disannulling of the commandments going before the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. Because the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God” (Heb. 7:18). He manifested the new and better covenant and established all things new. “If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). (It is important to note here that the Greek word, ‘old’, does not indicate age as much as it does ‘previous’ or ‘former’. The two wine bottles may have indeed been made from the skin of the same animal and therefore be the same age but one had been used and the other had not. The same could be said for the garment and the patch and the wool from whence they came. The point is not one of time age but that one had reached the fullness of its appointed time, had accomplished all that was intended for it and was of no further use while the other waited to be manifested when the fullness of time came. The principles of the law at Sinai were not new at the time God gave them Moses, they were revealed at that time. The New Covenant was older than the former in that it represents the antitypes or reality of God’s Holy Law but it became manifest when the servant Messiah came suffered, was crucified and resurrected from the dead.)
The commandments written and engraven in stone were the way of life for the house of Israel. Not only had God told them, “Now therefore if ye will obey my voice indeed and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation” (Ex. 19:5), but several times the children of Israel told Moses, “all that the Lord hath spoken we will do” (19:8). Every waking moment of every day of their lives was to be spent in the service to the law of God. There was no time for anything else. Twenty four hours a day, they were in bondage unto the law proving they were sinners worthy of the judgment of a righteous God. Therefore, as previously stated, by the law came death.
“Because the law worketh wrath:” (Rms. 4:15). This way of life was not a pathway to peace with God for it could not be accomplished in full compliance with the intent of the giver. This former conversation was not an avenue to life since compliance could not make the doer just. Unjust, unrighteous sinners were, with polluted hands, bringing carnal gifts and offerings unto God, who is Spirit, compounding sin upon sin that sin might appear exceedingly sinful thus meriting the wrath of God’s judgment. Therefore the handwriting and ordinances, which were contrary to us, brought forth the irrefutable evidence of condemnation against us with a verdict of death.
Jesus Christ came forth as the servant of God to fulfill all that the Father gave Him to do and to bring an end to that which was, the former covenant. In confirming the ‘new’ covenant with many, He made an open demonstration of His great salvation, which was from generation to generation, for the entire world. Not that everyone has been delivered from the curse of sin or shall be delivered from the wrath of God but that salvation was not only for the Jew. Nor were the children of national Israel the chosen people of God unto whom deliverance belonged, “for they are not all Israel which are of Israel. Neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children, but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God but the children of promise are counted as seed” (Rms. 9:6-8).The carnal prodigy of Abraham entitled no one to the heavenly promise for, “by faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place he should receive for an inheritance, obeyed and went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise, because he looked for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:8-10).
God showed forth His salvation and all the world saw it. His word went forth unto all and into all the world, (Col. 1:5f). He brought forth His people from the four corners of the earth and brought them to that Holy city Jerusalem which is from above. He made an end of the daily sacrifices by nailing the handwriting of ordinances to the cross and crucifying that former man. Therefore each and everyone that the Father gave unto Him is dead unto sin and alive unto God. They were crucified, buried in Him and rose again in the first resurrection unto newness of life. The old things are passed away. No longer are they compelled to return unto the week and beggarly elements as they leave the beginning or origin of the doctrine of Christ (Heb. 6:1), and go on unto perfection (for all the law and the prophets testify of Him). They are commanded by the Father to come out of the confusion and be not a partaker of the sin of the harlot as she continues to try to pleasure herself through her gods and lovers. They are not to imitate her by making the liberty in which they stand into a cloak of maliciousness to defraud their brother. They are prohibited by His power from making any alliances or confederacies with her by mixing the former things into the new covenant, “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of this book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life and out of the holy city and the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 18f).They are to reckon themselves to be dead unto the law and to not let sin reign in their mortal bodies, for sin shall not have dominion over them as it did under the former covenant.
Is then the ‘old man’ dead?
“Know ye not brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law), how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? (Rms. 7:1). If the ‘old man’ is not dead then the children are still dead in their sins and are obligated to the law. But since it is dead they are freed from the law, the condemnations and the death, “for he that is dead is freed from the law”. Many like to try to use Romans 7 as a dissertation about divorce and remarriage but the context does not support such a topic. Paul sights the guilt of adultery, as the result of remarriage while the other spouse still lives, to illustrate that the former spouse is dead and the child of hope is freed from that union. “Wherefore my brethren ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Messiah that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (7:4). If this first union has not been dissolved by the death of the former covenant then the marriage of the Lamb cannot occur and they children are still obligated, by law, to be obedient to the first covenant or be guilty of adultery just as Israel and her wicked sister Judah were. The old man has not simply been put on the cross to signify that he shall someday die but he was taken out of the way by death when Messiah said, “it is finished”. Thus John said, “I saw the new heaven and the new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away and there was no more sea. I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of God with men and He shall dwell with them (Immanuel Isaiah 7:14), and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:1-3). This is the new covenant, the new marriage, for which the precious blood was shed.
“Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant they broke, although I was an husbandman unto them saith Jehovah: But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days saith Jehovah, I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be My people. No more shall they teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother saying, Know Jehovah, for they shall all know Me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah. I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sins no more” (Jer. 31:31ff). “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness and from your idols for I will cleanse you. A new heart, also, will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes and ye shall keep My judgments and do them. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers and you shall be My people and I shall be your God. I will save you from all your uncleannesses. I will call fro the corn and will increase it and lay no famine upon you. I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the nations” (Ezek. 36:25).
These passages both speak of that New Covenant that Christ came to establish and for which He shed is blood. In His final display of kindness and mercy toward a stubborn and rebellious people, Messiah lamented by saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stoned them which are sent into thee. How often I would have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wing and ye would not. Behold your house is left unto you desolate” (Matt. 23:37). This is the last will of the first testament to a wife who had gone out from her first love and committed whoredom. She had sold herself for naught. She had defiled the sanctuary, disgraced the vow and covenant, polluted the altar and forgotten her first love. Her confusion, wickedness, lewdness and blasphemies were upon every kindred, tribe, nation and tongue and her sin had reached up to the heavens as the branches of a great tree. The time of the fullness of transgression had come. The cup of the fierceness and anger of the wrath of God was full to the brim as the widow Babylon proclaimed herself a queen. God had given her a bill of divorcement and, for her iniquity, put her away (Is. 50:1). He dissolved the marriage and made her house desolate. After the death of her first husband she was freed from him and her obligation to her covenant with him. After His resurrection He destroyed the ‘body of sin’ that henceforth His children should not serve sin. When the last vestige of the old covenant had been raised to the ground and not one stone remained upon another, (Matt. 24:2); “when He maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand” by this shall all the iniquity of Jacob be purged and this is the fruit to take away his sin. (Is. 27:9), His people were finally freed from the ‘bondage of corruption’. “For when we were in the flesh the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law that being dead wherein we were held, we should serve in newness of spirit and not in oldness of letter” (Rms. 7:5f).
There is a conflict between two entities. One is created from the dust of the earth and corrupt. The other is the eternal seed which has been born from above. The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit lusts against the flesh. One cannot overtake the other or amend the other to make it compatible for they are contrary one to another. This is what Paul speaks of when he wrote that he was carnal and sold under sin; “For that which I do I allow not; for what I would, that I do not but what I hate, that I do” (Rms. 7:14). This is a man who said when it came to the righteousness of the law, he was blameless yet after sin took occasion by the commandments and slew him he found that in him, that is in his flesh, dwelt no good thing. The lust of the flesh is ever present and shall be until the child is delivered from the earthen vessel. They are bombarded by it every waking moment and oft times when they sleep. It is the nature of the flesh and when it has conceived it brings forth sin and sin brings forth death (James 1:15). Therefore they are admonished by the Spirit to abstain from the lusts of the flesh and not to become entangled in them. This is the warfare. It is between the Spirit within and the flesh without and shall endure till the time of our habitation is ended. It is not between the ‘old man’ and the ‘new man’ for one is dead while the other is the manifestation of life in the child of hope.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death” (Rms. 8:1f).
May the Spirit grant us comfort and hope.
Your servant in Christ,
Banner of Hope
Volume 3, No. 4 - November 2009