MBS143 THE SPIRITUAL LIFE AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.1 John 2:15–17
This Messianic Bible Study is on the spiritual life and spiritual warfare, and will be discussed in four major categories.
I. THE THREE FRONTS OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
The first major category concerns the three fronts of spiritual warfare. Every war has more than just one battle and more than just one front. The same is true of spiritual warfare, which has three distinct fronts. All three fronts are spoken of in 1 John 2:15–17:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.
The three fronts of spiritual warfare are the flesh, Satan and his demonic forces, and the world. We will look at each individual front. Every front in a literal war requires different types of weapons. By the same token, each front of a spiritual war requires different types of weapons.
A. The Flesh
The first front of spiritual warfare is the flesh. Concerning this front, nine things will be noted.
1. The Usage of the Word
The first thing concerning the flesh is the usage of the word. There are two Greek words for “flesh” which come from the same root: one is sarx and the other is sarkinos. These are usually translated in English Bibles by the term flesh. However, it is used in three different ways. One usage of the word is the human body, the physical body (Rom. 1:3). A second usage of the word flesh is to emphasize humanity or nationality (Rom. 3:20; 4:1). It is the third usage, which concerns us here: it is used of the inherent evil in the human nature, which we sometimes refer to as the sin-nature. This is the way the word is used rather frequently, especially in the Book of Romans (Rom. 7:5, 18, 25; 8:3–9, 12–13; 13:14; 2 Cor. 7:1; Gal. 4:23, 29; 5:13, 16–17, 19, 24; 6:8; Eph. 2:3; Col. 2:11, 13, 18). In spiritual warfare, we are not concerned with the flesh as it refers to the human body, nor are we concerned with the flesh as it refers to humanity or nationality. We are concerned with the term flesh as it is related to the sin-nature.
2. The Names for the Sin-Nature
The second thing about the flesh is its names. Altogether there are three different names for the sin-nature. One name is the term flesh, which emphasizes the sin-nature aspect. We can define the sin-nature as the capacity to do all those things, good or bad, that leave God out. The Greek word sarkinos has the basic meaning of being “fleshly” or being “carnal” (Rom. 7:14; 1 Cor. 3:1, 3; 2 Cor. 10:4). When the word flesh is used in this way, it emphasizes the sin-nature.
A second name for the sin-nature is the old man. This name takes us back to the source of the sin-nature, which is Adam (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9).
The third name for the flesh or the sin-nature is sin. Sometimes the word sin, when used in the singular, is in reference to the sin-nature rather than to an act of sin. In the plural it is always in reference to acts of sin. In the singular, it could be an act of sin, but often it is a reference to the sin-nature as such (Rom. 6:6–7, 11; 1 Jn. 1:8).
3. The Nature of the Flesh
The third thing about the flesh is its nature. “What is the nature of the flesh in the realm of spiritual warfare?” There are six aspects by way of the nature of the flesh.
First, the flesh operates independently of God (Rom. 4:1–2; Gal. 3:3; Phil. 3:3).
Secondly, the nature of the flesh is characterized by spiritual infirmity, by spiritual weakness and by spiritual helplessness (Rom. 6:19; 8:3).
Thirdly, the flesh is carnal or fleshly (Rom. 7:14).
Fourthly, it is the sphere or the state in which we had our existence when we were unbelievers (Rom. 7:5).
Fifth, it is the sum total of the old capacity. All that the old nature is can be defined by the nature of the flesh (Rom. 7:18).
Sixth, the physical body is the vehicle through which the sin-nature operates. Our sin-nature uses our physical body to cause us to commit acts of sin (Rom. 6:12–14; 13:14). Without the body, the sin-nature cannot function. That is why we, as believers, long for the redemption of the body, which will never again be in subjection or do the deeds or the wishes of the sin-nature (Rom. 8:22–24). Paul, in Romans 7:14, 25, points out that though he did experience redemption from sin and he experienced freedom from the bondage of sin, there still dwelled in him something wrong. He still dwelled in a body of flesh with all of its weaknesses, and he longed to be freed of it.
4. The New Nature Versus the Old Nature
The fourth thing about the flesh concerns the contrast of the new nature and the old. “How does the new nature contrast to the old nature?” Two differences about the new nature should be noted.
a. The Capacity to Serve God with Righteousness
First, it is the capacity to serve God with righteousness. Whereas the old nature has the capacity to do all those things, both good things and bad things, but things which leave God out, the new nature has the capacity to serve God with righteousness.
b. The New Man
The second difference about the new nature is that it is sometimes referred to as the new man (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10).
The old nature is referred to as the old man (Col. 3:9). As the old man, it refers back to the origin of our sin-nature, which is Adam. As a result of Adam’s Fall, the sin-nature is transmitted by means of natural generation, from Adam to father to son, generation after generation.
The new nature is called the new man, which takes us back to the origin of the new nature, which is the Last Adam, Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. No longer do we have to obey our old man.
5. The Flesh and Spiritual Rebirth
The fifth thing about the flesh is its relationship with spiritual rebirth. “What is the relationship between the flesh and spiritual rebirth?” Here we need to distinguish three time-factors: before spiritual rebirth, during spiritual rebirth and after spiritual rebirth.
a. Before Spiritual Rebirth
Before spiritual rebirth, the spiritual part of man is present and has been present since our physical birth, but the spirit is dead. The spirit is there, but it is like a corpse. It is spiritually dead and has no capacity. It can only relate to the world, the flesh or self, and the devil. It can relate to all three of these fronts, but it cannot relate to God.
b. At Spiritual Rebirth
At spiritual rebirth, things change. At spiritual rebirth, one is united with the Messiah in His death so that one is actually viewed as having died with Him (Rom. 6:6–7). This means that we have been legally freed from our enslavement to sin. The old man has been “destroyed,” meaning that the control-relationship is over; the old man no longer controls our will. The flesh or the sin-nature is not destroyed, but it is “rendered inoperative” to the will. Before spiritual rebirth, our will was in bondage to the old man. Now it is no longer in bondage to the old man; we have been set free from the control of the flesh; we have been set free from the power of sin at spiritual rebirth.
c. After Spiritual Rebirth
The third time-factor after spiritual rebirth is that we now have a new nature. Because of our union with the Resurrection of the Messiah, we have a new nature that is alive with God (Rom. 6:5). Now the interlocking relationship is between the will and the reborn human spirit (Gal. 5:16). It is no longer between the will and the old man.
However, the old man is not gone. The flesh has not been eradicated, but after spiritual rebirth believers have a choice. They can obey either the old man or the new man. They can function on the basis of the old nature or they can function on the basis of the new nature.
6. The Conflict of the Two Natures
The sixth thing about the flesh concerns the conflict. There is a continuous, perpetual conflict between the two natures within us. The details of the conflict are described in Romans 7:15–25 and Galatians 5:16–17.
7. The Control of the Mind
The seventh thing about the flesh concerns the control of the mind. Romans 8:1–13 makes two points.
a. Controlled by the Flesh
First, the carnal mind is controlled by the flesh. The carnal mind cannot live out the righteousness of the Messiah (vv. 4–6). The carnal mind cannot produce righteousness (v. 7), so those in the flesh cannot please God (v. 8), because the carnal mind is controlled by the flesh.
b. Controlled by the Reborn Human Spirit
The second point that this passage makes is that the spiritual mind is a mind controlled by the reborn human spirit. That is the mind we should now be obeying.
8. The Fruits of the Two Natures
The eighth thing about the flesh concerns its fruits. Galatians 5:19–23 deals with the fruits of the two natures. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.
Since believers now have two natures, we should clearly understand the difference in the fruits between those two natures.
a. The Fruits of the Old Nature
The “fruits of the old nature,” or the works of the flesh, are listed in verses 19–21: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, [heresies], envyings, drunkenness, [and] revellings. These are the works of the flesh; these are the fruit of the old nature.
If a believer is doing any of the things that are listed, it shows that he is not acting on the basis of the new nature; he is acting on the basis of the old nature. Although he does not have to obey the old nature any more, in these actions he is obviously still obeying the old nature. The unbeliever has no choice in these areas. The believer does have a choice. The believer needs to be encouraged to follow the choice that God wants him to follow.
b. The Fruit of the New Nature
In verses 22–23, Paul next turns to the fruit of the new nature. In most commentaries these are taken to be the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit, but they can just as easily be understood to be “the fruit of the new-born human spirit.” The word Spirit in this text does not have the definite article and so it is not necessary to take it as the Holy Spirit. The conflict in Galatians 5:16–17 is not a conflict between the flesh and the Holy Spirit. It is the same conflict described by Paul in Romans 7:15–25, which is a conflict between the old nature and the new nature, between the flesh and the new-born human spirit.
So rather than seeing the fruit of verses 22–23 as being fruit of the [Holy] Spirit, it might be better to view it as being “fruit of the new-born human spirit.” On the other hand, the new-born human spirit that produces this fruit has the capacity to do so only because it has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit enables a new-born human spirit to produce this fruit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, [and] self-control. So, there are fruits or works of the flesh and fruit of the new-born human spirit. We can tell whether a person is walking with the Lord on the basis of the fruit that he produces.
9. Believers and Unbelievers
The ninth and last thing concerning the flesh is the distinction between believers and unbelievers. Again, the unbeliever has only one capacity. While the unbeliever has a spiritual part that he was born with, that spiritual part is dead; he has a dead spirit insofar as being related to God. He is able to relate to the world, the flesh, and the devil, but he cannot relate to God. The unbeliever has only one capacity, so every action he takes, be it good action or bad, be it moral action or immoral, he is doing it all on the basis of the old nature, because he is still leaving God out; he is not able to do anything else.
However, the believer has two capacities. He has both the old nature and the new nature. The believer does have a choice. Every action of a believer will either be done on one basis or the other; either God is involved or He is not. We cannot always categorize actions in such a way and declare that these actions are of this nature and those actions are of that nature. All immoral actions; such as, stealing or murder, can only be done on the basis of the old nature. However, a lot of actions like recreation, are neutral. We can participate in recreational activities on the basis of either the old or the new nature.
B. Satan and the Demonic World
The second front of spiritual warfare is Satan and the demonic world. We will discuss this front in three areas.
The first area is temptation. Temptation is spoken of in passages like 1 Peter 5:8: Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.
Temptation is a work of Satan to try to get us to commit acts of sin. Concerning temptation let me mention four elements.
a. Common to Man
The first element about temptation is that is common to man (1 Cor. 10:13). In other words, all are subject to satanic or demonic temptation.
b. The Purpose of Temptation
The second element about temptation concerns its purpose. The purpose of temptation has two perspectives: God’s perspective, why He allows it; and Satan’s perspective, why he does it.
The purpose of temptation from God’s perspective has four features: first, it is a test of faith; He permits us to be tempted as a test of our faith (1 Pet. 1:6–7). Secondly, God allows temptation to teach us lessons which otherwise could not be learned; such as, the learning of obedience (Heb. 5:8). Thirdly, in order to receive approval, because every time we resist a temptation we are approved (Jas. 1:12). Fourthly, God allows temptation in order for us to learn patient endurance (Rev. 2:3).
The purpose of temptation from Satan’s perspective is to provide solicitation to evil, to get us to commit an act of sin. In order to get us to commit an act of sin, he works in conjunction with the flesh.
c. The Limitations of Temptation
The third element about temptation concerns its limitations (1 Cor. 10:13). Here we need to note two things clearly. First, God sets limits as to how far Satan can tempt us. We will never be tempted above our ability to appropriate grace to get us through; God limits Satan as to how far he can go.
Secondly, God will always also provide a way of escape. When you are tempted, you will never be totally trapped. There will always be a way out for you. All you will have to do is use it.
d. The Resistance to Temptation
The fourth element about temptation concerns procedures we need to use in meeting temptations. What should we do when we are confronted with temptation? Let me mention seven elements.
First, rejoice in the midst of temptation because it proves that you are a child of God (Jas. 1:2).
Secondly, be willing to endure these temptations (Jas. 1:12).
Thirdly, resort to prayer when you are being tempted (Mat. 6:13).
Fourthly, sometimes you need to flee; sometimes you must run. You need to learn how to run especially in two situations: in 1 Corinthians 10:14, you must run away from idolatry; in 2 Timothy 2:22, you must run away from fornication.
Fifth, keep good company; make sure that your close friendships are developed with believers, and not with unbelievers who will tempt you and solicit you to do evil (2 Tim. 2:22).
Sixth, destroy all instruments of temptation. Romans 13:14 teaches not to hang onto anything that causes you to stumble. Acts 19:18–20 provides an example of how believers who had formerly practised the occult began burning their occultic books.
The seventh way of resisting temptation is to cite Scriptures that speak to any specific issue. That is exactly the way Jesus did in Matthew 4:1–11. We need to learn how to use the portion of Scripture, which is relevant for that specific temptation.
2. Satanic or Demonic Control
The second area of Satan and the demonic world has to do with satanic or demonic control. Not only is there a problem with the temptation of believers, there is also a problem of satanic and demonic control.
The question is, “Can a believer be demon possessed?” Let me first of all point out that the word “possession” is not a good term to use because the Greek word for “possession” is never used of demons. The term “possession” carries the concept of “ownership.” A believer has been bought with the blood of the Messiah and is owned by the Messiah. No believer can be owned by Satan or a demon. However, that is not the word the New Testament uses anyway. The Greek word simply means “demonized.” To be demonized means “to be controlled by a demon from within.” There is no question that unbelievers can be controlled by a demon from within, but the question arises, “Can a believer be demon controlled; that is, have a demon within him?”
While most would answer “no,” I would have to disagree with that. I do believe believers can be controlled by demons. One example on this point is Acts 5:3. Ananias was clearly classed with believers. We are told that Satan filled the heart of Ananias. The Greek word for “filling” here is the same word used of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:18, where we are to be filled with the Spirit. To be filled means “to be controlled.” If we are filled with the [Holy] Spirit, we are controlled by the Holy Spirit. If we are filled with Satan, we are controlled by Satan. Ananias was clearly a believer, and Satan controlled him.
A second passage on this point is Ephesians 4:27: neither give place to the devil. The Greek word for place here is not the usual Greek word, but is a military term that means “beachhead.” A beachhead is a section of control within enemy territory. When an army attacks enemy territory, it first tries to get a beachhead. From this beachhead, the attackers can move on to try to conquer the rest of the territory. A beachhead means a place of control from within enemy territory. Paul, writing to believers, states: “Do not give a place of control to Satan.” The context deals with habitual sin, which implies that the way one gives a place of control to Satan is by habitual sin.
The objection might be raised, “How is it possible for a demon to reside in the same body as the Holy Spirit?” This is the real reason people give as to why a believer cannot be controlled from within by a demon. However, keep in mind that the believer still has the sin-nature. Those who use that argument see no problem with the Holy Spirit indwelling the same body with the old man, the sin-nature. Again, the believer has two distinct natures. The old sin-nature and the new nature. When the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, He does not indwell the old nature; He indwells the believer in the new nature. As for the demon residing in either an unbeliever or a believer, the demon resides in the old nature, the sin-nature. Because the believer has two natures, the demon can be in one nature and the Holy Spirit can be in the other nature. The Holy Spirit can indwell the same body as a demon, but He will not be in the same nature.
In the case of a believer suffering under demonic control, the solution is to resist the devil. We are not told “to rebuke Satan,” we are not told “to bind Satan,” we are told to resist the devil. A believer, because he is a believer, because he has authority in the Messiah, can resist Satan (1 Pet. 5:8–9; Jas. 4:7).
3. The Counterfeit Program
The third area we need to discuss under Satan and the demonic world concerns is the counterfeit program. The counterfeit program will be discussed in four segments.
a. Its Beginning
The first segment is its beginning. In Isaiah 14:14, one of Satan’s five “I wills” when he fell was: I will make myself like the Most High. Even Satan knew he could not become the Most High so he simply said, “I am going to make myself just like Him.” In becoming like the Most High, what Satan has done is institute a counterfeit program.
The nature of a counterfeit is to look like the genuine. A counterfeit dollar is not obviously a phony dollar, like monopoly money. A counterfeit dollar looks very much like the real thing. During our lifetime, many of us may have handled counterfeit money without knowing it because few of us are trained to tell the difference between counterfeit money and the real thing. It takes those who have been trained to do so to spot the difference. Satan’s counterfeit program is often intended to imitate as closely as possible the real program of God because he said: I will make myself like the Most High.
b. Its Nature
The second segment of the counterfeit program concerns the nature of this counterfeit program. A good passage on this is 2 Corinthians 11:3–4:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ. For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if ye receive a different spirit, which ye did not receive, or a different gospel, which ye did not accept, ye do well to bear with him.
In verse 4, there are three things labeled by the word another: [another] gospel, [another] spirit, another Jesus. The Greek text, however, has two different words, which mean another, and they each carry a slightly different shade of meaning. The first term means “another of the same kind,” while the other term means “another of a different kind.” In the Greek, the gospel is another gospel of a different kind. The spirit is another spirit of a different kind. However, the Jesus being presented is another Jesus of the same kind; a similar Jesus, a Jesus that sounds like and seems like the real Jesus of the New Testament.
The means by which Satan propagates this deception of a “counterfeit Jesus” is given in 2 Corinthians 11:13–14:
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for even Satan fashions himself into an angel of light.
Those who are propagating this counterfeit Yeshua are clearly labeled as false apostles, but they do not appear that way because they fashion themselves to sound like and seem like real ministers of the Messiah. By so doing, they are reflecting their true lord, Satan, who is the “angel of this darkness,” but he fashions himself to appear as an angel of light. His ministers are like real ministers of the Messiah. The nature of the counterfeit program is to propagate a Yeshua of the same kind, a very similar Yeshua.
Yeshua pointed out how far these counterfeit ministers can go in Matthew 7:22–23:
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by your name, and by your name cast out demons, and by your name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Notice what they are able to accomplish in the name of a counterfeit Yeshua; they are able to prophesy events that would come to pass; they are able to order demons out of people; they are able to do many mighty works, including miracles of healings and things of that nature. Yet He will say to them in that day: I never knew you. That is why all of these outward manifestations in and of themselves prove nothing. Satan can duplicate all of these things. The real test in Scripture was never the existence of outward manifestations. The real test of Scripture was always conformity to the written Word of God. Is what is being said, what is being done, what is being taught, consistent with the written Word of God?
c. Its Solution
The third segment of the counterfeit program concerns the solution. How do we counteract being caught up in Satan’s counterfeit program? The key passage is Ephesians 6:10–18.
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
He starts out in verse 10 by admonishing: be strong in the Lord. This has to do with positional truth. In the Lord, means “in the Messiah.” Because of our position in the Messiah, we have a great deal of authority. We need to understand what our authority is in the Messiah. When we understand what our authority is, then we become strong in the Lord. Another passage on this is Ephesians 1:19–20.
In verse 11, Paul points out the purpose of the armor of God, and that is to be able to resist Satan. This is the first time he mentions the purpose of the armor.
In verse 12, he tells us who the enemy is. The enemy is not … flesh and blood; the enemy is Satan and his demonic forces. Again, it is a war.
In verse 13, for the second time, the purpose of the armor is to resist Satan. In verse 14a, for the third time, the purpose of the armor is to resist Satan. Three different times he has told us that the purpose of the armor is to resist Satan.
In verses 14b–17, Paul deals with the pieces of the armor. He covers each piece by little phrases, the shield of this, the helmet of that. Every piece has to do with Scripture. Every small reference is a quotation or a reference from the Old Testament. In other words, the way we resist Satan is by means of Scripture. This is the way Jesus resisted Satan in Matthew 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–13. Every piece concerns Scripture and every piece is somehow related to the positional truth of the believer.
First, there is the “girdle of truth.” This comes from Isaiah 11:5. The girdle was bound around for three reasons: first, to allow for freedom of movement; secondly, it was used to carry weapons; and thirdly, it was used to display things outwardly. The meaning of this is truthfulness and sincerity based upon Scripture.
The second piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. This is taken from Isaiah 59:17 and it protected the vital organs. In relation to spiritual warfare, this refers to the imputed righteousness of the Messiah or positional righteousness, and also daily righteousness or practical righteousness.
The third piece of armor is “shoes” of the gospel of peace. This is taken from Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15. The emphasis here is on walking. The meaning is secure footing on a sure foundation which, of course, is the Messiah and His Word.
The fourth piece of armor is the shield of faith. The purpose of the shield is to cover the whole body. It is to be used against the darts of the devil. The faith mentioned here is the principle by which we resist.
The fifth piece is the helmet of salvation. This is taken from Isaiah 59:17. This is the assurance of salvation in spiritual warfare.
The sixth piece of armor is the sword of the Spirit. This is the only offensive weapon, the others are all defensive. The sword of the Spirit is the entire, written word of God.
In verse 18, Paul said to pray and be on the alert. Pray concerning spiritual warfare. Be on the alert because you need to know there is a war going on. You need to know that God has provided all we need for victory.
d. Its Test
The fourth and last segment of the counterfeit program is that when we are confronted with things that we are unsure of, we need to learn to test the spirits according to 1 John 4:1.
C. The World
The third front of the spiritual warfare is the world. This will be discussed in four parts.
1. The Meaning of the Term
In the first part, we will discuss is the meaning of the term “world” in relationship to spiritual warfare. By world we mean the “world-system,” which is under Satan’s control (Jn. 12:31; 1 Jn. 5:19). It is the world-system that is in ignorance of God’s wisdom (1 Cor. 1:21). It is a system that is set apart for judgment (1 Cor. 11:32). It is a system that wars against the truth of God (Col. 2:8, 20–22). That is the meaning of “world” in spiritual warfare.
2. The Position of the Believer
The second part of our discussion of the world concerns the believer’s position in relationship to the world. Simply put, the believer is in the world, but not of the world. That is, we still live in this earthly world, but we are no longer of this world’s nature. Three things about this: first, positionally we have been taken out of the world (Jn. 15:19; 17:6); secondly, we have been separated from the world by a judicial act of God (Gal. 6:14); thirdly, we have been sent back into the world to bear witness (Jn. 17:11, 18).
The picture is that we have been positionally removed from the world, we have been separated from the world with our new birth, but now we are sent right back into the world to bear witness. While we are in the world, we are no longer of this world; we are no longer of this world’s nature.
3. The Obligation of the Believer
The third part of our discussion of the world concerns the believer’s obligation in the world. “Since we are still in the world, though no longer of it, what is our obligation in the world?” From Scripture we can point out four obligations.
The first obligation is: do not love the world. That is the point of 1 John 2:15–17, the passage which gave us the three fronts of the spiritual warfare. In verse 15, John points out that you cannot love the world and the Father. In verse 16, he points out that the things of the world are not of the Father. That is the reason for verse 15. Finally, in verse 17, the world is transitory, the world is temporary, and the world is under judgment. So do not love the world.
The second obligation is: do not fellowship with the world in the areas of the deeds of darkness (Eph. 5:11). Believers are never told to become hermits or set up their own town. Believers are never told to have no contact with unbelievers whatsoever. We can have communication with unbelievers. Actions, deeds and recreations with unbelievers are neutral territory in neutral things. However, we cannot ever have fellowship with the world in the area of deeds of darkness.
The third obligation of the believer is: keep oneself unspotted from the world (Jas. 1:27). The way we keep ourselves unspotted is to refuse to participate in the sins that the world might want us to participate in.
The fourth obligation of believers in relationship to the world is not to abuse the things of the world (1 Cor. 7:31).
4. The Issue of the Mind
That brings us to the fourth part of our discussion of the world, and that is the issue of the mind. The battle for control of the mind is the main battleground of the third front of spiritual warfare. The first front, the flesh, has to do with the actions of a believer; it is an attempt to control the believer’s body and his actions.
The second front tries to get believers to commit acts of sin or to be controlled by Satan or to be caught up in some counterfeit program that may appear to be true and spiritual but is, in fact, error. The mind is the main battleground of the third front.
a. The Battle for Control of the Mind of the Believer
When we deal with the front of the world, the issue is that of the mind. Here let me mention two points.
First, the mind is the place of war with the world because our minds are being programmed to think the way the world is thinking. In Romans 12:2, to be fashioned according to this world means to think, and to act, and to conform according to the world-system. The world is trying to program us to be willing to accept things like abortion and evolution. It is a struggle for the control of the mind.
Secondly, the believer’s responsibility is to renew the mind (Rom. 12:2). Rather than being conformed to the world, we need to be transformed by the renewing of mind. The Greek text uses the present tense, which emphasizes continuous action, a continuous process. The point is that we must be continually renewing [the] mind. For what purpose? To avoid becoming conformed to this world; to avoid the world’s getting control of our thinking patterns, our mind-set.
b. The Means of Renewing the Mind
“What is the means by which we have our minds transformed?” There are three factors to mention concerning the renewing of the mind.
First, we need to have the mind of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 2:16, to have the mind of Christ means “to understand the deep things of God.” That is why we must mature spiritually in the faith. That is why we need to learn the Word of God. We need to be able to handle the Word of God. We need to have an understanding of the deep things of God. When we understand the deep things of God, it shows that we have the mind of Christ. In Philippians 2:5, the mind of the Messiah emphasizes humility. Learning should not make us proud; learning the deep things of God should make us humble and, in that way, we also have the mind of the Messiah. By having the mind of the Messiah, we will avoid having the mind of the world.
The second factor concerning the means of renewing our mind is the thought life. In 2 Corinthians 10:3–5, Paul teaches that we need to know how to bring every thought [into captive] obedience of Christ. Every thought that we have, all our thinking patterns, must be brought into captive obedience to the Messiah. Philippians 4:8 lists some things we should be thinking about. If we learn how to think on the things listed, we will be bringing every thought into captive obedience to the Messiah.
The third factor concerning the means of renewing the mind is meditation upon the Word of God (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 119:11, 97; Jn. 15:7; Col. 3:16; 1 Jn. 2:14). In order to meditate, we need to memorize Scripture and then begin to think these Scriptures through. As we think them through, they will permeate our mind, so we are renewing the mind by meditating on the Word of God.
II. THE JUDGMENTS AT THE CROSS
We now come to the second major category of our study, which has to do with the judgments at the cross. Several judgments took place at the cross, at the point of the Messiah’s death. These judgments affected all three fronts of our spiritual warfare. We will take each front individually and see just how the judgments at the cross affected each one.
A. The Flesh
Concerning the flesh, let me mention six results.
1. Co-Crucified with the Messiah
The first result is that the flesh was co-crucified with the Messiah, according to Romans 6:1–10:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; for he that has died is justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death no more has dominion over him. For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he lives, he lives unto God.
In this lengthy passage, Paul points out that our old man, the flesh, has been co-crucified with the Messiah.
He states this again in Romans 8:3:
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.
When the Messiah died, sin in the flesh was condemned. So the flesh has been co-crucified with the Messiah.
2. Holds No Legal Authority
Secondly, what this means is that the flesh no longer has any legal authority over us. Though the flesh was crucified, it did not cease to exist. Death has the concept of separation. What has been separated is the flesh’s legal authority over us. Before our salvation, we had to obey the sin-nature, the flesh. Now, we no longer have to obey it. We may chose to, and unfortunately we all too often do, but we no longer have to obey the old nature.
3. Is Still Active
Thirdly, this does not mean that the sin-nature is inactive any more than Satan is inactive. Satan is very active today. The flesh is also very active today. Keep in mind that the fact that the flesh, which was co-crucified at the judgment of the cross, does not mean it is inactive.
4. Under No Obligation to Obey the Flesh
Fourthly, it does mean we are no longer under the obligation to obey the sin-nature, as Paul writes in Romans 6:13:
neither present your members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
5. Our Deliverance
Fifth, we are delivered so that we do not need to continue in sin, as Paul wrote in Romans 6:12:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof.
6. Our Victory Made Possible
Sixth, this makes victory possible. The fact that our old man, our flesh, our sin-nature, has been co-crucified, that we no longer have any need to obey it, that it no longer has any legal authority over us, makes victory possible.
In Romans 8:4, Paul wrote:
that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Recognizing and acting upon the fact that our sin-nature, the flesh, has been co-crucified with the Messiah, is what makes living the spiritual life possible.
B. Satan and the Demonic World
The second front of spiritual warfare is Satan and his demonic forces. This, too, was a front that was judged at the cross. This has three meanings.
1. A Defeated Enemy
First, it means that Satan is now a defeated enemy. In anticipation of His death, Yeshua said in John 12:31:
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
Later Jesus said in John 16:11: of judgment, because the prince of this world has been judged.
Both of these verses point out that Satan is a defeated enemy.
Another passage along this line is Colossians 2:15: having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
In this passage, the emphasis is upon the demonic world and the demons. Both Satan and his demons are now defeated enemies.
2. Holds No Legal Authority
Secondly, what this means is that neither Satan nor demons have any legal authority over us. This is the point of Hebrews 2:14–15:
Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Thirdly, it means that believers can now defeat Satan, not by “rebuking” him, not by “binding” him, but by resisting him, as James 4:7 says:
Be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
C. The World
The third front, the world, was also affected by the judgment of the cross. Concerning the judgment of the world, three things should be noted.
1. The Judgment of Our Sins
First, our sins in this world have been judged. 1 Corinthians 15:3 says: For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.
Colossians 2:14 states: having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he has taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross.
In 1 Peter 2:24, Peter writes:
who his own self bore our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.
And finally, our sins in this world have been judged according to 1 John 2:2:
and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.
2. Still in the World
Secondly, we are now in the world, but we are no longer of the world. We still have to live in this sinful world, but we are no longer of its nature.
3. A Different Lifestyle
Thirdly, we can now live a different lifestyle in the world because the world has been judged.
III. WALKING ACCORDING TO THE NEW-BORN HUMAN SPIRIT
We now come to the third major category of spiritual warfare and that has to do with walking according to the new-born human spirit. We will discuss this in four parts.
A. The Scriptures
In the first part, there are two key Scriptures that deal with the issue of needing to walk in accordance with our new-born human spirit. The first is Galatians 5:16–17:
But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would.
While some interpret the Spirit here to be the Holy Spirit, to be consistent with Romans 7, the battle is not between the Holy Spirit and the sin-nature, but between the old nature and the new nature. We take the word Spirit here in reference to the new-born human spirit.
The second passage is Ephesians 5:7–8:
Be not ye therefore partakers with them; For ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
Here the concept of walking in accordance with the new-born human spirit means to be walking in accordance with the light; that is, the light of the Lord.
B. The Meaning
The second part is the meaning. “What does it mean to walk in accordance with the new-born human spirit?” It means carrying out the duties of the spiritual life that are demanded by the Word of God. At its essence, that is what it means to walk on the basis of the new-born human spirit. Let me explain three ramifications.
First, it is necessary to carry out life’s functions. We are required to carry out the daily duties which the Bible demands of us. If we are not fulfilling this, then we we are not walking by the new-born human spirit. If we are fulfilling this, then we are walking by the new-born human spirit.
Secondly, to walk physically requires legs, feet, exercise, practice, strength, and balance; it involves our body. The Book of Romans encourages us to present [our] bodies a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1) and encourages us to cease to present members [of the body] as instruments of unrighteousness (Rom. 6:12). We are to use them as principles of righteousness in order for us to carry out our duties in the spiritual life that are demanded of us by the Word of God. In order for us to be able to carry out life’s functions, we need to use our legs, our feet, our hands, our mouth, and our mind. It requires exercise, practice, strength, and balance. Our physical body must be the Lord’s.
Thirdly, living the spiritual life is a learning process. We learn by walking. When a little baby begins to walk, he falls because falling is part of the process. Even so, we are going to fall; falling is part of the process. If we never get up, then we have failed to grow spiritually. If we get up and walk again, then we are growing in the spiritual life.
C. The Means
The third part is the means. “What is the means by which we do this walking?” Simply put, the means is by faith.
This is brought out in 2 Corinthians 5:7:
(for we walk by faith, not by sight).
Our spiritual walk, walking according to the new-born human spirit, is on the basis of our faith. This is in contrast with the way unbelievers do it.
In Ephesians 4:1 Paul wrote:
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called.
Paul beseeches us to keep walking worthily of the calling [to which we] were called [to walk]. The means of walking worthily is to walk by means of faith.
D. The Specifics
The fourth part is the specifics. “What are some of the specifics in our walking?” Here we are concerned about individual steps in our walk. We will look at several passages that spell this out.
1. Walking in Newness of Life—Romans 6:4
We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.
One of the specifics concerning walking is walking in newness of life: we must now walk in accordance with the divine standard, and not with a standard that may be imposed upon us either by the flesh, the world or the devil.
2. Walking Properly—Romans 13:13
Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in revelling and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy.
The point is that we must walk becomingly or properly, which means avoiding immorality. Immorality is not walking according to new-born human spirit.
3. Walking in Good Works—Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.
Here, Paul talks about walking in good works. Doing good works is also in keeping with walking in accordance of the new-born human spirit.
4. Walking in a Worthy Manner—Ephesians 4:1
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called.
We are to walk in a worthy manner, consistent with our spiritual calling.
5. Walking in Love—Ephesians 5:1–3
Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becomes saints.
The point of verses 1–2 is that we are to walk in love.
6. Walking as Children of the Light—Ephesians 5:8
for ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
Since we are children of light, we are to walk as children of light.
7. Walking Circumspectly—Ephesians 5:15–16
Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
In other passages we learn other specific steps about walking consistently with our new-born human spirit: in Colossians 1:10, we are to walk worthily of the Lord; in Colossians 2:6, we are to walk in the Messiah Yeshua; in Colossians 4:5, we are to walk in wisdom; in 1 Thessalonians 4:1, we are to walk to please God; in 1 John 1:7, we are to walk in the light; and in 3 John 3–4, we are to walk in truth.
When the Bible uses the term “walking” in connection with the spiritual life, there are various facets of walking according to the new-born human spirit, and there are various specific, individual steps.
IV. THE OLD VERSUS THE NEW
Now we come to the fourth and final main category of our study on spiritual warfare. This has to do with contrasting the old and the new. We will contrast the old and the new in three facets.
A. The Mind
The first facet is the mind. The Bible, in various ways, defines the difference between the old mind and the new mind.
1. The Old Mind
Concerning the old mind, the Bible teaches twelve traits.
a. Continually Evil
The first trait is that the old mind is evil, according to Genesis 6:5:
And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
The second trait is that the old mind is reprobate. Romans 1:28 states:
And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting.
The third trait is that the old mind is death. We read in Romans 8:6:
For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.
d. Wars with God
The fourth trait is that the old mind is at war with God. Paul wrote in Romans 8:7:
because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be.
The fifth is that the old mind is conceited. Paul points this out in Romans 12:3:
For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but so to think as to think soberly, according as God has dealt to each man a measure of faith.
The point here is that the old mind is a conceited mind and has a tendency to think more highly of itself than it should.
f. Incapacitated Toward God
The sixth trait of the old mind is that it has a total incapacity toward knowing the things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:14 states:
Now the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged.
The seventh trait is that the old mind is blinded. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul wrote:
in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them.
The eighth trait is that the old mind is empty. We read in Ephesians 4:17:
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind.
The word vanity here also has the meaning of “emptiness.” The old mind is an empty mind.
Ninth, the old mind is in darkness. Ephesians 4:18 states:
being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart.
The tenth trait is that the old mind tends to be earthly. Philippians 3:19 states:
whose end is perdition, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.
The eleventh trait is that the old mind is fleshly, or carnal. Colossians 2:18–19 states:
Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he has seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and bands, increases with the increase of God.
The twelfth trait is that the old mind is defiled. Titus 1:15 states:
To the pure all things are pure: but to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
These twelve things are true of the old mind. It is evil, reprobate, death, at war with God, conceited, incapacitated toward God, blinded, empty, darkened, earthly, fleshly or carnal and defiled. Insofar as the unbeliever is concerned, that is the only mind he has. We who are believers still have this mind in us, but this is not the only mind we have. We have two natures, the old nature and new nature. This old mind is of the old nature.
2. The New Mind
We have a new nature, which has a new mind. We are told eleven characteristics about the new mind.
a. Conflicts with the Old Mind
The first characteristic is that the new mind is in conflict with the old mind. That is the point of the lengthy treatment in Romans 7:14–25, in which Paul describes the conflict of the two minds.
b. Serves the Law of God
Secondly, with our new mind we can and are able to serve the law of God. In Romans 7:25, Paul wrote:
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
c. Mindful of the Things of the Spirit
Thirdly, the new mind minds the things of the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:5–8, Paul wrote:
For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace: because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Fourthly, the new mind can be transformed. In Romans 12:2 we read:
And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
e. Understands the Deep Things of God
Fifth, the new mind can and does understand the deep things of God, as 1 Corinthians 2:16 points out:
For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
f. Able to Bring Down Strongholds
Sixth, Paul points out that the new mind can bring down the strongholds of the old mind. The new mind can conquer the old mind that is still in us, according to 2 Corinthians 10:3–5:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds); casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
g. Characterized by Humility
Seventh, whereas the old mind was characterized by conceit, the new mind is characterized by humility. Philippians 2:5 reads:
Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
h. Thinks Wholesome Thoughts
Eighth, while the old mind thinks on sinful things, the new mind thinks upon wholesome thoughts. Philippians 4:8 says:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
i. Peaceful with God
Ninth, while the old mind was in enmity and at war against God, the new mind has the peace of God. Philippians 4:7:
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
j. Mindful of the Things of God
Tenth, the new mind minds the things of God, according to Colossians 3:2:
Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.
Eleventh, the new mind is disciplined. It is girded and sober, according to 1 Peter 1:13:
Wherefore girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
That is the difference between the old and new minds. By means of the new mind, we walk in newness of spirit.
B. The Heart
The second facet where the Bible draws a contrast between the old and the new is in the realm of the heart. There is the old heart and the new heart.
1. The Old Heart
Looking through Scriptures, we find that the Bible gives eight attributes of the old heart.
First, the old heart is darkened. In Romans 1:21 we read:
because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened.
Second, the old heart is hard. In Romans 2:5, Paul wrote:
but after your hardness and impenitent heart treasures up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.
Third, also in this verse the old heart is impenitent. He calls it an impenitent heart. It is exactly that.
The fourth attribute is that the old heart is also blinded or hardened. In Ephesians 4:18, Paul wrote:
being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart.
Fifth, the old heart is characterized by erring ways. It tends to stray and it tends to wander. The old heart is a heart that is guilty of spiritual error. Hebrews 3:10 states:
Wherefore I was displeased with this generation, And said, They do always err in their heart: But they did not know my ways.
The sixth attribute is that the old heart is also unbelieving; it is characterized by unbelief. In Hebrews 3:12 the writer said:
Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God.
The seventh attribute of the old heart is that it is a deceitful heart. This is brought out by Jeremiah 17:9:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?
Eighth, not only is the heart deceitful, but, the heart itself is also deceived. In James 1:26 we read:
If any man thinks himself to be religious, while he bridles not his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain.
These are the attributes of the old heart. It is darkened, hard, impenitent, blinded, erring, unbelieving, deceitful, and deceived. Again, as far as the unbeliever is concerned, that is the only heart the unbeliever has. He has no other heart but this one. When we become believers, the old heart does not go away; we still have the old heart as part of our old nature.
2. The New Heart
However, at the same time we now have a new heart and there are four characteristics of this new heart.
a. The Capacity to Love the Brethren
The first characteristic is that the new heart has the capacity to love the brethren. In John 15:12–15, we read:
This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you. No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you.
b. The Place of Residence of the Holy Spirit
The second characteristic is that the new heart is the place where the Holy Spirit resides. When we become believers, the Holy Spirit takes up His residence within us, but the place of the Spirit’s residence is within the walls of the new heart. In 2 Corinthians 3:2–3 we read:
Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men; being made manifest that ye are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in tables that are hearts of flesh.
c. Not Fainthearted
Thirdly, because we have a new capacity to love the brethren, because it is in our heart, the new heart, where the Holy Spirit resides, then we are told that we are not to lose heart. In 2 Corinthians 4:6 Paul wrote:
Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Here we are told that the light, which is God, now shines in our hearts. Because the light shines in our hearts, we should not lose heart. We do not lose heart while the light of the Spirit of God shines within our heart.
The fourth characteristic is that the new heart is a pure heart. In 1 Peter 1:22 we read:
Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently.
Because our souls have now been purified by the shed blood of Yeshua the Messiah, we now have the capacity to love God. We now have the capacity to glory in the Lord because we now have a pure heart.
Insofar as the new heart is concerned, we are told that it has a new capacity to love the brethren; it is the place of the residence of the Holy Spirit; since we have the light of the Spirit in our heart, we do not lose heart; and we have a pure heart, and it is with this pure heart that we have the capacity to love the brethren.
C. The Will
Now we come to the third and final facet, which has to do with the will. Just as there was an old and new mind, and an old and new heart, there is also an old and new will.
1. The Old Will
In discussing the old will, I will make three points.
a. Inability to Come to God
First, the old will has an inability to come to the spiritual things of God. In John 6:65 we read:
And he said, For this cause have I said unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it be given unto him of the Father.
The old will has an ability to choose, but it does not have the ability to choose God or to follow God.
b. Enslaved to Sin
The second point is that the old will is enslaved to sin. This is brought out by John 6:36–40:
But I said unto you, that ye have seen me, and yet believe not. All that which the Father gives me shall come unto me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out. For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the will of him that sent me, that of all that which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholds the Son, and believes on him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Whereas the will of the Son was to do the work of the Father, the will of His listeners was enslaved to sin. Because they were enslaved to sin, they were not able to come to Him and to simply believe that which He has said.
The third point about the old will is that it is a will that is in disobedience. Satan controls the old will. Therefore, the old will is characterized by disobedience. It is characterized by inability to come to God, by being a slave to sin and disobedient.
2. The New Will
On the other hand, the new will is different. We learn two main truths concerning the new will.
a. Set Free from Sin
First, the new will was set free from bondage by the Messiah. Romans 6:18 states:
and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.
We have been freed from sin. Now we are servants of righteousness.
Later, in Romans 6:22, Paul states:
But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life.
He makes the same point again. Our will has been freed by the Messiah.
And in Romans 8:2, Paul wrote:
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.
Our will has been made … free from the law of sin and of death by the Messiah. The new will has been set free by the Messiah.
b. Obedient to God
Secondly, the new will can obey God. In Colossians 3:8–11 we read:
but now do ye also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth: lie not one to another; seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.
While the old will is characterized by the inability to come to God, enslaved to sin and disobedience, the new will has been set free by the Messiah and therefore can obey God.
Whereas the unbeliever is only characterized by the old mind, the old heart and the old will, the believer, although he still has these, is to be characterized by the new mind, the new heart and the new will. If a believer is consistently being characterized by the old mind, the old heart and the old will, he is losing the spiritual warfare. However, if he is consistently characterized by the new mind, the new heart and the new will, then he is winning the spiritual warfare.
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