Thursday, November 24, 2016

Be Thankful

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18



In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow, are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips, so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him.



A godly farmer was asked to dine with a well-known gentleman. While there, he asked a blessing at the table as he was accustomed to do at home. His host said jeeringly, "That is old fashioned; it is not customary nowadays for well-educated people to pray before they eat."

The farmer answered that with him it was customary, -but that some of those on his farm never thanked God their food.

"Ah, then," said the gentleman, "they are sensible and enlightened! Who are they?"

"My pigs!" the farmer answered.



Charles Dickens said that we are somewhat mixed up here in America. He told an audience that instead of having one Thanksgiving Day each year, we should have 364. "Use that one day just for complaining and griping," he said. "Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings He has showered upon you!"



Some years ago an old black woman was put up at auction at a slave-market. She was distressed lest she might be sold to a cruel master. A godly man bought her and set her free at once. But she would not leave him who had set her free, and insisted upon going into his household and working for him. Now when she could do what she pleased, she would not go anywhere but to him. She would say: "He saved me! He saved me!"

This is how we ought to feel toward Him who died for us and set us free.



"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues."



"Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted, all that God has given us."



"None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy."



"When we have an attitude of being thankful, we never take anything we have for granted. We are blessed in so many ways."



Do you not teach your children to say "Thank you" for what they receive? Even the baby, before it can speak, is made to utter a "ta," an expression of gratitude for what it is given. Well, we are the children of God, and He demands of us that we shall not take anything He gives us as a matter of course, but in a spirit of thankfulness.



"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

For Christ who came from Heaven above,
For the cross and His redeeming love,
For His mighty power to seek and save,
For His glorious triumph o'er the grave.
For the lovely mansions in the sky,
For His blessed coming bye and bye,
I give Thee humble thanks.



"Let us be thankful!" Hebrews 12:28

"Overflowing with thankfulness!" Colossians 2:7

John the Purifier

The term ὁ βαπτιστὴς is never used in classical Greek. It is only ever used of John. It is a title bestowed upon him by outsiders, just as the title Christian was first bestowed upon the followers of Christ Jesus by outsiders (Acts 11:26). So this title is particular and peculiar to John's ministry. Why was this title bestowed upon him? What significance did it have? What was his ministry about?
"Why then are you baptizing?" John 1:25
"What (baptism), then, do you baptize?" Since Jews in religious rites employed βαπτίζω in the appropriate sense to purify, the question might be modified this way: "What (defilement) do you purify?" Is it an actual removal of ceremonial defilement, or of spiritual defilement? or, is it only a symbol of purification? What is its character? What is its nature? Baptisms are of endless variety, which this passage brings that fact out clearly. The purifying agencies were made up of water, blood, ashes, and fire. There is absolute proof that objects not enveloped by water, blood, ashes, or fire are said to be baptized—ceremonially purified (e.g., Mark 7:4, re: tables/couches).
"I baptize in water." John 1:26
John's answer is perfectly satisfactory: "I baptize with water. Water (of purification, i.e., the symbol of repentance) is the essence of my baptism. My baptism has no other power than that which belongs to simple water, and is therefore merely symbol in its character." His baptism was corporal: Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16—"He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." John's was a baptism of repentance, whereas Jesus' is a baptism of grace.

John does not merely say Ἐγω βαπτίζω, but Ἐγω βαπτίζω εἰς μετανοίαν—into repentance (Matt. 3:11). He does not merely preach a βάπτισμα, but a βάπτισμα μετανοίας—of repentance (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3). The nature of his baptism is βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν—baptism of repentance into the remission of sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3).
"And [Paul] said, 'Into what then were you baptized?' And they said, 'Into John's baptism.'" Acts 19:3
Both the Pharisees and the Apostle Paul asked the same essential question, though not identical in every respect. Both questions reveal variety in the nature of baptisms. The answer "We were baptized into John's baptism" gave Paul all the information he desired. Likewise, John's answer gave the Pharisees all the information they sought.

Just as the Israelites under Moses' leadership had to pass through the Red Sea at the exodus, and just as the second generation of Israelites under Joshua's leadership had to do the same thing at the Jordan River, so now true Israelites must identify with the water and their prophetic leader in order to begin experiencing true restoration. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-2, the passing through the Red Sea is described as a "baptism." So, too, could the passing through the Jordan River. These "baptisms" merely identified the Israelites with their prophetic leaders. So, too, with John's baptism.
The Baptism which John preached and the Baptism which John administered were one and the same baptism. John preached the imperative necessity for a thorough change in the condition of the soul manifested by godly repentance and issuing in the full remission of sin through "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world;" which changed condition of the soul was the work of the Holy Ghost. This baptism of the soul which was set forth by words in the preaching was identically the same baptism which was set forth by water in the rite. The purification of the soul was always effected, as a fact, by the Holy Ghost; and the purification of the soul was always exhibited, as a necessity, by the pure symbol. The agencies differed infinitely; the baptism was one absolutely—effected in the one case, symbolized in the other.
Matthew's "Repent!" and Mark's and Luke's "Baptism of repentance into the remission of sins," and John's "Behold! the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world," have all alike the same amount of water in them; that is to say, just as much as may be found in the burned out craters of the moon. The verb βαπτίζω and the noun βάπτισμα, as used in the history of John's baptism, have no more to do with the quantity or the manner of using the water employed in his symbol rite, than has the multiplication table to do with the amount or the manner of using Rothschild's wealth. Let these words mean what they may, they have no more control, in the relations in which they stand, over the use of the water, than a sleeping infant has over the earth's diurnal revolution.1
The word βαπτίζω, as used in Scripture, has no more control over or connection with the manner of using this water, than a broken arm has control over or connection with the movement of the solar system.2
βαπτιστὴς has nothing to do with water in any form or measure. It carries no water with it. John ὁ βαπτιστὴς is and can only be, John the Purifier. Ιωάννης ὁ βαπτιστὴς = John the Purifier.


1 James W. Dale, Johannic Baptism, p.407.
2 Ibid, p.417.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Humanity By Design

GOD CREATED HUMANITY IN THIS WAY:
"Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female" (Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6).
God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18a). Any man; every man; all encompassed in Adam, our head and representative. God then continued by saying, "I will make a helper suitable for him" (Gen. 2:18b). The phrase "meet for" (KJV) in Genesis 2:18 comes from two Hebrew words. The first, #5048, is a preposition indicating before, in front of, opposite. The second, #3509.1, is a marker of comparison: as, like; a marker of similarity or correspondence. The phrase "meet for" in the Hebrew indicates something that is both similar yet different; something that was similar to Adam yet completely different from him. Not a mirrored image, which is entirely the same and identical. As other translations render it (more accurately, I might add), this is what was "suitable" for not only Adam but for every man—woman. Every animal in the animal kingdom had its suitable pair, something that was similar but different—its female counterpart. The similarity was in its kind; the difference was in its make up. Adam saw that every animal had its appropriate pair while he did not. Thus, God said "It is not good for man to be alone." In creating the "suitable" helper for Adam, He created woman. Woman is similar to Adam, being of the same species; but different from him, being a woman and having womanly parts rather than manly parts. This difference would be key to the mandate that God would give to the two of them, which is the same mandate given to all mankind—"Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28).

GOD INTENDED HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS TO FUNCTION LIKE THIS:
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5; Mark 10:7-8).
The creation account gives a very clear picture—a standard—of God's intention for all human relationships. The only standard for sexual expression you will find consistently praised in both Testaments is that of heterosexual monogamy. Throughout the entire Bible, only that standard is upheld. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul upheld the standard of heterosexuality. If I uphold the life of a child in the womb, I am necessarily opposed to abortion. Likewise, Scripture, Jesus, and the Apostle Paul, while upholding the standard of heterosexuality, are necessarily opposed to homosexuality (and every other sexual deviation). The statement encompasses every man; all men: "For this reason a man [any man, every man, all men] shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). Jesus made the point of directing his listeners back to the beginning, the creation of humanity, which tells us everything we need to know about God's design, plan, and intention for human relationships. Anything outside of this union—one man and one woman—is a perverse, abnormal, unnatural, abominable sexual deviation.

GOD GAVE HUMANITY THIS MANDATE:
"Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:22).
Man and woman were perfectly designed for each other; both for pleasure and for procreation: "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28). The genital parts of both man and woman were designed differently yet complimentary—they fit together perfectly. They are, by design, perfectly fit for each other; perfectly matched. Like a light bulb and a socket, a plug and an outlet, a bolt and a nut, male and female genitalia were perfectly designed for complimentary union. This union of man and woman is the only means with which to create progeny and carry on one's family name as well as the human race. Humanity would die outside of this union and this mandate. Every living creature that God created, those in the water, those in the air, and those on the land, were all given the mandate to "be fruitful and multiply." They could not fill the waters and the air and the land otherwise. Humanity was given the same mandate, which is an expectancy of how God intended human relationships to function, the standard upheld by both Jesus and the Apostle Paul.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Nickels and Noses Racket

by Milburn Cockrell, 1941-2002

The average pastor is no longer a powerful, plain preacher--but a polite, polished politician!

We live in a time of big meetings, big churches, big church buildings, big preachers, and big church budgets. The failure or success of a church and its pastor--is judged by the number of nickels and noses that they have. In all too many cases, there is seen in this more Satanic pride, than spiritual piety.

In the craze for nickels and noses churches have replaced preachers and pastors, with puppeteers and pranksters. The gospel of Christ has been superseded by gimmicks, gadgets, and games. Psychology has taken the place of Holy Spirit conviction. The faith has been displaced for finance, fun, and foolishness. Church discipline has been relegated to the background, in order to swell the size of the church with religious hypocrites who might give a little money to the church now and then.

The nickels and noses racket has filled our churches with unconverted persons. We have far more churchianity than Christianity. Many church members are white-washed--but they are not blood-washed. Their names are upon the church roll--but they are not found in the Lamb's book of life. Many have been reformed--but they have not been re-born. Many have been confirmed--but they have not been converted to Christ. There are so many lost people in our churches, that you cannot tell the difference between a church member and the unconverted. The reason is, because there is no difference. Both are headed to Hell as fast as time can carry them!

It has produced icy services--and cold, callous, complacent church members. Look at the average church! They have their robed choir, their cut and dried program, and their intellectual preaching. They have a beautiful edifice. They have all the organization and rituals one could ask for--but in most cases it is Spiritless! We have form without reality; we have organization without power; we have profession without possession. We have a form of godliness--without the power of it. We have religion without life.

It has caused pastors to spend more time worrying with goats, than feeding the sheep. The pastor nowadays must provide a spiritual diet for people who have no spiritual appetite. Like Ezekiel of old (Ezekiel 37:1-10), he must preach to dead, dry bones--but without the blessings which Ezekiel experienced. These dry, dead bones can't hear--yet the pastor must keep preaching and pretend that someone is listening. These dry, dead bones do not grow in grace--for the dead do not grow. These baptized bones are in no way sensitive to the appeals made to them from the Scriptures by the pastor. They watch the clock on Sunday morning, hoping the pastor will preach a short sermon so they can soon go home and do what they really enjoy.

This idea has given us the gimmick gospel. Most church members want to be entertained--instead of instructed in the Word of God. They have far more delight in the gospel of amusement--than the gospel of the atonement. Gospel celebrities must be brought in to entertain these worldly church members. These members love to hear these clerical comedians who mix a few verses of Scripture with a large amount of humor. Special singing groups must be brought in too. These have the same dress, music, hair style, and manners of any rock and roll group. Our church services nowadays have become a carefully produced theatrical production for the delight of carnal Christians and religious rascals. The only difference between this entertainment and that in the local nightclub, is that it has a religious flavor! But they say it must be done to get nickels and noses!

While there are some exceptions, most big churches are worldly churches. They have high carnality--and low spirituality. Truth is very scarce in such fashionable churches, because the Word of God has been compromised to keep nickels and noses.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What Are You Watching?

When it is more important for professing "Christians" to "not miss their TV show" than it is for them to prove their faith by standing with Jesus for truth against immorality, there is something severely wrong; both in their hearts and their minds. These so-called "Christians" willingly watch trash like Spartacus, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Lost Girl, Bitten, etc., including TV shows that have been inundated by the homosexual agenda, and somehow think there is nothing wrong with doing so. It is evident that these "Christians" do not read their Bibles, if they ever have even once.

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things" (Phil. 4:8). Apply the truth of this verse to the rationale of these "Christians" and their idolatry of not wanting to "miss their TV show" under any circumstances; even when that TV show is morally corrupt. "Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them" (Eph. 5:11). Do verses like these mean nothing to these so-called "Christians"? They know what they ought to do, but because they love darkness more than they love the Light, their idolatrous heart would rather continue watching a show they know they should walk away from, rather than obeying and serving the Living God.

If you can pray the following prayer over the things you watch, then by all means watch them.
"Dear Lord, we invite You to come join us in this time of viewing. As Your children, we commit this time to You as worthy of our attention. May our family be uplifted by this hour before the screen. And, Lord, we pray that families everywhere would have the opportunity to do likewise. We thank You for providing this program for us, and we ask You to bless the men and women who produced this show and those who made it available. May they have Your blessings to do more of the same. In Jesus' name, we thank You, Amen."
This can also be applied to what you listen to and what you read. You are what you read; you are what you watch, and you are what you listen to. Garbage in, garbage out. It is not "just a book"; it is not "just a movie"; and it is not "just a song". It is an influence on who and what you are and what you believe.

God knows everything you think, hears everything you say, and sees everything you do because He is always with you. With that fact in mind, freedom in Christ is doing those things which the Holy Spirit leads you to do; not what you feel like doing. If the Holy Spirit is leading you to...
  • ...drink alcohol (if you believe this is okay)—How much?
    Remember what Ephesians 5:18 says?
  • ...listen to music—What’s the message?
    Would the Holy Spirit want to embed this message in your heart? (Galatians 5:13)
  • ...watch movies and TV shows—Which ones?
    Would the Holy Spirit want to embed these images in your heart? (Galatians 5:13)
  • ...visit places of entertainment—Are you taking God with you?
    If you wouldn't take Jesus there if he was with you in the flesh, you have no purpose in being there yourself.
"For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7

You act the way you act because you believe the way you believe. You behave the way you behave because you think the way you think. How you believe determines what you do. Correct belief and correct thinking will result in correct action.

Galatians 2:11-14 teaches us to (1) watch our lifestyle and not to act hypocritically, and to (2) act in a manner that is worthy of the truth of the gospel. "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Col. 2:6). In other words, walk as if you have truly received Him. "Bear fruits in keeping with repentance" (Luke 3:8).
  • "...walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called," Ephesians 4:1
  • "...conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ;" Philippians. 1:27
  • "...walk in a manner worthy of the Lord..." Colossians 1:10
  • "...walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Homosexual Agenda Infects More TV Shows

Homosexuality has infiltrated two more television series, attempting to press their agenda and convince people that there is nothing wrong with it. Through manipulation and brainwash, their typical tactics, homosexuals use the media to spread their lies the same way Hitler spread his: by repeating them loud enough, long enough, and often enough.

In Gotham, the depraved writers have turned Penguin into a homosexual who desires to be in a relationship with Riddler. In Supergirl, the depraved writers have turned Carla Danvers into a lesbian, using the argument of an alien super being "coming out" with their powers and abilities as their rationale for homosexuality. Homosexuals and their supporters will look anywhere and everywhere for illogical and irrational arguments to use in attempts of persuading people that homosexuality is normal and natural, which it is not. Homosexuality is abnormal and unnatural, and everybody knows it, regardless of how much they try to convince themselves otherwise. Homosexuality goes against both human and sexual natures. Logic, common sense, science, nature, etc., all agree and prove that homosexuality is a perversion; an abomination of how God created us ("Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female" [Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6]), how He intended relationships to function ("For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" [Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5; Mark 10:7-8]), and the mandate He gave us for procreation ("Be fruitful and multiply" [Gen. 1:22]).

Is inevitably having a shorter life span due to the diseases that result from homosexual activity considered normal and natural? Is successfully terminating your family line considered normal and natural? Homosexuals have a life expectancy of 1/3 to 1/2 that of heterosexuals, and they will never be able to procreate and create progeny to carry on their family name.

Homosexuals and their supporters willfully fail to grasp simple logic. If God created gays, there is a problem. Imagine in the Garden of Eden God created three couples instead of just one. There is Adam and Eve, obviously, and then two homosexual men and two homosexual women. Guess what? Homosexuality died with the first generation. The only couple capable of living long lives and carrying on the human race would have been Adam and Eve. The others contracted diseases, cut their lives short, and died being the only members of their family tree. Seems a rather cruel joke if that is how God intended it to be. But that is just it. That is not how God intended it to be, and that message is announced loud and clear from the beginning of Scripture until the end of Scripture. Logic, common sense, science, and nature all prove that homosexuality is unnatural. Homosexuals love their sin the same way zoophiliacs love their sin and pedophiles love their sin, and that is why they try so hard to manipulate and brainwash society into accepting their aberrant behaviour as "normal" and "natural," despite the fact that everyone knows in their hearts that it is not!

Homosexuality and its perverted and depraved writers have practically turned Teen Wolf into a gay porn TV show. I have already quit watching a number of previous favourite TV shows because homosexuality infiltrated them and tried forcing their perverse opinion upon the viewers. Once again, homosexuality has ruined two more TV shows. Thus, I will no longer be watching Gotham or Supergirl. More Christians need to prove their faith and grow a backbone, turning off the TV and refusing to watch when these people infect our shows with the homosexual agenda. If these so-called professing "Christians" stood by their faith and took a stand, the ratings for these shows would go down and they would have to remove this perversion from the show. But when Christians choose to watch even though they know it is wrong to do so, they encourage it and support it.

The way you live, "Christian," reveals the truth about what you truly believe. When you watch stuff you know you should not, your true faith is being revealed. You cannot claim to be a Christian and in the same breath admit to watching trash like Spartacus, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Lost Girl, Bitten, etc. Standing by while homosexuality becomes a key theme of your favourite TV show shows you to be a hypocrite, too. If Jesus means a thing to you, and if your faith is genuine in the least, then develop a backbone and take a stand. When it is more important for you to "not miss your show" than it is for you to stand up for Jesus and the truth, you have revealed your idolatry. Watch How You Live! I would sooner watch no TV than to be inundated by the homosexual agenda and their filthy lies.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Benedictions

What exactly is a benediction? A benediction is a short, concise pronouncement of divine blessing given in the Bible in the form of a petition, a promise, or an assurance. It voices images of protection, or comfort, or some other word of assurance. It represents a joyful, unifying call to faith; patience and practice for the faithful.

The word benediction means "to say good, to voice good thoughts, to pronounce." What makes good thoughts is that they are based on Truth—God. Whatever is true fulfills itself. Good is the inevitable result of the certainty and righteousness of Truth—God, Who is all-good.

The reading aloud of a benediction at the conclusion of a church service is joy expressed, cherished, and shared with all in its hearing. It is the essence of genuine, heartfelt joy and commitment, seen in the exalted light of spiritual interpretation. It is impersonal, it is positive, it is healing, and it is eternal. It is part of "the morning meal" that blesses all.
  1. The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
  2. The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace. (Psalm 29:11)
  3. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever. (Psalm 121:7-8)
  4. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
  5. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6)
  6. Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
  7. Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 16:25-27)
  8. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; (2 Corinthians 9:8)
  9. Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11)
  10. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14
  11. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. (Galatians 6:18)
  12. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love incorruptible. (Ephesians 6:23-24)
  13. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
  14. And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:19-20
  15. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Philippians 4:23)
  16. Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13)
  17. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23
  18. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
  19. Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
  20. Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
  21. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:2-3)
  22. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. (Jude 1:20-21)
  23. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)
  24. Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:4-5)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Can Women Be Deacons?

Some churches say that women cannot be deacons while some churches say that women can be deacons. Which is the correct view? As with any opposing biblical views, the Greek needs to be consulted in order to determine the truth.

In the Greek, there are three words we need to be concerned with: diakoneō (διακονέω), which means to minister/to serve; diakonia (διακονία), which means ministry/service; and diakonos (διάκονος), which means minister/servant. Diakoneō appears 38 times in 32 verses. Diakonia appears 36 times in 32 verses. Diakonos appears 31 times in 29 verses. Only thrice in Scripture is diakonos translated as deacons: Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8 and 12. Only twice in Scripture is diakoneō translated as deacon: 1 Timothy 3:10 and 13. It is best to understand these words in their usual translations as either ministers or servants and minister or serve, respectively.

There is no "office of a deacon," as found in the KJV. In the 1560 Geneva Bible, 1 Timothy 3:10 reads: "And let them first be proved: then let them minister (διακονέω), if they be found blameless." In the same Bible, 1 Timothy 3:13 reads: "For they that have ministered (διακονέω) well, get themselves a good degree, and great liberty in the faith, which is in Christ Jesus." Other translations have "serve as deacons" (v.10) and "served as deacons" (v.13), which is a redundancy. "As deacons" is not required or necessary in either verse. The translation of verse 10 should simply be "then let them minister" or "then let them serve," and the translation of verse 13 should simply be "they that have ministered" or "they that have served." Period.

Diakoneō (διακονέω) means "to serve, wait upon, with emphasis on the work to be done and not on the relationship between lord and servant." This word is used in 1 Timothy 3:10 and 13. Diakonos (διάκονος) means "a minister, servant, deacon." This word is used in Romans 16:1 of Phoebe and, interestingly enough, it is also used in 1 Timothy 3:8 and 12.

Romans 16:1-2
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a [deacon/servant/minister] (διάκονος, diakonos)[predicate/anarthrous,noun] of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2 that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

1 Timothy 3:8-13
8 [Deacons/Servants/Ministers] (διάκονος, diakonos)[anarthrous,noun] likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let these also first be tested; then let them [serve/minister] (διακονέω, diakoneō)[present imperative active] if they are beyond reproach. 11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let [deacons/servants/ministers] (διάκονος, diakonos)[predicate/anarthrous,noun] be husbands of one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13 For those who have [served/ministered] (διακονέω, diakoneō)[definite article,aorist participle active] well obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Predicate is part of a sentence that states, affirms, or asserts something about the subject. Anarthrous refers to a word that appears without a definite article—"the." Present Imperative Active describes the verb. Imperative is a grammatical mood that forms commands or requests, including the giving of prohibition or permission, or any other kind of advice or exhortation. Aorist Participle Active also describes the verb. Aorist is a verb tense expressing action or, in the indicative mood, past action, without further limitation or implication. Participle is a “verbal adjective”: it is like a verb, in that it has Tense (past, present, perfect—future participles are rare in the NT)  and like an adjective, in that it has to agree with  the noun or pronoun which it qualifies (goes with) in Number (singular or plural), Case (Nominative, Accusative, etc.) and Gender.

In 1 Timothy 3:11, Paul uses the word likewise, which means "in the same way, in a like manner, similarly, also, too, as well." It relates back to what was just said. Paul was not talking about wives of deacons because no pronoun was used to refer to them. If that is what he meant, he would have said their wives or their women. Since there are no comments about the wives of elders, why would there be comments about the wives of deacons? There is no feminine form of diakonos (διάκονος); the same form of the word diakonos is both masculine and feminine. If Paul were to use just the term diakonos if he wanted to refer to women servers, it would have been unclear to his readers. He had to identify them as women. Hence why he refers to women in verse 11 with the Greek word gunaikas (γυναῖκας): Γυναῖκας ὡσαύτως... (Women likewise...).

Based on the words used, Phoebe is referred to by using the exact same word that appears in 1 Timothy 3. This tells me that women are allowed to be deacons. In the early church, women were full and active members. 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 informs us that both husbands and wives could pray and prophesy in the worship service. Paul's chief concern was that no woman should attempt to usurp the position of their husbands in the home or in the church. God has appointed specific roles and tasks for both men and women.

On the other hand, however, women are not allowed to be elders or pastors (see Women Pastors: What Does the Bible Say?). "Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says. And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only? If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment" (1 Corinthians 14:34-37). "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve" (1 Timothy 2:12-13). These verses—God-breathed, inspired by the Holy Spirit, have no bearing on women being deacons as they are under the authority of a male elder within the church.

Verses 1-7 of 1 Timothy 3 are best understood as "Qualifications To Be An Overseer/Elder," while verses 8-13 are best understood as "Qualifications For Servants." When we understand these passages in this way, and the language being used, it removes any confusion on the issue. Do not cherry pick at verses 11 and 12, trying to justify your desire for exclusion of women as deacons. Romans 16:1 uses the exact same word regarding Phoebe as is found in 1 Timothy 3:8 and 12. In order to grasp the truth here, let us eliminate the use of the word deacon and use the more accurate translation of either minister or servant, which is why 1 Timothy 3:8-13 is best understood under the heading, "Qualifications For Servants." These servants are especially qualified for ministering to the church, each other, and the surrounding community. The word "minister" here does not mean "preacher"; it means "someone who is qualified to attend to the needs of someone else."

Can women be deacons? According to Scripture, yes, they can.

Diakoneō (διακονέω) Diakonia (διακονία) Diakonos (διάκονος)
Matthew 4:11
Matthew 8:15
Matthew 20:28
Matthew 25:44
Matthew 27:55
Mark 1:13
Mark 1:32
Mark 10:45
Mark 15:41
Luke 4:39
Luke 8:3
Luke 10:40
Luke 12:37
Luke 17:8
Luke 22:26
Luke 22:27
John 12:2
John 12:26
Acts 6:2
Acts 19:22
Romans 15:25
2 Corinthians 3:3
2 Corinthians 8:19
2 Corinthians 8:20
1 Timothy 3:10
1 Timothy 3:13
2 Timothy 1:18
Philemon 1:13
Hebrews 6:10
1 Peter 1:12
1 Peter 4:10
1 Peter 4:11
Luke 10:40
Acts 1:17
Acts 1:25
Acts 6:1
Acts 6:4
Acts 11:29
Acts 12:25
Acts 20:24
Acts 21:19
Romans 11:13
Romans 12:7
Romans 15:31
1 Corinthians 12:5
1 Corinthians 16:15
2 Corinthians 3:7
2 Corinthians 3:8
2 Corinthians 3:9
2 Corinthians 4:1
2 Corinthians 5:18
2 Corinthians 6:3
2 Corinthians 8:4
2 Corinthians 9:1
2 Corinthians 9:12
2 Corinthians 9:13
2 Corinthians 11:8
Ephesians 4:12
Colossians 4:17
1 Timothy 1:12
2 Timothy 4:5
2 Timothy 4:11
Hebrews 1:14
Revelation 2:19
Matthew 20:26
Matthew 22:13
Matthew 23:11
Mark 9:35
Mark 10:43
John 2:5
John 2:9
John 12:26
Romans 13:4
Romans 15:8
Romans 16:1
1 Corinthians 3:5
2 Corinthians 3:6
2 Corinthians 6:4
2 Corinthians 11:15
2 Corinthians 11:23
Galatians 2:17
Ephesians 3:7
Ephesians 6:21
Philippians 1:1
Colossians 1:7
Colossians 1:23
Colossians 1:25
Colossians 4:7
1 Thessalonians 3:2
1 Timothy 3:8
1 Timothy 3:12
1 Timothy 4:6

Friday, November 11, 2016

Others May, You Cannot!

by George Watson, 1845-1924

"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 16:24-25

If God has called you to be truly like Jesus, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience, that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other believers do things which He will not let you do.

Others who seem to be very religious and useful, may push themselves up to be admired, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or in having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold—a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, while keeping you hidden in obscurity, because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit in you, which can only be produced in the shade.

God may let others be great, but He will keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without others knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done. This to teach you the message of the Cross and humility.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.

So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

If you absolutely give yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other Christian people say and do many things which you cannot.

However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, then you will have found the vestibule of Heaven, the high calling of God.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Discrimination


Funny. Homosexuals and supporters of homosexuality will say things like this, or picket with signs saying things like this, yet their narrow, tunnel-visioned, agenda-pursuing, illogical minds fail to see the hypocrisy in themselves.

What is the homosexual's thoughts with regard to murderers? What is the homosexual's thoughts with regard to rapists? What is the homosexual's thoughts with regard to pedophiles? What is the homosexual's thoughts with regard to zoophiliacs? Oh, that is right, they discriminate against them.

Society has lost the meaning of "discrimination" and broadened it in order to overlook and excuse blatant wrong-doing, immorality, and sin. Homosexuality is unnatural and improper. Period! Whether homosexuals are in the minority or not is irrelevant to the issue. Rapists are in the minority. Pedophiles are in the minority. Zoophiliacs are in the minority. There is a huge difference between a minority of ethnicity or colour and a minority of immorality or sin.

A less than 2% world population is bullying the other 98% of the world population into what they can and cannot think, say, or believe. Homosexuals and supporters of homosexuality are intolerant and guilty of true hate speech, forcing their opinions upon everyone else. They accuse Christians of being discriminatory, yet look at what they are doing to Christians and non-Christians who disagree with their unnatural, corrupt, and perverted lifestyle.

Taking a stand against immorality and sin is not discrimination! Homosexuals and supporters of homosexuality are guilty of discrimination and intolerance by attempting to silence Christians and non-Christians who disagree with them—by whatever means necessary. Homosexuals and supporters of homosexuality think that by changing the laws their consciences will somehow be silenced and homosexuality will somehow be accepted and acceptable. However, when they stand before the Law-Giver on judgment day, they will stand condemned because they know intrinsically that homosexuality is a sin against Him Who created them male and female.

Homosexuality cannot survive and cannot thrive left to itself. They cannot reproduce among themselves and create progeny. Their acts only result in disease. Logic and common sense and every evidence of science and nature makes the case that homosexuality is unnatural, improper, unacceptable, corrupt, and perverse. It is a perversion of both human and sexual natures. No matter how much homosexuals and their supporters argue for homosexuality, they cannot escape the reality of these facts!

Sexuality and Gender

The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society (Number 50, Fall 2016)
Sexuality and Gender: Findings From the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences

Lawrence S. Mayer, M.B., M.S., Ph.D.
Paul R. McHugh, M.D.

Download PDF here.

Homosexual "Love"

Alex Haiken, a Jewish homosexual, believes that Leviticus 18:22 forbids sexual practices between same-sex couples only in association with idolatry. When asked to show how infant child sacrifice (18:21) and intercourse with animals (19:23) are morally binding apart from their association with idolatry, while sexual practices between males as between a male and a female (18:22) is not, he responds with: "Now you’re going from the ridiculous to the ludicrous. One need not be a theologian to appreciate that child sacrifice (18:21) and bestiality (18:23) are indisputably exploitive [sic] and abusive under ANY context or circumstance, while the same does not hold true for what we know of today as “homosexuality”, which often encompasses a committed faithful and loving monogamous partnership or marriage."

He fails to see the logical fallacy he has created by ignoring the context and failing to exegete the passage correctly. If homosexuality is forbidden in this passage only in association with idolatry, then so likewise is infant child sacrifice and intercourse with animals. That means that outside of idolatry, infant child sacrifice and intercourse with animals is perfectly fine and acceptable morally. When this logical fallacy is exposed, Alex attempts to play fast and loose with his being caught red-handed in his eisegesis.

But let us look at this passage and Alex's argument a little closer. I have already given a breakdown of the context and exegesis of Leviticus 18 in a couple other blog entries, so I will not attempt to do so here. If Alex's argument was true, especially where he talks about homosexuality as being "committed faithful and loving monogamous partnership or marriage," which is an attempt at arguing the fallacious argument of "consenting adults," then likewise a committed, faithful, and loving monogamous partnership or marriage between close family members is also allowed and acceptable (vv. 1-18).

The ridiculous argument that "homosexuals should be allowed to love whomever they choose" is utterly destroyed when you apply that same false logic to incest, polygamy, or bestiality/zoophilia (which apparently was recently legalized in Canada). In other words, if I want to "love" some female member of my family, I should be allowed to because "it's not hurting anybody else." If I want to "love" some male member of my family, I should be allowed to because "it's not hurting anybody else." If I want to "love" multiple women and they want to "love" me, we should be allowed to because "it's not hurting anybody else." If I want to "love" my dog or some other pet or animal, I should be allowed to because "it's not hurting anybody else."

Do you see the problem yet? Or are you still in logical denial of the facts, truth, and reality? When you accept and make occasion for one deviant sexual practice, you must do so for all other deviant sexual practices, applying the same arguments. You cannot excuse one and condemn the others. Anything outside of one man and one woman united in a faithfully committed, loving, monogamous marriage is unnatural, corrupt, perverse, and wrong. You know it deep down in your heart because your conscience bears witness to it, but you continue to attempt to suppress that knowledge and your conscience in unrighteousness. Many people who excuse homosexuality do so because they think that by excusing it they will be able to excuse their own sins, too.

Homosexuals, and many people who support them, have no idea what love is or what love means. In their minds, "love" is associated with their lusts, desires, infatuations, and the heat of the moment. They toss around the word "love" loosely and carelessly. The fact is, they cannot give what they do not have. Real love has nothing to do with "sparks" or "fireworks," which can fizzle at any moment; it has nothing to do with feelings or emotions, which can change at any moment. Real love is selfless, sacrificing, and unconditional. There is nothing "loving" between homosexual couples. Their entire relationship is an illusion, an attempt to imitate the only acceptable relationship instituted by God, which consists of one man and one woman. They know themselves that their relationship is unnatural, corrupt, perverse, and wrong, otherwise they would not be attempting to imitate it in the numerous ways in which they do. Homosexuality knows nothing of faithfulness, of commitment, of love, or of monogamy. Homosexuals are well-known for their many, fleeting romances.

"From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh."

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Romans Seven

by Anthony Hoekema

We have seen that the New Testament teaches the believer to look at himself as a new man who has been delivered from the slavery of sin, as a new creature, as someone who is more than a conqueror through Christ who loves him.
All this sounds very good, someone might say at this point, but how about Romans 7? Doesn't Paul in this chapter teach us that even we who are Christians don't do the good we want to do, and do the evil we don't want to do? Doesn't he tell us that although we can will what is right, we cannot do it? Doesn't he assure us that although we may indeed delight in the law of God in our inmost self, there is another law in our members which makes us captives of sin? If this chapter describes the Christian believer, how can such a constantly frustrated person have a positive self-image? How can he see himself as a victor in Christ when he finds himself repeatedly defeated by sin? How can he view himself as a new creature when there is still so much of the old in him?
The problem here concerns particularly the interpretation of Romans 7:13-25. Does this passage describe the situation of the regenerate person? Do these words give us a picture of the struggle against sin which takes place in the daily life of every believer? Is this passage a description of the normal Christian life?
It must be granted that a great many interpreters, both past and represent, so understand these words. But it should also be said that there are a number of evangelical scholars who hold to a different understanding of the passage.
I believe that what we have here in Romans 7:13-25 is not a description of the regenerate man, but of the unregenerate man who is trying to fight sin through the law alone, apart from the strength of the Holy Spirit. I grant that this is a picture of the unregenerate man seen through the eyes of a regenerate man, since Paul wrote these words after his conversion. This fact helps us to understand the vivid and perceptive way in which sin is here described. But it is the struggle of the unregenerate man (or the regenerate man when he tries to "go it alone") that is here depicted, not the normal life of the believer.
My reasons for interpreting the passage this way are as follows:
(1) Romans 7:13-25 reflects and elaborates on the condition pictured in 7:5. In 7:4 we read, "Likewise, my brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God." You believers, Paul is saying, died to the law because you were crucified with Christ; since you are one with Christ not only in His death but also in His resurrection, you have now been made to belong to Christ—you have been married to Christ, so to speak—so that you might bear fruit for God. In the next verse, however (v. 5), Paul goes on to say, "While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death." Obviously what is here being described is a state previous to conversion, when we believers were still "living in the flesh." At that time we were not keeping the law, but rather found that the law aroused our sinful passions; as a result, we were then bringing forth fruit not for God, but for death.
If we may for the moment skip over verse 6, we shall see that the condition described in verse 5 is precisely the condition reflected in Romans 7:13-25. Verse 13 sums up the situation pictured in verse 5: "Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure." Verse 14, which follows, begins with the word "for" (unfortunately omitted in the Revised Standard Version): "For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin." It is important also to observe that the Greek text of the next verse contains two "for"s, only one of which is reproduced in the Revised Standard Version: "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." By means of these "for"s Paul is tying in what follows with what he has said before. The rest of chapter 7 is thus an elaboration of the condition described in verse 5. It will be recalled that the condition described in verse 5 is a state prior to conversion, when the people pictured in that verse were still "living in the flesh."
(2) One finds no mention of the Holy Spirit or of the strength He provides for overcoming sin in Romans 7:13-25, whereas there are at least sixteen references to the Holy Spirit in chapter 8. This fact cannot be without significance.
(3) The mood of frustration and defeat which permeates Romans 7:13-25 does not comport with the mood of victory in terms of which Paul usually describes the normal life of the Christian. We have already noted that in Galatians 5:16-25 Paul depicts the Christian struggle as between flesh and Spirit—but in an atmosphere of victory, not defeat. When Paul says, for instance, in Romans 7:23 that he sees in his members another law at war with the law of his mind, making him captive to the law of sin which dwells in his members, he certainly does not seem to be picturing the same situation as that which he describes in Romans 8:2: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death."
(4) Many commentators have called attention to the unusual words found in Romans 7:25, "So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." The words "of myself" are emphatic. They suggest that Paul is indeed describing a person who tries to "go it himself" or "go it alone"—to live the obedient life in his own strength, instead of in the strength of the Spirit.
(5) As I have already suggested, there is an abrupt change of mood as we go from Romans 7 to Romans 8. Romans 8:2 tells us how we have obtained freedom from the "law of sin and death": "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death." Paul uses the word "law" in various ways in his writings; in the verse just quoted he uses law in the sense of "principle" or "power." The power of the Spirit, he says, has set me free from the power of sin and death. This power of sin and death is what he has been experiencing during his unregenerate state. It is precisely the workings of this "law of sin and death" which have been described in such lurid colors in the second half of Romans 7 (note how often the very words "sin" and "death" occur in that passage). But now, Paul says triumphantly in 8:2, by the power of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, I and all believers with me have been set free from the slavery of sin and death!
What Paul says in 8:2, therefore, is actually a restatement of what he had said in 7:6, "but now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit." These words obviously describe, not the unregenerate man who is still "living in the flesh," but the regenerate man who has been delivered from the slavery of sin. The rest of chapter 7, beginning with the seventh verse, is an elaboration of the unregenerate condition pictured in verse 5. One could say, therefore, that 7:7-25 constitutes a kind of interlude, elaborating on and vividly dramatizing the condition pictured in 7:5, but that chapter 8 goes back to 7:6 and expands upon the state set forth there—that of the regenerate man.
(6) Romans 8:4 teaches us that the reason why God sent His Son into the world is "that that just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." These words do not expound the fact that Christ has kept the law for us (for in that case the preposition before "us" would have to be something other than "in"), but they affirm that God sent His Son so that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us or by us. This passage, further, does not speak only of what will be the case in the life to come; it obviously has a present reference. This being so, we must conclude that believers are not doomed to perpetual defeat in trying to keep the law—the kind of defeat pictured in Romans 7—but are now able to fulfill the law's just requirement, in principle though not yet in perfection, through the indwelling Spirit who enables and strengthens them.
What we have, therefore, in Romans 7:13-25 is a vivid description of the inability of a person to do what is pleasing to God in his own strength with only the law to help him. This description would strike home to the Jews among Paul's readers who set great stock by the law and thought the way to the good life was to be found through keeping the law. Such an effort, Paul is saying here, can only lead to perpetual frustration! It would also be possible, I agree, for a regenerate Christian to slip into the type of life described in the latter half of Romans 7, if he stopped walking by the Spirit and tried to keep the law of God in his own strength. But I do not believe, for the reasons given above, that the passage in question describes the typical life-style of the regenerate believer.
The interpretation of Romans 7 given above has important implications for our view of the Christian self-image. To understand the passage in this way does not imply that there is no struggle against sin in the Christian life; it only implies that Romans 7:13-25 does not describe that struggle in its usual form. I do not believe it is proper, for example, for a Christian who has fallen into some sin to quote from this passage as a kind of "excuse" for his lapse. I do not think it is a responsible use of the chapter for a believer to say, "it's no wonder I fall so far short of what I ought to be, for even that great saint, the Apostle Paul, had to confess, 'I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.'"
Understanding Romans 7:13-25 in the way described above will help us come to greater clarity on the question of the Christian's self-image. There is struggle in the Christian life, to be sure, but the struggle is to be carried on, not in an atmosphere of constant defeat, but in an atmosphere of victory. The person described in the second half of Romans 7 seems doomed to perpetual frustration; he is continually hitting his head against the wall. But the person described in Romans 8 is one who, strengthened by the Spirit, is fulfilling the just requirement of the law, is putting to death the deeds of the body, is setting his mind on the things of the Spirit, and is therefore more than a conqueror through the One who loved him. It is Romans 8, not Romans 7, which pictures what the normal Christian life is like. Accordingly, the biblical view of the Christian's self-image is to be drawn, not from Romans 7, but from Romans 8.

Whom Does the Man in Romans 7:14-25 Represent?

by Robert L. Reymond

Many of the ablest expositors, standing in the tradition of Augustine and the Western church at large, believe that Paul intended Romans 7:14-25 as a description of the Christian in his struggle against the power of indwelling sin (e.g., John Calvin, J. Fraser, F. A. Philippi, C. Hodge, J. Muray, C. E. B. Cranfield, John MacArthur). In my opinion (shared by J. A. Bengel, H. A. W. Meyer, F. Godet, M. Stuart, W. Sanday and A. C. Headlam, J. Denney, J. Oliver Buswell Jr., A. Hoekema, M. Lloyd-Jones), however, the Romans passage is not a description of the regenerate person's struggle against indwelling sin. Rather, drawing upon his own experience as Saul, the most zealous law-keeping Pharisee of his day (Acts 22:3; 26:5; Gal. 1:14; Phil. 3:4-6) who had become aware through the law, as applied by the Spirit, of his own innate sinfulness, in this passage Paul, with words provided him from the enlightened vantage point which was now his as a Christian, sets forth both the impotence of the unregenerate ego to do good against the power of indwelling sin and the "inability" (ἀδύνατον, adynaton 8:3) and "weakness" (ἠσθένει, esthenei 8:3) of the law due to human depravity to deliver the unregenerate ego from sin's slavery.
Herman Ridderbos in his Paul: An Outline of His Theology,1 concurs that this passage does not refer to the Christian struggle against sin. However, he rejects the view that "this ego of 7:7-25 . . . is to be taken in a biographical sense as a description of Paul's personal experience before or at his conversion" (129), preferring rather to interpret the passage by "redemptive-historical contrasts and categories" (129), that is to say, the "I" in the passage represents Old Testament Israel and its experience with the law. I contend, however, that this is precisely what Paul intended—to employ his experience as the unconverted Saul of Tarsus, aroused from his spiritual torpor, convicted by the reality of his sinfulness, and struggling even more than before to please God through his efforts at law-keeping, as an illustration of the impotence of the law to sanctify the unregenerate heart and the frustration unto death that any and every unregenerate person will experience who would sincerely seek to achieve a righteousness before God on the basis of his own law-keeping. I say this for the following reasons:
  1. Romans 7:7-13 is clearly autobiographical,2 highlighting the facts that sin dwelling within Saul of Tarsus had always been his problem and that the law, while not the source of sin, for it is "holy, just, good, and spiritual" (7:12, 14), is impotent relative to the production of good in the sinful heart. The shift of verb tense from the past to the present at 7:14 in no way affects the autobiographical character of 7:14-25. Nor must the present tenses in 7:14-25 necessarily indicate Paul's experience at the time he is writing Romans as the mature Christian apostle and missionary. The "historical [or "dramatic"] present" is a well-known use of the present tense in Greek when the writer wished to make a past event or experience more vivid to his reader.3
  2. The man describes himself as "carnal" (σάρκινός, sarkinos; 7:14), which according to 8:6 is descriptive of the state of spiritual death.
  3. The man says of himself that he has been "sold as a slave [πεπραμένος, pepramenos] to sin" (7:14), that is, he is a slave of sin, which is descriptive only of the unregenerate man. Regenerate persons "used to be [ἦτε, ēte] slaves of sin" (6:17, 20). but now "have been set free from sin" and have now become "slaves to righteousness" (6:18, 22). They, "were controlled by the sinful nature" (7:5), but now (νυνὶ, nyni; 6:22) "are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit" (8:9), "having died to what once bound them" (7:6). They did "live according to the sinful nature" (8:4), but now they are living (περιπατοῦσιν, peripatousin) "according to the Spirit" (8:4b) and the law's requirements are being "fully met" in them (8:4a).
  4. The man says of himself that his members are being mastered by "indwelling sin" (ἡ οἰκοῦσα ἐν ἐμοὶ ἁμαρτία, he oikousa en emoi hamartia; 7:17, 20). This is not true of the Christian for he is governed by the "indwelling Spirit"; if he is not so governed, he is not a Christian at all (8:9, 11)!
  5. The man says of himself that "in me...dwells no good thing" (7:18), which is not true of the Christian for the Spirit of God dwells within him (8:9, 11).
  6. The man says of himself that a "law [of sin]" within him is "waging war against [ἀντιστρατευόμενον, antistrateuomenon] the law of his mind [that is, his desire to do good] and making him a prisoner [αἰχμαλωτίζοντά, aichmalōtizonta] of the law of sin at work within his members" (7:23). here again he stresses his slavery to sin which is not true of the Christian (6:14), for the gospel has "liberated [him] from the law of sin and death" (8:2).
  7. The man says of himself throughout the passage that he does not do the good that he wants to do; rather, he continually does, indeed, actually practices, what he does not want to do (Epictetus, Enchiridion, 1. ii. c. 26, says something almost identical with that of the apostle here). In sum, the man in this passage is enslaved by indwelling sin and sees his state as "wretched" and his body as the sphere in which sin is operative unto death (7:24). This is not true of the Christian nor can this be descriptive of the Christian.
  8. The advocate of the Augustinian view contends that the unregenerate person could not and will not "delight in God's law after the inward man" as the man in the passage says he is doing (7:22); only Christians, they urge, can do that. But I beg to differ. Saul of Tarsus, as a Pharisee, did just that. It may legitimately be said that throughout his life as a self-righteous Pharisee he "delighted in the law of God with his mind"—observance of the law was his very reason for being. He was a "son of the law," was committed to it, and wanted to obey it. But when the tenth commandment truly "came home" to him at some point with condemning power (had he coveted Stephen's knowledge of Scripture and his exegetical power?) and made him aware of his indwelling sinfulness, the sin which had always dwelt with in him "came to life" and he "died" (7:9). Paul also declared that the Jewish nation was "pursuing" a righteousness of its own through law-keeping (Rom. 9:31-32). Apparently, then, unregenerate people can sincerely desire to be obedient to the law. Their problem, as the passage teaches, is their impotence to do what they want to do or know to be right.
  9. Some advocates of the Augustinian view contend that Romans 7:25b, as the conclusion of the argument, describes a condition only true of the Christian: he "is a slave to God's law with his mind but a slave to the law of sin with his members." But this radical dichotomy between what he wants to do (the good, obedience to God's law) and what he in fact continually practices (see πράσσω, prassō 7:19) (evil, transgression of the law) is not true of the Christian. Romans 7:25b is either
    1. a conclusion descriptive of the unconverted but deeply convicted Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, struggling to obey the law in his own power, with the preceding "Thanks be to God" phrase (7:25a) being the regenerate Paul simply interjecting into the flow of his argument as he occasionally does an anacoluthonic praise statement from his vantage point as a Christian (e.g., Eph 2:5), highlighting where he found the solution to his struggle,
    2. following Theodor Zahn,4 a rhetorical question (taking the ἄπα οὖν, ara oun, "Now therefore," of 7:25 as ἆπα οῦν, ara oun, "Shall I then?" which expects the negative response "Of course not!"), with the preceding "Thanks be to God" phrase then to be construed as an essential part of Paul's statement marking the point in the flow of his argument when he was converted and thus the point at which his nonvictorious struggle with sin's power ceased.
  10. The man in Romans 7:14-25 is struggling against sin's power and he desires to obey God's law. But he is utterly defeated by the power of indwelling sin. This is not true of the Christian who, while he too experiences a struggle against sin (Gal. 5:16-18), is described as victorious in his struggle against sin's power because of his new master, the indwelling Spirit of Christ. Ridderbos writes:
    Undoubtedly it is said of the new man . . . that he continues to be engaged in conflict with the flesh. Thus, for example, in Galatians 5:17 where it is said: "the flesh lust against [NIV—"desires what is contrary to"] the Spirit [to prevent you from doing the good that the Spirit wants you to do], and the Spirit against ["desires what is contrary to"] the flesh . . . to prevent you from doing [the evil that the flesh wants you to do]." And similarly it is said to believers in Romans 6:12 that sin may not (continue to) reign in their mortal bodies, etc. All this points to enduring battle, struggle, resistance of the flesh against the Spirit. But the absolute distinction between these and similar pronouncements and the portrayal of Romans 7 is that the former are spoken within the possibility and certainty o victory (see Rom. 6:14: "for sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under law, but under grace"; Gal. 5:24: "but they that are of Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts"), while in Romans 7 everything is directed toward throwing light on man's situation of death, his having been sold under sin, his having been taken captive by the superior power of sin. . . . The elements placed over against each other in Romans 7 are . . . not (as in Gal. 5) the Spirit and the flesh, or (as in Rom. 6) grace and the law, but the human ego, the "i-myself" (v.25!) and the flesh, the law of God and the law of sin. In the struggle between those parties the victory is to the flesh and sin, and the ego finds itself, despite all that it would will and desire, in absolute bondage and the situation of death. Other powers must enter the field, another than the "I-myself" must join the battle, if deliverance is to come. So far is it from any suggestion that since there is mention here of a dis-cord, this were able to furnish the proof that the struggle between the old and the new man is described [in Romans 7] in the manner of Galatians 5:17.5
Some Christians have employed the Augustinian view of the passage to undergird the antinomian's "carnal Christian" theology. I remember reading an antinomian tract once that actually argued, because Paul says of his evil practice here, "it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me" (which means something on the order of, "my evil deeds show that I am impotent against sin in my own strength, that is, I am  not my own master [the "it is not I that do it" phrase], but am rather a slave to indwelling sin which governs and controls me") (7:17, 20), that the Christian need not worry about his carnal practice since, after all, it is not he who is sinning but simply his sin nature within him that is doing so! The antinomian has also used the Augustinian interpretation of the passage as his excuse for the sin in his life when confronted by his pastor: "Well, I've been taught that the man in Romans 7 is the apostle Paul, the most mature Christian of his day, who could never do what he wanted to do but rather continually sinned against his will. While I wish I didn't sin, and I hate it when I do, I guess, like Paul, I'm just the carnal man in Romans 7!" To use this passage in these ways is a travesty! Nothing Paul ever wrote did he intend the Christian to use as an excuse for the toleration of sin in his life, and no biblical passage should ever be used to justify a "carnal" Christian existence. The Bible denounces carnality wherever it is found. And it expects the Christian to denounce his carnality (which he will have) as a legitimate experience of Christian existence, and to repudiate and overcome the carnal thoughts and activities in his life (which, not without struggle, he will do).
It is better, I would urge, to hold that Paul is describing his state prior to his conversion on the Damascus Road but, due to his conscience having been awakened to his sinfulness but still "kicking against the goads" of Christ's gracious overtures (Acts 26:14), a state in which he is hopelessly struggling in his own power to be obedient to the law and thus to please God.
Why does Paul take the Christian reader back to his struggle against sin as a convicted Pharisee? How, in short, does this autobiographical piece fit into the context and the argument of the epistle? Paul, in his argument for justification by faith alone, knows he has said some things about the law which, if left unexplained, might lead his reader to the conclusion that the law of God is a bad and sinful thing. For example, he had said: "through the law we become conscious of sin" (3:20); "The law was added so that the trespass might increase" (5:20); and "the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies" (7:5). Therefore, he pauses in the development of his argument at 7:7 to ask the question: "Is the law sin [that is, a sinful thing]?" Using his own experience as a Pharisee as his prime example, he answers this question with a resounding "Certainly not!," developing then the fact that it was not the law that made him covet; rather, it was his sinful human nature, seizing upon the opportunity provided it by the "holy, just, good, and spiritual" commandment, "Do not covet," that produced in him all manner of evil coveting. Not only this, says Paul, but his sinful human nature, seizing the opportunity provided by the commandment's unrelenting demand of obedience, also "killed" him (7:11). He asks then the question: "Did that which is good [the law], then, become death to me?" (7:13). In other words, was the law the "killing thing"? He answers, "By no means!" and declares again that it was his sinful human nature, through the "good" commandment that forbade coveting, that both produced death in him and showed, in its willingness to use the holy law for such a purpose, its "utter sinfulness" (7:13). It is both this last point—the "utter sinfulness" of his sinful nature—and the impotency of the law in the struggle against sin—that Paul develops in 7:14-25, arguing that even when as the convicted Pharisee he wanted to do the good and obey God, his sinful nature would not let him and the law did not help him; to the contrary, the sinful nature "waged war against the law of his mind [his desire to do good] and made him a prisoner of the law of sin at work within his members." His conclusion: his unregenerate state had been a "wretched" existence, so wretched, in fact, that he cried for deliverance from it! Not knowing where to turn (for he still did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah or that Jesus could help him), however, he continued in his impotency to struggle against sin's potency until his Damascus Road conversion finally brought him deliverance from his slavery to sin (8:1-4)!
Thus Paul restricts the source and locus of sin to man, the second cause, and while vindicating the "holy, just, good, and spiritual" law, showing that it is only the instrumental dynamic that the sinful nature, aroused by the law's prohibitions, uses in its hostility to God to lash out against God by enslaving his moral creature in sin and disobedience, highlights in doing so the law's "inability" and "weakness" to deliver from sin's enthrallment.


1 Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, trans. John R. DeWitt (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1975), 126-130.
2 Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Mich.: Eerdmans, 1959), I: 248, 254.
3 E. Blass and A. Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament, trans. Robert W. Funk (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1961), 167, para. 321.
4 Theodor Zahn, Der Briefe des Paulus an die Romer (Leipzig: A. Deichert, 1910), 370ff.
5 Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, 127.

The Helplessness of the Sinner, Romans 7:7-8:4

by J. Oliver Buswell

Man has been shown to be a sinner, not only in his particular deeds of corruption, and not only in his corrupt nature considered apart from particular deeds. man has also been shown to be a sinner in his status as a member of the fallen race represented in the original sin of Adam, and represented in the act of crucifying the Son of God.
This being the case, it is of course inconceivable that mankind, or any individual mere man, could in any way compensate for human sin or offer any vindication of the moral order of God's universe. The natural man, when convicted by the Holy Spirit of God, may recognize the rightness of God's law and may earnestly wish to be in harmony with it, but the natural man stands utterly in need of both propitiation, whereby he may be justified, and enablement whereby he may begin and continue to live a holy life.
It is my conviction that the "wretched man" described by the Apostle Paul in the seventh chapter of the epistle to the Romans is Paul's picture of himself under conviction of the Holy Spirit, prior to his conversion on the road to Damascus.
I recognize that the majority of sound Calvinistic commentaries (though not all) take this wretched man to be a picture of a born-again person undergoing a spiritual struggle. In part at least the motivation for the latter interpretation is found in the fact that anti-Calvinists and Arminian perfectionists, generally take the opposite view. On the ground that the Christian has, or may have, perfection in this life, the Arminian perfectionist is inclined to interpret the "wretched man" as undergoing a struggle prior to conversion. Although the latter is my view, at least I am not motivated by Arminian or perfectionist considerations. That the Christian is not perfect in this life, and that there are fearful struggles within the Christian life subsequent to regeneration, is made abundantly evident to me by such other Scriptures as Galatians 5:13-6:1. In the latter passage we have "the flesh" (fallen human nature) struggling against the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit contends against the flesh, so that, "You cannot do the things which you otherwise would."
Granted that the majority of the descriptive items predicated of the "wretched man" could apply to any person in any kind of spiritual struggle, whether regenerate or not, and granted that an uninstructed Christian might erroneously apply to himself every part of the description, yet there are certain particulars in the description which the Apostle Paul positively could not apply to a born-again individual. For example, the wretched man declares, "I am sold [as a slave is sold] under sin" (v.14). Paul has just said in clear language that "We are no longer slaves of sin, for the party dying [with Christ] has been justified from sin" (Romans 6:6,7). Further, the wretched man declares, "To do the good is not provided to me" (v.18b). On the contrary, Paul constantly teaches that the enablement of grace is provided to the born-again person. "No temptation has taken you but such as is common to man. God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted beyond your ability, but He will make with the temptation also a way of escape so that you will be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13). "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).
There are other details in the description which apply much more accurately to the lost man under conviction than to the regenerate men, but these two points seem to me sufficiently conclusive.
The description begins with the question of fallen man in relation to the law, "What then are we going to say? The law is sin? No indeed! On the contrary, I should not have known sin except through law. In particular, I should not have recognized lust, if the law had not said 'Thou shall not lust [Ex. 20; 17]'" (v.7).
We may well imagine Saul of Tarsus, as a brilliant young man studying in Jerusalem, examining himself by the Ten Commandments. His self-righteousness might make him immune to the condemnation of the first nine; although in the light of the interpretation given by the Lord in the Sermon on the Mount, he would have stood condemned by them all. However, it was the tenth commandment which examined the motives of his heart. When the law said, "Thou shalt not have evil desires," he experienced conviction. "By the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). So he continues the description, "Sin took occasion through the commandment and worked up in me all kinds of lust" (v.8a).
These words are followed by a reminiscence, "Without the law sin was dead, and I was alive without the law at one time" (v.8b). When was Paul "alive without the law"? or when was he in such a condition that "sin was dead"?1 In my opinion, the only possible answer to these questions is that these words describe a stage in the youth of Saul of Tarsus. He was a young man from a good home, harmonious with the convictions of his father and his grandfather.2 He was advanced in Judaism beyond many of the young men of his own age (Galatians 1:14). We may well imagine that Saul of Tarsus at one period of his life was not at all conscious of any condemnation of the law. He was "alive" to himself within the horizon of the world in which he lived. His parents and his teachers praised him. he was well pleased with himself. The idea that the law condemned him was quite remote from his consciousness.
However, when he became vividly conscious of the tenth commandment, everything changed. "When the commandment came, sin came to live, and I died; and the commandment which is [intended] for life, even this was found in my case to be for death. Sin indeed took occasion through the commandment and deceived me; yes, through it, sin put me to death" (vv.9-11).
Paul now asks a question basic to the understanding of the atonement: Is the holy law of God to be condemned, or set aside, or nullified, because the law brings sin to light? Paul's answer is that the foregoing facts prove the opposite.
"So therefore the law is holy and the commandment is holy and just and good. Is it the case then that the good proved to be death for me? No indeed! On the contrary [all this took place] in order that sin might appear to be sin by working death in me through that which is good; in order that sin, through the commandment, might prove to be supremely sinful. We know indeed that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal [i.e. my nature is that of fallen humanity]. I am sol [as a slave is sold] under [the mastery of] sin" (vv.12-14).
What could more vividly display the state of conviction in the conscience of a formerly self-righteous young man, as the holy law of God gave him an overwhelming consciousness of his sin? What could more vividly set forth the hopelessness and helplessness, the condemned situation, of fallen humanity confronted by the holy law of God?
Paul continues with a moving description of the distress of a deeply convicted but unregenerate mind. "I do not know what it is that I am working out. It is not what I choose that I am putting into practice, but what I hate, this is what I am doing. But if what I do not choose, this I am doing, I agree with the law, [I agree] that is good. But now it is no longer I who am working it out, but indwelling sin in me.
"I know that there does not dwell in me, that is, in my fallen human nature,3 anything good. Indeed, to choose the good is possible for me but to work out the good is not possible."
"Not, indeed, what I choose am I doing, that is, the good; but what I do not choose, that is, the evil, this I am practicing. But if the very thing which I do not choose is what I am doing, it is no longer I who am working it out, but sin which dwells in me.
"I find therefore the law for me as I choose to do the good, that the evil is provided to me.4
"Indeed, I take pleasure in the law of God in my inward being,5 but I find another law in my faculties, fighting against the law of my mind,6 and bringing me into captivity to [itself,] the law of sin in my faculties" (vv.15-23).
What a description of the unregenerate mind, wholly devoid of the enablement of God's grace, yet convicted by the Holy Spirit through the law, by which "comes the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20).
There follows here the wail of despair, the outcry of the sinner in utter defeat, followed immediately by the irrepressible ejaculation from Paul himself as he recounts the experience. The best that the lost man could do, apart from Christ, would be to find release from his body. Death would end the struggle. But Paul cannot refrain from exclaiming that the solution is not in death but in Christ.
"Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me out of this body characterized by death?" (v.24). The very sound of the words is a wail of despair, Talaiporos ego anthropos! (v.24). The Apostle Paul after his conversion could never have spoken thus of himself. When he thought of death in any favorable manner, it was "to be with the Lord" which would be "far better" (Philippians 1:23). Paul's yearning as a Christian was not for death, but for the coming of Christ and the instantaneous immortality without death, which will be the lot of those who live until the Lord's return. (II Corinthians 5:4).
The glad ejaculation, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (v.25a) must be taken as the answer to the struggle as a whole, and not as implying that through Christ the wretched man is to be delivered out of his body. The latter interpretation would strikingly contradict Paul's teaching and the former is more natural as he draws toward the conclusion of this particular description.
Paul's conclusion of this section, as I construe the text, includes Romans 7:25b-8:4. "Is it the case then7 that I myself, in my mind serve the law of God, but in my human nature8 I serve the law of sin? There is, you see, no condemnation now to those who are in Christ Jesus, for the reason that the mode of operation9 of the life-giving spirit10 in Christ Jesus has delivered you from the mode of operation of sin and death.11 Indeed the inability of the law is in the fact that it is weak because of fallen human nature.12 God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who carry on, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Romans 7:25-8:4).
The words, "Sending His own Son . . . concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh," quite definitely refer to the atonement. The phrase, "in the flesh," here designates the locus of the condemnation.13 God had condemned sin in Eden. He had condemned sin from mount Sinai. He had condemned sin from heaven. But now God in the flesh condemns sin. In the flesh Christ lived a perfect life, His "active obedience," and offered that perfect life as perfect sacrifice in His flesh on the cross. In the same body in which He suffered, He arose again from the dead. Thus in His active obedience, in His suffering obedience, and in His resurrection, God in the flesh condemned sin.
Paul's conclusion as a whole then is that the utter hopelessness of lost humanity, confronted by God's holy law, is wholly incapable of any remedy whatsoever, except by the atonement which Christ accomplished on the cross.


1 It must be remembered that "death" in the Bible never means non-existence. The person who is dead to sin is alive to God, and the person who is dead in sin is alive to himself and to the world.
2 In Paul's declaration recorded in Acts 23:6, the plural form of the word "Pharisees" in the Greek text, is significant, "I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees." This would probably indicate that his family had been Pharisees for two or more generations.
3 Literally, "in my flesh."
4 I have translated parakeitai in these verses both "it is possible" and "it is provided." The literal meaning of the word is "it lies at hand."
5 Literally in the "inner man." The phrase occurs in only two other passages in the New Testament, Eph. 3:16; II Cor. 4:16. The phrase is familiar in classical Greek as a reference to the non-material man in contrast to the body. See for example Plato's Republic, Book IX, Section 589, cited by Thayer.
6 Note here that "mind" explains "inner man."
7 Construe ara as interrogatory, pointing the first alpha with a circumflex. The Arndt and Gingrich Lexicon calls attention to the fact that Theodore Zahn, in his commentary on Romans, suggests that ara should be thus construed in this text.
8 Literally, "my flesh."
9 Literally, "law."
10 Literally, "Spirit of life."
11 The law of sin and death is referred to in chapter 7, vv. 21,23, and previously chapter 6:23, "The wages of sin is death."
12 Literally, "the flesh." The law can crush and destroy but it cannot make alive that which is dead in sin (Galatians 3:21).
13 See Robertson, Davis, Short Grammar, Section 324, p. 201.