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Dear Saints, I want to give a bit of the Bible study article to be published soon in the next edition of The Last Days Times. In that study, I explain Romans 6, 7, and 8 in a way that I have not heard out in mainstream Christianity, ever. You should read through those three chapters now, then return here for this explanation, as perhaps you have never seen it.
At the outset, we should recognize that there are three persons involved: the "old man," the "carnal man," and the "new man" (Rom. 6:6, Eph. 4:22-24, Col. 3:9-10; Rom. 7:14). We have assumed through generational church doctrine that the old man is the flesh, or the carnal man. NOT SO! That generally accepted interpretation always conflicted with what Paul wrote about his carnal man being still sold under sin - even after salvation (Rom. 7:14). How could the old man be dead, yet still sold under sin and still a part of the argument of whether one will sin or not? For this reason in particular, for centuries theologians have thought that perhaps Paul wrote the seventh chapter before he was born again, or that he wrote it from the position of a lost person. But that simply does not fly. For all time, chapters six and eight seemed to flow together well, but chapter seven caused a bit of a problem. It has been an ongoing problem for centuries to understand exactly why we so often find ourselves doing those things that we do not want to do when we have been made new creatures - born after God - especially since we assumed that the carnal man was dead. Paul answers this difficult question after setting it up through chapter seven; but it must be understood in light of the whole passage, and it is understood even more clearly when we take into account the whole New Testament record. Well, we have known that it was the flesh which led us to do those things we really didn't want to do; but according to our understanding of chapter 6, the flesh (carnal man) was supposed to be dead. Let me give the interpretation I believe the Holy Spirit is making more clear for us.
The first thing that must be realized is that there are three persons involved, rather than only two as Christian tradition teaches. There is the "old man," who has died with Christ; there is the "carnal man," who is "sold under sin" but still living; and there is the "new man," who is born after God and, like God, is perfect always.
1. The old man is the first Adam, who was alive in the individual, but who died when that individual identified with Christ in His death by faith. The first Adam ruled the carnal man until that moment. 2. The carnal man is earthly and will be until we are resurrected. The carnal man is not the old man. Again, he is the entire make-up of the natural man that still lives (mind, will, emotions, body... and so-forth), in which the new man is housed. 3. The new man is the Christ in us. He is a completely new creature - born after God. The new man, born after God, is who we are now at the core of our being. Before we were born again, the old man of the first Adam was the core of who we were. Now the new man, of the Last Adam (Jesus Christ), is our identity.
Now the carnal man (natural man) is literally bound to obey the new man, just as he was literally bound to obey the old man before. However, there is only one way to master the carnal man since he is still carnal (sold under sin). Paul explains that it is not by any law or rule or commandment, whether of the Old Covenant or of our own rule or conscience. Mastering the carnal man who is still alive is done only when we walk in the Spirit of the new man. Of course, we have already known this, since the scripture states this plainly; and we know that the new man who is born of God cannot sin (I John 3:4-10). As long as we surrender to Him within, we WILL DO the will of God and NOT DO the will of the carnal man. The ONLY way for the carnal man to do what he wants to do anymore is for us to relax (stop) our walk in the new man! The carnal man cannot overpower us because he is nothing more than the natural vessel that houses the new man. That's it!
The power who aided the carnal man by ruling over us was the old man (the first Adam), who now is literally dead! Forever dead! The carnal man is alive but powerless UNLESS we surrender to his cravings, as he is a natural man in a natural world. However, he is under the dominion of the new man wholly and completely anytime the new man (the Spirit) is permitted to live freely through us. We CAN walk in the righteousness of God... ALWAYS - by surrendering always to the Spirit within! (However, if we relax the exercise of the Spirit within us, we are subject to falling back to the carnal man's desires, and in doing so can become enslaved by him again. For this reason, we should be very careful! This can be fatal!)
To walk in the new man always, we should do those things that stir Him up within us. For example, we should continually surround ourselves with those things that give hospitality to the Holy Spirit, such as: "psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, making melody unto the Lord." We should do all that we can to feed and to strengthen the Spirit of God within us, and in this way the new man can live righteously!
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