The Romans 7 Man

Romans7I’ve long thought that the “Romans 7 man” refers to a born-again Christian under the new covenant.

In fact, I believe that if one doesn’t grasp this Romans 7 dynamic of conflict which goes on in all of us believers, they will have one of two tendencies:

1. Pride, because they think they are following the law well enough to earn God’s love and favor, or

2. Despair, because they don’t understand what’s happening within themselves.

Anyway, here are some excellent persuasive reasons to understand that those Romans 7 passages refer to a new covenant believer:

http://feedingonchrist.com/john-pipers-10-reasons-romans-714-25-christians-experience/

Behold, He Makes All Things New

The First Sunrise of the New Year 2009

compiled by Michele Rayburn

Behold, He makes all things new…a New Covenant, a new creation in Christ, a new identity in Christ, a new spirit…

Psalm 40:3  He has put a *new* song in my mouth. Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.

Psalm 96:1  Oh, sing to the Lord a *new* song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Isaiah 42:9  Behold, the former things have come to pass, And *new* things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Isaiah 62:2  The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a *new* name, Which the mouth of the Lord will name.

Isaiah 65:17  “For behold, I create *new* heavens and a *new* earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

Jeremiah 31:31  “Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a *new* covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”

Ezekiel 11:19  Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a *new* spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 18:31  Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a *new* heart and a *new* spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel 36:26  I will give you a *new* heart and put a *new* spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Matthew 26:28  For this is My blood of the *new* covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Mark 14:24  And He said to them, “This is My blood of the *new* covenant, which is shed for many.”

Luke 22:20  Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the *new* covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”

John 13:34  A *new* commandment that I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Romans 6:4  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in *newness* of life.

Romans 7:6  But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the *newness* of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Romans 12:2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the *renewing* of your mind…

2 Corinthians 3:6  God…who also made us sufficient as ministers of the *new* covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 4:16  Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being *renewed* day by day.

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a *new* creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become *new*.

Galatians 6:15  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a *new* creation.

Ephesians 2:14-15  For He Himself is our peace…having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one *new* man from the two, thus making peace…

Ephesians 4:22-24  …put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be *renewed* in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the *new* man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.

Colossians 3:9-10  …you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the *new* man who is *renewed* in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.

Titus 3:5  …according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and *renewing* of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 8:8  “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a *new* covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…” (Jer.31:31)

Hebrews 8:13  In that He says, “A *new* covenant,” He has made the first obsolete.

Hebrews 9:15  He is the Mediator of the *new* covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 10:19-20  Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a *new* and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh…

Hebrews 12:22-24  But you have come…to Jesus the Mediator of the *new* covenant…

1 Peter 2:2  …as *newborn* babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby…

2 Peter 3:13  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for *new* heavens and a *new* earth in which righteousness dwells.

1 John 2:8  Again, a *new* commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

2 John 1:5  And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a *new* commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning; that we love one another.

Revelation 2:17  And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a *new* name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

Revelation 3:12  And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the *New* Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God. And I will write on him My *new* name.

Revelation 14:3  And they sang as it were a *new* song before the throne…

Revelation 21:1  And I saw a *new* heaven and a *new* earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.

Revelation 21:2  Then I, John, saw the holy city, *New* Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:5  Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things *new*.”

Morning Has Broken – sung by Cat Stevens

The Legalistic Tendencies Of The Puritans (Part 2)

thomas_watsonPart 2 – by Michele Rayburn
(Part 1 is here)

It seems as though Thomas Watson had an unhealthy preoccupation with sin, causing him to heap unnecessary condemnation upon himself, and leaving little or no room for himself or other Christians to experience the grace of God toward their sinful condition.

It seems as though Watson was collapsing under the weight of his own heavy yoke.

I was quite thrown by the words Watson used to describe God’s behavior toward His children. “A godly man loves the menaces of the Word. He knows there is love in every threat.”…”God…mercifully threatens us, so that He may scare us from sin”…”There is mercy in every threat”…???

Was Watson’s definition of “menace”, “threat”, and “scare” different from that of today? Is it to be interpreted differently, or did he really mean what he said?

Then I thought, “Where is the Scripture to support his belief that God menaces, threatens and scares His children from their sin?” The Scripture that Watson used to support how the believer “loves the threatening part of the Word” I found to actually be supportive of how God regards His enemies in Psalm 68:21, and regarding evil in 1 Kings 3:26 and Zechariah 5:1, and not supportive Scripture regarding the believer.

So, it became increasingly unclear to me as to who Watson was talking about…the Christian or the unbeliever. It seemed he was mixing the two. How God uses the Word on the unbeliever and how He uses the Word on His children is quite different.

How God speaks to the unbeliever, or brings the unbeliever to repentance through His Word is different than how he teaches His children to grow in that grace by which they have now been saved.

Watson says, for instance, “The Word has a double work: to teach us and to judge us. Those who will not be taught by the Word shall be judged by the Word.” Was he talking to the believer here regarding being judged, or the unbeliever? Or both? I’m guessing he meant the unbeliever because it refers to “those who will not be taught by the Word”.

Watson says, “We do not want sin covered, but cured. We can open our breast to the bullet of the Word and say, ‘Lord, smite this sin.’” I am not sure what kind of remedy for his daily sin he is looking for here. The sins of the people of Israel were “covered” in the Old Testament by the blood of bulls and lambs.

Under the New Covenant, our sins were not “cured” but the Lord did “smite this sin” on the cross with His own blood. “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all…” (Romans 6:10)

As Keith Green sang, “The work is already done.” Our sins are no longer temporarily “covered”, but now we have been permanently “redeemed” by the blood of The Lamb.

There is no “cure” for sin in our daily life but in Romans 6:11-14,17-18 it says, “…reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord…do not let sin reign in your mortal body…present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead…for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace…though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

And 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 says, “…our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

And finally, Galatians 5:16 says, “…Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

Watson says, “The Word is a spiritual mirror through which we may see our own hearts…When the Word came like a mirror, all my opinion of self-righteousness died.”

That is true, but the Scripture goes further. It says in 2 Cor. 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

When I read the Word I do not feel threatened, because I love and trust the Lord. I feel challenged to grow in His grace…but not threatened.

I do not need to be scared away from sin. I am already repulsed by it, because I have been given a new nature. I am a new creation in Christ who is alive to God and dead to sin.

- Michele
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The Legalistic Tendencies Of The Puritans (Part 1)

thomas_watsonPart 1 – by Terry Rayburn
(Part 2 is here)

Since there are certainly a large number of Christians who read the Puritans, I wanted to make some comments about the Puritans in order to bring attention to a form of Legalism that they are prone to, largely because of their Covenant Theology.

No one likes to pick on such esteemed men as the Puritans, but Grace is too important to neglect the subtle spiritually-detrimental influence that the Law-based message of the Puritans can bring on an unsuspecting reader.

The following link is to a fairly representative message from Thomas Watson, entitled “A Godly Man Is A Lover of the Word”:

http://www.puritansermons.com/watson/watson2.htm

I urge you to read it before reading comments by me in this post (“The Legalistic Tendencies of the Puritans, Part 1″), and by my wife Michele in the next post (Part 2).

Part 1, Comments by Terry:

Warning: Sin-centered Christians will not like the following comments. But sin-centered Christians love warnings, so I knew it would be an attention-getter :)

Watson, like other Puritans in general, thought he was being Christ-centered by being sin-centered.

This is a result of his not cutting straight (rightly dividing) the Word of Truth.

He didn’t understand that the Old Covenant was made obsolete by the New (Heb. 8).

He didn’t understand that sin shall no longer be master of us because we are no longer under Law but under grace (Rom. 6:14).

While he acknowledges grace in a vague way, his *focus* is on himself and his sin. This is unbiblical under the New Covenant.

Our *focus* is to be on Christ, and walking by His Spirit. Keeping our eyes on Him, fellowshiping with Him. Not examining our spiritual navel 24 hours a day to see if we’re more sinless than we were yesterday, and wringing our hands and hankies when we’re not.

“If we walk by the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). The love of Christ constrains us to walk this way, and the love of Christ is grown in our hearts and minds as we look on Him, not our fleshly wretchedness.

And the Puritans didn’t get it, because they were reactionaries, reacting to a decadent immoral secular English church. And they reacted with a law/sin-focused life and study.

They rightfully gloried in the greatness of God, and this is the one value of reading the Puritans, but it’s a big mistake to go to them for tips on Christian living.

They are the Emperor who has no clothes. Greatly admired, almost worshiped like they were Christ himself, they were Law/Sin nerds who never got out of Old Covenant thinking, and into the bright light of Gal. 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

And yet, I mean no disrespect to them as men. They were influenced by their peers and their times.

But we are in another time, friends. A time in which we have an opportunity to bring the light of the New Covenant to a generation of believers who still think that their performance is the point.

A time when we can shake off “Religion” and replace it with Christ Who is our Life (Col. 3:4), and leave “Religion” for the World.

A time in which we can build true “…fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn. 1:3), because “…the blood of Jesus Christ His son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 Jn. 1:7)

We all want “true revival”. But true revival is happening now in the hearts of those who understand the radical nature of Grace, who understand the freedom which is in Christ, and I don’t mean Antinomianism.

The Performance-Based Believer can never have the revival he thirsts for, because his *focus* is himself, and he doesn’t even know it.

He thinks he still has a wicked heart, and doesn’t realize that he’s been given a *new* heart, a heart of flesh to replace the heart of stone. (He has no idea what Paul means in Rom. 7:17, when he says, “…it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”)

His goal in a good sermon is to be “convicted”, so that he can head back to his laboratory of Performance and maybe get it right this time.

“Tetelestai!” It is finished! He has done it! Life conquered Death! Our sins, beloved are *all* forgiven. We are free to take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

And the Catch-22 is that then we will sin less.

And it’s all of Grace.

That’s the New Covenant.

The Lord Provides – A Honeymoon Story

my_car_on_honeymoonIn June 1984, Michele and I were on our honeymoon, driving from New York in a big circle South through Virginia, Tennesse, Kentucky, then back to Michigan.

Yes, that’s our actual car — a 1970-something Plymouth Satellite Sebring — heading out from our wedding reception at the Knights Of Columbus Hall in Long Island, where we ate Baked Ziti and danced the Tarantella (Michele’s family is Italian from Napoli – see video below)

Anyway, we were traveling Skyline Drive, high atop the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, when the starter went out on our car, and we were in trouble.

Stark wilderness. Not much money. Having left our overnight motel cabin, we BARELY got the car started, and were pretty sure it would not start again.

What to do? There were no service stations on Skyline, and no signs pointing to where we could find one. Even if we could find a repair place down in the little side valleys off the mountaintop, we couldn’t really spare the cost of a new starter.

We prayed.

We finally knew we had to take one of the little side-roads down into a tiny valley village, and see what happened. We also needed some lunch, but didn’t dare to shut the car off.

We meandered down a thin road into a village so small that they didn’t even have a traffic light.

But they had an oily dusty old 2-bay auto repair shop (think Gomer and Goober in Mayberry, but a much smaller town)!

The country mechanics told us not to worry, they’d take care of it. They invited us to walk next door to the little cafe, grab a sandwich, and they’d be done by the time we finished.

I can’t remember what a starter cost in those days, maybe $100-$150 installed.

When we went back to the repair shop, they presented us with a bill for $12! 

“What?”, I asked. “The starter wasn’t bad after all?”

Gomer said to us, “Oh no sir, the starter was bad alright. But we took it apart and replaced a worn brush, and she’s as good as new! Sorry it took us more than an hour, so we had to charge you for an extra half-an-hour. Hope that’s alright, sir…maam.”

And he pointed to a cardboard hand-written sign on the wall – “Labor $8 per hour”.

We were on our way to finish our honeymoon drive back to Michigan, and 29 years later the Lord is still providing, often in ways we could never have guessed.