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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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NetChaplain

Our Closest Enemy

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Believing in Christ’s Gospel also means being partakers with His “sufferings” (2Co 1:5)—via our cross in Him (Luk 9:23). We cannot be partakers with Him in the expiation of His Cross, being recipients of its provision, but in our cross we do partake of His sufferings related to it. His Cross “condemned sin” (Rom 8:3); our cross is the “enduring” (2Tim 2:3) of ongoing opposition to His Cross which derives from self, Satan and society.

 

It has been said that “the lost need saved, and the saved need deliverance!” Deliverance from what? From the opposition to Christ’s Gospel. Our oppositional activity primarily involves that which is closest—self, e.g. us in our old nature. In our Christian walk we are being taught the freedom we have in Christ from not only the guilt of the old man (Rom 8:1) but also from its “rule” and “dominion” of sin (Rom 6:12, 14). The dominion issue is not related to sinning or not sinning but rests in the desire not to sin (which answers to progressively sinning less), meaning believers are kept from personal desire to sin, thus we never sin willfully but rather it’s always against our desire to do so.

 

From self (e.g. old self or sinful nature) comes the “contrarieties” to God (Rom 7:14-25), which His Spirit opposes in us (Gal 5:17), while we grow in our “walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:25). Enduring this enemy within is where I believe the greatest proofing and strengthening of our faith occurs, for its indwelling (Rom 7:17, 20) makes it the closest foe with the greatest amount of opposition.

 

I saw an excellent analogy that related our old man to that of a ship’s captain, who committed such a high crime that the crew was forced into mutiny against him, chose another to be captain, and chained the old captain to the mast until he could be dealt with upon reaching the shore. But as their journey continued they could hear the old captain yelling orders and threats as usual at the top of his voice, but now it had only minimal effect, for they knew he could no longer do anything about it, knowing he remained restrained (Rom 6:6 – “is” continually being crucified).

 

Satan appeals to us only in our old man, for he is aware that he cannot address us in our new man (new nature). It being in “true holiness” (Eph 2:24) and “renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Col 3:10) is unapproachable, for we in our new nature, or “seed,”—“cannot sin” (1John 3:9).

 

Society (the world, e.g. unbelievers, which will always comprise the majority of mankind) is more or less just a significant distraction being used by Satan via their old man, which makes him—their “god” (2Co 4:4) and “prince” (Jhn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), which was once the same for us.

 

NC

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Yes, these are some great points. Indeed, taking up the cross daily is something we must do. "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10. "For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it" (verse 11). It is Christ who does the work in us. Wow is it painful to let go of the old self and receive Christ, but the promise is ours: "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Jeremiah 31:33. It is by Christ that we can obey His will and go and sin no more (John 8:11). When we accept what He has already spoken, it will become our reality and we will love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:15). God bless!

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Yes, these are some great points. Indeed, taking up the cross daily is something we must do. "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10. "For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it" (verse 11). It is Christ who does the work in us. Wow is it painful to let go of the old self and receive Christ, but the promise is ours: "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Jeremiah 31:33. It is by Christ that we can obey His will and go and sin no more (John 8:11). When we accept what He has already spoken, it will become our reality and we will love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:15). God bless!

 

Hi Rev13, and thanks for your reply! Appreciate your comments you made but I'm of a different understanding on a couple of them, which we could discuss but that's only if you wanted to discuss them. Mostly I agree with you and it's always enjoyable communicating with other believers.

 

God's blessings to your Family, and God be blessed!!

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Thank you NetChaplain. I am more than happy to discuss anything you want to. I love to talk about anything that has to do with Jesus and His word. I'm sure we can agree to stick to the Bible alone and when necessary agree to disagree :). What did you have in mind? God bless!

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Yes we take up our cross daily and are as said crucified daily.Just read in Philippians today that we are called not only to believe but also to suffer. Christ still suffers in this world through his people.

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Yes we take up our cross daily and are as said crucified daily.Just read in Philippians today that we are called not only to believe but also to suffer. Christ still suffers in this world through his people.

Hi Dutch, and thanks for your reply! Amen, our cross parallels Christ's in the same as what He suffered from mankind--unkindness and opposition to truth. Not only does this present ongoing opposition from without, but for the believer it also includes our continual dying to our old man--which is still on the Cross (Rom 6:6).

 

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Thank you NetChaplain. I am more than happy to discuss anything you want to. I love to talk about anything that has to do with Jesus and His word. I'm sure we can agree to stick to the Bible alone and when necessary agree to disagree :). What did you have in mind? God bless!

 

Thanks Rev13! My interest here primarily involves being knowledgeable concerning the ongoing opposition of our old man, which is the sinful nature. Many are of the notion that because it is "crucified" (Rom 6:6) it is dead but nowhere in Scripture is it said to be dead. It's written that the believer is "dead to sin" (Rom 6:2) but it is not dead to us. Our death to sin involves being free from its guilt (Rom 8:1), "rule" (Rom 6:12) and "dominion" (6:14), but not from its presence, nor its attempts against our desire not to sin.

 

Hope I wasn't too picky and God bless!

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NetChaplain, I completely agree. As Dutch mentioned, we are to take up our cross daily because of the fact that the old self is always present. I love the fact that we can overcome the old self, and here is a promise: "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." 1 John 5:4. By God's grace I have experienced what it looks like to gain victory in certain areas over sin. And what it really boils down to is faith, claiming the promises of God, such as this one: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1 Cor. 10:13. And this one: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Pet. 1:4.

 

If anyone says they cannot gain the victory over a sin in their life, I say to them "is Satan bigger than your God?" Christ assures us that the victory is ours if we claim His power in our lives (2 Cor. 12:9, Phil. 4:13, Isa. 40:31). And this process is sanctification, and lasts a lifetime because, as you mentioned, that old self is always present seeking to drag us back into bondage. We must have the faith of Jesus (Rev. 14:12), which is full and complete dependence on God in everything. God bless!

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If anyone says they cannot gain the victory over a sin in their life

Amen, and good reply! I especially like the above comment because it reminds me of how all believers already have victory over sin's guilt and dominion (which cannot change). What remains is learning to walk in this to show it to others, which we are ever learning to do. Just as we "live in the Spirit," we continue to learn to "walk in the Spirit" (Gal 5:25)--all by the teachings of the Spirit (1Co 2:13). We have deliverance from the power of sin and we need continued fresh graces for deliverance from the harassment of sin!

 

God bless!!

 

 

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Our heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. It is our closest enemy and the one no matter how hard we try we cannot get away from.

 

Hi BM, and appreciate your input! Our heart is our nature which I comprehend as "the old man," and it's there for us to learn from, same reason for Satan's existence. It's encouraging and instructional to know that those who are reborn "are not in the flesh" (sinful nature), though it is in us--restrained on the Cross (Rom 6:6) and cannot incur guilt (Rom 8:1) nor dominion (Rom 6:14). God now regards the believer after the new nature (new heart)--"which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created it" (Col 3:10; also Eph 4:24).

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My heart used to be this;

 

(Jer 17:9) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

 

Christ heard me in my broken hearted prayers;

 

(Psa 34:18) The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

(1Jn 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

He has caused me to be Transformed;

 

(Rom 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

By writing His law directly upon my heart;

 

(2Co 3:3) Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

 

By which I now am Empowered;

 

(Joh 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

 

Fulfilling;

 

(Jer 31:33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 

(Eze 36:26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

 

This makes us a New Person;

 

(2Co 5:17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

By this New Power Filled Christ Heart given us we "mortify" (kill, destroy) the deeds of the flesh.

 

Rom_8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Col_3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

 

By Christ's Spirit in us, we desire righteousness now, and hate sin.

 

(Jud 1:23) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

 

Which brings us into the Righteous Sinless Living of Christ in us;

 

(1Pe 4:1) Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

(1Pe 4:2) That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

 

In this is the beginning of this fulfillment;

 

(Mat 5:48) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

 

resulting in;

 

(Rom 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

And then we Come to know what being Free from sin is, because we are cleansed from sin, and not sinning anymore;

 

(1Jn 3:9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

 

And in such Righteousness we are enjoying the Kingdom of God in Christ's Holy Spirit;

 

(Rom 14:17) For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

 

Amen and Righteousness upon us all dear Lord!

 

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My heart used to be this;

 

(Jer 17:9) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

 

Christ heard me in my broken hearted prayers;

 

(Psa 34:18) The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

(1Jn 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

He has caused me to be Transformed;

 

(Rom 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

By writing His law directly upon my heart;

 

(2Co 3:3) Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

 

By which I now am Empowered;

 

(Joh 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

 

Fulfilling;

 

(Jer 31:33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 

(Eze 36:26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

 

This makes us a New Person;

 

(2Co 5:17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

By this New Power Filled Christ Heart given us we "mortify" (kill, destroy) the deeds of the flesh.

 

Rom_8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Col_3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

 

By Christ's Spirit in us, we desire righteousness now, and hate sin.

 

(Jud 1:23) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

 

Which brings us into the Righteous Sinless Living of Christ in us;

 

(1Pe 4:1) Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

(1Pe 4:2) That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

 

In this is the beginning of this fulfillment;

 

(Mat 5:48) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

 

resulting in;

 

(Rom 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

And then we Come to know what being Free from sin is, because we are cleansed from sin, and not sinning anymore;

 

(1Jn 3:9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

 

And in such Righteousness we are enjoying the Kingdom of God in Christ's Holy Spirit;

 

(Rom 14:17) For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

 

Amen and Righteousness upon us all dear Lord!

 

Hi Watcher and thanks for the reply, of which I mostly agree! God bless!

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Many are of the notion that because it is "crucified" (Rom 6:6) it is dead but nowhere in Scripture is it said to be dead.

Death by crucifixion was a slow process. I do think it is analogous to the death of our old man, which will take a lifetime.

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Death by crucifixion was a slow process. I do think it is analogous to the death of our old man, which will take a lifetime.

 

Hi Eric, and nice comment! After all Romans 6:6 writes "is crucified," e.g. is being crucified. Paul uses the present tense also for "I am crucified" (Gal 2:20). The old man is still a part of us--for the continued learning of God dependence--in the Cross. It's a nature in us but we "are not in it" (Rom 8:9) because it cannot incur "condemnation" (Rom 8:1) nor "rule" and "dominion" (Rom 6:12, 14).

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