Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 34
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES VICTORY OVER SIN -PART 2
Now we’re going to pick up again in Galatians Chapter 5:17 where we ended in our last lesson. This is where I like to depict the two natures of the believer. Now I know a lot of folks have no concept of the two natures. But when we become a believer the old sin nature, the old Adam that we’re born with had to be crucified, he had to be literally put to death in the realm of the spirit. Now that is done when we believe in our heart the Gospel for our salvation, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again. When we do that then Christ reckons that old nature crucified, and we’ll see that in Romans again in just a moment.
After salvation then immediately God places opposite that old Adamic nature a new Divine nature, and I maintain that new nature cannot sin because it’s divine. So when we, as believers, sin it’s just the simple matter that old Adam has taken control for a moment, and it’s through the old nature that we continue to sin, but always remember that as far as God is concerned old Adam is dead. That’s why God can declare us “justified,“ and it’s just as if we’ve never sinned, because old Adam is dead and gone so far as God is concerned. But experience tells us that in our every day life old Adam is still there but we try to keep him suppressed.
The new nature is imparted by a divine act of God, so in this area between the old sin nature and the new nature, which is now receiving its prompting and its power from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit at the same time comes in and indwells and takes up residence, as well as regenerates our spirit which in Adam’s case died the moment he sinned. So with the Holy Spirit now in consort or in complete agreement with our spirit, we once again have that means of fellowship with God through the Spirit, and then, here is the crucial part. The Holy Spirit working on our spirit is going to influence the new nature and the new nature in turn is going to control the acts of the physical body. So as long as we’re led by the Spirit the body is going to find itself in complete agreement with the laws of God that are good for society, good for family, they’re good for material relationships, all of these things prompted by this God-given part of us make the difference.
Now like I said, we as humans are going to sin. We all fail, we all fall, and it’s when this part of us, the new nature suddenly withdraws and comes away from the battle line, and old Adam immediately jumps at the opportunity and immediately begins to control the acts of the body, then, of course we find ourselves as believers, sinning. I mean believers sin, and we can’t get away from that. But the whole idea is that we keep that spirit part of us literally exercised by the Word, by prayer, by Christian fellowship, and then we can pretty much control the activity of the body. Now let’s look at verse 17 and 18 and then we can go back and compare Scripture with Scripture.
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one with the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18. But if ye be led of the Spirit ye are not under the law.”
Now let’s show this from Scripture. First and foremost we cannot do the things that we would do, let’s not find ourselves beating our breast and saying, “Oh, I’m without hope, I can’t seem to win,” because the apostle Paul went through that same thing. Now let’s look at his dilemma in Romans Chapter 7 first, and maybe that will give us some comfort. You see we’re not alone when we know we should do something and we just don’t do it. We know we shouldn’t do certain things, but the first thing we know, we’ve done it. All right in Romans Chapter 7 let’s just drop down to verse 15. I mean this just says it all.
“For that which I do I allow not:…”
Well what does he mean? Well that’s what Paul is doing in the body and flesh, this new nature prompted by the Holy Spirit tells him that it’s wrong. Do you see that? So he says, “the things that I do I know better. I don’t want to do them. Now move on in the verse.
“…for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”
Now what’s he’s saying? The things that now the Spirit and his new nature hate he’s finding that old Adam is still slipping in and getting the job done, whatever it is. But in order to control the failures of the body this new nature has to be strengthened and becomes uppermost in all of our thoughts and acts, and deeds. We have to constantly keep that old Adamic nature in suppression. Now I think you’ve all heard the expression, “Well the Devil made me do it.” Well that’s not very often the case, rather it’s old Adam who makes us do it, but let’s not leave Satan out of the picture entirely. Where does Satan work? Well through that old nature. That’s his playground, that’s where he loves to fulfill his desires. He loves for our old Adamic nature to control, and to exercise the desires of the old nature, but we have in I John, this:
I John 4:4b
“…because greater is he that is in you, than he that is the world.”
So we have that comfort to always rely upon. Now let’s turn a page to Romans Chapter 8. I like to show that Paul doesn’t just write these things in one place and leave it, but it’s a constant repetition of these things. Let’ just start with verse 1.
“There is therefore (in spite of our dilemma in Chapter 7 that the things we know we shouldn’t do, we find ourselves doing them some times, but in spite of that there is therefore) now no condemnation (how can anybody twist that? That’s what it says, that in spite of our dilemma, in spite of our failures, God has promised that there is no condemnation, but what’s the criteria?) to them which are in Christ Jesus,…”
Now remember no unbeliever is in Christ. Oh, he may try to walk like a Christian, he may try to behave like one, but unless he’s in Christ, he’s not one. But for those of us who are in Christ, and remember we get to that position by faith, and faith alone in believing the Gospel. (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) And that’s an act of God. Now I’m going to leave the last part of that verse because I would rather pick it up in verse 4. But now for verse 2.
“For the law (remember I’ve explained that the word `law’ doesn’t always mean the Ten Commandments, but in this case it means a fact of life. For the law, or fact of life) of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from (another fact of life, and that is the) the law of sin and death. 3. For what the law (now we’re coming back to the Mosaic Law) could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God (now God takes precedence. We can’t do it but He can by) sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, (to take care of that problem of old Adam) condemned sin in the flesh:” Now here’s the verse we came for.
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,…”
Now we need to stop here for a moment. When we start talking about Law and Grace we can’t be confused. The Law from God’s view point was perfect! It was the very mind of God expressed so far as being the best for mankind’s benefit and his own good. But from the human standpoint the Law was weak and beggarly, it was a yoke. Now why those two seemingly contradictory statements of the same Ten Commandments? Well you see God revealed His righteousness and His Holiness when He gave those Ten Commandments. But man over here without the power of the Holy Spirit and in his own flesh couldn’t begin to keep that perfect Law.
And so it became weak and beggarly, a yoke that poor old Israel just chafed under constantly. So here’s the whole concept: Yes the Law is perfect, but we can not keep it in the flesh because it had no power to impart to man to keep it. Now I hope I’ve made that plain. The Law had no power to help mortal men to keep it. That was its weakness! And consequently man couldn’t keep the Law, in fact they couldn’t even come close to keeping it. But now under our economy of Grace we’ve got something far better. It was good under the Law but under Grace it’s far better. Now looking at verse 4 again.
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Now that the Law might be fulfilled in us, not that we’re better at Law-keeping than Israel was, but because of our position, because of the power of the Holy Spirit we no longer walk after the flesh or after old Adam, but after the Spirit. Now here it is – Just as soon as old Adam is crucified, and in God’s eyes he’s completely dead, he’s out of the picture, but in our experience he’s still here, but he’s defeated. He doesn’t have to remain uppermost. If he remains uppermost it means we’re not fighting the battle. But with the help of the Holy Spirit empowering our spirit we can live victoriously, but always remember that old Adam is powerful and he will come to the forefront at times, and that is where the warfare exists, and there would be no warfare if it weren’t for the indwelling Holy Spirit. If we didn’t have Him helping us there wouldn’t even be a battle line. We wouldn’t stand a chance against the forces of old Adam, and forces of Satan if we didn’t have the Holy Spirit. That’s the secret.
In fact the word Pneuma Hagion in the Greek, do you know what it really means? In the English it is that Power from on High. That’s what this is. The Holy Spirit is the Person, but when He gives us that which we need to confront the old nature and his desires, and to live victoriously in the flesh we can’t do it without the Pneuma Hagion which is the Power from on High that is exercised through the Person of the Holy Spirit. And we have to understand by Faith – “But Lord I have the Holy Spirit, I can draw on Him, and I don’t have to force myself to be a law keeper.” It just simply now comes naturally to let the Sprit run the race for us. All right while we’re here in Romans Chapter 8 and this fits with Galatians so perfectly come on down to verse 5.
“For they that are after the flesh (they’re still living in the realm of old Adam, and know nothing of God’s saving Grace) do mind the things of the flesh; (now you want to remember that’s the grand majority of the world’s population. All the lost out in the world today are there for is to gratify the flesh. They have no concept of eternity, they have no concept of Spiritual things, and all they are concerned about is to gratify the flesh. Oh they may do it with pomp and circumstance. They may do it in high echelons of society, but it’s still just the gratification of the flesh. Now on the other hand the flip side of that is ) but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
Iris and I can tell, no matter where we go in our travels, it doesn’t matter whether they’re in the upper or lower ends of the economics, we don’t care. We enjoy the whole spectrum, but we’ve noticed now over the past several years when we’re invited to come in and spend the night or have dinner, they don’t talk about the weather or sports, or politics. The minute we sit down it’s in the Book! And that’s the way it should be. Granted people have questions and maybe think that I have the answers, but nevertheless we always come away from those places just thrilled. “Now these people have only one thing on their mind, and that’s the things of the Spirit.” Now that’s not the natural person, because he’ll talk about anything but the things of the Spirit. Now let’s go back to Galatians as we need to make a little headway today. Looking at verse 18 again.
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
Now that’s what the Book says. You don’t have to write and tell me that I can’t say things like that. Remember I’m not saying them, but rather the Bible is, God’s Word says it. When we’re under Grace and under the working and power of this Pneuma Hagion this power from on High, then we’re not under the Law. In other words I don’t have to check the Ten Commandants every day to see if I’ve broken one or more today. See, that’s not the way we look at it, that doesn’t even enter our minds that I have to keep the Law, because the Holy Spirit is in place of the Law. Well I’m sorry but we’ve got to look at another verse in Romans 7:6 and this says it better than I can. We’re going to keep on repeating it, and repeating it until people know it forward and backwards.
“But now we (as believers) are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”
Well what are the two concepts there? Are we going to work and live under the idea of the new nature who is being prompted and encouraged by the Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, or are we going to still try and satisfy old Adam. See, old Adam knows enough that maybe he should try to keep the Law, as a lot of people realize that it’s wrong to steal, it’s wrong to do these things, and so old Adam can recognize that, but you see on the other hand he knows he can’t keep the Law anyway so pretty soon he gives up. But you see the new nature doesn’t have that problem. Our new nature under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, realizes that we can’t keep the law by the energy of the flesh. It’s impossible. But when we let Him lead us and guide us and direct us then the Law takes care of itself. Read that verse again.
“But now we are delivered from the law, (and that means exactly what it says.) that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit,…”
Now that word newness means exactly what it says. A whole new ball game. When we become a believer and receive this new nature it’s completely different. I don’t care what prime time of life you’re in. Whether you’re a teenager or middle age or in the advanced years it’s the whole idea that regardless where we are in our life, once we enter into this Spirit-led life, we’re not under the Law, we’re under Grace. Now back to the Book of Galatians. Now we get into the part that really gets explicit. There are no punches pulled here. There are no ifs, ands, or buts, there’s no question. Now verse 19.
“Now the works of the flesh (of old Adam, Satan’s playground) are manifest, (in other words there’s no hiding it, there’s no doubting it. It’s just like looking in a microscope again and seeing everything exposed by that bright light from below) which are these; (and what does it start with? Sexual sins) Adultery,…”
You know as you look at the world all the way back through history, what has always been the most hideous of mankind’s sin? Sexual immorality! The pagans were rampant in it as we expressed that in our study of Corinthians. We saw some of the places in the Mediterranean recently where Paul was confronted with this type of gross immorality. So it’s always been that way, and I think even going as far back as Ishmael, and Esau – in fact let’s look at Esau’s result in Hebrews Chapter 12. Even all the way back to Esau, and remember he was one of the twins of Isaac and Rebecca. I want you to see this because this has always been, I think, the most crucial shortcoming of the human race. And we’re seeing it explode all around us even here in the 1990’s.
“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, (now the two go hand and hand. When you have someone who is immoral, he’s also profane for all practical purposes) as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”
Now do you get the make of the man’s personality. Number one, he was destitute of faith. Those of you who were with me when we taught Genesis remember we pointed out when he came in hungry as a bear, and he smelled that bean soup cooking what did he tell old Jacob? “Give me a bowl of your bean soup.” Well old Jacob wasn’t about to give it free, so Jacob said “I will in turn for your birthright.” Remember Esau saw absolutely nothing of any kind of worth of the birthright. He’d rather have that bowl of bean soup. Why didn’t he see any value in the birthright? It was something to be appropriated by faith, and how much faith did he have. NONE! Esau was destitute of faith. Consequently what kind of a man was he sexually? Immoral!