Old Testament: 2Chronicles 6: 12 – 8: 10
2 Chronicles 6:12-8:10 Opening Day
Here are the parallels in Kings to our section for today:
1 Kings 8: 22- 66 2 Chron. 6: 12 – 7:10
1 Kings 9: 1 – 9 2 Chron. 7: 11 – 12
1 Kings 9: 10 – 28 2 Chron. 8: 1 – 18
Of course, I’ve written on Solomon and the first day at the Temple already here:
I saw an expert in Israeli affairs interviewed on a news channel yesterday. He was saying that the Israeli president was doing all the right things in regards to war being waged with Palestine currently. He said that there was only one thing more that the Israeli leader could do. He said the president of Israel should call for a fast like the good kings of Judah had done. He mentioned Asa, Josiah, Hezekiah, and Nehemiah (who wasn’t a king). Here Solomon says that if anyone has sins to confess (v. 22), if the nation was defeated due to sin (v. 24), if there was no rain (v. 26), if there was a famine (v. 28), and if a foreigner wants to pray (v. 32) they could come to the Temple and meet with God. The purpose of the Temple was to meet with God.
It was interesting that the man on the news channel wanted the prime minister to call for a fast. Chronicles would seem to indicate that prayer should be made in the Temple. What is the problem with that? There is no Temple today! The way to come to God during the current era (dispensation) is to come through Jesus Christ (John 14:6)!
It is also interesting that in the Old Testament it was understood that “all had sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) as we studied recently. 1 Chronicles 6:36 says, “When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin),” it was time to come to Temple and pray. Now the curtain of the Temple has been torn and we have direct access to confess our sins to God (Matt. 27:51; 10:19-20). Formerly, only the High Priest had access to the holiest place in the Temple by passing through the curtain one day a year (on the Day of Atonement). Now, in our dispensation of the church, believers can come into the direct presence of God due to the tearing of the curtain. As Hebrews 8: 13 says, “When He said, “A new [covenant],” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” (You can read “dispensation” for “covenant” in this verse. As you can see in the NASB quoted here, the word “covenant” is implied in the original which is why it is in brackets.)
New Testament: Romans 7:14-8:8
Romans 7:14-25 Not My Problem
Paul has begun chapter 5 by stating that God’s grace is greater than all our sin (sounds like a song!). In chapter 6 he says we are “dead to sin” (v. 2, 11). In chapter 7 he states that he is having a struggle. It is a struggle that all sincere Christian believers have. In the beginning of chapter 7, he tells us that the law and specifically the command to covet has created a struggle within him.
Paul’s struggle is that he cannot do what he wants to do even though he knows he is spiritually dead to sin. He really wants to do the right thing but he just can’t! So what does he do? He blames it on someone else! Look at v. 17. He says he isn’t the one doing the wrong things. He says it is “sin which dwells in me” (v. 17). Hey, that’s lame! How does he get away with that excuse? It sounds similar to the “dog ate my homework” or as Flip Wilson used to say, “the devil made me do it”! What is he talking about?
Well, Paul uses a word “flesh.” “Flesh” is literally the body or . . . ah, flesh. But it can be taken in the metaphorical sense of part of us that has illicit bodily desires. Wiersbe says (commentary on 1Jn. 2: 15-16) that “‘the flesh’ does not mean ‘the body.’ Rather it refers to the basic nature of the unregenerate man that makes him blind to spiritual truth (1 Cor. 2:14).” In other words, Paul is blaming everything on his his old nature that gratifies him in his literal body. I believe if man did not have a body, he would not sin. All of the “lusts” are tied to the body and when believers receive their new bodies in Heaven, they will no longer sin!
Here is the reason. He has already talked about the “sinful passions” which we said are emotions and he ties them to his body (v. 5). He is saying that he wants to gratify his body. In 1John 2: 15-16, John gives us the category of sins that are in the world. They can be “lust of the flesh,” “lust of the eyes,” or the “pride of life.” “Lust of the flesh” would refer to bodily comforts that are not of God. For example, the devil tempted Jesus in Mat. 4: 3 to change stones into bread. Jesus had just finished fasting for forty days and forty nights. There was nothing wrong with eating bread but the devil was asking Jesus to do something against God’s will: to use his powers as God to gratify himself with God’s permission. The devil showed Jesus the entire world (v. 8) and tempted him to take the power to make it His. That is the “lust of the eyes.” Jesus could “see” what He could have and the temptation was to take it apart from the will of God. The devil also tempted Jesus to throw Himself off the top of the Temple (v. 6) so everyone could see angels rescue Him. That is the “pride of life” or pride of power. Without a body who could enjoy the “lust of the flesh, “the lust of the eyes” or the “pride of life”? (Eve was also tempted the same way but succumbed. Gen. 3: 6, ” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make [one] wise, she took from its fruit and ate . . .” She 1- saw food, “the lust of the eyes,” she 2 – saw it was a “delight to the eyes,” “lust of the eyes,” and also 3 – that it could make one wise,”pride of life” or power.)
So Paul is saying that there is a force within him that impedes his ability to do God’s will. Notice that his “mind” (v. 23) and his “inner man” (v. 22) are not the culprits. Paul has his mind stuffed with Scripture so his mind is not leading him astray. His “inner man” is his heart or his emotions that want to do what God wants. Paul identifies with his “inner man.” The problem Paul has is that he has a “law” in his “members,” that is, his body that is opposed to his mind. He states twice that the problem is in his “members” reinforcing my idea that the body is the problem. This does not mean that we can not use our bodies for good. It does not mean that our “passions” or emotions are always bad. It does mean that the battleground is the body and the attached emotions. Our new bodies will not have this problem.
Paul summarizes the problem in the last verse of chapter seven. His mind moves toward God but he body and its passions are dragging him down (v. 25). The struggle is so intense that he calls himself a “wretched man” (v. 24).
Romans 8:1-8 Mind Your Own Business
Paul writes one of the most magnificent verses in Scripture, verse 1 of chapter 8. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” When we get to chapter 14 and 1Cor. 3 and 2Cor. 5 we will see that Christians will be judged for how they have lived their Christian lives. But they won’t be condemned. They can only be commended if commendation is due. A believer in Christ has already crossed from death to life (Jn. 5: 24). A believer can not be condemned because Jesus Christ has already taken the condemnation!
The law of the Spirit (v. 2) has set us free from death. The law can only exacerbate our sinning and show that we are sinners. It took the Son of God who appeared to have a sinful body who sacrificed Himself so that we could live for God! Jesus did not have a sinful body, remember Jesus was virgin born and had God as a Father. So Jesus had no sin (Heb. 4:15).
Notice, again, the “mind” is viewed favorably. In fact, Paul later says that it is with our mind that we need to be concerned. Later in this very book, in Rom. 12:2, Paul says, ” . . . do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” It is the mind set on the Spirit that leads to life (v. 6). The mind that dwells on how to gratify the body and the old nature leads the believer away from God (v. 7 – 8).