Spiritual Rants: July 22 “Opening Day” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 2 Chronicles 6:12-8:10 Romans 7:14-8:8 Psalm 18:1-15 Proverbs 19:24-25

Old Testament:  2 Chronicles 6:12-8:10

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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:

A Gigantic Potluck Supper

Pray For Pay

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

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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 1 john 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 1 John 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 1 Cor. 3 and 2 Cor. 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 (John 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).

 


Psalm 18:1-15    Rock On, Part 1    A Psalm Of Praise By David


Proverbs 19:24-25     Hungry For Understanding

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It sure is disgusting when eating with a sloth.  Some people can be so lazy that they fall asleep with their face in their bowl.  Ick.

When they get hungry enough, I guess they can pull their hand back to their mouth (v. 24).  I thought they weren’t listening to me.  But maybe they just were dozing.

Sometimes I just smack someone who isn’t paying attention (v. 25a).  That way I can smarten them up.

But someone who is paying attention, I can help them even more (v. 25).

 

Choose Life: Scripture: Romans 8:5 NASB    “Are You Spiritual Or Are You A Dork?”

“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”    Romans 8:5

 

Who thinks of setting their minds on spiritual things anymore?  And yet, there it is, plain as day,  a statement that all spiritual people set their minds on spiritual things.  Paul speaks as if it is normal to be thinking about spiritual things.  He later even commands it (cf. Col. 3:1-3)!

So if it’s normal for Christians to be spiritual, why are so many acting like they are still of the world?  Are you shocked and surprised when other Christians insult you (see blog, Haters)?  I guess we shouldn’t be.  Jesus said, “Blessed are you when [people] insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).

Paul used to persecute Christians and he actually didn’t like Christ much either.  Later he confessed, “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer” (2 Cor. 5:16).  His perspective changed after he got saved.  Then He saw Christ with spiritual eyes, as God.  So what is the excuse for carnal, worldly Christians?

I believe they are not being taught the truths in Romans 5-8.  Paul ends his struggle in Romans 7 by stating, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin” (cf. Rom. 7:25).  The problem is that Christians have two natures (cf. Rom. 7:15-17; also see Rom. 8:16 if you don’t believe our spirit is different than the Holy Spirit, specifically the terms “our spirit” and “the Spirit Himself”).

So though there is no condemnation for anyone who has trusted Christ (cf. Rom. 8:1) there is still a judgment to determine rewards for Christians (see blog Bema Me Up, Scotty!).  Those who are saved but actually “fleshly,””carnal” or “worldly” cannot please God (cf. Rom. 8:8; 1 Cor. 3:1 NIV, NLT, and KJV for different renderings of the Greek word sax).  The “carnal” Christians are actually more belligerent than non-Christians most of the times since they are “under conviction.”  But the world in these last days is full of them.

Are you “carnal,” “worldly,” or “fleshly”?  Or do you have your mind set on the things of the Spirit?

 

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application: 

I always recommend to new Christians that they read The Normal Christan Life by Watchman Nee.  His thesis is that it is normal for Christian to be spiritual.  It is abnormal for Christians to be unspiritual, aka, “fleshly” (cf. 1 Cor. 3:3 NASB).  Why is the world in the state it’s in today?  “Fleshly” Churches.  Why are there “fleshly churches”?  Fleshly Christians.  Why are there “fleshly” Christians?  I hate to say it but the answer to that last one is, “fleshly pastors” who are supposed to be “pastor-teachers”* (cf.  but are actually “spiritual” social workers administering “spiritual” bandaids to everyone.

What kind of church do you attend?  Are you getting good solid Bible teaching?  If not, guess who God is going to hold responsible?  Not your pastor, though he will lose rewards . . .  God will ask you why you didn’t read your own Bible.

 

*Many Greek scholars see the “and” in “pastors and teachers” as a hyphen.  Pastors are supposed to be first and foremost teachers.  Check out the context of Ephesians 4, verses 12 and 14, et. al.

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   Not My Problem

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