Series 2 of 4 exploring how to deal with the carnal man.
The Leviticus account provides ample bases for Paul's revelation and instruction to us on how to clearly bind the nature of duplicity in our midst.
Verse 3 - 6 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
Whilst we may dwell in the body, we must be careful not to war according to the dictates of the war faring carnality in the body. The fact that there is such a reality as warring according to the flesh implies that like the man with a nature of duplicity, there is an ongoing carnal war existing in all men in the first Adam. Paul does not necessarily imply primarily a physical exertion, but the inner turmoil of a nature bound in two volatile extremes (worldliness and religiousness) that manifests in violence against fellow man.
Paul outlines for us his experience of this warfare.
Romans 7:14-15 'For we know that the law is spiritual'
Paul begins by identifying the bases on which the Law of Moses was received. He states that the law is spiritual, because it was received by revelation from God to Moses.
Paul states further;
'but I am carnal sold under sin.'
Whilst Moses received the Law by direct revelation, the people did not receive the law in the same manner.
Four significant accounts identify the condition Paul is trying to communicate:
Account one - Exodus 19:9, 20:18-22, Hebrews 12:19-21
God sets the boundaries of the people at a distance where they can hear him speak directly to Moses.
· Moses instructs the people and they agree to maintain the position in order to hear God.
· After God speaks, the bible identifies that they were too terrified to hear the commands.
· The people refuse to stay in position to obey God; they demand that Moses speaks to them on behalf of God.
· Moses informs the people why they need to hear so that they do not sin against God. The people still persist.
· God commands Moses to speak on His behalf.
· Knowing full well the state of the people, God warns them of the dangers of knowing His revealed will through Moses, by revealing further commandments and ordinances.
Account two - Exodus 24:1-8
This account buttresses the first account, where Moses continues to communicate the laws and regulations to the people who continually remain at a distance. However at this point we find there to be a middle ground formed. Moses then at a distance Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders, then at a greater distance the children of Israel. Hence by the time the commandments are read they are communicated from a written book.
Account 3 - Exodus 32:15-16
Moses received the law on stone written by the hand of God. However as Moses bought the revelation written down to the people, they were to be heard in sin and in revelry, hence the first tablets with the written commandments by God was broken by Moses. The second set of commandments written by God were not bought down to the people, but were directly placed in an Ark to be kept in stewardship. Hence the people received the law through the commandments spoken by Moses without revelation.
Account 4 - Exodus 34: 27-35
The final account identifies the period in which the revelations of the commandments, the laws and ordinances and the tabernacle were revealed to Moses. Moses interaction directly with God bought about significant changes to his own nature. The revelations of God compelling his own nature to manifest a temporary glory of God's promises to man. Hence when Moses proceeded down the mountain, the people were afraid, and yet he bid them closer to him so that he could speak to them. However he covered his face so that the Israelites would not see the glory fade, hence he would enter the tabernacle of meeting and remove the veil, then come out to give the instructions of the Lord to the people, then cover his face with the veil before the glory faded.
The accounts identify that whilst the law is pure and holy as to its origins, it was written and the hands that received the law were corrupted with a nature of sin, so making it to the Israelites a carnal Law. Hence the children of Israel saw the glory of Moses through a veil. The fading of the glory on Moses face represented the fading of the covenant that the Israelites had with God due to their carnality. Hence the entire law, ordinances, priesthood and tabernacle were temporary, until the real substance appeared in Christ. Hence Paul is speaking here in the light of his Israelite history. He identifies the qualification of his heritage in the carnal Law as dung. Hence Paul identifies in 2nd Corinthians 3:14, that the Israelite remains at a distance from the fulfilment of God's covenantal promises, because the veil still covers their heart.
Hence he speaks of the condition of the Israelite like himself born under the law.
For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
Thus Paul is stating that because of the nature of carnality in turmoil existing in man the spiritual law could have no effective way of relieving his state. The spiritual law was handed through the commandments into the hands of men deliberately to reveal their spiritual impotency over the carnal nature. As a result, because the knowledge of the law rested in the midst of carnal men, the results were even greater contention and hostility, or in Paul's words exceeding sinfulness.
Romans 7:21-24 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Hence Paul then begins to communicate the carnal war waging on the inside of him as a result of the Mosaic covenant. The war between the extreme opposing forces existing in the one Adamic nature. Worldliness and religion. Paul highlights that he identifies another law in his members, warring against the law of his mind. This law is bringing him into the captivity of the sin existing in his members. Hence there is no other law that produces such results but the law of sin and death, the carnal law. For it is this law that reveals spiritual impotency. The inability to lay a hold of and conquer sin at work in the nature of men. It is the carnal law that highlights sin and inadequacy so as to reveal to man the truth state of his condition.
This war seeks to bring him into captivity. The knowledge of what is good and right, but also the knowledge of complete impotency to accomplish it. Here he reveals the nature of duplicity. A nature bound by the turmoil of possessing knowledge that it cannot accomplish, because it is fraught with corrupt inadequacies. The knowledge of purity and holiness without the nature acquired, without the revelation but by reason of the scriptures. Remember that the Law of Moses came to him by direct revelation, but was shared with men in their carnal intellect. As a result they were not able to keep the stewardship of the covenant that they had with God. Thus the Mosaic Law was handed to men who were spiritually impotent, God stating, 'If you obey'. Hence the powers of obedience to the spiritual laws were installed in the impotency of carnal men.
Oh wretched man that I am!
This consciousness arises out of the man who has come to realise the condition stated above. A man who has fought in the carnal war and sought to accomplish the law, only to find himself impotent. He believed once that he could obey all that God had laid out for him, and was bound by the knowledge of life to the impotency of death. This is a wretched state. To have knowledge of a life, but not have the sufficient nature to experience its tangibility's. Hence this man who has exhausted all strength in the war according to the flesh. Calls out. But what does he call out for? Not for more knowledge? Not for better interpretation? Nor counsel from others in his affinity? But cries out for the one who was never bound to his condition, and yet would be willing to enter his world to free him from bondage.
Who will deliver me from this body of death? Who? Who? Who? Who? Who?
Hence like the people apprehending the man of a dualistic nature and bringing him into custody to the man Moses their deliverer. We must bring this warfaring nature that we have identified in us into the custody of the resurrected man Jesus.
'For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God'
Paul states that we cannot conquer in the carnal warfare of the dualistic nature. We cannot warfare thinking the religious extreme has the power to win over the worldly. We cannot conquer having knowledge of what is right, or holy. Only through God's might can such a stronghold of duplicity be governed.
Note: Such as we see through the life of Jacob, who wrestled with God throughout the night, so that his dualistic nature would be sufficiently conquered that he might possess the fulfilment of the will of God in him and through him. He would not let go until the power of God lay a hold of this nature that was displeasing to God and bought bitterness to his own soul, he held on to God to apprehend him and remove him from the midst of the man. Hence Esau's coming was also in contention with Jacobs's internal warfare, hence we see in Jacob and in Esau both the worldly and religious contending. Only the might of God can bring the peace that resolved the brother's extreme differences.
Genesis 32:28 - And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
The change of name comes out of the change of nature; the change of nature is drawn out of the might and power God has shared. This power is not a dominating power to Lord over men, but the power of peace that a man consciously has with God and so this peace he also gives to men.
Verse 30 - And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
'Hence the place affords the name describing the encounter 'Peniel' (seen God face to face) This is the bases on which the strength and might of God is shared, no other imprint can change or relieve a man from the carnal war, but the indelible print of the Fathers image in his being' Hence Jacob's states my life is preserved, salvaged, saved restored.
Note that only in God can the extreme natures be conquered because it rises up against God. Hence this dualistic nature exists as a result of its origins having no other ambition but to exalt itself against God. Hence the 'I wills' of Lucifer are founded within this nature. This nature violently rebels (worldliness) to take the place of the one who created it (religiousness).
Paul begins to identify where this strength is to be found, this is of whom he cried out for. Not more information not better interpretation, neither the counsel from those in his affinity. But the resurrected man Christ.
'Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled'
The knowledge power and might of God is found in fullness within the very person of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah. We do not find the answer in our own abilities. But we find the answer in Christ. Just as the people put the man in custody under Moses until the Lord's will was revealed. So to we must submit to Christ until His will has been revealed in us. It is the revelation of Himself that binds the opposing forces and brings peace.
The nature of the obedience of Christ is the entire man being found completely and wholly submitted to God, we must bring every part of ourselves unto and into Christ so that Christ's full obedience may be wrought in us. Only in this state can we find the strength to punish the disobedient nature that had rendered us incapacitated.