It has long been my desire to fully and clearly comprehend the teachings of the Apostles with regard to the life that is available to be lived above sin. Many do not believe this is possible, and that Paul preached an idealistic message. I must disagree with that. It is possible. And as a minister of the Gospel I crave to be able to clearly understand this and clearly explain this so that all can understand.
The whole quest of the biblical followers of God was to live righteously before God. To them, righteousness was the key to heaven. Since they wanted to have eternal life, they desperately tried to live a righteous life.
Those who have taken the words of Christ seriously will agree that His words in the sermon on the mount were some of the most vital truths ever spoken by our Lord.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Jesus gave us the topic of thought we must stress above all others. Above all, first in our list of priorities, seek the Kingdom of God and God's righteousness.
We will note that the two are actually the one and the same thing. God's Kingdom is His righteousness.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
The Kingdom is... righteousness... in the Holy Ghost.
Righteousness in the Holy Ghost is God's righteousness. It is important that we distinguish our righteousness from His. Our righteousness is useless.
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Nobody is, nor can be, as righteous in themselves as God requires to allow us into glory. All the efforts of Old Testament Law-keeping did not provide anybody with the adequate righteousness God was looking for.
The Kingdom of God is the world of the Holy Ghost.
Luke 17:20-21 And when he was demanded of the
Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said,
The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
It is a spiritual kingdom, and not a physical one. It does not concern our being physically born into a physical world.
John 3:4-6 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
It is one's human spirit that is born again, not one's flesh.
Flesh only gives birth to flesh. It is not flesh that experiences this
new birth experience. And it is not flesh which gives birth to what Jesus
is speaking about. Jesus said we must be born of the Spirit, not of the
flesh. And Spirit does not give birth to flesh. It gives birth to a human
If man could have kept all the commandments of the Law of Moses, man would have been righteous. But that just wasn't possible. Paul proved to the Jews, in his letter to the Romans, that even the Law, itself, said nobody ever attained to its righteousness.
Law just couldn't give man the righteousness that man needed. It wasn't the fault of the Law, but it was mankind's inability to keep the Law so that he might attain that righteousness.
Man could keep the physical commandments, but the final commandment
listed in the ten commandments said, "Thou shalt not covet."
When man tried to obey this commandment, man soon found out that it
was impossible to keep. And the Word teaches us should a person break one
of the commandments it is just as though one broke them all.
Paul discusses the raising up of the believers through the resurrection of Christ in Romans 6. And he reveals how not many believers truly KNOW about this victory. They simply exist in an underprivileged life, not comprehending the necessary steps of faith they must take, and can take, since Jesus died for them.
Our bodies were bodies of sin, but the body of sin was destroyed! How? Christ's body died instead of our's in substitutionary death. We lived in slavery to sin before we were saved by Christ's death. Our old lives are forever gone, but they often remainin our minds and we thinknothing is different. Paul, however, is crying out to us that we are freed from sin, whereas we were bound to it before salvation. We had no choice but to obey sin before we believed in Christ. But since Christ died for us, and we believed that, we now have a choice to stay the same or rise above sin.
Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
The following verse tells us how that we must not YIELD to sin any more as we could not resist doing so in our states before salvation.
Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Many know nothing about this opportunity! If they did, they would present themselves to God for His action upon us to give us power over sin. You must present yourself as an offering to Him, before He can empower you!!
If we fail to know this we will keep on yielding to sin as we always did before salvation. We must know that we don't have to sin anymore! He that is dead is freed from sin. And we died in Christ. If we fail to understand this, then we will yield to sin and we will die.
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
We repented and thus died with Christ in His crucifixion. Our baptism buried us with Christ. We crucified the old man with Christ by faith for the sole purpose of walking in newness of life. We got rid of the old life and old man in order to live in newness of life.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Can we see that walking in newness of life is our goal? This is walking above sin!! It is not serving sin any more, as a slave serves!
This is not simply speaking about being saved, as though all believers are not serving sin. We know that many believers struggle against sin.
We were servants of sin, but not anymore! We obeyed from the heart the doctrine of dying and being buried so that we can be resurrected!
Some may ask, "Why do I continue to sin, if this is true?" This is the point of this study! Bear with us as endeavour to answer that question.
After Noah went through the flood waters, he received a message from the dove in the form of an olive leaf. God is likewise trying to tell us a message in giving us the Holy Ghost. To discover the message, read the following verses from Song of Solomon.
Song of Songs 5:12 His eyes [are] as [the eyes] of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, [and] fitly set.
Notice that the eyes of the beloved are as the eyes of a dove. Noah received the DOVE into the ark THROUGH THE WINDOW with a message in its beak.
Song of Songs 2:9-13 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over [and] gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing [of birds] is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines [with] the tender grape give a [good] smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
The rains are over and gone. Our old world is destroyed. Our OLD LIVES are gone forever! The water saved us.
1 Peter 3:20-21 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
We have obeyed the doctrine from our hearts and repented and were baptized into His death!! We can come away now and enjoy newness of life above sin! But too many are not getting the message. They are rejoicing in having the leaf in their hands but are not correctly interpreting the leaf. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is that leaf, and we must understand what it implies to receive God's Spirit. It is saying that this is a small sample of so much more that awaits outside of the coffin of the ark. As the leaf was only a tidbit of all the olive trees and orchards of olive trees outside the ark, receiving the Holy Ghost is a taste of the powers of the world to come! So much more anointing is there for us to advance forth into.
Yes, we died with Christ and were buried with Him and within Him. Now we must walk out of this tomb and enter newness of LIFE. We can live a LIFE above sin now. A world of ANOINTING lies out in the Kingdom of God now. The Kingdom of God is the world of the Holy Ghost.
The rains are over and gone, the dove is telling us, with the leaf from the very tree from which anointing oil was extracted in its beak. We are out of the OLD world. The rains are over and gone. Let us now ARISE and walk in newness of life. Too many do not understand that their old lives are GONE. They continue to believe they MUST LIVE UNDER SIN. They do not believe we do not have to sin ever again. We went through the death Jesus experienced. Our old world went under water when we were baptized. And since the same one with whom we died rose from the dead, then we can rise also. We must ARM ourselves with this understanding, in order to rebuke the lies that resist these truths. Note the wording of Peter:
1 Peter 3:21-4:3 The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. 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; 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. For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
After talking about Noah and our salvation by water baptism, Peter goes on into the aspect of newness of Life. Christ arose and is set at the right hand of God's power. All is subject under him. Peter is trying to tell us that WE HAVE THAT SAME AUTHORITY! We not only died with Him, as Paul also explains in Romans 6, but we are intended to RISE WITH HIM in practical Christianity ABOVE sin. We must arm ourselves with this understanding.
Christ's mind understands that He is above all now. We must arm ourselves with this same understanding, for it is just as true for us. Compare the two verses:
Romans 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
1 Peter 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;
Peter said that we ceased from sin so that we no longer have to live the rest of our lives in this stage of our existence, this flesh, to the lusts of the world. We do not have to live under the bondage of having to fulfill our lusts like slaves. We should be spending the rest of our days to the will of God, not to the will of the flesh.
There is good news to the believer who sins and wishes they could rise above it! It is the news that we must arm ourselves- not with more fervent will power, but with AN UNDERSTANDING. Our weaponry is an understanding of what makes us free from sin. It is a certain "MIND", as Peter put it. The mind of Christ. Christ's mind is the understanding He has that He is now forever ABOVE all things. Since we died and were buried with him, then we can apply that understanding of being above all things and thus RISE WITH HIM.
Read, read and reread the following verses until you UNDERSTAND.
Romans 6:8-14 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Our past lives were lives which were bound to live as the Gentiles (unsaved people who are not become the spiritual Israel of God).
1 Peter 4:3-4 For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with [them] to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of [you]:
Christ suffered FOR US. If He died for us then we should arm ourselves with some information. We should RECKON OURSELVES DEAD now. If we are dead, we are freed from sin.
Romans 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now, these things do not give us victory automatically, as though there is nothing to do but sit and expect ourselves to spontaneously overcome all temptation. There is a step we must take to enjoy this liberty above sin after we are saved. And that step is APPLYING OUR NEWFOUND UNDERSTANDING when we face temptation. Instead of yielding to sin we must yield to God. In other words, we must say, "Here I am, God. I need your strength now. I am at YOUR RIGHT HAND. I need YOUR POWER. I can't do this without you. I am standing still and not exerting self effort to rise above sin, for that will never work. I am standing still that I might see YOUR glory and YOUR SALVATION in delivering me from this temptation. Deliver me from evil right now."
(Notice the various scriptures references that are contained in this statement. "Stand still and see the salvation of God." "Deliver us from evil.").
Noah's goal was to leave the old world and enter a new one. Spirit Baptism supplies that goal for it is the REST. But its not simply receiving the Spirit Baptism. It is that, PLUS the action we take now that His POWER is within us. And that is yielding ourselves or presenting ourselves to the Spirit of God's strengthening. Offer God your vessel that He might empower it. AND BELIEVE He is empowering you. Don't try to STRUGGLE with flesh and kill its desires as Moses tried fighting Egypt to deliver his brethren. You will fail and run with your tail between your legs as did Moses.
After Moses failed, God told him that God would deliver Israel, not have Israel FIGHT to for freedom. We don't fight sin nor do we fight the flesh. We ARE DELIVERED FROM IT BY GOD'S STRENGTH. Was it not the right hand of God that divided the Red Sea? Is Jesus not at that right hand of God? That right hand is POWER. God's Power. Not our own power or will power. Its not by human might nor by human power, but by God's Spirit!!! Noah simply sat in the ark and let God's power wipe out the old world. We must believe this has occurred, and act upon it. EXPECT TO BE EMPOWERED BY GOD when you present yourself in the face of temptation.