october 1, 2007
Romans 6, 7, 8
Paul, in the purpose of God, was the precise "man for transition" between Judaism and applied Christianity. Not only was he perfectly groomed in the "traditions of the father's," he was graduate-schooled by the Holy Spirit. With Holy Ghost acumen, he pinpointed for the early church what was proper and what was error, in practice and belief, while continually edifying the saints.
Nowhere are these qualities displayed more poignantly than in Romans 8 and 9. In Romans 8, Paul presented a standard of life which excelled the Law and he followed this high standard treatise in chapter 9, through tears, for the nation that had nurtured his "persecution of the Messiah."
It seemed incredulous to him that his countrymen could be so spiritually bankrupt, after having been so masterfully invested. In Romans, Paul laid out the rich spiritual history of the people born of Abraham and carried by Moses. He illumined their faithfulness and their tyranny, with tears streaming down his face, to an audience in the one city where all the world's roads culminated.
(The modern apostle, viewing the condition of the modern church, should have the same demeanor as Paul…tears. Since the church has been vested with so many rich blessings [The Upper Room, the book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit, the work and lives of the true saints], it would seem impossible for it to have become Laodicea-but it has! Weeping will not suffice, however, for until the white hot purity of real apostleship calls for repentance and sets forth what it takes to "buy from Me" gold, garments and salve, there will be no remedy.) Paul proffered a solution for all time in these verses, however: Be led by the Spirit.
Every promise, every wonderful word in Romans 8 must be predicated by one sentence... "This is for those who are led by the Spirit." For instance, the oft quoted Romans 8:28 should read: "(For those who are led by the Spirit) all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
One must invest in Romans 8 in order to understand just how important it is to be Spirit led. Paul unequivocally determined there could be no such thing as a Christian who is not Spirit conscious and Spirit led. Romans 6 and 7 also built to this conclusion. Romans 8 has became, not only a summative chapter but the foundation by which the remainder of the Roman letter depends.
Again, Paul began with a "therefore."
There is therefore (based on everything said to this point) now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Having coursed the path from "slaves of sin" to "slaves of righteousness for holiness" in Romans 6:19, Paul's "therefore" packed more than a gentle punch.
One look at Romans eight verse one inculcates more than meets the eye. It is the total of Romans 1:1 to Romans 8: 1, shaken together and running over in the heart of this titan of faith. Triumphing over the flesh in all its expressions (including kingdom building churchmen), Paul exhilarated in being led by the Spirit.
(Let two things come forth from this: [1.] Let fall, those who use this verse out of context and out of criteria, whether to assure unstable audiences or exult in false freedom. [2.] Let stand, those who are "Led by the Spirit.")
Elements of the Verse:
(l.) IN Christ Jesus: This is union of purpose, mind and direction. (John Lake spoke of a "note," like a musical tone, in the very center of the Father's being and how Jesus had that same note in His heart. Those led by the Spirit are vested with that note which identifies them as "sons of God." Those led by the Spirit have that note within them. Nothing is harmonious or "right" until that note is struck, for it is the basis of fellowship.)
(2.) Who do not walk according to the flesh: This means death to self, death to the "ties" that bind one to the human condition, as well as, the siren sounds of the Adamic fall. (Crucified with Him…Joint heirs with Him…Union with Him).
(3.) Who do walk according to the Spirit: Not man's "purpose driven life," but the Spirit's guidance, intercession and comfort.
Sadly, through the same kind of tears that fell from the face of Paul, being Spirit led is not a description of the current church. Sadly, those who populate fellowships and ministries along with churches and cathedrals have no clue about being "led by the Spirit." Universally, every aspect of what is called Christianity is so flesh polluted there is no discernment among those in leadership or followship as to what Paul meant. Except in the heart of a few, the note from the heart of God has been drowned by the tumult of "calf worshippers."
To whom is this verse directed? Those who are IN Christ and are LED by the Spirit are those with no condemnation---for all others there is condemnation and judgment. This is not an either/or proposition. (Who will dare mount the pulpit next Sunday and declare this Bible, Word truth? NO ONE! Who will assemble their fellowship and discuss this issue and repent and dare meet the criteria for claiming this verse as their very own? No one?)
"The LAW of the Spirit of life in Christ."
One must observe that Paul was once Saul, the strictest law keeper of his day. It is this man whom Jesus made "free from the law of sin and death." Jesus filled up all the righteous requirements of that law and pronounced victory to those who "overcome as He overcame (Rev. 3:21)."
"What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, GOD DID by sending His own Son…that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in US who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:4)"
There it is again. This verse is ONLY for those who walk according to the Spirit. (No, this is not imputed righteousness for "aisle walkers.")
Clayt Sonmore recently took up his pen again and has skillfully apportioned part of his treatise under the heading of "Taught of the Spirit." (His central theme came from the scripture in Luke 24:45 where Jesus opened the Disciples eyes. "And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures." From this base, he exclaims that the modern church and its membership currently have no "understanding of Scripture" and must "repent and return to being led by the Spirit into all truth." He cites I Corinthians 2:9-16. ) He writes:
God desires to make the depth of the riches of His wisdom and knowledge, which are past finding out by our natural faculties known to us in the present of His Spirit. What is 'unsearchable' through the faculties of our natural minds is 'searchable' through the faculties of our spirits in tune to God's Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the agent of truth. There is no other means of revelation. The Life is the Light! 'It is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth (I John 5:6).' The idea that we can know anything of ourselves is preposterous, 'If a man thinks that he knows anything he knows nothing yet as he ought to know (I Cor. 8:2).'Clayt Sonmore was not the only one to recognize the paucity that has established itself as the church norm. No less than John G. Lake wrote, at the turn of the last century, the following:
God is endeavoring by His Spirit in these days to exalt the souls of men into that high place, that holy life, that heavenly state whereby men walk day by day, hour by hour in the heavenly consciousness of the presence of Christ in the heart of man all the time….Upon that purified soul there comes from God that blessed measure of the Holy Spirit, not only purifying the nature, but empowering him by the Spirit so that the activities of God, the gift of His mind, the power of His Spirit is evident by the grace of God in that man's soul, in that man's life, lifting him by the grace of God into that place of holy and heavenly dominion in the consciousness, the consciousness of the living God, of His union with Him, which caused the Christ to walk as a Prince indeed. Bless God.Romans 8:4
"The righteous requirement…fulfilled in US."
Man has only two mind sets. Having one's mind set on the things of flesh is to be carnally minded which leads to death, physically and spiritually. Having one's mind Set on the Spirit is to be 'Spirit minded' and is life and peace. These two do not mix. They are not compatible. They are antithetical to one another. "So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God." (There is a deception today among the masses of religion that seeks to mix and blend these elements. Their end is ruin and damnation. As John Lake aptly answered, "It is not what you think is sin, it is what God thinks is sin that counts.")
Addressing the saints, Paul spoke confidently, "But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit." Then he must have had a quickening by the Spirit, because he wrote: "if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you." The qualifier is "if," meaning there may have been some that did not qualify. Now Paul set a rule, "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."
"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."
Luke, in Acts 17, recorded Paul's message to the Greek capital, "In Him we live and move and have our being." Now, in Romans, Paul spoke to the successor to the Greek kingdom, Rome. He wanted both these affiliated cultures, which so dramatically leaned upon the flesh, to repent and turn around. Rome with its arrogant Pax Romano (peace through the power of military strategy) and Greece with its luxuriant art, literature and past glory (Spartacus) needed the correction of a greater than Caesar.
He was readying the Roman reader and listener for his next "Therefore."
"Therefore…if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. "
Paul fired across the bow of both ships of state in one volley. His message could never be misconstrued. That message ought to be preached in every pulpit, proclaimed at every convention and heeded by every Christian. (Alas, such preaching is not good for the morning offering...it is far easier to overlook those deeds which characterize the immobilized, paralyzed church than to preach against them.)
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."
This oft quoted passage came with an inner package straight from heaven, "YOU (the saints) received the 'Spirit of adoption.'" He was speaking only to the SAINTS. He used the past tense-you received. Now, these saints could call out just like Jesus, "Abba, Father." Their emphasis was not on their "rights as adopted sons."
"We are debtors (8:12)" left no room for reveling in 'my rights as an adopted child.' (Because the modern church is fleshly, there emerges many a fleshly teaching, along with a plethora of books, on "my sonship privileges." With deference to Paul, he would have had to backslide in order to be in fellowship with this profligate mélange. No, he would never fellowship with most of what we know today; he could not be faithful to God and do so and neither can the saint of the twenty-first century. Let it be known that right now a line is drawn (not being drawn) and the true sons of God can no longer fellowship with those who "always resist the Spirit." One must take stock of his/her life and the pattern of continued compromise required to maintain linkage to one's "church" body. If just one time the Spirit cautions in a service that what is being taught is not of Him, what will you do? If just one time He causes the 'unease' of discernment to flow across one's spiritual radar, at that moment, one must decide, "Will I listen to the inner voice and disassociate from pastor and people or shall I remain, 'in order to carry out my ministry.'" WOAH! Right there is the difference between Paul and the sons of Sciva. )
A great divide exists between what Paul envisioned as the "church" and what characterizes the modern congregation or fellowship. His was a "sonship" relationship with God. The modern church is a business or social landscape in a garden of pleasantries.
What Paul had to say about sonship concerned itself with the "glorious liberty of the children of God." Part of that liberty is to hear and move by the direction of the Spirit. Paul would be the first to point out that as Abraham had to listen to God about sacrificing Isaac, so must we. God did not tell Abraham which mountain to go toward. He would learn that 'as he went.' The reason some have quit hearing from God is they haven't "went yet!"
Again, Paul added other criteria:
"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, then heirs---heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8:16-7)."
Notice, please, the "if" signal. "If children then heirs," does not give license to mega ministries to blanket their audiences with the promises of God which are for "heirs" only. Great judgment is about to fall upon those who barter and trade in these arenas and all the "I have done miracles in your name defenses will make no difference." If-then clauses are conditional ones.
"If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."
Somehow the mikveh of suffering is to be the lot of the true sons and suffering is coupled with the glory. Today we have a compromised body seeking to be the "glorious church" as long as it costs nothing.
"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
The purpose of the transfiguration was to show that human flesh was capable of receiving and releasing glory. Think of it, "revealed in US." The reason the glory doesn't fall on the modern church is because glory cannot be released on Laodicea.
Being delivered from such bondage of corruption is the earnest expectation of the whole of creation...that is the important issue...far greater than 'global warming' issues! Building green, saving energy, finding new resources equate to one ideology: Humanism.
Humanism is the ideology of the modern church. The earth groans under the bondage of such corruption. Paul groaned under it. We groan.
In order to achieve that 'higher standard" spoken of by Paul and endorsed by Lake, something drastic has to happen, really drastic. The true sons need help on how and what to pray. It is time to put greater reliance on the intercession of the Spirit. He knows. Gathering to Pray "Blessings of the messes" is not the will of God. Projecting victory over the spiritually defeated is the same foolish approach that education has taken for over thirty years. Their academic praise has raised a generation of arrogant thieves.
Romans 8:25, 26, 27
"We hope for what we do not see...likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we (the saints) do not know what we should pray for as we ought...but the Spirit makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
Spirit led saints depend more and more on these verses. They wait for no new prophetic word, no announcement of a new conference or method of study. They do not hear the bulletin announcements of youth socials and adult 'get aways.' They wait for a sound from heaven. They seek, in the Spirit, to hear moanings that approach the ones in their hearts, and then exceed beyond their capabilities of expression...Groanings in the Spirit that drown out the occultic rhythms of a worship team. They seek the fruition of Romans 8:28. They know that the good that is coming may cause havoc with the status quo, but will bring about that which is longed for. That no matter what comes their way in the interim, there is but one message ringing in their ears, "the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
"And we (Paul and the saints) know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called (to be saints) according to His purpose. "
The plan of God for His Saints is sealed. This is a SEAL passage. Paul edified Timothy with these words:
2 Tim 2:19-3:6None of the traits in 2 Timothy 3 are those of Spirit-filled, Spirit led people, yet they are manifested in some form or other in the majority of Christendom. Brethren, how can these things be?
"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son."
John Lake wrote: The soul that receives from God into his spirit that heavenly touch, knows, bless God, he does not have to be told by man, he knows by the Spirit of God that he has become the possessor of the consciousness of union with the Spirit of God which has enlightened his heart, filled his soul with holy joy and caused his very being to radiate with God's glory and presence... There can be no distinction between the exercise of the real power of God as seen in Jesus and its reproduction in a Christian soul (Ibid: page 46)!For Lake, the dichotomy was alarming. "A low standard of Christianity is responsible for all the shame and sin and wickedness in the world." To Lake this truth was blatant but absolute.
On one hand Lake saw what was, while on the other he envisioned what "ought to be."
"Real Christianity is in being a possessor of the nature of Jesus Christ. In other words, it is being Christ in character, Christ in demonstration, Christ in agency of transmission. When one gives himself to the Lord and becomes a child of God, a Christian, he is a Christ-man. All that he does and all that he says from that time on, should be the will and the words and the doings of Jesus---just as absolutely, just as entirely, as He spoke and did the will of the Father."[Ibid: page 7].Paul understood the necessity of being a strong witness against profligacy. He encountered it in the Jewish community more often than not. It did not dry his tears. Resistance did not sway his convictions either. He summoned that which was his foundation and transmitted it to the Roman church in the following words:
"'Moreover'" (that means in addition to all the other things thus spoken) whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we (saints) say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
The union of Father and Son in the Great Plan of God caused Paul to know the intensity of Their love for the saints. "How shall He (God) not with Him (the Son) also freely give us all things?"
They have and will take care of our every need. When we are charged, they justify. When we are condemned, They answer the reviler (Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father and making intercession for the saints [us]). When attempts are made to separate the saints from the love of Christ, by tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword, They answer. "Yet in all these things we are MORE THAN conquerors through HIM."
Paul then penned one of the grandest passages in the Word (I have had to quote it to myself many times.):
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Note, these words were spoken just before a treatise in Romans 9 about Paul's struggle with unrepentant Israel. Was his struggle with the Temple authorities and those of the synagogues not the struggle to be encountered with the church of today? One stands in many a parking lot only to weep, for alas, there is this sense that what is broken is irreparable.
With man "yes," but with God, nothing is impossible.
Background to Romans 8:
Romans 6: 11 "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive in God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:13 "Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."
Romans 6:19 "Present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness (The Regal Pair)."
Romans 6:22 "Now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life."
Romans 7: 4 (After using the illustration in marriage, after the death of the husband) "Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another even to Him who was raised from the dead that we should bear fruit to God."
Romans 7:6 "But NOW we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." (Take notice all Messianic congregations who have substituted feasts for the Spirit.)
Romans 7:12 "Therefore, the law is holy and the commandment is holy and just and good." Of course, this passage precedes the oft quoted verbalization of Paul's inward struggle in early days. He is candid about the dilemma "the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin."
Instead of lingering in these verses for a rationale for aberrant behavior, one must run quickly to the power of Romans 8, which settles the issue forever. It is not about flesh, when the Spirit is in control. Herein is the crux of it all...Be Spirit controlled or die in the dilemma.
Until next month,
Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.
Dr. Oliver will be ministering ...
October 20-21 Faith Metro Church, 1407 E. Harry, Wichita, Kansas, Pastor Tammie Brace.
From the Missionaries:
l. Guatemala: From our brother and sister Larry and Marla Johnson, who pass along their heartfelt gratitude for the monies to build churches that you have supplied. Marla sends this miracle report from the field: Eastern Guatemala, remote area, in the mountains.
"Under Larry's direction, the pastor and the congregation had successfully built a new church in this region. It was the only church other than the catholic church in the area. The dedication had been set for Sunday, and the pastor decided he wanted to just go to the building on Saturday evening and pray and thank God for what He had done. On the way there, he encountered a group of catholic laymen. They surrounded him and expressed their disfavor in having this new building. Armed with machetes they then began to do what was called 'macheting him.' They cut him brutally and everywhere blood was pouring forth. The pastor cried out to God. The Holy Spirit told him to "spin out of their reach." He began to spin, reeling under the pain. He managed to spin away from them. The Spirit then told him to stop and stand and look them right in their eyes. He did as he was commanded. The group literally fell backward from him, some being cut with their own weapons. He then inspected himself for a moment before leaving them behind…Not a sign of their attack was upon his body. He, with gladness, testified on Sunday of the miraculous deliverance he had received."
(Author's Note: No situation on earth can arise that the Spirit cannot handle. Praise the Lord! This account, however, reiterates the continued persecution from Roman Catholic's throughout the world. As you sow in your contributions to this ministry in Guatemala and Honduras, don't forget to pray for safety and protection for Larry and Marla, their pastors and congregations.)
2. Pray for Renewal Ministry's upcoming meetings in Tanzania. Sept. 30-October 16, 2007.
"We have been informed by Gizela that many unsaved people registered. During weekends, the team will be ministering the Gospel at different churches, and the message of righteousness and holiness will be preached."
3. Thank the Lord for the re-printing of Sons of Zadok in Spanish. Due to the generous gift of a couple destined for Honduras in November and who are willing to oversee the Spanish Version distribution, we will soon have this version available. Pray for their work with pastors and leaders both there and in Bolivia.
From the Mail Bag:
1. From Y.R. in Oklahoma:
"Hello, Dr. Oliver, I just want to say thank you for your obedience to the Lord. I have just started reading the book, The Regal Pair. I'm not that far along in the book yet. I attend a Church called Dove Ministry, and the Lord led me to this Church in March 2007. A fellow brother in Christ gave me your book to read two days ago. I had no idea our generation is responsible for (to) the previous generations. Your book has given me a new perspective as to why it's vitally important we get the Word out to others about Jesus Christ. I pray to the Lord everyday to use me selfishly and I thank the Lord for your obedience in writing this book. It's inspired by the Holy Spirit and it's touched my heart. I do not want to let the Lord down as well as all the others who went before us and taught about our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and body and I just want you to know you made a difference in my life because of your obedience to the Lord in writing this book. Thank you so much for your obedience and may God Bless you in Jesus name!"
2. From S.K., Carthage, Texas: Prophetic Word regarding "Called to be Saints."
"The Lord says you are to let go----Lay down---turn loose of the fear that has tried to haunt & cripple you---For this next book will take longer, but will run smoother than anything else you have ever done in your life---For you have learned to listen & rely on Me. This book will be more accurate & to the point & yet much more simple, for it is for all of man to understand & grasp the meaning & intention of every word. Walk in Faith-Believing--for My love is strong for those who come to me hungry & willing---- Not an end, but ANOTHER Beginning!"
Last Wednesday, we were able to give to visiting pastor: Herr Inholt Schmidt, Leipzig, Germany, the first CD copy of Die Sohne Von Zadok (The Sons of Zadok) in German.
On Christmas Day, 2000, a brother from Switzerland emailed to inform us that he was reading "The Sons of Zadok" in English and that he wished sincerely that it was in German. Since that email, the desire to accommodate many in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere has been a consistent urging. Now, we are ready through the labors of translation done through Bro. Helmut Reinert, Sister Helga Miserre, Terrace, B.C. and the editorial work of Sis. Claudia Smith, Newport News, Va.
Copies of this CD are available for $10 on our website.
Matter of Note:
Eugene Eubank reports from Myrtle Beach, S.C., that during my hospital confinement, pastors in India were being taught "The Sons of Zadok," by missionaries from Richmond, Va. Hallelujah.
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