Ongoing Inner Conflict

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by NetChaplain, May 29, 2013.

  1. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    It is essential that we take a moment to consider the inward conflict of the growing child of God. It may be said, “What if a man knows his sins to be forgiven and more, liberty” (which some call “sanctification,” “deeper life,” etc.), “then, surely, every spiritual desire must be gratified, and thenceforward, till heaven be gained, there can be nothing more to be wished for it.

    In things spiritual, as in things natural, when children have grown up to manhood, to ripe age, or, as Scripture says, are “perfect,” they do not find that thenceforward there is nothing to do, nothing to suffer. Quite the contrary; in one sense they may be said to begin life only when perfect. Until the great and terrible “I” be held by grace to have been crucified with Christ, the believer can hardly be said to have begun to live the new life in its liberty; but liberty obtained, inner conflict is certain to be entered into.

    Before we were brought into Christian liberty, the enabling of the indwelling Spirit was not known, but, being delivered from the thrall of the old man, we are in the moral position which should gain the victory day by day. Not that the position itself is victory—it is the vantage ground for victory; freedom from the domination of sin is obtained by the Spirit. Still, it is no little good to know what the vantage ground is, and a greater thing to occupy that ground.

    The Spirit of God dwelling within us energizes the desire of the new life which He has implanted in us. He leads to humility, gentleness, and courage, and all in a divine way. We do not mean such qualities apart from the Spirit, which in that case may be merely traits of the Adamic life.

    When our old man stirs us up to desire its old things, the Spirit of God does not remain passive in us, but occasions conflict within: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal 5:17). He restrains the believer from doing the things which the flesh likes, and constrains him to do the things which the Father loves, and effects this by acting upon the new man. The believer is not, and never will be, free from having sin in him in this world; nor will he be free from the danger of committing any kind of evil: and he is never, practically, safe except when he realizes his weakness, and walks in dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

    Should he say, “I cannot help doing evil,” then he denies the Spirit of God in him as the enablement for righteous living, and remains in the mire of sin. Should he say, “I am holy, or spiritual, or heavenly,” and in his heart think of what he is in himself, then it is the old man at work in another and more dangerous form, and he has denied the Spirit of God in His ability to produce spirituality, and heavenly mindedness. This last is worse than the first, for the first is unbelief in God and the last is belief in himself. The truth is, there is constant conflict proceeding within the growing child of God, and the Spirit is continually restraining from evil, as well as leading to good.

    The flesh in its pride would say, “I can live to God by means of law-keeping and religious observances”; and the flesh in its lusts would say, “I am safe for eternity, and thus can live for myself.” The new life the Father has given us has no affinity for either the one or the other of these evils, and the Spirit of God opposes the flesh in each.

    – HF Witherby
     
    #1 NetChaplain, May 29, 2013
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  2. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    In Romans 7:14-25 Paul gives verbal expression to the internal condition of every true child of God in this world. Within them there are two laws at work in conflict one with the other. This is the actual battleground in a long war that has already been won (Rom. 4:24) but in which many skirmishes are lost daily in the experience of a child of God (Rom. 7:15-23). There is this constant internal tension between good and evil striving against each other to express themselves in the conscious experience and life of the believer.

    In contrast the lost man is in willful bondange to sin and serves sin as his master. Indeed, he willing serves this master. The Law of God does not operate within him nor is it his "delight" nor does he have an "inward man" who delights in it (Rom. 7:22). Nor does he thank God for any present measure of victory over the flesh (Rom. 7:24) nor does he "serve God" with his mind.

    This internal struggle is not about final victory as that has been won by Christ. It is about EXPERIENTIAL DAILY VICTORY over indweling sin and its consequences.

    In this internal struggle between two laws at work, it is the struggle for expression of contrary intents through actual performance. It seems to appear that the pronoun "I" is the battle ground between the two laws. When the law of Sin brings intent to performance it is "I" that do what is evil even though that evil is contrary to what 'I" would have done to the contrary. Paul is thinking in retrospect of the struggle he experienced but lost. However, in contrast when the law of God is brought to performance, no credit is given to "I" at all, but all the glory is given to the Spirit of Christ. - "I thank God through Jesus Christ."

    Romans 7:25 draws a conclusion

    25 So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

    In the current state of "the flesh", the unglorified flesh is the seat of our natural appetites, desires and sense perceptions that bring us into tangible contact with the external physical world. Although there is nothing sinful about natural appetites, desires and sense perceptions in and of themselves, they provide the platform of operation or the vehicle for expressing indwelling sin. Indwelling sin uses these natural appetites to tempt our soul to abuse and misuse them contrary to God's revealed Law. We will not find deliverance from the law of indwelling sin operating through the flesh until glorification at the coming of Chrise. The law of sin operates from the outside in.

    In the mean time, the law of righteousness operates from the inside out. In Romans 6 we are told to "reckon" ourselves dead and "yeild" to the Spirit if we want to serve God. These are intentional actions that involve the "mind." Walking in the Spirit is a conscious act of submission and act of faith whereby we cease fighting the battle with indwelling sin, Satan and the World in the strength of our own will (Rom. 7:18b). Thus the mind serves as the base of operation for indwelling righteousness to be expressed as actions in our lives through the power of the indwelling Spirit of God.

    In chapter 8 Paul draws a contrast between those who are "carnally" versus "spiritually" minded. Those who are "in the flesh" are "carnally" minded but those who are "in the Spirit" are "spiritually" minded as they have the indwelling Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9). However, you can be "spiritually" minded and yet "walk AFTER the flesh" while being "IN the Spirit." When this occurs you EXPERIENCE lack of peace, condemnation and separation (death) from God's fellowship as spelled out in Romans 7:15-22. Romans 7:15-22 becomes your present daily experience whenever you walk after the flesh. The experience of victory, no condemnation and peace occur whenever they "walk" after the Spirit. It is in the "walk" that the experience of the saved and lost are similar even though one is "IN the flesh" and the other is "IN the Spirit." If we do not put to death, crucify the old nature it becomes our daily experience and our fellowship with God is experientially broken (death = separation).

    Whenever a true child of God yeilds to indwelling sin, there is a "wretched" state being experienced internally as the indwelling Spirit with the new inward man is greived producing experientially wretchedness, separation from sweet communion between God and the soul of man (experiential death) and loss of peace. In conrast, whenever the child of God is yeilding by faith to the power of the indwelling Spirit there the experiential effect of harmony as a result of a person "IN the Spirit" also "WALKING after the Spirit." The consequence is no feelings of condemnation but peace and joy.

    The most miserable person on earth is not a lost person but a saved person yeilding to sin as that produces an inward tension and greif designed to drive the child of God back to God. When a child of God persists then that internal grief is compounded by the disciplinary hand of God where external pressures are brought to bear so that the child of God is being pounded from within and without (Heb. 12:5-10). Saved people do not get away with sin although it may seem that way at times due to the length of process in His longsuffering in dealing with sin in their life.

    Only the lost professor will deny Romans 7:15-25 is not their experience. The lack of that experience is proof they are a lost professor as no child of God escapes this experience - none, not one!

    If you are a real child of God you have experience this process many times. Only lost professors never experience Romans 7:15-25.
     
    #2 The Biblicist, May 29, 2013
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  3. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    Hi Biblicist - Thanks for your replies which I find instructional.

    I highly appreciate your crediting it all to the Lord Jesus (Rom 7:25) as this should always be remembered in all things.

    The two "I's" in Paul's Romans-Seven discourse (vs 17, 20, 25) are the two natures; the old "I" and the new "I." When Paul sinned (all believers still sin), he learned it was himself in his old "I that do it," and when he avoided sin, it was due to Christ (v 25), by the Spirit, in his new "I" (Eph 3:16), which is the "seed" in us that "cannot sin" (1 John 3:9).

    This dichotomy-of-natures exists only within the regenerate, and he in his "new man", is controlled by the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:17) so that he no longer is dominated by the "old man" (Rom 6:12, 14), which reduces the sinful nature (old man) to just tempting abilities; same as the Enemy, who uses the old man, as the Spirit uses the new man.

    If I'm not being too technical, I wouldn't say it is a struggle between natures or the Spirit (deity does not require effort to function) because the outcomes are foreknown, but the struggle is the believer learning this dichotomy.

    As you mentioned, this work of the Spirit is not in competition with evil because of the predetermined outcome, but for our learning the heights of God's holiness through contrast of the depths of our old man.
     
  4. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    I believe "walking after the flesh" is the same as being "carnal minded" and that a regenerate cannot participate in these because it would mean "condemnation" (Rom 8:1) and "death" (Rom 8:6).

    A believer can be "carnal" (1 Cor 1:1, 3) but not "carnally minded". The word "minded" designs the intention of an unregenerate, thus still "after the flesh" (sinful nature, not the physical body).
     
  5. The Biblicist

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    Hello, there! I agree with you overall. I understand this particular position but do not agree with it. Romans 8 is the answer to Romans 7:24. The regenerate man can "walk after the flesh" and EXPERIENCE death here and now = separation from God's fellowship, blessings, joy, peace, etc., and feel the condemnation of conscience and condemnation by conviction of the Holy Spirit.

    Note the present tenses in verses 12-13. Death defined as separation from the fellowship of God can be temporally experienced and such an experience produces the "wretched" condition in Rom. 7:24 - The body of this death.

    A believer can be either depending on whether he is experiencing Romans 7:15-22 or Romans 7:25a (I thank God through Jesus Christ) as explained in Romans 8:1-4, 9-13.

    What is true of the lost man is true of the saved man whenever he "walks" after the flesh and "minds" the things of the flesh through yeilding to the law of sin. Yeilding to the law of sin produces that mindset. When the law of sin is operating in the believers mind it is no different than how it operates in the unregerated mind - it is enmity toward God and is not subject to the law of God and the consequences it produces in the life demonstrate that.

    Furthermore, when the law of sin is controlling the believers mind, he is experiencing temporal death = separation from the fellowship of God. He is experiencing condemnation by conscience due to sin and condemnation by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Isn't that your experience when you "walk" after the flesh? Does not that produce the experience of a "wretched" state? Do not you share in the TEMPORAL consequences of your sins?


    Both the regenerate and unregenerate can "walk" after the flesh and mind the things of the flesh but only the regenerate can be spiritually minded. Everything that is true of the lost man in regard to the fallen nature is equally true of the saved person as the same nature continues after regeneration and when in control manifests the very same life of disobedience.

    Paul tells the Galatians if they "live IN" the Spirit then they should also "WALK in the Spirit." However, that is not the case whenever we allow the law of sin to operate in our minds - When that is occurring we are "walking after the flesh" and minding the things of the flesh which seperate us from God's fellowship, joy, blessings and eternal rewards.
     
    #5 The Biblicist, May 29, 2013
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  6. NetChaplain

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    Hi - You have some very significant points because they are important to "rightly divide." I do not know how I should answer you from this point until I know if you're OSAS or not, because if you're not, my concepts will not be sufficient for your replies. Thanks and God's blessings to your Family!
     
  7. The Biblicist

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    Yes brother, I believe that true children of God can never be lost.
     
  8. NetChaplain

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    Thanks for your fellowship Brother. I would like to get your opinion on this, which is what I believe. It's from John Gill:

    "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die,...." - Such persons are dead, whilst they live, and shall die a second or an eternal death, if grace prevent not. It may be asked, whether one that has received the grace of God in truth, can live after the flesh; flesh, or corrupt nature, though still in such a person, has not the dominion over him.

    "To live in sin, or in a continued course of sinning, is contrary to the grace of God; but flesh may prevail and greatly influence the life and conversation, for a while; how long this may be the case of a true believer, under backslidings, through the power of corruptions and temptations, cannot be known; but certain it is, that it shall not be always thus with him.

    "It may be further inquired, whether such an one may be so left to live after the flesh, as to die and perish eternally; Christ expressly says, such shall not die that live and believe in Him; grace, which is implanted in their souls, is an incorruptible and never dying seed; grace and glory are inseparably connected together."

    I believe their will be times of the absence of growing and learning from God during the early conforming process due to carnality but never will there arise a point point of guilt or judgement, for the conscience even in the carnal times, should be aware of the total absence of guilt; a weight many legalistic believers must carry.
     
  9. The Biblicist

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    12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
    13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.


    The words "live" (vv. 12, 13) and "mortify"(v. 13) are all present tense verbs. He is not speaking about a completed action in the past but a progressive incompleted action.

    The context is not about obtaining spiritual life through regeneration but how to have victory over the old man or indwelling sin. This requires habitual mortifying of the flesh through the inwelling Spirit of God. The life he is referring to is in opposition to the "death of this body" that he wished to be delivered from (Rom. 7:24). He is talking about experiential life in the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, the abundant life.

    Right now he is fastened to this "body of death" and will be until final victory in glorification. The issue is how does he free himself from the situation described in Romans 7:18-24 as a born again child of God. It is the same way he received salvation, by grace through faith - "walk as ye have received" (Col. 2:6). One must first have the indwelling Spirit of God (Rom. 8:2-4) and be "in the Spirit" (Rom. 8:9) not "in the flesh" (Rom. 8:7-8) but that does not solve Romans 7:18-24. What solves Romans 7:18-24 is Romans 8:10-14. Morifying the old nature repeatedly throughout the Christian life, living under the leadership of the Spirit not the law of the flesh.
     
    #9 The Biblicist, May 30, 2013
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  10. NetChaplain

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    I believe the Romans 7:14-25 is the believer's state, which an unbeliever does not encounter. This is a condition which Paul realizes will be existing until the next life (v 25-"So then"). If God provided a way for the believer to be impeccable to all temptation, we would be sinless. The believer, being in a carnal state (sinful nature) cannot avoid many times of imperfect action, reasoning and discernment because perfection is not God's desire for us in this life, but the next.

    It has been said that unbelievers need deliverance from sin's guilt and believers need deliverance from sin's rule. I believe we do concur much in our beliefs concerning the ongoing deliverance by the Spirit, but I think the daily victory is in being aware of the "old man," which is our sin nature that Paul wrote of (Rom 7:17, 18, 20, 21,23, 25); and it is not shown that he resists it but is aware of it and leaves it to Christ (v 25); and himself to the "law (will) of God" (v 25). When he sins, it is with the old I and when He obeys God it is with his new I--by the Spirit of course.

    I believe the Christian's part (as shown by Paul) is not to struggle against our sinful nature because this is the Spirit's part (Gal 5:17), but to allow (yield--Rom 6:13) the Spirit to deal with it as He guides (1 Cor 2:13) us in God's will, which involves as you've mention, "through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body" (Rom 8:13); which also I believe is not the physical body but is "the body of this death" (Rom 7:24)--the sinful nature, which is separate from the physical body.

    God's blessings to your Family and blessed be God.
     
  11. The Biblicist

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    I don't see anything to object to in what you have stated. We resist Satan by yielding to the Spirit. It is good to find agreement. If the others could grasp this truth, they would give up their futile attack on eternal security.
     
  12. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    Amen and chat you latter!

    For Christ's Sake <><
     

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