Battle Plan – Strategy 9 – Flee!

(The list of these strategies in chart form can be found here: http://rogert.me/2w6E0sK )

Strategy 9: I’m prepared to flee if necessary; to remove whatever sources of temptation may be a stumbling block to me.

 

Paul writes to Timothy, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22, NKJV)

 

The key word here is run. We normally have an instinct to run from danger. Why don’t we flee the lusts and temptations that are at war against us? I think it’s probably because we don’t realize or believe the danger that God warns us about in His word.

 

Paul told the Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:7–8, NKJV)

 

I heard a message by Charles Stanley who said that we reap what we sow, later than we sow, and more than we sow. Somehow, I don’t think we believe this is true, otherwise we would be running away from our temptations the way Joseph did in Genesis 39.

 

I think a big part of our problem when it comes to our hesitance to run is simply a matter of unbelief. We don’t believe God’s warnings of the corruption and death that is inherent in our practice of sinning. Paul warned the Galatians in the passage above that if we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption. Nobody wants to reap corruption, but we don’t believe it will happen with us because we are “saved.”  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this passage from Romans: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13, NKJV)

 

This is written to believers, but there is the threat of death in it. Living according to the flesh, following its desires and lusts, results in death. He may not be referring to eternal death, here, but certainly we bring corruption, rotting, into our lives and hearts somehow by not fleeing. Is this really what we want?

 

Think about it!

 

Priority Goal 9: Today I will turn around and run away when confronted with the strong lusts of the flesh. I will retreat to the Word of God, prayer, and other believers who will be able to help me flee.

Charles and Larry Discuss “The Great Extinction”

The Great extinction

L: I just read that the 6th great extinction might be underway as we speak!

C: What do you mean?

L: Well, they said that for example the African elephant population has been cut basically in half since the early part of the 1900’s.

C: Should we be worried?

L: They said a lot of it is caused by humans. I think we should work really hard to stop it.

C: What should we do?

L: I think we need to cut back on carbon emissions, stop clearing so many forests, cut back on the number of kids we have, and so on.

C: And you think that would stop this extinction from taking place?

L: I think it would help.

C: Let me ask you a question. What caused the first five extinctions to take place?

L: I don’t know. It just happens. That’s the way evolution works. The earth changes, species come and go.

C: So why should we worry about this one?

L: Because if our species disappears, we’re doomed!

C: Yea… and what would happen then?

L: I guess new species would develop and…

C: Life would go on. What’s to worry about?

L: But part of this is our fault and we have the responsibility to take steps to slow it down, so that future generations will be able to live the kind of life we live.

C: Future generations of humans or just future generations of something?

L: Future generations of humans.

C: You don’t believe in God, right? You believe in evolution through totally natural causes.

L: That’s right. There is no God planning or guiding or directing what is happening. It just happens because of the laws of science.

C: So evolution of the planet and of life just goes on without any supervision or oversight. There is no ‘ought’ to any of it. Atoms bounce around in certain ways and come together according to nature and over enough billions of years we have the earth as we know it today. Right?

L: That’s right.

C: So my first observation is that the way the earth is today, then, is not necessarily the ideal. It just happens to be the way it is today. Over the course of evolution, let’s say when the dinosaurs were here, they went wherever they wanted and ate what they wanted and there was no God and no people to say, “You shouldn’t go there or do that.”

L: Right

C: Eventually evolution got to human beings. Humans decide to build houses and so they cut down trees. All of a sudden that is a bad thing. Beavers are never accused of destroying trees. It’s just what happens.

L: But we have intelligence.

C: So we chop down trees. We clear land so we can grow crops and we have extended our life span. We’ve invented products to make our work easier. It’s what we do.

L: But we need to do those things carefully and with thought and care for the environment.

C: Who says so?

L: We sort of agree to do that.

C: Not everyone.

L: I know but some people waste things and pollute the environment and it hurts other people.

C: Who says that is bad. Some animals do things that hurt other animals or other species and we never accuse them of ruining the environment.

L: That’s because they can’t think.

C: Thinking about things is an ability we have, but as soon as you suggest that there is an ought, I get nervous because that makes me think that you think that there are rules out there somewhere that we are all obligated to obey.

L: Well there are.

C: Who says so?

L: We just know it. We know that we shouldn’t harm the environment so that other people suffer now or at a later time.

C: Apparently not everyone knows that because if they did, they wouldn’t be doing things that you don’t like.

L: They might not know it, that’s why we need to educate them.

C: But who says your way of thinking is right, just because you believe it or say it.

C: Here’s the thing: If evolution is true, humans are currently the product. The earth is the way it is now, but that is not the ideal. It just is the way it is. So if humans bring a species of plants from China to the U.S., that shouldn’t cause everyone to freak out. It’s just what happens in the course of evolution. Evolution created us and evolution gets to deal with the results of our behavior.

C: There are no “oughts.” Any oughts are preferences of one group seeking to subjugate another group. Right now it seems like those of your point of view are trying to create oughts that people like me are required to agree to and follow just because you have more numbers or power. But that doesn’t make your preferences right.

C: Humans inherently have the notion that what I have just described can’t be right. We believe that people really ought to live in a certain way even if we’re not always sure what that way is. I maintain that the moral sense we have and the conscience we have is evidence that we are not really alone in the universe. We haven’t really just evolved from organic soup by chemical laws. There really is a creator God out there who has the list of oughts and has the right to tell us what to do. We need to find the list.

C: The reality of a creator God is a better foundation for environmental care than evolution. If there is a God who made all this, then we have the responsibility of handling his creation with care and treating all of it with respect.

Charles and Larry Discuss Sexual Sin, Jesus’ Compassion and Hell

These CL Discussions are imagined conversations between a conservative Christian and a liberal person. The conservative’s name is Charles. The liberal’s name is Larry. These are not real conversations. They are imagined and the conservative views are mine, a fact you would have had no trouble discerning yourself. The opinions of the Liberal are typical of people I have met over the years, but don’t reflect any one person’s point of view. I am not claiming that these discussions are unbiased. I’m using them as a means of organizing my own thoughts as well as possibly helping others clarify their own point of view as well.

Charles and Larry have met for breakfast and have been discussing a wide range of topics when Larry changes the subject…

L: I agree with the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. And I think Jesus would have agreed. He was one to show compassion and not condemn people, don’t you think?

L: Think about the woman who was arrested while committing adultery. Jesus rebuked people for judging saying, “Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.”

C: When all of her accusers had left her, Jesus said, “I don’t condemn you either.”  This is just what you said. Somewhere else in the Bible Jesus said, “I have not come to condemn the world but to save it.” But Jesus said more than this to the woman. After he told her that he didn’t condemn her, he told her to go and don’t sin anymore.”

L: Yes, but he wasn’t condemning. And that’s the point. Christians today are so condemning. They’re no better than anyone else and yet they are often so condescending.

C: You’re right. Many of us are. But I think you’re missing an important point in what Jesus is saying. Jesus is not willing to let her go and continue in the life style she was engaged in. He called her adultery a sin. That’s different from the way modern people think. To most people today, adultery is not a sin. It’s a life style choice. But Jesus is telling her to stop. Jesus, the person who loves sinners the most does not want people to continue sinning because doing so will lead to eternal destruction.

L: First of all, I don’t believe adultery is a sin. I don’t really believe in sin as such unless you’re talking about abusing the most defenseless among us. That is sin. It is a sin to not pay people a fair wage and keep people in poverty. But whether someone has sex with someone he’s not married to is a personal matter and I certainly wouldn’t call it a sin. As long as both people are consenting and no one gets hurt, it can’t be a sin.

C: But Jesus thought so, didn’t he?

L: But Jesus lived at a different time. He was under different expectations from his culture.

C: Jesus went against the teachings of his Jewish culture all the time and he certainly went against the pagan culture of his time. And if Jesus was just acting out a part, and if he wasn’t giving actual true truth, then he must not have been God. Because I don’t think God would have played along with either the religious or the secular culture. God would tell it like it is.

L: Maybe so, but at least he had compassion on this woman and didn’t condemn her.

C: But I think you’re missing the point. He had compassion and so should we. But it is not compassion to let someone go without telling them that the path they are on is sinful. The path of sinning leads to eternal judgment in hell.

L: I don’t believe in hell and Jesus didn’t either.

C: Jesus said that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause is in danger of the judgment and whoever calls someone a fool is in danger of hell fire (Matt 5:22).

  1. I don’t believe Jesus said that. He was too loving to have said something like that.

C: It’s in the Bible.

D: But the Bible must not be right at that point. Jesus would not say that!

C: How should we know what Jesus actually said and what he didn’t? Just accept the parts we like and agree with? How are you going to know if any of it is true with that method?

D: No, but I just don’t believe Jesus would threaten someone with hell for calling someone a fool.

C: Jesus also said that if someone causes one of the young believers to stumble, it would be better for that man that a heavy stone be tied to him and be thrown into the sea rather than suffer what he was going to suffer. He went on to say that if your hand causes you to sin, it would be better to have it cut off than to go to hell where the fire is never quenched (Mark 9:42 and following).

C: So it doesn’t sound to me like your Jesus is compassionate in the same way you imagine. Jesus knows that sin is destructive. Sin will keep a person from God. God pleads with people saying, “Turn from your evil ways. Why will you die?” (Ezekiel 33:11).

C: That is true compassion. Someone who knows a course of action will lead a person to certain death and doesn’t do anything to warn them doesn’t love them very much.

Battle Plan – Strategy 2 – The Scriptures

Strategy 2.  I am renewing my mind actively and regularly by reading, memorizing and meditating on Scripture. 

In each of these strategies I put the statement as an affirmative statement of fact. That helps us focus on what the goal is. It is a true or false statement. Within our own hearts we know whether the statement is true for us or not.  Is this true: I am renewing my mind actively and regularly by reading, memorizing and meditating on Scripture.

Here we have another essential personal discipline that gets overlooked all too often. We are constantly looking for the secret of this or that as though there were hidden methods for being successful in the Christian life. There are no secrets. It’s all right there out in the open. We just don’t do it.

Romans12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

It’s important to be renewing our minds. God says this is the way that transformation takes place. And the Christian method of renewing the mind is to spend time reading, memorizing and meditating on Scripture. There is no shortcut. Consider these passages:

Psalm 1:1-3  Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (Emphasis mine.)

It’s interesting to note that in verse 4, the Psalmist says that the ungodly are not like this. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Am I like this?” If not, I am putting myself into the category of the ungodly. Is that where I want to be?

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Emphasis mine)

Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Take some time every day to be in the Scripture. Read a portion and spend some time thinking deeply about it.  Begin a Scripture memory plan. Memorize one verse a week or one every other week. Write the verse on a 3×5 card and review it every day until you have it learned and then go on to another.

If you are not doing these basic things, you cannot expect to have victory over sin and temptation you may be facing. Don’t look for other solutions. Spending time in prayer and in the Word is foundational to victory.

Priority Goal 2: I am going to spend time each day reading and meditating on the Word of God.

If this is your goal, take a moment right now and determine where in your schedule you will put this important activity. What scripture passage will you begin to read today? Find a notebook where you can jot down questions and thoughts that come to mind as you meditate. Do this now.

Message of the Cross – Part 5

knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (Romans 6:6, NKJV)

As I mentioned in one of the previous articles, the Bible teaches us that if we have trusted in Christ, we have been placed into Christ. Since that is the case, God considers us to have died with Christ when He died on the cross.

In this passage, Paul writes that when that happened, our old man was crucified with Him. By old man he is referring to the old self. Some people call it the old nature. The Bible says that “if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. Old things are passed away and all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Our passage for today, Romans 6:6, tells us the purpose for this crucifixion of the old man – that the body of sin might be done away with. Some translations say that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, or made of no effect. The ultimate goal is so that we should no longer be slaves for sin.

What we as Christians need to do is to practice believing what God says is true. No matter how we feel about our sinfulness and the power of sin over us, the Bible says that our old man was in fact crucified so that the body of sin would be made ineffective so that we would not be a slave of sin. If we find ourselves in slavery to sin, it’s because we have voluntarily yielded to it, not because it has power or authority of us.

At this Easter season, let’s remind ourselves of what God says is true – our old self has been put to death.

Christian Worldview 6 – Food

(For Part 1 click here)

We are continuing our thoughts on creation and God’s provision for us and how this helps us establish a biblical frame of reference for living.

One of the key resources we get from the earth is our food. In the Bible we see a progression of revelation about man and his food. In Genesis 1:29 and 2:16 we find God providing mankind with plants for his food. Adam and Eve were given plants of all kinds for their food with the exception of the fruit of one particular tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But as is the case with most of us, we focus more on the thing that we can’t have than the abundance of provision of what God has given. Adam and Eve did the same thing and this ultimately led to their downfall.

After the flood, God gave animals for food along with the plants (Genesis 9:3). The only prohibition was that we were not supposed to eat meat if it still had its blood in it. When the Jewish nation was established there were entire lists of animals that were out of bounds (Leviticus 11 for example).

After Jesus’ death and resurrection when the church was being established, God told Peter to kill and eat animals that had been on the unclean list. Peter refused, but God told him that he should not call unclean what God said was clean (Acts 10:15). So now, biblically speaking there are no foods that are off-limits for Christians.

In 1 Timothy 4:3-4 Paul warns believers about making human rules about what can be eaten and what can’t. All foods were created by God and are to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. He says that every created thing is good and nothing is to be refused if received with thanksgiving. It is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Obviously we are to be careful of gluttony which is prohibited in the Bible and we should eat in moderation, but we should not be making rules for one another as to what we should and shouldn’t eat. The Bible is very clear that these man-made rules do nothing to improve our spirituality (Colossians 2:23).

(Part 7)

Sin and Forgiveness – Conclusion

Spurgeon writes:

“According to this gracious covenant (the new covenant of Hebrews) the Lord treats His people as if they had never sinned. Practically, He forgets all their trespasses. Sins of all kinds He treats as if they had never been; as if they were quite erased from His memory. O miracle of grace! God here does that which in certain aspects is impossible to Him. His mercy works miracles which far transcend all other miracles. Our God ignores our sin now that the sacrifice of Jesus has ratified the covenant. We may rejoice in Him without fear that He will be provoked to anger against us because of our iniquities. See ! He puts us among the children; He accepts us as righteous; He takes delight in us as if we were perfectly holy. He even puts us into places of trust; makes us guardians of His honor, trustees of the crown jewels, stewards of the Gospel. He counts us worthy, and gives us a ministry; this is the highest and most special proof that He does not remember our sins. Even when we forgive an enemy, we are very slow to trust him; we judge it to be imprudent to do so. But the Lord forgets our sins, and treats us as if we had never erred. O my soul, what a promise is this! Believe it and be happy.”

 

You may be thinking, “Yes, that’s all well and good but we do sin. How do we overcome this sinful tendency?” That’s a topic for another day. But the short answer is that as we live by faith in the truth of Scripture, and meditate on his Word, God’s Spirit will gradually make us more like Christ:

 

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Sanctification — growing in Christlikeness, including the desire for such growth are all part of what Christ purchased for us on the cross and provided in the New Covenant. He gives the new life and the desire to grow.

 

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Jeremiah 31:33

 

I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Ezekiel 36:27

 

for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

 

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—  1 Corinthians 1:30 (Christ is our righteousness and our sanctification.)

 

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?  Galatians 3:3 (The question expects an answer of “No”.)

Sin and Forgiveness – Part 5

Now let’s look at 1 John 1 and then we’ll sum up this study. In 1 John 1:7 John says that if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ continuously cleanses us from all sin. This is a description of believers. John had earlier said in verse 3 that our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. In 2 Corinthians 6:14 Paul asks what fellowship righteousness and unrighteousness can have with one another. The implication from the passage is that they cannot. But here John is saying we have fellowship with both God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. If we are to have fellowship with God or better if God is to have fellowship with us, we can’t be unrighteous. But why aren’t we unrighteous? Because we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ and our sins have been removed from us and the cleansing is ongoing and continuous.

So 1 John 1:7 is speaking of believers. If on the other hand, we walk in darkness, or deny that we sin, or deny that we have a sin nature, we are lost (1 John 1:6, 8, 10). So we’re not talking about two kinds of Christians here but the difference between believers and unbelievers.

In the middle of these verses we come to 1 John 1:9 which most of us are familiar with. In my opinion, this verse is primarily a verse contrasting believers with the unbeliever mentality mentioned in verses 6, 8, and 10. It is not primarily a verse about daily confession of particular sins. Please don’t read this statement as though I am saying we don’t need to confess sins. I’m not saying that. But this verse is primarily a verse that tells us the contrast between an unbeliever who doesn’t admit he is a sinner and the believer who confesses that he is a sinner.

If we walk with God in humility, acknowledging our situation as sinners, God is faithful and just to continuously forgive us of our sins and to continuously cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Notice the word “all”.  His forgiveness and cleansing are continuous. It doesn’t get applied to each particular sin but His blood stands as the continuous cleansing agent for all of our sins, past, present and future, recognized and unrecognized, thoughts, attitudes and actions. We walk in the blaze of his all-seeing holiness and we have fellowship with him because our sins have been removed from us.

Sir Robert Anderson said, “It is not in order that it may thus cleanse him that the believer confesses his sin; his only right to the place he holds, even as he confesses, depends on the fact that it does thus cleanse him.”

Jesus Christ is our advocate or attorney pleading our case continually because his blood is the propitiation (continual satisfaction before God) for our sins (1 John 2:1-2).

So we can see from Scripture that God has provided for every aspect of our sin problem. He accepts Christ as our head and sees us as saints rather than sinners. He resurrects our dead spirit and provides the motivation to follow him. And finally he completely and totally forgives and removes all of our sins on a continual basis based on the sacrifice and continuing advocacy of his Son, Jesus Christ.

Sin and Forgiveness – Part 4

Finally we want to look at God’s solution to the sinning problem. We have looked at how God has solved our guilt in Adam and how he has changed our hearts so that we don’t have that old dead, fallen nature any more. But what to do about sins we commit. That is the problem we want to look at next.

First of all we have to believe God when he says that we have forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7), and that he has forgiven all our trespasses (Col 2:13). The Psalmist reminds us that as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12). Notice the word “from”. Our sins are removed from us. Mary’s baby was to be called Jesus because he would save his people from (there it is again) their sins. I think we have a huge problem believing what God is saying about our sins. I’m not speaking to the world here; I’m speaking to those who have trusted Christ as savior, those whom the Holy Spirit as regenerated through the Gospel. So I would like to look at this subject through some important teaching found in Hebrews 9-10 and then in 1 John 1. So first, Hebrews 9-10

The author of Hebrews tells us that the old sacrificial system, the Old Covenant could not make a person perfect with respect to conscience (Heb 9:9, 10:1). Now as we’ll see, the implication of his teaching is that what the Old Covenant could not do, Christ and the New Covenant could and would do. Therefore I conclude that there should be cleansing with respect to the conscience through the New Covenant.

Next the author tells us that Christ obtained eternal redemption for us through his sacrifice once for all (Heb 9:12). That means it was sufficient and does not need to be repeated. He goes on to say in verse 14 that his blood cleanses our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Dead works are those we try to do to make ourselves acceptable to God or to win his approval. In chapter 6 of Hebrews, the author had connected this with elementary teaching. Elemental principles are those of basic religion where people try to make God happy with them through endless human effort, ceremonies, rituals and penance. Even Christians do this. When they confess their sins, people sometimes don’t believe that God forgives them and so they try to do things to prove they are really, really sorry. If they can cry they will do that. They may put extra money in the offering or do extra works of penance so that God knows they really, really, really mean it. They may abstain from certain pleasures that aren’t sinful in themselves, but somehow it makes them feel as though they are proving a point to God. Paul, at the end of Colossians 2 tells us that these efforts don’t work in stifling our fleshly tendencies or in approving us to God. So the blood of Christ cleanses our consciences from the need to perform these sorts of deeds.

Hebrews 9:26 tells us that he came to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. We need to understand that Jesus put away sin. He removed it. He even says of the people in the world, “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). We need to remember that the whole point is for him to solve the sin question. He put way sin by the sacrifice of himself.

The author goes on in Hebrews 10 to tell us that if the old system had made the worshippers perfect, two things would have happened:  the sacrifices would have ceased (10:2), and  the consciousness of sin would have been removed (10:2).  But as it was, those sacrifices didn’t stop, and instead of solving the conscience problem, they actually made it worse by reminding people day after day that they were sinners because new sacrifices were required all of the time. And so the author concludes that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin (10:4).

But in contrast to that, the sacrifice of Christ has sanctified forever (10:10), and those who are sanctified have been perfected forever (10:14). So what the Old Covenant could not do, the New Covenant has accomplished. In fact he quotes from the New Covenant passages we studied earlier. And he summarizes with this amazing statement, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).

I take all of this to mean that if we keep resurrecting our sins in a way that is reminiscent of the Old Covenant we are acting in disbelief of what God has promised us in Christ. He put away sins by the sacrifice of himself and separated them from us and refuses to remember them or impute them to us (Romans 4:8).

Sin and Forgiveness – Part 3

What is God’s solution to the perverseness and wickedness of our hearts? The question of being sinners is more related to the sin issue rather than the sins issue. First we find out in 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21 that we have been made new creatures in Christ. The old has passed away and all things have become new. We also learn that Christ became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Note that in this verse he doesn’t say Christ took our sins upon himself. It says that he became sin. In doing so it allows us to be the righteousness of God in him.

Since our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), they need to be completely replaced with a righteousness from outside of ourselves. Paul’s request is that he might be found in Christ not having a righteousness of his own, but a righteousness from God (Phil 3:9). The Bible teaches us that God’s righteousness is imputed, or placed on the record of those who believe God (Romans 4:5-8, 22-25). That means if we believe the record that God has given of his son, our filthy rags righteousness is replaced by the righteousness of God and credited to us as though we had been the one who actually obeyed perfectly.

We also learn in Scripture that Christ himself is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30). God doesn’t add to your righteousness to bring you up to the level required. Your righteousness, no matter what it is, is wiped out and replaced with Christ’s righteousness. That means some good deed you did for someone today is wiped out because it was probably tainted with some amount of selfishness or pride and is replaced with Christ’s perfection. In the end God is going to present us to himself as holy, blameless and above reproach in his sight! (Colossians 1:22)

Finally in this part of the discussion of what God has done to fix our sinful heart, we learn that God has done an amazing thing as part of his promise in the New Covenant. At the last supper, Jesus said that this cup was the New Testament in his blood. In other words he was initiating the fulfillment of the promised New Covenant. If we look back at Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:25-27 we can summarize the promises this way. He has promised to (1) remove our old stoney heart, (2) replace it with a new heart, (3) give us a new spirit, (4) give us his Holy Spirit, and (5) motivate us to follow God and his ways. This completely reverses what happened to our spirit in the fall. This is what we mean by the new birth.

But, the problem is that we have the remnants of what the Bible calls the flesh or the “old man” within us. There is a battle that needs to be fought to tame and keep in subjection those old habits and tendencies that still stay with us. But we should not think of ourselves as though we were still under the bondage of the old fallen self. God has provided all we need for a life of godliness. Old things are passed away and all things have become new.