Hebrew Roots/Restoration/Law & Grace/Tree Faith & Flesh
THE LIFE OF FAITH VERSUS THE LIFE OF THE FLESH
The dilemma often is that we do not reckon the old nature to be dead. We do not count on/ believe and as a result experience a complete death to the old nature. Either through ignorance in lack of teaching, or entrenched areas of behaviour/thinking patterns, we do not appropriate the Life of Messiah in its entirety. There are blockages, hindrances or just that we fall back into old habits patterns of thinking and believing - just what we identify and have known ourselves to be, i.e. our personality.
We have been born and bred in the enemy's mould of sin. Being independent, making our own choices, being self-motivated - Self at the helm of our own ship, steering our own course in life as have our parents, and how many other generations before us that have set the mould of protecting our own interests, seeking our own pleasure, thinking our own thoughts.
Now we have to change and come into a new mode of operation!
Having a new helmsman, following His directions and fulfilling His plans - "not my will, but Thine be done". No longer 'I' in control.
That is a dramatic change to sustain over a period of time and in various situations. It requires a constant ongoing exercise of faith to remain in union with this new helmsman. It will take faith to maintain that continuous abiding in the vine.
And, having begun in faith, it is easy to slip into operating in the things you 'know' you should do and thus become caught up in keeping the 'law' - doing what is right because you know it is right (or good) and not because you are motivated from within from the life of Messiah.
We operate from knowledge and not from the inner life. Living from the wrong tree!
The tree of knowledge as compared to the tree of life. (the tree of knowledge is the knowledge of good as well as the knowledge of evil)
As Paul wrote to the Galatians "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, .... This only would I learn of you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? ..... " Galatians 3:1-3
"Stand fast then in the liberty by which Messiah has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage" Galatians 5:1
The fallen human nature desires to do something to earn or merit salvation. To do something toward becoming righteous. It takes humility to accept a free gift. The fact is, you owe your life to Him and there is nothing you can do now or in any future time to repay or be worthy of that free gift. You can never become worthy by 'being righteous'. It will ever be His righteousness until that day when we become immortal.
The only thing we can do is to recognize and honour His propriety over our life in having bought us back from the hand of the enemy and from being destined to eternity in hell.
That is such an awesome concept! Destined to eternity in 'Gehenna' in the Lake of Fire that burns forever. And then, Miraculously, with no strings attached, you are given a lifeline - a way of escape - a Saviour to lift you out of the mire and the penalty of your own errant way.
Then, not only to save you, but to adopt you into His own family and instate you with all the rights and privileges of an heir to His kingdom. And for someone who doesn't deserve it!
That demands a heart response of gratitude and unreserved love.
And this is what He desires, our genuine heart-felt love for Him who reached down and in His mercy brought us unto Himself. This is the 'return' that He seeks - relationship!
That out of love for Him and in relationship with Him, we will do the things that please Him and that are according to His will. It will all come from an outflow of relationship.
Often though, our gratitude and desire to serve Him spills over into doing our own works. Not being able to rest in the finished work of Messiah, we try to add some 'good works'
THE OLD NATURE
The old nature wants to be justified. It wants to be right. And look at Cain. What rises up when confronted with the root of sin?
Rejection - Self-pity - Resentment - Anger
"The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace" James 3:18
There is no bad fruit when walking in righteousness. Paul calls it the 'peaceable fruit of righteousness' (Heb.12:11)
But all types of wounding occur when walking in the flesh, in the self-life - and it progresses on to destruction.
Notice what Yahweh said to Cain (Genesis 4:6,7) It is obvious that Cain could have taken control of his sinful response and brought it under control. Yahweh was extending the way of reconciliation and repentance to him but he was entrenched in his self-life and chose not to repent. Where self-seeking and covetous desire have free reign, every evil thing is present. (James 3:14 17)
The self life motivated by fleshly desires is the breeding ground for the powers of darkness to control and James says all that originates from it is demonic. (James 3:15)
It goes back to the garden where the enemy said 'ye shall be as gods' by taking from the tree of knowledge. You will be able to know for yourself what is good and evil and make your own decisions and be independent. You will be as 'god'. You can set your own course.
And just as Eve was deceived in the garden, so is anyone today who eats from that tree thinking they can run their own life, even for 'good', even religiously 'good' purposes. The enemy continues to stand at the garden of our lives ready to tempt us to eat of the wrong tree. The wrong tree will always bring forth bad fruit.
By allowing self to reign, the ultimate manifestation will be 'evil' deeds.
The fallen self is a broken creature - without inner validation. Fallen man in himself is empty, void and lifeless, dependent upon commendation to give esteem and affirmation and acknowledgment of himself and his achievements.
Being in a state of spiritual death, he has no life in himself and needs some form of stimuli, some 'life' to come from an outside source, whether it be from interaction from other people, entertainment, pleasure, sport, indulgence of appetites, creature enterprises and/or various achievements in life. He is very vulnerable because of his dependence on some form of life-support system. Vulnerable to disappointment, defeat, deflation, apathy and to attack, wounding and destruction. And so, self can become very touchy
Because of this vulnerability there arises in man the need to protect oneself To Protect
- What you are
:What you do :What you say :What you think ...
To protect oneself, self-justification is involved, or if the devaluation is accepted and internalized.
It results in self-condemnation. The voice of the law comes into operation either excusing or accusing oneself. Romans 2:15
If we are in union with Messiah, and not in the flesh, there is no judgment that can come and find a mark. The enemy will always seek to condemn (and he uses people mostly), but if you know that you are doing His works and not your own (walking in true righteousness) it is unjustified.
The scriptures speak of the 'breastplate of righteousness' covering our heart to protect it from the darts of the evil one. If you know that you are in Messiah, you have an assurance in what you do and the enemy can't find a place to penetrate. (Ephesians 6:14)
And, not only in the defensive aspect, but also in the offensive when we engage the enemy in warfare and counterattack his strategies, we are covered, by the 'armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left' (2 Corinthians 6:7)
We can expect the enemy to attack us in our mind just as he did to Yeshua, and according to His example we can counter-attack with the Word. When in the flesh, you lack the power and authority to deal with his strategies. When other people are used to attack us, if we are not controlled by the flesh, we can give a godly response.
Whatever the tactic, he will always seek to bring us back under the 'law' as that is where he has legal authority from the garden over man.
Yahweh's law is eternal and is a depiction of His own character and nature and His just requirement for mankind. Its essence will never change. But to attempt to be righteous, to measure up to God's standard in our own right is a complete affront to the Almighty. It is akin to Satan's effort to be like the Most High. How dare we attempt to be righteous in our own merit. Yet, this is what the enemy will seek to have us do, either arrogantly or in ignorance and deception.
Yeshua 'kept' the righteous standards of His Father because He was righteous. He was without sin, by birth (not being of Adam's fallen nature, but by the Spirit of the Father) and by keeping Himself from the enemy and his strategies to commit sin and act in independence of His Father during His life. No other man has ever been righteous or attained unto righteousness in his own merit. ("there is none righteous, no not one" Rom.3:10)
This 'second man' Yeshua, who passed the test for mankind where Adam the first man failed, has begun a new order. As the second 'Adam', all those in Him shall bear His image - that of a righteous man, no longer a natural man, but a spiritual one. (1 Cor.15:47)
In the meantime while we are 'growing up in Him' we need to be aware of the enemy's tactics to bring us into defeat and back into the bondage of the 'law'. Past or present shortcomings and actual transgressions are all things he will use or just the legalistic way of considering what is the right thing to do in a situation. We are dead to the law, Paul says, and therefore we should not judge ourselves or others by it. Rather we are to walk according to the new nature wherein we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh (even those of the mind).
When we judge ourselves or another we are operating under "law', bringing them or ourselves under our understanding of the law. We are setting ourselves up as a judge, as god, able to judge right and wrong, good and evil - back to the wrong tree!
We, none of us are able to keep the law ourselves, and yet we would judge our brother? Usually on a point that stirs our self-nature, or that bites into an old wound.
"Speak not one against another, brethren, he who is speaking against a brother, and is judging his brother, does speak against the law and does judge the law; And if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save or to destroy; who are you that you judge the other? James 4:11-12 "Who are you to judge another man's servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. Romans 14:4
"Why do you judge your brother?" Romans 14:10
When we do judge others , then we are not 'fully judging' ourselves and become 'ill-reasoning' judges. (Quotations from Young's literal translation of James 2:4
Our reasoning is impaired and distorted by the 'mote' (beam or log) in our own eye and we haven't seen (judged) the problem in ourselves. Usually when we are stirred by something in our brother, there is something in our own life that is out of order.
We are not properly able to judge issues - we do not have the wisdom, discernment and the determining criteria to make the evaluation. In short, we are not God!
We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Messiah, so we should beware! "Therefore judge nothing before the time until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the heart. Then each man's praise will come from God." 1 Corinthians 4:5
"Judge not, that ye be not judged, for with the same judgment ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Matthew 7:1-2
One man's strength is another man's shortcoming, and we all fall short somehow. Romans 3:23
The issue is usually offences that cause pain, and there is an answer for offences - FORGIVE!!! RECEIVE HEALING!!!
We need to take responsibility for our own wrong reactions and repent of our self-centeredness. Then forgive your brother and release him from your judgment.
Yeshua said, "I came not to judge the world, but to save it." John 12:47
Is our motivation to save our brother?
A good indication of our own motivation is in seeing how we judge our 'brother' If we are walking in a subtle self-righteousness, our thoughts will track along either commending or condemning others or ourselves.
If things appear good - commendation If they appear evil - condemnation See John 7:24
Paul said that he did not judge himself one way or another, but committed himself to God's judgment. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4; See also 2 Corinthians 10:12,17
This was Yeshua's example to us, "Who committed himself to Him who judges righteously" 1 Peter 2:23
And that, in the most extreme situation of being betrayed and delivered up to death on the stake.
To overcome and endure the trial set before Him, He spent the night agonizing in prayer, but He triumphed and went as a lamb to the slaughter and opened not his mouth in accusation against His accusers, neither in self-defense or in rebuke. Isaiah 53:7 & 1 Peter 2:21-22
The supreme test!
He fulfilled all righteousness from beginning to end. He exemplified the summary that He gave of the law as loving Yahweh and your neighbour to the fullest extent, and calls us to follow His example, yoked to Him.
"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Yeshua Ha Maschiach whom you have sent"
"And the glory which you gave me I have given them, that they might be one just as we are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, ....."
... that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them, .. " John 17:3,21.26
"To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of Yahweh" (Revelation 2:7)