Key Terms of Pauline Presentation the Flesh and the Holy Spirit

The ethical concept of the flesh –set of sinful and selfish passions inside of us, in opposition of the law, the Spirit, and where God wants to take us.

Filling of the Spirit –the ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby, in response to the believer’s continued yieldedness, He controls and empowers the believer for sanctification and service.

Walking by the Spirit –the ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby, in response to a believer’s continued yieldedness in accordance with the biblical command, He frees that believer from the control of the flesh and produces the fruit of the Spirit.

Leading of the Spirit –the Spirit puts to death the deeds of the body, confirming therefore, we are children of God and no longer living under the law.

Indwelling of the Spirit –the act whereby at conversion the Holy Spirit makes the believing sinner His permanent dwelling place forever.

Legalism –my effort to obey God by my resources for my glory, undermining both God’s grace and holiness.

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Application of Romans 6:1-14

I have a friend who confessed to me that she is plagued by the periodic struggle to control emotional outbursts, often expressing anger at others. My friend recognizes how unreasonable and hurtful these outbursts are. While she confesses these outbursts are sinful and regrets them deeply, she can’t seem to stop. My friend asks “Why can’t I stop hurting others this way? Why do these emotions control me at times? Why doesn’t God stop me from giving into to it?

Again here is the Bible text:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace?

My Response:

I hear what you are saying, and I understand where you are coming from friend. I have been plagued with emotional sin as well. Read Romans 6:1-14 and we will go from there.

The fact is, as a Christian, you died to sin when you were baptized and received salvation. Sin here is singular, meaning it is not your emotional outbursts in themselves, but rather the state of authority, mastery, or reign of unrighteousness. So, when you died to sin, you were separated from and set free from your relationship with unrighteousness as your master. You have an old self, which is how you used to be before you were saved. You were once living under the authority of sin and unrighteousness. However, with your old self dead, the relationship with sin as your master has been severed because it takes two individuals to be in a relationship. If one has passed away, there is only one left; thus, no relationship.

When you were baptized, you were baptized with Christ. This made you new spiritually. Your old self passed away (with Christ) from the authority of sin, and your new self was raised (with Christ and his resurrection) without the relationship with sin as your master. You have been spiritually renewed and have a new relationship under the authority of grace with Christ by the glory of the Father. You have been given a new way to live. This new way to live starts fresh every day and is under a new authority and new relationship. This is not just a resuscitation; it is a new form of life without your emotional sin. All this means you have a new identity in Christ in His resurrection, and the start of new spiritual life.

This work of God at your salvation in your identity with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection separates you from sin’s power and gives you a new quality of life.

So, at this point, you made the commitment of faith to be baptized and pledge your allegiance to Christ and He has given you a new life and new authority of grace. There are still things you can do on your end to stop putting yourself back in the old relationship with sin as your authority though. In fact, there are three key things in the passage in you can apply to your situation to stop giving into your emotions and hurting others.

First you must know, acknowledge, and believe that God’s word is true and a change has really occurred that unites you with Christ. This is not just abstract talk or me feeding you rainbows and butterflies. This is reality. Sin and your emotions are no longer your master. God’s grace has set you free from that bondage, and is your ultimate authority now.

The second thing you are to do is reckon your life and make the conscious decision that your life is not run by the mastery of sin and your emotions. In this context, reckon means to set your direction towards God and righteousness. You are to count yourself dead to sin but alive to God. Since you are dead to its power, you should recognize that fact and not continue in your emotional outbursts. Instead, you need to realize you have new life and identity in Christ.

Lastly, your attitude that you have died to sin must be translated into action. You need to present your emotions, your mouth, and your tongue to God to be used for deeds of righteousness. Scripture commands you to not let sin reign as it did before your salvation. When sin reigns in your life and body, you obey its evil desires. Sin enslaves, making you subject to your own evil and desires. Sin manifests itself through your emotions, mouth, and tongue. So instead of offering your emotions, mouth, and tongue to sin, as instruments of wickedness, you should offer them to God as instruments of righteousness. In another passage Paul commands you to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices…to God” (Romans 12:1)

In conclusion by God’s design, sin and emotions are not supposed to be your master. You are no longer under sin, but under grace. Because of grace, it is possible to defeat your sin of emotional outbursts. All you need to do is follow Paul’s Holy Spirit inspired instructions. Once more, those are to know a change has occurred and you are united with Christ, reckon your life and make a conscious decision that your life is not run by the mastery of sin, and present your emotions, mouth, and tongue to God to be used for deeds of righteousness.

Paraphrase of Romans 6:1-14

Using my definitions from my last post, I have written a paraphrased translation of Romans 6:1-14.

Original text:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace?

My Paraphrase:

What is our attitude to be? Should we remain living under the authority of unrighteousness for grace to increase even more? No way! If our prior state of being under the authority of sin has passed away, how can we still live under that authority? Don’t you know that all of us who pledged our allegiance to Christ and have been made a new person spiritually, have also passed away from the authority of sin, as He did? Because of this pledge of allegiance, we have been spiritually renewed with Christ by the glory of the Father and we have been given a new identity and a new way to live with Jesus.

Since we have been unified with him in the passing of the state of being under the authority of sin, we will be unified with him in this raising of new life. We recognize that our prior state of being under the authority of sin passed away with him so our physical body will no longer be ruled by sin, so that we could escape that bondage. Anyone who has experienced this passing away of the state of being under the authority of sin has been emancipated from that reign of unrighteousness. If we have experienced this passing away of the state of being under the authority of sin with Christ, we affirm that we will also live with him. We recognize that Christ, being resurrected, will never need to pass away again; the authority of sin has no reign over him. He experienced this once for every believer of this, and now his authority and action are righteousness for God. Therefore you too require thought believing you have passed away to the authority of unrighteousness and now live in righteousness with God in Christ Jesus.

Do not let unrighteousness take dominion in your physical body, to make you submit to its desires. Do not allow the parts of your body to be used as tools for immorality, instead allow yourselves to be used by God like you have been given a new spiritual life, and allow parts of your body to be used as tools for morality. The authority of unrighteousness will not have power over you, because law does not rule you. Instead unmerited favor is your authority.

Key Terms in Romans 6:1-14

Next, I would like to take a look at Romans 6:1-14. This is a vital passage that describes our new identity in Christ. To start with, I would like to identify some key terms used by Paul in this passage of Scripture and define them.

Romans 6:1-14:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Sin – not the individual act of sins, but rather the state of authority, mastery, or reign of unrighteousness.

Continue – remain living under the authority of sin.

Death – the passing of our old man so that we are no longer under the reign or authority of sin.

Baptized – having placed our allegiance to Christ and have been and made a new person spiritually.

Old man – the prior state of being under the authority or reign of sin.

Abiding Truths of Philemon 4-7

As we come to the end of the Bible study of Philemon, we must recognize that no study of the Scripture is complete until the main point of the passage in its relationship to your life is understood. Therefore, I’m now going to help derive the main principle or theme from the text.

I order to accomplish this, I will use five principles of correlation and clearly show each step. The final result are principles stating theological truths and a simple statement of the main theological proposition of the passage in Philemon 4-7.

Step 1: Six Interrogative Questions

Who

Paul

Philemon

God

Jesus Christ

Saints

What

Thank

Mention

Prayers

Love Faith

Fellowship

Knowledge

Joy

Comfort

Love

Hearts

When

Present tenses

thank my God always

making mention of you in my prayers

hear of your love

have toward the Lord Jesus

have come

Future tense

may become effective

Past tense

have been refreshed

Where

Why

Love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints

For Christ’s sake

Come to have much joy and comfort in love

The hearts of the saints have been refreshed

How

Making mention of you in my prayers

Pray fellowship of faith become effective through the knowledge of every good thing

Come to have much joy and comfort in love

Step 2: Record All Truths of the Passage

Believers should thank God.

Christians should pray about others.

Believers should have love and faith toward the Lord Jesus.

Christians should have love and faith toward other Christians.

The Lord Jesus and the saints are not the same.

It should be evident to others of a believer’s love and faith.

Fellowship of faith can become effective through the knowledge of every good thing.

We should pray for other believers to have their fellowship of faith to become effective.

The knowledge of every good thing is in all believers.

The knowledge of every good thing is for Christ’s sake.

Joy and comfort can be found in love.

Believers can experience joy and comfort.

Believers can experience other believers’ love.

Hearts of saints can be refreshed.

Hearts of saints can be refreshed through other Christians.

Step 3: Group Truths Together

Prayer

Believers should thank God.

Christians should pray about others.

We should pray for other believers to have their fellowship of faith to become effective.

Love and Faith

Believers should have love and faith toward the Lord Jesus.

Christians should have love and faith toward other Christians.

It should be evident to others of a believer’s love and faith.

Fellowship of faith can become effective through the knowledge of every good thing.

Joy and comfort can be found in love.

Believers can experience joy and comfort.

Believers can experience other believers’ love.

Jesus

The Lord Jesus and the saints are not the same.

Knowledge

The knowledge of every good thing is in all believers.

The knowledge of every good thing is for Christ’s sake.

Hearts Refreshed

Hearts of saints can be refreshed.

Hearts of saints can be refreshed through other Christians.

Step 4: Set Aside All Non-Demanding Truths

Believers should thank God.

Christians should pray about others.

We should pray for other believers to have their fellowship of faith to become effective.

Believers should have love and faith toward the Lord Jesus.

Christians should have love and faith toward other Christians.

It should be evident to others of a believer’s love and faith.

Step 5: Theological Principles

Believers should thank God always in their prayers.

Christians should pray for other Christians to have their fellowship of faith to become effective.

Followers of Jesus should have love and faith toward Him.

Believers should have love and faith toward each other.

Love and faith in a Christian should be evident to others.

Step 6: Main Theme

Believers should have faith and love in the Lord and practice the same with one another.

Now that you now the main theme, how will you apply it to your life?

How does an understanding of Roman Slavery in the first century help one understand what Paul is saying in the book of Philemon?

Yesterday I posted the Historical Background of  Philemon, but you may have noticed there was something missing. Clearly, the issue of slavery is central to the book of Philemon and I included very little information about that institution in the Roman Empire at the time of Paul. I did this intentionally, to single out this issue and approach it with a narrowed focus.

The Roman law of slavery at this time was extremely intricate, and slaves were regularly treated inhumanely and the average condition of a slave was horrendous.[1] Considering the average condition of a slave being horrendous, one can conclude from the following papyrus quote from AD 298 that no practical limits existed for slave masters to express their anger on runaways. “[A]nd when you a [slave-catcher] find him [a fugitivius] you are to deliver him up, having the same powers as I should have myself, if present to […], imprison him, chastise him, and to make an accusation before the proper authorities against those who harbored him, and demand satisfaction.”[2]

We can see in the New Testament that slavery was not yet abolished or opposed by Christians, at this time. Paul instructs both slaves and masters on how to work and behave in Colossians 3:22-4:1: “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. ” As you can see, Paul doesn’t suggest slavery should be banned, nor does he really state he’s opposed to it. He tells the church that slaves should obey and serve both their masters and the Lord. He also tells the church that the masters should treat their slaves justly and fairly, like God treats them.

Given the disrespect paid to slaves by the secular, Roman culture and even the Christian view of slavery; for Paul to request that Onesimus not only be freed, but seen as an equal brother in Christ, (Philemon 16) would have been radical in Roman society at that time.

                [1] McNaughton, Ian S. Opening up Colossians and Philemon. Opening Up Commentary. Leominster: Day One Publications, 2006.

                [2] Cho, B. “Subverting Slavery : Philemon, Onesimus, and Paul’s Gospel of Reconciliation.” Evangelical Quarterly 86, no. 2 (2014): 99-115. New Testament Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed October 27,

Historical Background of Philemon

The need for researching and the benefits of understanding the historical background helps inform a proper interpretation of the text of Scripture.

Here I have researched the historical background of Philemon that sets the stage for other studies of Philemon I’m going to post later on.

 

About the Author: Paul

Family Heritage:

  • His parents were strictly observant Jews living in the city of Tarsus, the prosperous capital of Cilicia, a province of the Roman Empire.
  • His Jewish name was “Saul”.

Educational Background:

  • He could write Greek and probably knew Hebrew or Aramaic.
  • In his adolescence, Paul studied the Jewish scriptures under famous Jewish rabbi Gamaliel.
  • He knew the scriptures well enough to quote them by memory.

Occupational Skills:

  • Paul was a tent maker.

Cultural Advantages:

  • Paul was not just a resident but a citizen of Tarsus, which suggests that his family was wealthy. He also claimed Roman citizenship by birth, a status that carried considerable prestige.

Religious Experiences:

  • He declared that he was “a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees.” (Acts 23:6, NASB)
  • He stated that he was “advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.” (Galatians 1:14, NASB95)
  • His religious zealotry led him to persecute Christians.
  • At one point, Paul was determined to go to Demascus to persecute more Christians: “Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1–2, NASB95)
  • On the way to Demascus, Paul was confronted by Jesus and blinded by Him. This experience showed Paul that the claims that Jesus was the Messiah and rose from the dead were true. During this confrontation, Jesus gave Paul instructions to fulfill a radically different mission in life. That mission was to preach the Gospel of Jesus.
  • Paul continued to Demascus and was healed of his blindness, baptized, and then began to preach the Gospel in the Jewish synagogues.
  • Paul began traveling around the region preaching the Gospel and even returning to check on some of the new Christian communities he planted.
  • Paul also wrote letters to churches and individuals, including Philemon. Paul ended up writing more books of the Bible than any other author.
  • While living out his new mission, he faced remarkable persecution that included house arrest and several imprisonments. The book of Philemon was written during one of his imprisonments in Rome.

About the Audience:

Philemon

Who is he?

  • Philemon was the host of a house church in Colossae and used his own house as their meeting location. (vv. 1–2)
  • Philemon is the slave master of Onesimus.

Where is he located?

  • The probable location of Philemon is Colossae.

When did the writing take place?

  • The epistle was written about the time when Paul was imprisoned in Rome (A.D. 63-65).

What is his situation?

  • It is believed that Philemon’s slave, Onesimus had either run away or had done something to cause Philemon to be upset with him.

Apphia & Archippus

People associated with Philemon. (vv. 1-2)

Colossae Church

Paul is referring to the Christians who were meeting in Philemon’s house at the time. (vv. 1-2)

Observational Chart of Habakkuk

One of the things I’ve learned to do when reading the Bible is charting a passage or book. Here I have observed the entire book of Habakkuk and recorded my observations in the form of a chart. This Bible study technique is helpful to get all your observations organized so you can see how the narrative connects in the big picture. I hope you enjoy.

Observational Chart of Habakkuk

Habakkuk 2:4