Life and Death
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Hear the roots of the Tree of Knowledge Talking
 

In his flesh, the Apostle Paul was just like you and I.  Paul, through our first parents, Adam and Eve, was an offspring from the root of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and originally he did not understand that he was being held in bondage by the Tree's tap root of self absorption.  In the Garden of Eden the Lord God commanded the Man/Adam, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou may freely eat: But of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it; for in the day thou eat thereof, thou shall surely die. (Genesis 2 verse 16 thru 17.) With Adam and his wife's rebellion to God's one Command for their protection, then death and corruption would take command of their lives. So then we would understand that sin and death existed before the Ten Commandments of God were given to the Children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Note: Paul, the Jew, was instructed at the feet of Gamalial, according to the perfect manner of the Law. (See Acts 22 verse 2 thru 3.) Paul, being an educated Jew, was without excuse in his knowledge of the Jewish ordinances, sayings and traditions, that were ascribed in the Torah.

Paul, on the road to Damascus, encountered a blinding experience with Jesus Christ, and then being led by God's Holy Spirit, came to understand the absolute Truth of the Words of the Truth, Jesus Christ.  "Except a man be be born again, he can not see the Kingdom of God!"  Paul, born of faith through the Grace of God's Holy Spirit, was now brand new by God's Spirit of Holiness.  Now, in a moment of time, the old man of sin had passed away in the death of Jesus Christ, and all things of the life of the new man was given a new beginning in Christ's resurrection.

As Paul grew in the knowledge of God, through God's Holy Spirit, Paul would come to understand that the root of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil continued to exist, not only in his mind, but his whole body of flesh was corrupted thru and thru, and awaiting death. Oh wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death.  Paul came to sense that even the physical matrix of his humanity was totally corrupted in sin, and his body was waiting its internment in the grave.  Whether Jew or Gentile, with a few miraculous exceptions, the verdict against every man and his nature of sin is the same; "Dust thou art and to dust thou shall return".  We have seen that the soul of a person resides in their blood, and that life blood courses through the flesh of the whole of their being. (See The Soul and the Life.) Now it stands to reason that the unredeemed soul knows only the will of the flesh, and as such, the soul, being one with the flesh, is held in the possession of that which passes away.  There needs to be a change in the possession of the soul that is condemned to death by the innate actions of the self centered flesh of the body. The Alpha and the Omega of the Faith of God says: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in His Son should not perish, but have ever lasting Life. (See John 3 verse 14 thru 16.)

Being justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His Blood to declare His Righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say at this time, His Righteousness, that He might be just, and the Justifier of him, which believes in Jesus/Yeshua. (See Romans 3 verse 24 thru 26.)

The Scripture is the Truth of God; but, is something wrong with the message of faith that is currently being preached by many churches?  The evidence of persistent sin presented in this world of darkness says Yes!!!  The tendency is to by pass the fullness of Paul's message in Romans 3 verse 25, as if the new Christian, with a few incantations, has no other responsibility for their future actions. To be sure, the Faith of Jesus Christ declares that God is Righteous and Just to remit the sins that were committed in the past.  But the word 'past', transliterated from the Greek word 'proginomai', presents a definitive line of demarcation for the new believer in Christ Jesus. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2nd Corinthians 5 verse 17.)  God's judgment of the former sins of the new born child of faith in Christ Jesus, were obliterated in the propitiating Blood of Jesus Christ.  Praise God Almighty!!!  But oops, what do we do about the new transgressions of the flesh? Say what; I thought all things were finished?  Nay, the vanity of the flesh of man has not changed.  The flesh, that we exist in, will sin, and will always seek first its own self centered gratification and then its own independent justification for its actions.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom also we have access by faith into this Grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the Glory of God.  For hope makes one not ashamed, because the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the HOLY GHOST, Which is given to us. (See Romans 5 verse 1 thru 5.)

What does Paul say in the continuation of this part of his letter.  by Whom also we have access by Faith into this Grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the Glory of God.  So then in this section of his letter, Paul says to those being saved: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it (sin) in the lusts thereof. (Romans 6 verse 12.)

In the following pages, try to witness with your own eyes of faith, the depths of the Infinite God's Faith in His unchangeable Word that repeats that the only Way of Salvation Grace is: Our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom also we have access by faith into this Grace wherein we (are able to) stand, and rejoice in hope of the Glory of God.  The new beginning may have begun gloriously; but seemingly was stopped at the door of our heart.  We speak about the Grace of God and the Glory of God like it is a philosophical abstract permeating the space of nothingness. But we, finite creatures, have failed to realize that the unseen substance of the 'Glory' and the 'Grace' of Yahweh God is given by His Holy Spirit of Grace. (Zechariah 12 verse 10 and Hebrews 10 verse 29.) In Faith, the Glory and Grace of God has come into the soul and spirit of the person of faith in Christ Jesus, to supply new Life to the members in the Body of Christ,  Now God's Grace rejoices our hearts in the unseen hope of this Glory of God's Spirit of Life.  We see first in the substance of faith, that through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the knowledge of the Salvation Grace of justification, was first administered to our souls and the spirit of our minds.  Then also, the same unifying Grace of the Spirit of God gives the believing sinners, who participates though the Sanctifying Body and Blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. an entrance into God's Throne room of Grace, with Christ's righteous enablement to stand before Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty. (See Hebrews 10 verse 19 thru 29.)

Sin's Vapor Trail is the Stench of Death.

We can rejoice with Paul in receiving the knowledge of God's Gift of Salvation, but nevertheless sin's enticements are yet waiting within the entrances of the thoughts within the core of our being.  Sin is stealthy, and spiritually hides itself in the mind of flesh even in the redeemed.  In the flesh, we remain subject to the gratifying pleasures akin to this world, and without the Spirit of God's unseen Grace, we may succumb to sin's pleasures. (See John 16 verse 7 thru 15.) The Infinite God Almighty is Spirit, and His Word in the Law of Commandants is Spirit, and the Holiness of His Spiritual Law condemns the spiritual renegade law of sin and death.  For this reason the Spirit of God's Word, Jesus Christ, became the flesh of Adam and in His obedient Love for His Father, Jesus/Yeshua condemned the spiritual law of sin and death in His own physical flesh.

But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (cravings). For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once (at one time): But when the commandment came, sin (was shown to have already) revived, and I (now) died. And the commandment, which (I thought) was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. (Romans 7 verse 8 thru 10.)  

These scriptures in Paul's letter to the Romans, presents a number of questions, that we need to seek for the answers through God's Spirit of Truth:  For without the law I was alive, once! Think about it! Paul, the Jew, was educated in the Torah, and yet when could it have been, when he was without the condemnation of the Law in Commandments.  (Consider Paul's conversion Acts 9 verse 3 thru 18.)

Now, after Salvation, can you not hear in your own self, that which ĎSaintí Paul has to say about his real, and not allegorical, struggles with his sinful flesh: For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.  But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law [of God], confessing that the Law is good.  So now, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin, which lives within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my nature of flesh: For the willing is present in me, for I have the desire to do what is good, but I do not practice the good.  For what I do is not the good I want to do: No, the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing.  But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (See in full context Romans 7 verse 15 thru 20.)

And so, the born again Paul with his revelation of his self, mirrored in the Law of Commandments, continues with his thoughts, ďI see another Law working within my members, warring against the Law of my mind [with his conscience enhanced by the knowledge of the Commandments of God], and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members [understand, sin resides within Paul's physical body and yours]. (Romans 7 verse 23 .)

What is this other law, but the evil force of sin itself, made more manifest by the knowledge of the quarantining Laws of God, (Ten Commandments).  Paul discovers another force within him he calls the 'Law of Sin', which is distinct from the Decalogue Law of God that condemns sin for what it is, 'death'.  In a prior chapter we metaphorically established sin, as the ultimate spiritual virus, which seeks its own rights to exist on its own terms.  Apparently, we did not know that the renegade rule or Law of Sin was the agent that brought death to humanity, for it is that ultimate unseen spiritual virus that promotes itself in death, and that of its captive.

In Paul's Salvation, stealthy sin, with its idolatrous deceptions in the flesh of our being, was originally dead to Paulís knowledge. How can this be happening to "\Saint Paul", the apostle to the gentiles?  Sin, remains hidden deep in the neuronal roots of self preservation, and will preserve itself at any cost.  Then the quarantining Commandments of God came again to his mind, and the knowledge of the presence of sin was shown to have revived in his flesh, and held Paul in the possession of sin's deadly tentacles.  But sin, finding opportunity in the Commandment (the Commandments weakness because of the weakness of the flesh) to express itself, (but sin) got a hold on me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires, lust and covetousness.  For without the Law. [in Commandments], sin is dead; that is the sense of sin, is inactive and seemingly a lifeless thing.  Once I was alive, but quite apart from and unconscious of the law [of sin].  But when the Commandment came, sin lived again, (that is, stealthy sin was shown to be still existing), and I died, for I was sentenced by the Law of God [in Commandments] to death.  (See Romans 7 verse 8 thru 9.) Amplified .

* While the Law of God in Commandments would condemn sin at its source in the flesh of man kind, the same Law of God in Commandments doesn't cause a person to sin, but nevertheless exacerbates sins condition in the flesh.  A little example would be like discovering a splinter in the surface of the flesh. The more we poke, proud and needle at the splinter, the more excited the physical flesh becomes.  With all the the probing in the flesh, the offensive splinter may cause enough pain that we may ignore it until the flesh festers up, and may require more extensive attention from a physician.  Likewise, the Commandments of God merely needle the deep infection of sin, but the good and Holy Commandments can not extract the causative agent that causes death.   The renegade Law of Sin will continue to rebel against God, and when sin is discovered by the Law of God, then sin will make all kinds of excuses to justify the offense, and may react as such, with more violence. Consider that in the Garden of Eden, Elohim gave Adam one Command to obey: Thou shall not eat of the Tree of Knowledge, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.  When the first Man/Adam and his sin is confronted by His Maker, then sin's law immediately adds more sin to sin. Please note that Adam first blames his wife, as an excuse for his treasonous actions against the Almighty God, and then blames God for giving Adam his wife, Ishshah.  (Genesis 3 verse 9 thru 12.)  Later in time, the Decalogue of Commandments with the Torah was given to Israel, by the Almighty God, to reveal the causative agent of man kind's entanglement with the clutches of death. Throughout the centuries, it is impossible to conceive of the total consequences of the violence of sin's rebellious nature in the flesh of man. Sin that remains innately in the flesh needs the attention of the Chief Physician, Who alone has within Himself the cure for the sting of death.

Paul, with his Salvation in Christ Jesus, came to understand the nature of the deadly infection of sin.  This awareness is because of sinís symptoms of self-promoting desires, that were being exhibited as confusion within the flesh of his mind.  We could liken the nature of sin to be the ultimate spiritual viral singularity, promoting it self, while dwelling within the flesh of human kind.  That which Paul knows of the Law of Sin within himself, he hates, for at times sin overpowers his own will, and makes him do the 'evil' things he is opposed to, and prevents him at times, from complying to that which he agrees is 'good'. 

As good and as holy as the Commandments of God are, they fail to relieve Paul of his sense of failure that sin encourages within his corrupted flesh.  Ironically, that sense of the presence of sin, is brought about by an awakened conscience through the Commandments of God that condemns (judges) sin for the death it promotes.  In man's very best state, latent sin, hidden in the flesh of our minds, will revive, to bring forth the nature of self idolatry that triggers one's death and separation from the heart of God, even as demanded by Holy God's Laws of quarantine in the Decalogue. 

Thus, Paul in his schizophrenic, self-illustration has concluded the Commandments of God, which he is mindful of, cannot save him from his lethal infection of sin, for sin has already corrupted his self serving flesh.  The Commandments are not curative, and can never bridge the chasm of sin and death that has corrupted the soul and even the genetic flesh of man kind.

So this brings us again to Paul's lamenting question with his answer, which also should be ours: "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" and his affirmative answer: "(Giving) Thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind, I am serving the Law of God, but on the other [hand] with my flesh, the (self serving) Law of Sin". (Romans 7 verse 24 thru 25.)

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under (God's) Grace.  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under (God's Spirit of) Grace? God forbid.  Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6 verse 14 thru 16.)

Who then is your master to whom you obey: 
Is it Sin, whose fruit is death, or
God the Creator of Life, Whose Fruit in Christ Jesus is Holiness that gives Life?

Through this portion of his letter to the Romans, Paul reveals the strength of sin.  In Chapter 6, Paul had already make the full case for the Grace of God in Christ Jesus that brings to believers, freedom from the sting of sin and death.  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it (sin) in the lusts thereof. For sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law, but under (The Spirit of) Grace(See Romans 6 verse 12-14.)

However, we have seen that the leaders in the various churches have presented a liberality in their shallow interpretation of grace.  Branding about the word grace, these leaders fail to realize that God's Grace is administered by Holy God's Gift of His Spirit of Grace. In their ignorance of the Holy, the self acknowledged pastors and teachers, leave the people of the pews, wallowing in the mire within the clutches of their sins. Through God's Holy Spirit, Paul presents a rebuke to this liberality: What then, shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. (Romans 6 verse 15.) For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh: But they that are after the Spirit, mind the things of the Spirit of God. Leading to the same thought: For to be carnally minded is DEATH, but to spiritually minded is LIFE and Peace (with God). (See Romans 8 verse 4 thru 6.)

Unfortunately, we shall see in the King James version of the Bible that the beginning of the following scripture in Romans 6 verse 17 is a misinterpretation of thought: But God be be thanked. The words 'be thanked' should be interpreted from the Greek word 'charis' meaning 'grace'.  Therefore the scripture should more properly be rendered: By God's Grace, you were the servants (slaves) of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you. Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. For now, (meaning 'at this time') being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and (in) the end everlasting Life. (Romans 6 verse 17 thru 18 and verse 22.)

What then is that form of doctrine that Paul speaks about that was previously delivered to the disciples of Christ?  (Consider one possibility Repent and Believe.) Yahweh, the Almighty God has not changed His Covenant Doctrine.  Take and drink all of you: This is my Blood of the New Covenant that is shed for many for the remission of sin(Mathew 26 verse 26 thru 28.) For a greater understanding of the Truth, now insert the scriptures from Romans 6 verses 17 thru 21, to the  Covenant Words spoken by the Truth: Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. For now, (at this very moment) being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness (purification, consecration), and (in) the end everlasting Life. (See Romans 6 verse 17 thru 23.) It is our participation in fellowship with Holy God's unseen Spirit of Grace and Life that makes a person of faith free from the condemnation of their sins of death. 

Hopefully, through the Spirit of God, the reader would grasp that the form of doctrine, is God's structure of instruction that brings about His Spirit of Grace in Christ Jesus too provide for the remission of the sins of our flesh.  We call that form of doctrine, Holy Communions, but the word 'Communion' did not exist in Paul or the other apostles' vocabulary, but later the Greek word 'Koinonia' was rendered in English as 'fellowship'.  It is thought that the word Communion is attributed to the early church father, Augustine. who used the Latin 'communionem', in his belief that the word was derived from com- meaning "with, together" plus unus meaning "oneness, union." The Infinite Yahweh God Almighty did not predestine any man to perish in sin, but through His New Covenant in the Blood of Jesus Christ, all should come to repentance and be saved in the Righteousness of our Lord God Almighty. God's New Covenant does not leave those He is saving in the clutches of the sin in our flesh, but the Almighty makes us victorious, and more than conquerors over our flesh of sin through the Blood of His Righteous Son,  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8 verse 1 thru 2.)

Not by Might or Power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord!

 The Grace from God's Holy Spirit of Grace and Life abounds to the saved with our Confessed Failures of the Flesh
cleansed at God's Table of Grace.

Therefore brethren, having boldness to enter into the Holiest by the Blood of Jesus, by a new and living Way, Which He has inaugurated for us, through the veil that is to say His Flesh: Let us draw near with a true heart, in the full assurance of faith, having are hearts sprinkled (with His Blood) from an evil conscience.  (See Hebrews 10 verse 19 thru 22.)

The only remedy for the death of man-kind is faith in the poured out Life Blood of Jesus Christ, the innocent Son of Adam and the Son of God.  The proof stands as the Truth,  for Jesus Christ, the Man, was crucified to death on a cross, but was raised from the dead by the Spirit of God, for man kind's justification.  Therefore, by the imputed Living Faith of Jesus Christ, we are justified, even as transgressors, because of the Son of Man's absolute obedience and Trusting Faith in His Father God.  Now, Paul fully recognizes that he and we through God's Gift of Faith in Christ Jesus are absolutely dependant upon God the Father, Who gives Life and Love, more abundantly to us repentant sinners, through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Therefore, if any man be IN Christ, he is a new creation: Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.  For all things are of God, Who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given unto us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us His Word of Reconciliation. (See 2nd Corinthians 5 verse 17-21.) 

After justification by the Faith of Jesus Christ, then the fullness of God's new Covenant is that 'form of doctrine', which provides for our continuing Cleansing and Sanctification of our flesh.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the Truth is not in us. If we continue to say that we have not sinned, we make Him (God Almighty) a liar, and His Word of Truth is not in us.  But if we confess our sins, He (God Almighty) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (by the Blood of Christ Jesus). (See John 1 verse 8 thru 10.) Nothing is hid from the eyes of God. (See Hebrews 4 verse 12 thru 13.) In our fellowship at His Table of Grace, the nakedness of our flesh of sin, is covered in the Righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Gift of God is His Grace given to us in the Life Blood of His Only Begotten Son, administered through His Holy Spirit of Grace. For if we walk in the Light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship, one with another, and the BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST, God's Son, cleanses us from sin.  There is no code or standard that leads to eternal Life except through the Sanctifying Life giving Blood of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ alone, as the Incarnate Son of Man/Adam, is the absolute Standard of Love and Grace acceptable to His Holy Father God.  Jesus is the very last genetic Son of Adam, for He was incarnately born of the Love of His Father Yahweh God, and defeated our sin and death within the flesh of Adam through His Perfect Sacrifice of Love and Obedience to His Holy Father God Almighty.  With the Love of His Father within His Bosom, Jesus Christ pours out His Soul within the Spirit of His Holy Life Blood as a Presentation Offering to God, for the souls of mankind.  Blessed be our Holy God and Father, Who first loved us, even when we were yet sinners, and Who by His Spirit of Life has made our souls to be alive within His Risen and Beloved Son.

Wherefore

If the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look upon the face of Moses because the glory that was on his countenance, but was a glory that was to pass away.  Will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?  If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!  For what was glorious, now has no glory in comparison with the surpassing Glory [of the Spirit of God].  And if what was fading away came with Glory, how much greater is the Glory [of the Spirit of God] and that which lasts (with eternal life)!   (2nd Corinthians 3 verse 7 thru 11.)

The Glory of the Commandments of God, even when they reveal that man kind is dead in their sins, was revealed in the face of Moses, who stood in the awesome Presence of the Almighty God, the Law Giver.   Seeing that Glory of the Lord would pass away from the face of Moses, consider also that because of a person's unrepented sin, the Glory of God also passes away.  The purpose of the Law of God remains steadfast until all is fulfilled with the conversion of hearts that understand that they are lost in sin and death, and need the redeeming Life BLOOD of God's Only Begotten Son.  Now, the Glory that is Eternal, is to be found in the faithful hearts of mankind, that are lit up by the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, and that Glory shall not pass away.

To continue to the next chapter, please click on The Law, a Quagmire of Confusion.

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Robert Glenn Pratten with my beloved wife Rose Labez Pratten