|Thank you again for keeping me in your prayers, they are highly coveted. Pastor Don taught today’s Bible study and it was, as it often is, a study that touches on areas I need to work on in my life and an interesting tangent.
1 Cor. 6:17-20 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body, or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? v 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.
The tangent: A question was brought up regarding verse 20. What makes our Bible study interesting is that often there are other translations of the Bible present. Some have NIV, others Amplified, others King James, Pastor Don uses NKJV, and some have NASB. What we noticed was that the words in verse twenty, “and in your spirit which are God’s” is left out of some translations. Pastor Don directed us to look at the bottom margin of the Bible where the abbreviation NU is. He pointed out that that shows that there were differing translations of the Bible, and people picked which one they thought was best. Someone asked then, how do we know which translation is the best. He said that we have to have the Spirit and the Word line up. But often a person who is translating will pick the words that best suit the belief system that they are following. So, if you are picking a Bible it is also important to look at who is translating the Bible.
What Pastor Don was telling us makes me want to find a good book on the history of the Bible. King James was not enthused about following all the precepts that the Catholic Pope was saying was required, so he wanted to read the Bible himself and let the people read the Bible to see exactly what was said. So he sent knights around to gather up old Bibles by hook or crook and bring them back to his kingdom. The knights collected more than 1000 manuscripts. He hired 100 poets and 200 scholars to translate the Bible into King’s English. Before that, the Catholic church had the Bible translated from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. But by having the Bible put into English, more people could read and study the scriptures. Needless to say, the Catholic church of that day was not enthused with this plan.
Pastor Don pointed out that when Paul or an Apostle sent a letter to one of the churches, people would copy that letter and disseminate it around the known world, so that the other churches would have the benefit of the teaching. With so many copies around, a comparison of manuscripts would show what was common to most, and what wasn’t. So if a person, for whatever reason chose to leave out a few passages or add something, comparison of that with other copies of the document would show that something was missing or inserted. By having so many copies of the Bible around, it made it easier to know what was included. It also made it easier to show which scriptures were false texts, not to be included in the Bible.
So, when Bibles are translated today, it is possible to leave out certain passages such as that line in verse twenty because a person could say, “It isn’t in all the translations.” and put a NU at the bottom of the page. Some pick something that is just in a few manuscripts and include that if it fits the philosophy of the translator. But Pastor Don says that this is where the Spirit and the Word must agree.
A few weeks ago someone pointed out that the term “lucifer” isn’t in the original Hebrew text of Isaiah. And so the passage should be translated a bit differently. Pastor Don stated that he taught that person that this is a case where a word is used in translation to provide clarity and the Spirit of the Word is there. Then Pastor Don said, imagine if there was a janitor who was paid clean a church. This janitor is lazy, and tricks others to clean the church for him, often getting them to pay him for the privilege of cleaning the church. To express that idea you could say it was a “Tom Sawyer” action. So in writing that in a passage you could say that “when that Tom Sawyer influenced person then suggested…..” Everyone would know what was meant by Tom Sawyer, even though the words may not have appeared in the original text.
Even the Peterson Book I am reading indicates this, that most people can read the Scripture and come away with something that supports what they want to have supported. The goal of reading and studying the Word should be having the Spirit and the Word agree, and coming away with the life changing, spirit-filled, life-giving inspiration of the Word of God that God wants us to have to effect changes in our life.
When we are born again, we are joined to Him with one Spirit, Our inner Spirit joins with the Holy Spirit, and our flesh body will begin to come under subjection to the Spirit Body. And it is when the Spirit takes precedence over the fleshly body that renewal occurs.
So often the church focuses on the outward sins that a person displays and while the person’s behavior needs to come in line with the Word of God, the focus should not be on the flesh battling the flesh, but on the power of the Holy Spirit guiding a person and giving them the strength to battle the flesh. If a problem is only attacked in the flesh, much like a New Year’s resolution, the problem will not be won. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to help a person conquer their sinful natures.
We are to glorify God in Body and in Spirit. We tend to put the natural first, but the source of all we are is the Spirit. (God formed Adam of the dust, and then breathed the breath of life, the spirit, into him to give him life).
The text we used is 1 Corinthians 15:35-50 This talks about the glorious Body, how the dead are raised up. And it talks about first you die (in body, to self, to ego), and then you are raised up with a new Body (Spirit, glorified). v.44 “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. …v.49 And as we have born the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man…v. 51 …We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”
On one level this passage talks about the rapture, but there is another truth embedded in this passage, one that explains how we become new creations in Christ. That those fleshly, earthly desires die, so that those desires which are of Christ will grow stronger and live in us, renewing us and creating in us a new being.
Flesh and blood do not inherit the kingdom of God, but the Spirit. An inheritor is not a renter, we own what we inherit. When we accept Christ in our lives we are all changed. Some are changed instantly, others take time. But what happens is that the Spirit in us starts affecting our bodies. We are learning how to listen and be guided by the Spirit.
Pastor Don used the example of dieting. He said that if we approach a diet in the flesh, looking at diet plans, making resolutions, we are most probably going to fail in the diet. It is only when the Spirit enters in that we stand any chance of succeeding. That the Holy Spirit, if listened to, will guide us to make right choices. Then it becomes the choice of the person, who will you listen to, the earthly, fleshly choices or the Holy Spirit choice which offers life and liberty.
Often the Church misses the mark by just focusing on the outward behavior, the actions of a person, the rules and regulations that they should live by. When really, the real changing factor is the Spirit within a person.
Ephesians 4:22-24 “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
In some translations of the Bible the word conduct is translated “conversation.” In word studies Pastor Don says that he often includes all the possible meanings in a teaching so that the Holy Spirit can work on a person and reach them where they need to be reached. But if you consider the word conversation in the above passage you can see that what we say also affects what we do. Our tongue, as Proverbs tells us, is a very powerful weapon, it can tear down and build up. And out of the contents of our heart, our mouth speaks. There is a power in words.
One other thing to be aware of is that when we make a decision that lines up with the Word of God, satan will come in to try and put a monkey wrench in the works, with doubts, temptations tailor made to test our resolve. So that the battle really needs to be focused as verse 23 says, “in the spirit of your mind.” For it is there that we begin to gain some control of our fleshly instincts.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 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.
Pastor Don asked us what was entailed in a sacrifice in the Old Testament times. It involved the burning of an animal on the altar of sacrifice. The fire on this altar was never quenched, so anything burnt would have been reduced to ashes (dust). Pastor Don then pointed out that when God is dealing with an issue in our lives, most of us get off the altar of sacrifice too soon, before that issue is completely destroyed by the fire of the Spirit. And that action on our parts ensures that we will repeat the same destructive behavior. We would do better to stay on the altar of sacrifice until God has completely dealt with the issue, no matter how uncomfortable that is for us.
The King James translations for reasonable service, is “spiritual work.”
He asked us, why do we allow the flesh to turn us into a worrier, and not bring to God our needs and let God renew our minds. Often we live off of good ideas, never tapping God ideas. Good ideas will get us only so far. God ideas can transform us to something we can’t begin to imagine.
When God gives you counsel your flesh isn’t going to like it. When we let the flesh regain control, it is important to go to God, confess our sin, and get back onto the track that God has set for us. He said, that as a pastor, those people who tend to hate him are those who heard Godly advice based on the Scriptures that he gave them, and they chose to ignore the advice. Their lives are in a mess, and they blame Pastor Don. Those who choose to listen to godly advice, based on the Word of God, and in faith attempt to apply the advice usually see that there was truth in the words, and they are not the ones that end up hating their pastor.
2 Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.
We have to remember that God has a plan that is based on eternity. At times our flesh will suffer godly sorrow as we become conformed to God’s eternal plan. But it is a good sorrow, one that leads to repentance and real change in us.
There is a mis-conception about Christians that needs to be addressed. Christianity is about joy, real joy. Many think that it is drudgery to submit to God all the time, obey God, and live a life of sacrifice. What they don’t realize is that there is a lot of fun in doing things God’s way. He releases us from the shackles that hold us back, he gives us real liberty, and a life that matters. It is not work, it is not drudgery. God loves us, loves us individually, and He wants us to become the best that we can be. Why would we settle for a limited, earthly vision of our own, when we could choose an incredible vision that God has for us?
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Praise God for lovingly guiding us to become these new creations IN CHRIST. And He uses our Holy Spirit to guide us.
Tomorrow I will share something from Peterson’s book that complements this teaching. I seem to not be having much time on the computer these days, and have been running around way too much.
Hoping you are having a great weekend. I will try to get to your sites over the weekend.
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