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One of the main purposes of this ministry (and that of many others as well) is to cause the nation to repent so that God may deliver us. This is how we bless the nation and the world, according to our Abrahamic mandate (Acts 3:25, 26).
The problem comes when one begins to define the nature of repentance. One might draw up a list of sins that need to be changed, many of which are legal in the eyes of government. But specific sins are a symptom of hidden iniquity, and in order to bring the cure, one must address this iniquity. Iniquity is the inner condition (death, mortality) that causes corruption on the surface.
That is why Christ came to be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5 KJV). A transgression is an overt sin against God or against one’s neighbor. Iniquity, like a bruise, is an inner wound.
We should always be concerned about the actions of men which the law of God defines as sin or injustice. But to try to change behavior to conform to the law (the mind of God) is superficial. Behavior modification is good, but if iniquity persists, the improved behavior will break down at some point, because it continually fights against human nature. We must address the core of the problem if we hope to find the ultimate solution.
Paul tells us in Romans 5:12 that, as a result of Adam’s sin, “death spread to all men” on which (eph ho) all sinned. In other words, death working in us is the root cause of sin. Adam’s sin brought death, or mortality to all, and this condition is the iniquity in us that makes us corruptible. That is why mortality and corruptibility are paired in 1 Corinthians 15:53 KJV,
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
When the problem of mortality is resolved, then we will “put on incorruption” as well. One cannot try to put on incorruption in order to become immortal. Many have tried to discipline their flesh to perfect it as a means to attain immortality, and they have failed. To put it another way, one cannot resolve the inner problem of iniquity by perfecting the flesh.
Paul sets forth the right path in Romans 7. The solution is an entire change of identity. The “old man” (KJV) of flesh is not to be saved but is to be put to death. The judgment against the old man (Adam and his fleshly seed) was pronounced in Genesis 2:17; 3:19. Religious men try to perfect—and thereby save—the old man. Paul tells us to put him to death (Romans 6:6).
When the old man has been crucified and put to death, we are then able to project our identity to the new creation man, which has been begotten from above. This new man has a heavenly Father, whose seed is immortal and incorruptible (1 Peter 1:23). This new man, then, is both immortal and incorruptible. 1 John 3:9 says that “he cannot sin, because he has been begotten by God.”
As believers, begotten by the word of God through the Holy Spirit, there are two “men” trapped in a single body. Yet you are no longer the person that your earthly father begat, nor the one that your mother brought forth into the world. Appearances are deceiving. Further, Paul says, if you sin, it is not “you” who are sinning, but the old man of flesh (Romans 7:17). Each self-identity has its own nature, which Paul describes in Romans 7:25,
25 ... So then, on the one hand, I myself with my [spiritual] mind am serving the law of God, but on the other [mind], with my flesh, the law of sin.
We can monitor ourselves by this standard of measure. If we find ourselves serving “the law of sin,” then we know that the old man is alive and well. If we find ourselves serving “the law of God,” then we see evidence that the new creation man is growing to maturity.
If we despise the law of God, we know that our conscious identity is still bound up in the flesh which serves “the law of sin.” This is because “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). Sin is sin because the law says it is sin. In fact, “where there is no law, there also is no violation” (Romans 4:15). Without the law, there would be no such thing as sin.
Those who think God repealed the law at the cross try to eliminate sin by putting away the law. What? Murder? There’s no law against that! Theft? God repealed that law at the cross! Don’t you see that because there is no law, it is impossible for me to sin? I can do what I want.
If we believe that God put away His law, it is evidence that iniquity still indwells us. Iniquity is an attitude of the heart which justifies whatever sin we want to commit with impunity. In other words, iniquity is the springboard that causes (and justifies) overt sin.
This attitude (or belief) is often called anomia, “lawlessness.” It is not any particular sin that violates the law of God; it is the attitude of despising and putting away the law, as if God now condones those things that the law forbids. Paul tells us in Romans 6:19,
19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members [body parts] as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness [anomia], resulting in further lawlessness [anomia], so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
Jesus Himself warned us about lawlessness in Matthew 7:23,
23 And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness [anomia].”
Jesus was referring to believers, not unbelievers, as we see from the context. These are the ones who do not believe or agree with Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17-19,
17 Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Our attitude toward the law reflects the heart. That is where the problem of iniquity must be addressed. Legalism attempts to change the heart by modifying one’s behavior. Lawfulness measures the condition of the heart according to God’s standard (i.e., His nature) and lives a life through the conscious identity of the new creation man, which serves the law of God.
If we are honest, we have to admit that we all fall short of the glory of God. Paul himself lamented this in Romans 7. Yet as time passes, we also see evidence of change in our lives. As the Holy Spirit works within us, we soon look back on our life and can see evidence of change, as we shift our consciousness from the old man to the new. We should not view this change as a matter of reforming the old man of flesh but as a shift toward the new creation man.
These things are hardly understood in the church, but it is my hope that this much will give you a better understanding and awareness of our New Covenant mission.