#350 Kingdom: The Frustration Of Human Failure
Rom 7:14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
Rom 7:15 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.
Rom 7:16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.
Rom 7:17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
Rom 7:20 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.
Rom 7:21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
Rom 7:22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,
Rom 7:23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
In these scriptures we see the person struggling with his inability to serve God, do His will and to experience the satisfaction of knowing that we have pleased God. After we recognize that each of us stands accountable to God for our life and actions, we want desperately to change, set things right in our life and at last be able to live a life that glorifies Christ.
We assume that now we can finally make a full consecration to God and that at last we will be able to serve God, follow His Laws in the inner man and fully do His will. Therefore, we once again consecrate our life to these new and demanding goals and begin again. However, this time we commit ourselves to live an exemplary life before God. The shock comes when we set such high goals and then discover that we have NO ABILITY to live in this higher dimension.
Sometimes it is after many years that we finally get the revelation that these inconsistencies are built into us and that we suffer with our inherent inability to break out of this bankrupt condition before God. However, we still cannot throw off the guilt and discouragement of not being able to do the good we set out to do and to advance beyond the “I am just a worm, saved by grace syndrome.” It seems that no matter how often we have re-consecrated ourselves to live the higher life, we always end up in the “Oh, wretched man that I am syndrome.” I really want to do good but then I discover I am bankrupt in my natural ability to do good.
Some Bible preachers assume that Romans 7 only applies to the unregenerate Jew who tried to serve God through the Law of Moses. Some preach this couldn’t possibly apply to the Christian who is trying to serve God by grace. In our own experience we find that if we set out to serve God by Law or by grace we still have no inherent ability to do that by the abilities of the natural man.
Romans 8 then is presented as the only solution to Romans 7. If we reject Romans 8 as the ONLY solution to Romans 7 we will continue to attempt to serve God out of our natural ability. Many have lived their whole Christian Life just serving God the best they can in the flesh. This is one of the sources of so much frustration in the visible church today and the reason people are moving from assembly to assembly trying to find the solution to our human inability to do good ___ consistently.
We seem to live in a constant tension within us between good and evil, between heaven and hell, our current spiritual condition which is in conflict with our spiritual expectation within the Kingdom of God, and our place in eternity. We struggle between experiential carnality and experiential righteousness, between health and sickness, and always between flesh and Spirit. Then there is the tension between living in the temporal and living for the eternal. Of course our goal is the eternal but our experience is in the temporal.
When we began this Christian Life we wanted power to pray for people for healing, power to cast out demons, power to preach and teach, power of the gifts of the Spirit, power to suffer for the gospel and even power to pray. Now we covet the power to overcome the corruption within and the inconsistencies of our own personal experience before God.
Most Evangelical Christians will condemn us for not having an “assurance of salvation” or of frustrating the Grace of God by some kind of fruitless “works.”
It is so sad that these disappointments within the Christian life are treated like
another strange doctrine or are subject to some theological debate. The failure of the natural man in obtaining an effective spiritual life should be recognized by every person who has a genuine desire to grow up into the things of God and into what many people recognize as the “NORMAL LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN.”
Nevertheless, what we fantasize to be the “normal life of the Christian” and what is our own personal experience are miles apart. This is also the source of much frustration among those who are seeking for a higher Christian Life. We discover that it is impossible to experience the peace of God in the midst of this frustration of human failure. There seems to always be this “I will try harder the next time syndrome.” Then the reality of the failure of our human ability to please God confronts us once more, and again and again.
It appears now that our inadequacy and human failures create in us a dissatisfaction in the status quo but our current level of spiritual life cannot overcome our human inadequacy. Romans 7 then becomes our historic experience. We want to do good and to please God but find that our actual experience is inability and failure. No matter how well we explain the theology of the Law of Moses and the Romans 7 experience, the actual fact is that there is NO inherent ability in the flesh to please God or do His will!
The evangelical answer to this dilemma is to not worry about it because the grace of God covers our human failure. God knows our heart and he knows that we want to do good so that is enough. Just permit the grace of God to reconcile the difference between what the Christian Life is supposed to be, with what it actually is in my personal experience. The justification is that God knows we are just human, made of dirt, and therefore, He doesn’t expect anything from us. The theory is that this is exactly why God has poured out His grace upon us through Jesus Christ. God’s grace causes Him to ignore our failures. At one time this sounded Biblically correct but doesn’t sooth the cry of the inner man today.
Psalms 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Psa 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.
Psa 51:3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.
Psa 51:4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.
Psa 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
Psa 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
Psa 51:7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psa 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Psa 51:9 Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities.
Psa 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psa 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Psa 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.
This humiliation before God, when we so miserably fail, is real, even to the New Testament saint who has been forgiven by the Blood. Some say that this prayer is only for the Old Testament saint who was living under the Law because David asks that the Holy Spirit not be taken from him. The assumption is that this is not possible for the New Testament saint. Our focus here is not upon the Holy Spirit but upon the human failure in maintaining our spiritual life and faithful walk before God. In other words, the Romans 7 syndrome of human failure is also a New Testament problem that is not overcome simply by GRACE in which God ignores the problem because we are His children..
The problem is NOT just in our outward actions or outward failures but with the unchanged condition of the inner man. The new restored inner man, who after Christ is created in the image of God, is the place of Divine Wisdom and Eternal Truth.
Psalms 51:8 becomes a strange verse if our only reality is in living an outward life before God. “Make me to hear joy and gladness.” Since the context is in the Inner Man and the Hidden Parts, it seems important that, “hearing joy and gladness” become reality in the inner man. But what is the source of the sound David longs to hear. It probably comes from the heart of God since these words can only be heard by the restored and developed inner man. The greatest satisfaction that a redeemed person can experience is to know that God is pleased with us or that He calls us, “His son.”
We may underestimate the great joy and comfort that came with these words; “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
Psalms 51 does not emphasize forgiveness for our failures. It concerns a practical and effective cleansing of the source of the failure which is rooted in the heart or inner man of our person. We may speak “truth” outwardly but not have “truth” in the inward life. God is looking for truth in the inner man or in our innermost being.
When we are genuinely concerned about our inner life it is not just a matter of forgiveness for our sins and failures but of purification and cleansing of the very source of those sins and failures which are inward. Because real wisdom is in the inner man, ignorance is not limited to the outward man. The outward man may be ignorant and unlearned but the inner man may be full of God’s wisdom.
We could sum this up in this prayer; “Create in Me a clean heart, Oh God! Do an eternal work in my inner man because it is apparent that the problem is NOT in my willingness to serve and obey God or live an exemplary Life before God. My failure is due to my utter inability to do anything pleasing to God in my own natural ability. God, you must first remove the corruption within and replace it with everything necessary to serve you, because I have NO personal ability to fulfill your eternal purpose or to please you and bring joy to your heart.”
Now, this prayer today may seem very presumptuous if it weren’t for the New Covenant that promises that God will do just that and then cause us to walk in His ways.
If Paul would have inserted the New Covenant between Romans 7 and Romans 8 it would magnify the importance between what we can do and what God has done for us in the New Covenant. This “gap” between chapter 7 and chapter 8 is impossibly wide if we ignore the New Covenant. If we try to make the transition between Romans 7 and Romans 8 by any form of Law EXCEPT the Law of the Spirit of Life that is written in our hearts and put into our minds, we will fail just like Israel. If we put forth more human effort to walk in the Spirit rather than in the flesh we will surely fail.
Heb 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. Heb 8:8 For finding fault with them, He says, “BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH;
Heb 8:9 NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD. Heb 8:10 “FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Heb 8:11 “AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. Heb 8:12 “FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.”
Heb 8:13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
Eze 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Eze 36:27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
Isa 59:20 “A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the LORD. Isa 59:21 “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.”
Eze 11:19 “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, Eze 11:20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.
It was many, many years before Calvary and Pentecost that God began to speak through His prophets that a new day was coming when God would do such an inward work in man that at last man would be able to please God, keep His covenant, fulfill His eternal purpose and bring joy to God’s heart.
This covenant could not be anything like the Old Covenant that depended upon the natural ability of man to do the very best that he could to serve, obey and to please God. The Bible declares that both the Old Covenant AND the Law were spiritual. There was nothing wrong with either of those. The problem was within the natural man , himself. He had no inherent ability within himself to keep the law or to live within the Covenant that God made with Israel at Mt. Sinai.
Therefore, if God made a New Covenant with man that required any human effort or any ability of the natural man, the New Covenant would be no more successful than the Old Covenant in fulfilling God’s eternal purpose. Therefore, the New Covenant must change the natural man into a spiritual person IF it is going to bring in the purpose of God and complete God’s design for mankind.
One of the reasons there is so much controversy in the visible church concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit is that the full provision of the New Covenant is not preached or understood. Neither is the total bankruptcy of the natural man and his total inability to serve or to please God preached or understood. For that reason the visible church is stuck in the Romans 7 experience of doing the very best that it can, in the flesh, to serve and obey God. Romans 8 remains a great mystery and not just to the Fundamental Church but also to the Pentecostal Church. Both appear to be ignorant of the New Covenant. The one that speaks in tongues but still tries to serve God in the flesh is no different from the ones that reject tongues or the in-filling of the Holy Spirit without any evidence of its inward reality but they still attempt to serve God in the flesh or human ability!
The controversy about “evidence” would disappear IF the New Covenant was taught and understood.
Regardless of how we interpret the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell man, His coming in fullness is foundational to the New Covenant. He is as essential to the New Covenant as the forgiveness of our sins or that God will no longer remember our iniquities.
“FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Heb 8:11 “AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.
These underlined verses are the real evidence within the New Covenant people that should testify to the reality of their actual experience with the Holy Spirit in their inner life. If there is no evidence that these laws are effectively working in the believers it would be correct to say they are living in a “pre-covenant” experience whether they speak in tongues or not. God only promises to be “their God and that they would be His people” to those who are participants in the New Covenant. Speaking in tongues but living outside the provision of the New Covenant cannot impress God or solve the inner hunger and thirst for more of God and man’s ability to live within His Kingdom Laws and submit to His Government.
The repeated human failure of the natural man, even though we are born again, should cause us to totally surrender to God and to His New Covenant provision. Traditionally we may make a new commitment to try harder to live a consecrated life and think that is God’s way but we may do all that and be ignorant of God’s provision for the Consecrated Christian Life that is revealed in the New Covenant.
At the present time we will never be satisfied until we have experienced a total transformation of the inner life. Now we can only be satisfied after we experience deliverance from reliance upon human effort and human ability and totally surrender to the absolutes within the New Covenant provision.
Both Adam and Eve lived in the most idyllic situation in the Garden of Eden that is possible for man and yet fell into sin and disobedience. They experienced man’s total inability to serve and to please God through human effort. They couldn’t even complete a simple obedience to God and to His Word. If this was true in such a perfect atmosphere, how can we ever expect to do any better than they unless God creates in us a completely new inner man and does an eternal work within us.
David recognized that his problem with sin and iniquity was not just outward adultery but that he had a genetic problem in his heart or in the inner man. He loved God, studied His Word day and night and always meditated upon God’s laws and statutes and gave himself 100% to doing God’s will. Psalm 119 relates the attributes of a man sold out to God. The Law of God made David wiser than his enemies and with more insight than his teachers. Still, he had no ability to serve and obey God within his natural person because his inner man was defective. David’s self examination was of no help. We can acknowledge our failures, sin, rebellion and iniquity and sincerely repent but we cannot change our spots or wrinkles or our inner person into the image and likeness of Christ and into the character of God.
David was a worshiper of the Creator God, a writer of songs, a prophet of God, a type of a king / priest. He was severely dealt with by God but he still failed to be perfect before God, even AFTER he became king. Not because he was unwilling but because he was unable as a natural man. God still acknowledged that David had a”perfect heart” because there was no transformation possible for the natural man under the provisions of the Old Covenant. We no longer have that excuse!
Today some use David’s failure as an excuse to live a loose and unconsecrated life! That excuse will not be valid today because now God has made a New Covenant with us. The Blood of the Covenant has been shed and carried into the Most Holy Place to be sprinkled on the Mercy Seat. Not to cover over our apathy and lukewarmness but to guarantee us that the provisions of the New Covenant are supplied so that now at last, we can serve and please God and fulfill His eternal purpose.
The New Covenant supplies all the provision for the total transformation of the natural man into a spiritual person so that the redeemed person can now grow up in all things into Christ, be conformed to His image and become the sons of God and a Kingdom of Priests.
The greatest frustration comes when we finally see God’s intended purpose for man and the revelation of the Kingdom Government of God and the perfection necessary to reach that goal! Nevertheless, if we have no revelation or understanding of the mighty provision of the New Covenant to carry us there, the frustration increases.
The actual transformation from the Outer Court into the Holy Place Life and Ministry is 100% dependent upon experiencing the reality of the full provision of the New Covenant in the inner man. Messages and books that declare 7 steps to the throne or 12 steps to effective ministry or 24 steps to a fulfilled and satisfying Christian Life suddenly become ridiculous when it is just the natural man doing the best he can to climb Jacob’s ladder to the Throne of God.
One of the most ignorant, pitiful and saddest failures of ministries is when they prescribe certain outward rules, regulations and laws to govern the church to help it develop into something acceptable to God. This is just the natural man trying to grow the church by Old Testament methods. That didn’t work for Israel and it will not work for the church! Still, dozens of years in the Christian life can be completely wasted following the natural man , in his natural pulpit, with his natural ministry, prescribing his natural remedies for the natural church to become a spiritual powerhouse for God.
We have witnessed the natural prophet speaking prophetic cliches to a natural people assuring them that God is going to do exploits through them and promising them a world wide ministry of miracles and signs and wonders. It is clear that God has NO PLAN for the natural man except death and burial. Until there is a spiritual resurrection into the New Covenant provision there will be no more advancement into the Kingdom Purpose of God.
It is time to fully acknowledge before God that the natural man is not included in the purpose of God. We can not expect a natural church to become a bride of Christ, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless, that has grown to the fulness and the image of His Eternal Son. If that was possible under the Old Covenant there would have been no need for a New Covenant.
It is too late to prophesy “Behold days are coming” because those days have already come. We are 2000 years into those days but too much of the church is still living the natural life. Too many believers are still living with a heart of stone. Too many prophets are prophesying “Behold days are coming.” There is still a big controversy over when He puts a “new Spirit within us” and then when He puts “His Spirit within us” and when we can expect Him to cause us to walk in His ways etc. Too many “believers” have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior but never became participants in the New Covenant.
Too many churches are still trying to fulfill God’s purpose by Old Covenant methods with Old Covenant people who believe in the Messiah that is coming again, someday. The New Covenant people have already experienced the Messiah that HAS COME to dwell in His people. The New Covenant people KNOW that God has put His Spirit in them and is causing them to walk in His ways. The New Covenant people have the inexpressible advantage of having both the Spirit of Christ AND the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. [ That means both the Living and Abiding Word of God AND the Holy Spirit of God. Both born again and Immersed in the Holy Spirit] [Born again, born of the water, born of the Spirit and birthed into Zion.]
The New Covenant people do not need outward laws by which they live but have His Kingdom Laws put into their minds and written upon their hearts.
The evidence of the New Covenant being effective in the lives of New Covenant people is that God is personally and directly teaching them to know God and to walk in His ways.
1Jo 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
1Jo 2:28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
We should understand that a New Testament Church is not always a New Covenant Church. Receiving His last will and Testament is different than receiving and living in the multiple provisions of the New Covenant.
Israel lived from Mt. Sinai until Pentecost in the frustration of human failure and the human inability to keep His laws, follow in His Covenant, serve God or do His will. Hopefully we can grow out of our same frustration by surrendering to His New Covenant provision.
Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
If we accept the “law of opposites” we could say “If you are not being led by the Spirit, you are still subject to the Law. Or “If you are still living in the flesh, you must have an outward Law.”
Or, “you are still under the Law unless you are being led by the Spirit.” Or, Unless you are being led by the Spirit, you have not yet made the transition to the New Covenant. All these are probably true but will not fit into the Evangelical doctrine of salvation. IF God forgives our sins and remembers our iniquities no more within the provision of the New Covenant, we may need to adjust our doctrine to include being led by the Holy Spirit.
The tendency among the Evangelicals is to reduce the New Covenant down to forgiveness of sins through the blood of Calvary and ignore all the other provisions of the New Covenant. The result is that we assume that we can walk in the flesh, establish our own church laws and not worry about a new inner life and still be “saved” within the covering of the New Covenant.
Thank God for all the provisions of Calvary but one provision of Calvary is to establish the New Covenant and bring to a final conclusion the Old Covenant. The New Covenant priesthood after the order of Melchizedek is not based upon any Law of physical requirements or carnal commandments but only upon the power of an indestructible Life. Jesus is actually the mediator of the New Covenant that is built upon better promises. Jesus is NOT obligated to mediate something besides the New Covenant.
We should continually praise God for all the Outer Court preparations because it is by these preparations that we progressively participate in the fulness of the New Covenant.
Forgiveness of sins is a part of the New Covenant. I will put a new Spirit within you is part of the New Covenant. I will put My Spirit within you is part of the New Covenant. Since God made this covenant without consulting man, to see if it was acceptable to man, it is clear that God will hold up His end completely.
If we have eyes to see we will understand that each of the seven Outer Court experiences parallel the provisions of the New Covenant. We could say “Let us go on to the full New Covenant experience” not laying again the first principles of doctrine about Christ.
Heb 9:15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
The “eternal inheritance” is firmly connected to the New Covenant. If we ignore the Covenant we ignore our inheritance! There are too many eternal goals connected to the New Covenant to ignore its provisions. We just cannot separate the Kingdom from the New Covenant. Only the extremely ignorant will ignore these blessings.
Mat 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
Trying to separate the forgiveness of sins through the blood from the rest of the New Covenant may be popular but very ignorant.