October 1976

- -Rear-Guard Action Is Still Needed

Robert F. Turner

Continued from preceding page)

that society associated long hair with women, shorter hair with men (1 Cor. 11:14). McKnight lists five ways in which phusis (nature) was used (Note 3, on Eph. 2:3). The question is, how is it used in this text?

Eph. 3:1 says the Ephesians were dead through their own trespasses and sins (see A.S.). Verse 2, K.J. verifies this, reading, wherein in times past ye walked. Walk refers to a manner of life, which was according to the course of this world. Clearly our text says they were children of wrath because they yielded to social pressures — gave in to nature, i.e., the general course of the world about them. In our world evil men and seducers wax worse and worse (2 Tim. 3: 13), hence the friendship of the world is enmity with God (Jas. 4:4). The worlds fashions, the standards of our social peers, the influence of our day-by-day existence, becomes that big strike three against mankind.

And so, we sin, and sin enslaves. Under such circumstances, the desire to do better, acknowledging that the law is holy, just, good, is marvelous tribute to the fact that we are made in Gods image. But all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). We sinned in the past, and we continue to sin. In the final analysis, just how Paul used himself in Rom. 7: (regenerate, unregenerate; as under the law, or not) is of secondary importance. The lesson that comes through clearly is that mans real self recognizes mans helplessness before a just God, and cries out in despair. In such a clime Pauls thanks for Jesus Christ is the cry of joy that bursts from the heart of a slave released from bondage. We can neither comprehend nor appreciate the meaning of the gospel of Christ until our heart so yearns for freedom.

Jesus died on our behalf, so that there is no violation of justice when the heavenly Father forgives our sins (Rom. 3:24-26). But fanciful theories concerning Christs perfect life, imputed to us; or the personally indwelling Holy Spirit, that protects us, or empowers us to overcome sin; may actually be devices by which Satan prompts us to let down our guard. We are still in the flesh in a very important way — having members that can be yielded (Rom. 6:13) and affections that must be controlled (Col. 3:1-f). Our early environment or background still influences our thinking, often with prejudices that require psycho-therapy to unearth. And the sin-filled world about us continues to dictate much of our daily life. We have, in Christ, the dynamite with which to overcome Satan —- and in this sense Christ has overcome Satan-- but our individual battle goes on. The greater part of the New Testament is directed to saints, urging them to use the armor provided.

If we walk in the light and if we confess our sins (1 Jn. 1:7-f), we have an advocate, a helper to plead our case, and through whose blood our sins may be forgiven again and again This keep on walking and keep confessing (present active) leaves no room for emotional protestation of security. With confidence we fight. We look to heaven, but we remember that Satan and Hell are close behind.