Shackles of a Saved Soul - Page 6 of 6 (series: Lessons on Romans)
by John Lowe
1LAW. The word as it is used in Scripture refers to the expressed will of God, and in nine cases out of ten to the Mosaic Law, or to the Pentateuch of which it forms the chief portion. The Hebrew word for Law is “torah.” It should also be noted that the title “the Law” is occasionally used loosely to refer to all of the Old Testament, as it is in John 10:34: “Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’?
2ADULTERY. Exodus 20:14 is the 7th Commandment—“You shall not commit adultery.” The parties to this crime, according to Jewish Law, were a married woman and a man who was not her husband. The Mosaic penalty was that both the guilty parties should be stoned, and it applied as well to the betrothed as to the married woman. Deuteronomy 22:22-24specifies the penalty for adultery—“If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel. “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.” In the case of a bondwoman found to be an adulteress, she was to be scourged, and the man was to make a trespass offering—“Whoever lies carnally with a woman who is betrothed to a man as a concubine, and who has not at all been redeemed nor given her freedom, for this there shall be scourging; but they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. And he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, a ram as a trespass offering. The priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the Lord for his sin which he has committed.” Later on when, following the Gentile example, the marriage tie became a looser bond of union, public feeling in regard to adultery changed, and the penalty of death was seldom or never inflicted.
3The first husband? There is a difference of opinion between Bible commentators concerning the identity of the first husband. Some believe he represents the old state before conversion (which is what I believe). Others think it refers to Christ crucified. Still others believe the first husband represents Adam and our position in him. There are also those who say that he is the church (the community of born-again believers, regardless of denomination).
4Flesh The physical bodies of humans or animals. When God removed a rib from Adam with which he created Eve, he closed up the place with flesh (Gen. 2:21). The apostle Paul spoke of the flesh of men, beasts, fish, and birds (1 Cor. 15:39).
The imagery of flesh expresses several different ideas in the Bible. Rather than only the "fleshy" parts of the body, the word could also refer to the entire body (Gal. 5:13). From this idea, the concept of a fleshly or human bond between people follows. A man and his wife "shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24), while a man can tell his family that "I am your own flesh and bone" (Judg. 9:2). "Flesh" is even used occasionally to describe all of mankind, and even animals (Gen. 6:3).
Biblical writers thought of the flesh as weak. The Psalmist sang, "In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?" (Ps. 56:4). The weakness of the flesh was blamed for the disciples’ inability to keep watch with Jesus in Gethsemane on the eve of His crucifixion (Mark 14:38).
In an even stronger sense, flesh is the earthly part of a person, representing lusts and desires (Eph. 2:3). The flesh is contrary to the Spirit (Gal. 5:17). Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 8:8). Galatians 5:19-23 contrasts works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. The flesh is not completely condemned, however, for Christ Himself was described as being "in the flesh" (1 John 4:2). Christ alone is our salvation, since by the works of the Law "no flesh shall be justified" (Gal. 2:16).
5Covetousness. An intense desire to possess something (or someone) that belongs to another person. The Ten Commandments prohibit this attitude. Covetousness springs from a greedy self-centeredness and an arrogant disregard of God’s Law. The Bible repeatedly warns against this sin. Many examples of covetousness appear in the Bible: Gehazi’s greed, Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, the rich fool, the rich young ruler, and the deceit of Ananias and Sapphira. The apostle Paul labeled this sin as idolatry—“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5). He warned believers not to associate with a covetous brother—“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner— not even to eat with such a person” (1 Cor. 5:11). The best way to avoid a self-centered, covetous attitude is to trust the Lord and to face one’s responsibilities. To those tempted by “covetousness,” Jesus declares, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).
6Taking opportunity. The word translated “opportunity” here and in verse 11 was used in a military context to designate a base of operations or a starting point from which an attack is launched; a starting place from which a person can rush into sinful acts, while making excuses for doing what they (those who sin) want to do. The same word is found in Galatians—“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Here Paul taught that Christian liberty can very quickly turn into license. In such a case, a person uses his or her liberty as a springboard for sin.
7Taking Occasion. Taking occasion means “to make a start from a place, a base of operations. Paul is saying that sin, taking the commandment as a starting point, an occasion, “deceived me, and by it killed me.”
8Spiritual vs. Carnal.
Spiritual means of the spirit or nonmaterial. The word spiritual refers to nonmaterial things, including a spiritual body and spiritual things as distinct from earthly goods. But the most important use of the word is in reference to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gave the Law (Rom. 7:14) and supplied Israel with water and food (1 Cor. 10:3–4). Our every blessing is from the Spirit (Eph. 1:3), as is our understanding of truth (Col. 1:9). Our songs should be sung in the Spirit (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), and our ability to understand Scripture correctly is given by the Spirit (Rev. 11:8). We are to be so dominated by the Spirit, so that we can be called spiritual (1 Cor. 2:15; Gal. 6:1).
Carnal means sensual, worldly, nonspiritual; relating to the crude desires and appetites of the FLESH or body. The apostle Paul contrasts “spiritual people”—that is, those who are under the control of the Holy Spirit—with those who are “carnal”—those under the control of the flesh (1 Cor. 3:1–4; Rom. 8:5–7). The word “carnal” is usually used in the New Testament to describe worldly Christians.