1 Chronicles 18-19 / Ezekiel 30 / Galatians 5-6
Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
The animal doesn't want to die or even feel pain, which is a trigger to it that it's in danger of death. The animal nature, as the general force that inhabits the humans, doesn't think and plot its way through situations (like some made up devil god who is constantly scheming against the good made up gods—the jesus god, holy spirit god and father god). It is a powerfully undeniable force in the world that binds everything to everything else in the natural creation, and works not by scheming but by a kind of constant pulling, similar in nature to how gravity works. Like gravity keeps everything bound to the earth by sucking it back in to itself, the animal nature keeps everything bound to everything else by the ubiquitous nature that everything shares in common with each other. It is not absent in any of the animals.
The fundamental characteristic of that driving force of the nature that inhabits the humans, from which all other characteristics flow, is the fear of being extinguished in the host body. Each one has taken that nature into its self and become one with it when it becomes mature enough to fend for its self, like any wild animal must or it just dies. Here Paul is telling the Galatians that the Jews who were trying to persuade the brothers under the new covenant to go back to their man made system weren't doing it out of a love for God, Moses or Abraham, or from a desire to serve Israel; but were merely doing it out of a desire to avoid being persecuted. So it wasn't for the sake of the law or the glory of Israel, but to save their selves, as per how the animal led them astray to serve it instead of being faithful and loyal to what they had been called to. Everything else is just a smokescreen because what everything is about is being led by the animal to self-preserve, which is the dictate it constantly puts forth to its host. That's what it's programmed to do, and is what it always very effectively does because it doesn't ever stop doing what it does.
Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh.
Here is the next level of how the animal operates, once it feels that it is physically able to survive (when the threat of being extinguished is not present). The egotistical needs that the animal creates in its host are about being better and more in the right than the other(s). It is what all religion effectively plays upon in the human animals, and it is effective because of its ability to exist, because of that need/craving to be the one(s) who is right, meaning the others must be wrong. In the plural it is the collective phenomenon of the group that binds itself together to reinforce among each other that what they presume to be right about remains true among their selves. It happens at all levels—the self, the family, the social club or religious group (same thing), the country and finally out to the humans against the other animals. In every instance this reinforcement that they are right takes place, which is created by this egotistical need/craving/impulse that is instinctual to their nature and found in all of them.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Here again Paul is trying to assure the brothers that those who were trying to persuade them away from being loyal and faithful to the Father and the Son who had called them away from the humans in the first place weren't being honest about their motives of serving God by wanting to convert them back to the way of death, but merely trying to satisfy their egotistical need to be right, and there wasn't a more obvious way to feel that than finding that agreement by convincing, through fear, another to accept and adhere to your way. It's the way all the groups who claim to know the way to the secret God capitalize on the cravings that exists within the humans, coupled with the fear they think they might appease by accepting and adhering to whatever lie is being proposed to them, from the Jews Paul was fighting in this letter to any group that exists today, the same phenomenon exists that motivates their existence, and it has nothing to do with God, but everything to do with their sales pitch aimed at creating the fear, then claiming to be able to appease it, and the craving to feel like they have what is "right" to be able to hold onto and control fro their fundamental animal good.
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.
A summary of what it's all about for Paul who is trying to remind his true brothers in this little group about their calling being totally unnatural, so that it existed beyond the realm of the humans and their religious groups, which are all a totally outward, natural observable phenomenon, limited to humans and the way they exist and operate. If he couldn't convince them of this, then nothing else mattered because the way to the Father wasn't by any method the humans participate in. First, one must be called into the family of God to even begin the journey toward the Father, which was a presumption Paul had about these Galatians (or else he wouldn't have been trying to persuade them as he was). What the Jews claimed was to be a part of God's chosen people, Israel, going back to Abraham.
Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.
This little statement, "the Israel of God" reveals something secret about God and His purpose for the world ruled by the humans. It is that everything He had done with her as the nation of humans chosen to be His people—from promising her existence to Abraham through pulling her out of bondage by Moses and Joshua; establishing her in the land through His judges, kings, prophets and priests through and up to the point of John the last prophet in Israel—was done as a preview and copy of the better thing, which John was all about declaring to the Israel filled with humans. He pointed to the One who would be the fulfillment for what God wanted in all of those servants who went before him, in whose ear God had whispered and by so doing declared that they would be in His family, which was according to Paul, "the Israel of God," that is to say the better Israel, the fulfillment of the preview.
Everything about the Israel of humans (populated by them) was made to point at the better thing, what God's secret and hidden purpose has been since the beginning. This pointing was in what God said to Abraham (before she even existed), and ran all through her from the calling and circumstance of the fathers to the passing over of the angel of death to the shepherds who guided her and the priests who ministered to God and the holy men who spoke their words, and so much more that can't even be summarized because there's just so much that points at something better, what couldn't be realized by the humans because it was of a substance that is foreign to them, not of matter or other things observable but of the substance He exists as, hidden and unavailable to natural beings.
When the last prophet (John) existed his work was to point specifically at the chosen One, who was to come and do the work of the Father that would accomplish His secret purpose in the world. He is the One that all of the chosen sons from that era were waiting for, because it was he who would have the power to set them free from being bound up forever to the natural creation by being one with it in the ground. To these he was and is more valuable than I can portray with words, suffice it to say that they all pointed at him as the preview and they all waited for him for their salvation. He is the "hope of Israel," that is, the hope of God's purpose being accomplished, His will being done on earth as it is in heaven—that she the true Israel (the Israel of God) might be saved and presented to the Father, with all her members being as One by being bound to each other by another greater force.
I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
One of the keys to understanding God and His purpose is to be able to see and comprehend this idea of His sons being one with Him and each other, being integrally bound up to the purpose of the Father to have them with Him where He is, which means being tied to it in such a way as to not be separate from it. The spirit is the force which accomplishes this binding up of the sons with the Father and each other. It acts exactly opposed to the nature that lives in the humans to accomplish the opposite, to keep them separated. It is the phenomenon which existed for a little while in the first century, the mechanism of the new covenant, but it soon disappeared for a while. We know it existed from the testimony of the record from that time of those who were living under it, which was preserved. We know it left because these same writers also predicted it leaving, which was a confirmation of what the prophet Daniel had said 600 years before them—what the son of God himself said about it going away. A cool irony is that those who were the responsible mechanism of it going away were also the ones who were being entrusted to preserve the record, for our sake (thinking they were doing it for theirs).
Live by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
There's no escaping the sinful nature since it is the fundamental nature of all the humans (and we come from human stock). To make its host unclean and then to force it to remain an unclean animal who cannot be brought near to God, never in His presence and therefore never able to know Him or be known by Him, is its purpose. Those who teach that one can just divorce himself from the sinful nature by being "good," are just mimicking the leftover teaching of the whore of babylon who finalized the abomination of what was good in the earth, what took it over and since has prevailed in the earth the entire time since what was good went away.
There is no divorcing ourselves from the animal nature, called the sinful nature, which is just the instincts that are naturally in all the animals (including the humans). It is what leads, drives and guides the humans as they go along in their existences before they're extinguished. That is the only thing that's available up to this point in the earth since that which was good—the condition of some living under the terms of the promised new covenant, via the mechanism that accomplished it—went away and has stayed away.
The presumption of the modern, self-appointed "teachers of the law" (religious leaders) since then is that it must still be here, available for the humans to just latch on to if they have an inclination to, because they think that by it they can secure the ultimate form of survival for themselves by going to heaven or paradise, or "being in the kingdom." They teach that what was happening in the first century as per the testimony of the writers of the NT, must still be available today for anyone who can do those proper things which please the mythical gods. They say one can be good enough by doing/thinking/believing the proper things about what the words say (as interpreted by misinformed humans), and then one will just be pleasing to the jesus, spirit and father gods—that one can escape the grip of the adversary of the good gods (satan, or bad god) by their prescription.
That is what the law of Moses got turned into by the humans who gained enough political power to be able to change it into a thing that could serve them and their desire to survive in the best possible way while retaining their position by fear, as they convinced the people they spoke for the God of Israel when in fact they were blind. One purpose of the law was so that the humans who are otherwise so prone to indulging in their cravings and urges, might instead remember Him who pulled them out of slavery, and promised to be their God, to take care of them so that they could be His children and live in a land of safety, prosperity and peace with God living in the midst of them.
They couldn't do that because they were always repeatedly given over to whatever lust, craving, and impulse was in them to do whatever they wanted. It was that set of instincts that was naturally in them which caused this, the desire to run after whatever was pulling on them to do whatever they wanted to do, instead of what God prescribed by the law to draw them closer to Him; so if they kept His commandments they might somehow live. But few could. In order to live by the law properly, as God intended, one must have desired to live for and please Him who gave it, more than one loved doing whatever he wanted, according to the natural instincts within him, which pulled on him to do whatever he wanted.
Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.
It wasn't all just legalistic and bad; the idea of one's heart pointed toward God, wanting to be pleasing and enjoyable to Him, is a good one, one that He recognized in those who truly had that in them. The redemption of David as a man after God's heart is another example of God raising up those who love Him, and bringing down those who don't.
Because the humans kept being given over to making what He had given (that which was good) into something that served them (that which was bad), He promised to change the terms of the covenant between Him and His people, for His own sake and purpose. That was what happened in the first century, the subject of so much prophetic anticipation and fulfillment of what God intended for Israel, of which Israel became the copy of this better thing, a better covenant between God and His truer people.
These are the sons of God who were inhabited by the spirit of the Father/Son being, so they could become transformed into beings who weren't like all the others whom God had chosen to be His people (Israel of humans), but who were constantly and repeatedly given over to their cravings, urges, impulses because of the instincts within them—effectively saying they didn't want to be His people because they were choosing another way than the way He chose for them. These sons would be different than all the rest of the animals and humans who were led by their instincts, because they would be given something that would go down into them and exist within them on the same level as their animal instincts, creating a way within those creatures of becoming free from that nature so they could actually become pleasing to God.
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
This condition of having the spirit of God sent to you, to inhabit and occupy your body, to live within your own thoughts—that deep and personal—was the only way, according to Jesus, to be able to find the hidden God who was about to reveal Himself to some of the humans. That was the way to become a citizen of the kingdom of God, of the spirit because it lived inside them and transformed them away from what was detestable to God; into a being who was good, enjoyable, pleasing, and able to be loved by Him as a true son is loved by his Father. Paul understood that he was a participant in that condition, and that it truly was what the prophets had been predicting for so long. He recognized that it had happened to some others who had also received the spirit into their hearts, which could do that work of transformation, what was being done to them at the time. It wasn't a condition that any of the humans, either those to whom it was happening or those to whom it wasn't, could control in any way.
It was happening because God wanted it to happen, and He chose the ones to whom He wanted it to be sent to, because that condition of being inhabited by the spirit of God meant that the individual had been chosen to become a son of God who would live with Him forever. And why shouldn't God be able to choose those who will live with Him forever. Also, it was not a human thing at all, but spiritual and supernatural, and it couldn't be recognized by the humans to whom it wasn't happening, only by those to whom it was. They just considered those who had received the spirit crazy, out of their human minds (which they were becoming).
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
The sons couldn't control the spirit, but they could act in accordance with its purpose, which was to pull them away from being slaves to that nature that was in them as their instincts, which always wanted to pull them away from serving God. Before, they were totally given over to those instincts and served that nature without even knowing it. After it was sent by God to them, to live in their hearts, there was all of a sudden a war going on, as they were being pulled away from their old master, to another condition of being led by this new thing in them so they could be defined as sons of God instead of mere animals. Because God had initiated this great and unprecedented thing in them, they had an obligation to act in cooperation with it, instead of however they wanted, like all the other animals act who are led by their animal instincts.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Notice the caveat, "If we share in his sufferings." That's a big if, what eludes all of the current "teachers of the law." They want to latch on to other verses talking about the free gift of God, which was intended to teach those who had that gift didn't get it because they were so good, or earned it. God chose to give it to them, not because they had obeyed the law or paid any other price, but because they had been chosen and there wasn't a price that could be paid, or any work that could be done to get it. So because they misread it, therefore they teach that it's free, meaning it doesn't cost anything, and it's available to anyone and everyone.
That's a very appealing thing to the animals, because it means they "can eat their cake and then have it too." They can look forward to all the blessings and promises God made to those sons who were under the condition of the new covenant, and still live like animals, still be led and guided by that animal nature, the set of instincts that is naturally programmed into them to make them unclean animals, who can never know God. They are under a delusion that they can have what isn't available to them, because they've been given over to a lie, by God, according to His purpose, because of His mercy.
What it cost the sons to whom it was given in the first century before it went away was everything, not nothing. To have what its purpose was, was to allow it to pull them away from everything they truly loved, according to that nature within them, everything the humans value and seek after, what seems good to them, what they uphold and love. But all of the things that the humans love and find valuable is detestable to God, because they are evil, so what they love is wrong and appalling according to Him, who is good.
What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.
That's as true now as it was when Jesus said it. Everything the humans naturally love and value, has always been detestable to God, because their value comes not from God's nature living in them, but their natural, evil nature which hates what God loves, and loves what God hates. But because they're totally given over to it, that's all they can do is love and run after the things the humans think are valuable. Whatever they are is plain if we're honest about what we love. Being safe, right, accepted, beautiful, wealthy, intelligent, etc., all comes from that base survivalist nature of self-promotion, what all the humans and every animal is given over to, guided, led and driven by to get for itself.
The sinful nature isn't about some abstract and far-removed religious concept that nobody can actually relate to. It's about what lives in the heart of the humans to lead and define them as mere animals who can't ever know God. If some self-appointed leader tolls you that you can just divorce yourself from the sinful nature by doing something or believing something, tell him he's full of shit, because that isn't available in the present time. Since the abomination that caused the desolation of that possibility happened in the second, third and fourth centuries, it is not happening any more. The only thing that has existed are lies about God, Jesus, the spirit, hell, etc., and the delusion of the people who want to believe those lies.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.
The Israel of God is what Paul knew himself to be an integral part of, because of what was happening to him. He understood that he was a new creation, created by the spirit that was sent into his heart, on that very deep level, which could actually battle those instincts to which before he was a slave and didn't even know it. He is the epitome of one to whom the gift of God was given, but who didn't deserve it, because before that he was killing those who were being born to God, with the zeal of one who thought he was doing God a favor, who only thought he was a son of Israel.
The creation is filled with likewise creatures, "civilized" or otherwise, who all carry this nature of the animal. They are bound and in prison to it, completely unable to be free from its dominion over them. The origin of its relationship with humans goes back to the incident between the first humans and the adversary—the serpent, representing the animal. Because the humans believed and trusted the animal over God, he was bound up with its nature as a consequence.
Its sovereignty over the sons of God lasted until the work of God's Christ judged it on the cross. One significance of this "Second Adam" for us is that unlike every other man who had lived, Jesus had domination over it because he was never led by it; he didn't allow it to lead, guide or drive him as it automatically does with every other human who has ever existed. By that continual condition of being led by the spirit of the Father within him, he was able to be that holy, spotless, unblemished, clean Lamb of God, the sacrifice which all the other sacrifices pointed to, the only one which could reverse that curse. Then he killed it on the cross for the Father's sake, then himself and the other sons of God before, during and after him—every one who would make up God's family. Not every human who ever lived, which is the fallacy of the religious teachers (liars who are given over to the lies, and who promote them); only those chosen out of the natural creation by God to be His sons. Even though he was the first who was able to not be ruled by this animal nature, it was ironically imposed upon him so he could make the family of the sons of God clean and able to be brought near to Him. Jesus gave God His family by not being led by the animal instincts, which is exactly what Paul is talking about in Romans, living by the new nature of the spirit instead of the nature that makes the sons sinful and unclean, that which defines all the other humans merely as unclean animals.
That obedience of Jesus to the life of the Father within him came with the price of his own personal suffering, of denying those instincts that pulled on him to take up his life and get for himself—the urges, cravings and impulses to get what could immediately satisfy him—his physical appetite, his craving and lust to be honored and respected amongst the humans, and to get everything the humans considered valuable. When it says that he was tempted in all ways that the first century sons were tempted, that's exactly how—to satisfy the animal urges and instinctual cravings. We can notice the evidence of his truly great suffering in the garden incident, when he asks God if that cup of his suffering might be taken from him so he wouldn't have to carry the load of responsibility that was being put onto him. He asks God to allow him to not have to do the work he knew he had to do, and we know that he was weak.
Three times he prays this, and the third time he is given strength to continue to endure, because unlike Abraham who was spared of having to do that truly hard thing, it was not God's intention to spare Jesus, naturally speaking. That would have been the wrong, bad, inferior way, which Jesus couldn't see at the time. But because he kept asking, he was given not a reprieve, but the ability to see what was good and right, so he could choose it. Even though he is asking God to save him, he is still given over more to the pleasing of his Father (spirit nature), and less to the pleasing of himself (animal nature). Praise be to Jesus for his perseverance, and his desire to tend to the Father's interests instead of his own.