THE OLD MAN DIED (AND HE'S DEAD!)
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My grandfather's clock
Was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half
Than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn
Of the day that he was born,
It was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.
I was always impressed by the words in bold type (added), of this verse from the poem My Grandfather's Clock by Henry Clay Work (Copyright Unknown). It seemed to convey a “heavy” theology that most Christians missed—although of course it was not addressing anything remotely like a theological issue!
The Bible says:
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:6 (emphasis added).
As far as the Christian is concerned, “The Old Man died, never to rise again”. The Old Man is dead!
And yet I repeatedly hear people excusing themselves for their sin, because, “The Old Man affected me and compelled me”. Or more commonly, they use the term “the sin nature”. “I was influenced by my sin nature/old nature”.
It’s not my fault!!
• As a non-Christian, we could blame Adam for making me a sinner.
• Now as a Christian, who do I blame for my daily sins?
We just don’t want to accept responsibility for our actions.
The first volume addressed our culpability for our CAUSATIVE sin. The sin that constituted me a sinner in the first place.
This volume addresses our culpability for our sin as a Christian. We need to start our search here at precisely this point, a careful exegesis of the biblical teaching concerning the Old Man.
There are five pivotal issues to be dealt with.
There is no particular order or progression, and the five are variously interrelated, but they are essential in attempting to understand this issue of the Christian responsibility and accountability for his sin. These issues are:
1. The will and sin.
It is imperative to note the direct relationship between the will and sin. There is no place for some independent third party to force our hand to sin.
2. The by-passed will.
It is the failure to identify this factor—as an extension of the issue of the will—that has led to so much angst in trying to rationalise Romans 7 and the “wretched man”.
3. The flesh.
The inaccurate translations that consistently change the very simple word “flesh” and transform it into some type of independent personality with determinative powers, that makes a mockery of Scripture and confuses the whole issue—or at least inhibits it from coming to a biblical conclusion.
4. The flesh, especially in Galatians 5.
The application of the issue of the flesh in the particular context of Galatians 5—as if it were this independent person—is very significant in the restrictions it places upon a balanced view of the biblical position concerning the Christian walk as a tension between the natural desires of the normal human being, and the new values of the fruit of the Spirit.
5. The Old Man.
Again, it is a less than adequate translation problem that has initiated and then perpetuated a whole range of misunderstandings in regard to the Christian position, standing and walk.
But first of all, let us ask questions that will sharpen the focus of the questions for both areas—responsibility for sinning in order to become a sinner, and responsibility for sinning as a Christian—in order to gain a better perspective.
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