Have you ever wondered why, while Romans tells us emphatically that once we have received God's free gift of salvation our old man is dead, you still struggle with sin? Perhaps, like me, you observe that your old man seems to be very much alive no matter how persistently you declare him dead by faith. This article is based on a insightful teaching by Preston Eby, that brings some badly needed clarity on being loosed from sin. Undoubtedly, a correct understanding of the Day of Atonement is very important for every believer. There is a beautiful "type" contained in the Day of Atonement, one Feast of the Lord Israel was commanded to observe that can remove some of our confusion.
In Leviticus 16:7-21 we see that on the Day of Atonement two goats were presented to the High Priest for the sins of the Children of Israel. Notice that unlike some of the other feasts, it was a goat and not a lamb that was required. The reason lies in the difference between the nature of the two animals. Lambs have a reputation as having a sweet, docile nature. Goats, on the other hand are a very different story. Goats have earned their reputation as being obstinate, contrary animals exhibiting a strong will. They kick, butt and make loud noises in protest always ready to fight man or beast. They attack one another or anyone attempting to handle them without much provocation. I expect no further explanation is needed as to why God demanded goats for this sacrifice instead of lambs, and this will become clearer as we proceed.
During the Feast of the Day of Atonement, lots were cast designating one goat as a "Sacrifice to the Lord" to atone for the sins of Israel. The second goat was designated as a "Scapegoat." We get our term Scapegoat directly from this Jewish ritual. According to Noah Webster's Dictionary 1828, this word means "escape".
The sacrificial goat was then slain to atone (make satisfaction for) for Israel's sins that year, but the scapegoat had a different fate. After the sacrificial goat was slain, it was still necessary for The High Priest to lay his hands upon the head of the scapegoat as he confessed the sins of God's people, and declared cleansing (by the sacrifice of the first goat) and removal through (the second goat) of all their sins. It was through this ritual that the sins of God's people were symbolically transferred to the scapegoat for removal.
Then the scapegoat was placed in the hands of a "fit, timely man," according to Leviticus 16:21, (Exegeses Literal Translation)---one who was strong and physically fit for the task of taking the goat away into the wilderness where it was to be let go. All Israel would gather and cheer as their sins were being removed to the wilderness. Notice, not only were there sins forgiven, but by the transference and the removal by the "fit man," were also taken away. Permanently and irrevocably were their sins removed.
Our flesh, the old Adam, cannot be reformed. This is why scripture has only one solution for it, death (the first goat). I would like to quote from Preston Eby's article here, "Have not we all tried to make 'Adam' behave to please God. We have put our flesh under laws, rules and regulations, and tried to make it be good. It hasn't worked."
Once we are born again, we have a sinless spirit through regeneration and this is now our true nature. Accordingly, God's Word assures us in Romans 8, "There is, therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." All condemnation originates and comes through the flesh that is in rebellion against God. Just as true, is the fact that our flesh still wants to sin and always will. Flesh is born of the fallen nature, the wrong seed, and cannot be made holy no matter how hard we try and sin still dwells in our members (Romans 7:23). Our true self is no longer of that seed as we are a new creation in Christ Jesus, the renewed man (the new Adam) and is born of the Spirit of God--the one who can enter into the holiest of holies.
Now can we see from scripture that the first goat represents our old unregenerate man who is truly dead. Therefore, our battle is not now with the old man--he is dealt with and gone--dead men do nothing. Consequently, the scapegoat represents our human mind and flesh with sin indwelling our members and here is the battleground.
By looking at the types in the Day of atonement, we should also see that Jesus, is not the scapegoat, as many have taught, but He is actually the "fit man" mentioned in Leviticus as the one who takes away (removes) the scapegoat of our flesh. Jesus as represented by the fit man accomplishes what we are unable to achieve no matter how much we may try. It is Jesus who being fit, lifts and carries away our carnality, fleshly appetites and lust; the work of sin that still dwells in our members and brings about transformation.
We are a performance oriented society. However, we must come to understand that performance will never be sufficient to lead us into God's Presence. It is by the sacrifice of the first goat that a way into the holiest has been made. Our sins do not exclude us from God's loving presence. God is our Father and He bids us to come before His throne to obtain grace in the time of need.
Since we are a new creation, why do we not have more victory over sin in our lives? The answer is to be found in this two goat type. Being born again and having the old man done away with is just the beginning of our journey with God. Now we must begin to appropriate the second provision of the Day of Atonement, the second goat--the scapegoat. The second work of Jesus, the "fit man" is to send sin away; to expel sin from our hearts. The second goat is God dealing with our goat nature.
Who can deny as the Apostle Paul so clearly states in Romans, that their is great warfare within us between the flesh and the spirit, and here is the key to victory. Most of God's people have obtained plenty of head knowledge through teaching and reading God's Word. What has been lacking, in many instances, is the experiencing of God's presence--the intimacy that comes through relationship with the Living Christ, and this alone will result in heart knowledge by way of experiencing Him. It is in the chamber of intimacy that He accomplishes the removal of sin and transforms our nature. As a result of climbing the stairs that lead into the secret place, sitting at our Lord's feet, we begin to mature into His likeness and grow up into his image. Truly, only the presence of and power of Christ in us can make us overcomers of sin.
To review, the first goat is the death of the old unregenerate spirit, and being born again receive a new spirit that is the new man spoken of in Scripture. The second goat, however remains. Intimacy with Jesus is where the goat nature is dealt with. It is His work and His work alone to bring about a transformation in us line upon line and precept upon precept. Beyond doubt, He is taking us from glory to glory, and as we yield to His fiery work within us that we will awake in His likeness (Psalms 17:15).
We see in Romans chapters 7and 8 that the Apostle Paul so accurately describes our common struggle between the flesh and spirit in our lives. The Amplified states it this way: "For I do not understand my own actions--I am baffled, bewildered. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe. Now if I do habitually what is contrary to my desire, that means that I acknowledge and agree that the law is good and morally excellent and that I take sides with it. However, it is no longer I that do the deed, but sin which is at home in me and has possession of me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out; for I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds I do not desire to do are what I am doing. Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it--it is not myself that acts--but the sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law of my being that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands. For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self--with my new nature. But I discern in my bodily members--in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh--a different law that wars against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs--in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh." Romans 7:15-23 Amplified
It is beneficial to know that the Apostle Paul encountered the same struggles you and I experience. To reiterate, the term "sin in my members," means the flesh and carnal mind. The confusion has come by the assumption that the terms "flesh," and "the old man" are synonymous, they are not, but are two different things entirely. Here is the point, this error has confused many and caused us to wonder why we must continually deal with our old man, who is supposed to be dead. We kill him over and over again, declaring him dead by faith, only to find him back and very much alive (so we erroneously assume) in a short time. But the truth is the old man (our unregenerate spirit) is dealt with by the sacrifice of the first goat and is dead. Okay, now that we understand that it is not the old man who is at work, what remains? Paul tells us that we still have sin in our members, which are the desires and lust of our flesh and this is who the war involves.
Anyone who denies that they still have fleshly desires because their old man is dead, is not being honest with themselves. The Word says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9.
How can it be then, if the old man is dead that we still struggle with sin? I quote once more from Preston Eby, "...I can assure you if the old man is who most people think he is, and truly dead, we should all be perfect, sinless, pure, undefiled, and overcomers in every sense of the word...Dead men don't keep on doing evil things and then excuse it by saying that they just didn't know they were dead."
Lets look at what the Word says, "The flesh wars against the spirit." Now, armed with the knowledge that the "old man" and "the flesh" are two different entities, it becomes apparent that although the "old man" is dead, the war must be with the flesh and sin in our members! For if the flesh were truly dead there would be no more war. Romans 7:22 states, "For I (new man) delight in the law of God after the inward (new) man." Ephesians 4:22, in the Amplified says, "Strip yourself of your former nature (old man) put off and discard your old un-renewed self--which characterizes your previous manner of life, and becomes corrupt through life and desires that spring from delusion."
Now we see from the Word that the new man delights in righteousness, but the old man delights in lustful desires. The Apostle distinguishes between the terms, "sin in our members," and "the flesh," and "the old man." Again we see they are not interchangeable expressions. Sin being evil is rooted in the members of our body (the flesh), while the old man is our unregenerate spirit (before salvation) who is forever dead. While in our old state we delighted in unrighteousness. But our new man (our spirit which has been made alive in Christ Jesus) delights in righteousness. About the regenerated new man, the Word states, "for I delight in the law of God after the inward man, but I see another law in my members (body) warring against the law of my mind (inward man)."
We can plainly determine, from the Word that although sin still exists in our members, we no longer delight in sin as the old man did. At times we do sin because of sin in our members, but when this is the case, we grieve since the new man delights in righteousness and agrees with and desires to keep God's laws. We now want to do what is right. This is why there is such conflict taking place within us day by day. Since there was no war before regeneration, because we delighted in righteousness, the war is our proof that the old man who delighted in sin is dead, and we possess a new spirit man who wrestles with our flesh.
Armed with this knowledge we must also understand that only Jesus can accomplish the work of transformation that must take place in us. Scripture declares, "I can do nothing of myself." John 5:19, 30 This means that we stop struggling with sin and begin seeking intimacy for it is Christ in us who must do the work. As we draw near to the lover of our soul, and delight in spending time in His Presence loving Him, we receive impartations from His Spirit that bring death to the flesh and resurrection--His life in us. Soon we discover new power to overcome sin in our flesh. We see a new nature being formed within us. As we submit to Him, spend time with Him and feed from His table, sin is defeated. The goat nature lead away by the fit man, our savior. We must remember it is only Christ's life maturing within us that is able to lead the scapegoat away into the wilderness.
I will conclude by allowing the one true authority to speak, God's Word, and believe this scripture will be helpful to you in a more meaningful way. The Apostle Paul cried out in Romans 7:24, "O unhappy and pitiable man that I am. Who will release and deliver me from the shackles of this body of death?" The answer quickly revealed to Paul, "O thank God--He will Through Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, our Lord!" Rom 7:25. After declaring that it will be Jesus who sends the flesh man away he says, "For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law could not do, its power being weakened by the flesh. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, God condemned sin in the flesh--subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power. So that the righteous and just requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit--our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit. For if you live according to the dictates of the flesh you will surely die. But if through the power of the Spirit you are habitually putting to death--making extinct, deadening--the deeds prompted by the body, you shall really and genuinely live." Romans 8: 2-4 & 13 Amplified.
Feast in His Presence, bath in His Love, fellowship and surrender to His Spirit and the Life of Christ will be raised up in you. Celebrate the Day of Atonement!
call you to be Kings and Priests.
who accept My invitation and