This second part is necessary in case someone has “missed the mark” of what I’ve been talking about!!!
However, the main task is to deal with life now that the “new coat” is on our shoulders. How does it differ from what obtained beforehand? The new coat is the symbol of new life in Christ, that grace-gift which none of us can earn, that free gift from the loving heart of God our Father. This is the seat of divine enablement for a Christian’s life. This is the down-payment for the full redemption when we receive our new resurrection bodies. This is the sudden opening of the mind to that which is pleasing in the sight of God. This is the start of a new chapter of life, in which good and holy desires are granted from above, and the mind is progressively transformed from earth-bound habits to a heavenly perspective. This is where we begin looking for that city not made with hands, even as Abraham did those many centuries ago.
But what about the arrows and the target? Do they become past history?
The answer is a resounding No! Let’s get the matter straight without the continued use of symbols.
The arrows and the bull’s eye were symbols of LAW. God gave mankind His moral law to define His own character. He asked man to keep His laws. As a result, no matter how hard we try, we eventually fail. We miss the mark, which the Bible translates by the word Sin. Paul tells us that the Law was therefore an instrument to cause our death. Even though the Law was good and holy in itself, it could not provide the way to Life. Because of this many have come to look upon God’s Law as something to be cast into the trash bin. They misuse Paul’s words, when he said that we are no longer “under the law” when we believe in Christ.
What did Paul mean by this statement? Quite simply he was stating the obvious fact that being “under the law” brought about our downfall, producing a state of guilt, and resulted in our death warrant. But in God’s sight this was good. It was the best thing that could ever have happened to us! It showed us that we could never reach a state of perfection by our own works. It drove us to the cross for forgiveness, once we had fully appreciated our “sinful” (missing the mark) nature.
To appreciate this is to be freed from the human pressure of having to prove our own worthiness, either to ourselves, or to any one else, God included. To be no longer “under the law” means that we have learned the lesson, not to try to be approved by our own works, but to believe the truth about fallen human nature. To be “under grace” is to walk through life wearing that new coat, and reckoning ourselves dead to the strivings of the human nature, which the Bible calls the “flesh.” The “flesh” is not something that can be pinched, pummelled, or weighed on the scales, it is a Bible word for the striving of the old nature.
Therefore, do not cast away the arrows and the target. For as long as we live in these bodies, we shall be aware of failure. Our arrows (deeds which we hope will reach the bull’s eye) will still be flying, because we now see the beauty of that which once caused our condemnation and death. Even if we should “miss the mark”, we are never again condemned. John said, “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” This is so often the case when the “flesh” rears its ugly head. But “if we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us.” Only those who have done wrong need an Advocate.
In this life we become aware of the existence of two opposing natures within us, the old nature (which constantly seeks its own righteousness and approval for its works) and the new nature (which is granted to us from above and relies on imputed righteousness). Our duty is not to give rein to the old nature, as its rears its ugly head, but rather to rely on that divine ability from God. As such this may be seen as a daily warfare between two parties, and the Lord promises that in Christ we can continually overcome the enemy. In Biblical terms, this is described as the process of “sanctification”.