He will subdue our iniquities

“He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities” Micah 7:19

The Hebrew word translated with subdue in this text is kabash (strong 3533). In other places in the Bible, this word is used in the context of subjection of earth or land (see Genesis 1:28, Numbers 32:29, 32, Joshua 18:1 and 1 Chronicles 22:18) or slaves (see 2 Chronicles 28:10, Nehemiah 5:5 and Jeremiah 34:11, 16).

In Colossians 3:1-2 the earth is used opposite of above: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [NKJV: mind] on things above, not on things on the earth.” See also 1 Corinthians 15:47-53, John 8:23, James 1:17 and John 3:12, 31. Genesis 6:5 shows us that sin is our mind and heart (the thoughts of the heart, that caused the flood). Thus, when earth (or land) is subdued, it refers to subduing the ‘thoughts of the heart’ of Genesis 6:5: the lies and delusions in our mind. Or as Paul calls it in 1 Corinthians 3:19, the ‘wisdom’ of this world. And this is what we read in Micah 7:19.

Slaves refer to sin (lies in our mind and heart) as well. In John 8:34 Yeshua says: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

And Paul also writes about this in Romans 6. A number of verses :
“knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (…)
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (…)
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”
Romans 6:6, 12, 13, 16 [NKJV]

Paul writes that our old man was crucified with Him and we should no longer be slaves of sin (verse 6). But we cannot sit back. Paul calls on believers (the saints in Rome, Romans 1: 7) not to let sin reign (verse 12) and to become slaves to obey YHWH, as instruments of righteousness (verses 13 and 16). Righteousness is opposed to iniquity that will be subdued by Him, in Micah 7:19. So Paul makes it clear that although our old man was crucified with Him, it is still possible to remain slaves of sin, slaves of lies and delusions in our mind. We cannot sit back, we have to do something.

Of the old man that Paul writes about in Romans 6, we read in his letter to Ephesians also:
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth” Ephesians 4:22-25

The putting off of the old man (verses 22 and 25) and putting on the new man (verse 24) is here again described as an action. And here also it becomes clear that it is about our mind (verse 23) and truth versus lies (verse 25).

Why, then, does Micah 7:19 say Hé will subdue our iniquities? And also in Ephesians 4:23 it says that we wíll be renewed in our mind. That is not formulated as an action. These verses tell us what will happen if we put off the old man, put on the new man, and obey YHWH: He will subdue our iniquities (lies and delusions), and our mind will be renewed. It is about our mind again. YHWH cleanses and frees our mind with the truth of His Word (Ephesians 5:26, John 8:31-32, Ephesians 4:21). Our part is to fill our mind with His truth, and then He will subdue our iniquities (lies and delusions) and renew our mind.

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