Ordet betyder avsaknad av kraft, sjukdom, men även den nödvändiga kraften som vi måste ha för att kunna stå emot syndens härjningar i våra liv.

Weak (asthenes) focuses on susceptibility to sin and applies to believers who struggle with abandoning sin and obeying God’s will… The weak are always impediments and stumbling blocks to growth and power in the church. (MacArthur, John: 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Moody Press or Logos)

Helpless (772) (asthenes from a = without + sthénos = strength, bodily vigor) (See study of related verb astheneo – note the concentration of asthenes/astheneo in the epistles to the Corinthians – almost 50% of NT uses) is literally without strength or bodily vigor. Asthenes describes one’s state of limited capacity to do or be something and is used literally of physical weakness (most of the uses in the Gospels) and figuratively of weakness in the spiritual arena (weak flesh, weak conscience, weak religious system or commandment [Gal 4:9, Heb 7:18], etc) and thus powerlessness to produce results.

Heb 4:12 Ty Guds ord är levande och verksamt. Det är skarpare än något tveeggat svärd och tränger igenom, så att det skiljer själ och ande, led och märg, och det är en domare över hjärtats uppsåt och tankar. 13 Inget skapat är dolt för honom, utan allt ligger naket och uppenbart för hans ögon. Och inför honom måste vi stå till svars. 14 Då vi nu har en stor överstepräst, Jesus, Guds Son, som har stigit upp genom himlarna, så låt oss hålla fast vid vår bekännelse. 15 Ty vi har inte en överstepräst som ej kan ha medlidande med våra svagheter (769 ASTHENEIA) utan en som blev frestad i allt liksom vi, men utan synd. 16 Låt oss därför frimodigt gå fram till nådens tron för att få barmhärtighet och finna nåd till hjälp i rätt tid.

Du och jag kan alltså komma frimodigt fram till nådens tron DÄRFÖR att han vet att vi är totalt kraftlösa i oss själva att stå emot begärelserna (SYNDEN) i våra liv. (ASTHENEIA)

Nu får vi en tydligare bild av PS 40 där David sjunker ner i dyn (HJÄLPLÖSHETEN) och han utbrister:

Psa 40:12 Du, HERRE, må ej ta din barmhärtighet ifrån mig, må din nåd och din sanning alltid bevara mig. 13 Ty lidanden omger mig, fler än jag kan räkna. Mina synder har hunnit ifatt mig, jag orkar inte se dem. De är fler än håren på mitt huvud, och mitt mod har övergivit mig.

Att vara fattig i anden (MT 5) det är att förstå vad som bor i mig (SYNDEN – BEGÄRELSERNA) och klart inse att jag har ingen somhelst kontroll över det här i mig själv. Med andra ord uppleva att Rom 7 blir en verklighet i mitt liv och kunna förstå att Herren och bara Han har kraften och nåden för mig.

Rom 7:14 Vi vet att lagen är andlig, men själv är jag köttslig, såld till slav under synden. 15 Ty jag kan inte fatta att jag handlar som jag gör. Det jag vill, det gör jag inte, men det jag hatar, det gör jag. 16 Om jag nu gör det jag inte vill, samtycker jag till lagen och säger att den är god. 17 Men då är det inte längre jag som gör det, utan synden som bor i mig. Rom 7:18 Ty jag vet att i mig, det vill säga i mitt kött, bor inte något gott. Viljan finns hos mig, men att göra det goda förmår jag inte. 19 Ja, det goda som jag vill gör jag inte, men det onda som jag inte vill, det gör jag. 20 Men om jag gör det jag inte vill, då är det inte längre jag som gör det, utan synden som bor i mig. 21 Jag finner alltså den lagen: jag vill göra det goda, men det onda finns hos mig. 22 Till min inre människa gläder jag mig över Guds lag, 23 men i mina lemmar ser jag en annan lag, som ligger i strid med lagen i mitt sinne och som gör mig till fånge under syndens lag i mina lemmar. 24 Jag arma människa! Vem skall frälsa mig från denna dödens kropp? 25 Gud vare tack, Jesus Kristus, vår Herre! Alltså tjänar jag själv med mitt sinne Guds lag, men med köttet tjänar jag syndens lag.

In a sermon Spurgeon declares…

We were without strength. It was a bad case altogether, and could not be defended. And man, by nature, is morally weak. We are so weak by nature that we are carried about like dust, and driven to and fro lay every wind that blows, and swayed by every influence which assails us. Man is under the dominion of his own lusts — his pride, his sloth, his love of ease, his love of pleasure. Man is such a fool that he will buy pleasure at the most ruinous price; will fling his soul away as if it were some paltry toy, and barter his eternal interests as if they were but trash. For some petty pleasure of an hour he will risk the health of his body; for some paltry gain he will jeopardize his soul. Alas! alas! poor man, thou art as light as the thistledown, which goes this way or that, as the wind may turn. In thy moral constitution thou art as the weathercook (weather vane), which shifts with every breeze. At one time man is driven by the world: the fashions of the age prevail over him, and he obsequiously follows them; at another time a clique of small people, notables in their little way, is in the ascendant, and he is afraid of his fellow-men. Threatenings awe him, though they may be but the frowns of his insignificant neighbors; or he is bribed by the love of approbation, which may possibly mean no more shall the nod of the squire, or merely the recognition of an equal. So be sacrifices principle and runs with the multitude to do evil. Then the evil spirit comes upon him, and the devil tempts him, and away he goes. There is nothing which the devil can suggest, to which man will not yield while he is a stranger to divine grace. And if the devil should let him alone, his own heart suffices. The pomp of this world, the lust of the eye, the pride of life — any of these things will drive men about at random. See them rushing to murder one another with shouts of joy: see them returning blood-red from the battle-field, and listen to the acclamations with which they are greeted, because they have killed their fellow-men. See how they will go where poison is vended to them, and they will drink it till their brain reels, and they fall upon the ground intoxicated and helpless. This is pleasure which they pursue with avidity, and having yielded themselves up to it once they will repeat it again, till the folly of an evil hour becomes the habit of an abandoned life. Nothing seems to be too foolish, nothing too wicked, nothing too insane, for mankind. Man is morally weak — a poor, crazy child. He has lost that strong hand of a well-trained perfect reason which God gave him at the first. His understanding is blinded, and his foolish heart is darkened; and so Christ finds him, when he comes to save him, morally without strength.

Now, I know I have described exactly the condition of some here. They are emphatically without strength. They know how soon they yield. It is only to put sufficient pressure upon them, and they give way despite their resolutions, for their strongest resolves are as weak as reeds, and when but a little trial has come, away they go back to the sins which in their conscience they condemn, though nevertheless they continue to practice them. Here is man’s state, then — legally locale and morally weak.

But, further, man is, above all things, spiritually without strength. When Adam ate of the forbidden fruit he incurred the penalty of death, and in that penalty we are all involved. Not that he at once died naturally, but he died spiritually. The blessed Spirit left him. He became a soulish or natural man. And such are we. We have lost the very being of the Spirit by nature. If he comes to us, there is good need he should, for he is not here in us by nature. We are not made partakers of the Spirit at our natural birth. This is a gift from above to man. He has lost it, and the Spirit — that vital element which the Holy Ghost implants in us at regeneration — is not present in man by his original generation. He has no spiritual faculties, he cannot hear the voice of God, he cannot taste the sweets of holiness. He is dead, ay, and in Scripture he is described as lying like the dry bones that have been parched by the hot winds, and are strewn in the valley dry, utterly dry. Man is dead in sin. He cannot rise to God any more than the dead in the grave can come out of their sepulchres of themselves and live. He is without strength — utterly so. It is a terrible case, but this is what the text says, “

When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Putting all these things into one, man by nature, where Christ finds him, is utterly devoid of strength of every sort for anything that is good — at least, anything which is good in God’s sight, and is acceptable unto God. It is of no use for him to sit down and say, “I believe I can force my way yet into purity.” Man, you are without strength till God gives you strength. He may sometimes start up in a kind of alarm, and say, “It shall be done,” but he falls back again, like the madman who after an attack of delirium, sinks anon to his old state. It will not be done. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? “If so, then he that is accustomed to do evil may learn to do well. Not till then, by his own unaided strength can he perform any right and noble purpose. Nay, what am I talking about?

He has no strength of his own at all. He is without strength, and there he lies — hopeless, helpless, ruined, and undone, utterly destroyed; a splendid palace all in ruin, through whose broken walls sweep desolate winds with fearful wailings, where beasts of evil name and birds of foulest wing do haunt, a palace majestic even in ruins, but still utterly ruined and quite incapable of self-restoration. “Without strength.” Alas! alas! poor humanity!…

The glory of the remedy proves the desperateness of the disease.  The grandeur of the Savior is a sure evidence of the terribleness of our lost condition.

Look at it, then, and as man sinks Christ will rise in your esteem, and as you value the Savior so you will be more and more stricken with terror because of the greatness of the sin which needed such a Savior to redeem us from it.

Så det finns hopp för syndare! HALLELUJA!!!!

Mvh Janne Ohlin, Göteborg Sweden