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As we are seeing the Book of Romans is radical in concept, rich in content, and readable in construct.
Heres the layout so far:
Romans 1 deals with the perversity of Sin.
Romans 2-3:18 deals with the Penalty of sin.
Romans 3:19-5:21 deals with the penalty of sin.
Romans 6 deals with the power of sin being broken.
Here in Romans 7 we start to see Paul talk about the preoccupation with sin.
Here in chapter 7 Paul shows how we have freedom in Christ and sin has no power over us anymore.
Romans 7 gives us 4 things regarding our relationship to the Law, which if we understand them will help in our liberation from sin.
Every Christian can experience greater freedom if we will make these 4 things part of their life.
Our Relation to The Law (vv1-6)
Here in this first section Paul uses the illustration of marriage to illustrate how we relate to the law.
Whether it was Roman law or Jewish law a woman was bound to her husband for life.
The only way she could be set free was through death.
Our relationship to the law has been dissolved by our identification with the death of Christ.
The death of the perfect savior satisfied the law and made it fulfilled.
It no longer has any power over us.
Paul describes our new freedom in verses 5, and 6.
The result of the dissolution of our marriage to the law is that we serve in a new way of the Spirit.
We have Joy instead of despair.
We have freedom instead of bondage.
We have life instead of death.
The Relation of the Law to Sin (vv 7-13)
This second point that Paul brings up is our understanding of how the Law and sin interact in our experience.
Pauls first point here is that the law reveals sin.
Not only does the Law reveal sin it activates it.
Not only does the Law reveal and activate sin but it also kills (vv 10-11)
The more we grow in Christ the more aware we become of the great depth of our sin and the greatness of Christ.
The Conflict of the Law and Self (vv 14-24)
These verses have been the source of great controversy over the years.
The main question is who is Paul speaking about here in these verses?
Most seem to think that he is talking about normal christians that have this struggle in their everyday life.
This is supported by the fact that Paul continues to write in the first person singular and in the present tense which means Paul is including himself in this experience.
Thomas a Kempis writes for us all.
How often we have tried with all our might to follow Christ, but have been pulled down by our flesh and failed.
Paul knew the struggle it is to follow as we should only to fail to do it.
The principle Paul recognizes is that he is a man with two natures.
One delights in the Law of God.
The other wages war against God’s Law.
The Christian is subject to two forces simultaneously and thus lives in a state of tension.
The seventh chapter of Romans is a passionate piece of writing.
Paul wants us to feel the emotion he experiences in trying to live up to God’s standards in his own strength.
And here we have the third pillar of wisdom defined: A believer who tries to please God in his or her own strength will always come to disheartening, aching frustration—always!
Moreover, this will happen to “good Christians”—even super-Christians.
Paul was perhaps the greatest Christian ever, and this was his experience.
He had more theology and passion in his little finger than most of us have in our entire life.
Despite this, he sometimes tried to live up to God’s standards on his own.
It would be naive to say that after Paul came to an understanding of how sin defeats us through the Law, he never came under bondage again.
I personally believe that with time he came less and less under bondage, but he never came to perfection.
The Believers Power (vv 24-25)
The adjective “wretched” means “a miserable distressed condition.”
Paul has come to the end of himself.
He looks at his sin and becomes paralyzed with fear and distress.
Because such a cry takes us to the very place that the Lord Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount:
We must understand that we alone cannot defeat sin but the power of God can.
We are nothing on our own but are everything in the power of God.
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