S223-051808 Ro 7
Alêtheia Christian Fellowship ~ 051808 ~ Romans 7
In Chapter 6, Paul addresses the issue of sin and he will stay on topic through much of chapter 8. We cannot cover the whole topic in detail in one shot – so I am going to move quickly through chapter 7 today, but we will have an overview of the whole topic when we finish chapter 8. If you don’t get it all, don’t worry – get what you can. There are many resources to assist you, Sermon audio, notes and Sunday school.
ÜRomans 7:1 ~ Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?
Not just Jews, but the emphasis is for the legalistic minded.
Paul gives us a principle (the law does not apply to dead people) – in verses 2&3, he will give an example or analogy and then in verses 4-6, he will give the practical application of the principle.
Why is he making the point that the law does not apply to dead people?
ÜThere are two ditches to be avoided – libertinism or antinomianism on the one hand and legalism on the other.
Paul argues against both and although they appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum both are the result of each other and both are serious error.
ÜLegalism is a distortion of obedience that can never produce truly good works.
1- It skews motive and purpose, seeing good deeds as ways to earn more of God’s favor than one has at the moment.
2- It produces arrogant self-righteous superiority – causing pride in one’s own efforts and contempt for those who do not labor in the same way.
3- It is self-advancing, thus one works for self rather than God or neighbor.
4- It diminishes the value of Christ and His sacrifice.
ÜAntinomianism, Dualistic, Spirit-centered, Christ-centered, Dispensational, Dialectical, Situational
1- It skews motive and purpose, seeing complete irresponsibility and a total lack of self-control as acceptable.
2- It produces arrogant self-righteous superiority – causing pride in one’s own freedom and contempt for those who do not live in the same way.
3- It is self-advancing, thus one plays for self gratification rather than to please God or neighbor.
4- It diminishes the value of Christ and His sacrifice.
Jesus came to free us from sin, not to Sin – whether through the self-indulgence of legalism or antinomianism.
ÜRomans 7:2&3 ~ 2For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.
No perfect analogy and even though it can actually make sense, Paul’s point is: DEATH TERMINATES CONTRACTS
ÜRomans 7:4-6 ~ 4Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
KJV 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
The practical application is to be orthodox, neither too legalistic, nor too liberal.
What does it mean? Realize you’ve been saved by God and out of His grace you’ll strive to act like a member of the family!
The Law drives us to Christ
The next unspoken attack is, “Are you saying the Law from God is evil?”
ÜRomans 7:7-12 ~ 7What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 10and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 11for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Is the law evil? Paul’s famous mh< ge>noito; is an x-ray of Katie’s broken arm evil?
The Law showed him how impossible obedience really was and how self-centered he was – it is the magnitude of the failure, not the specific violations.
Using himself as an example he talks about coveting… why coveting?
The 10 Commandments:
1- Love God
1- No other gods
2- No idols
3- Name in vain
4- Holy rest
2- Love others
5- Mom & Dad
Coveting in the LXX is ejpiqumi>a - it is the summation of the Law, just as self-control is the summation of Christianity (Acts 24:25a ~ Paul was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come).
Paul is primarily saying that the Law enables people to recognize behavior. We may be doing wrong, but if we are unaware of our problem we blithely go through life oblivious – Ignorance is bliss.
Verse 11, says sin deceived him.
It deceived him by means of an opportunity.
An opportunity coming through the Law by which it killed him.
The deception of sin was that Paul could be righteous before God through his own disciplined efforts to keep the Law.
He failed, just as sin knew he would, and so he was condemned – sin won the victory!
So, like an x-ray, the Law is good even though it reveals trouble.
ÜRomans 7:13-16 ~ 13Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. 14For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.
The x-ray didn’t cause Katie’s broken arm.
Now, with the x-ray in hand, we can work on a solution.
In the middle of verse 13, our x-ray analogy starts to lose something.
Paul again uses his own example (present tense), but now as a Christian!
In looking for a new analogy I realize the very best one is no analogy at all – we have all experienced what Paul is talking about.
ÜRomans 7:17-20 ~ 17So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
A fundamental difference between non-Christians and those truly twice-born is Christians no longer see themselves as “basically good.”
ÜRomans 7:21-24 ~ 21I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
If you don’t have this war you are probably not saved.
All legalists have this problem… How can I live up to the standard?
All go one of two ways – 1) Denial, delusion, reinterpretation leading to self-righteousness which is false righteousness. 2) Defeat, despair, rejection leading to self-loathing which is false righteousness also.
ÜRomans 7:25 ~Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
The real solution is only in Christ. My humanness is corrupt, but I am filled with the life-generating Spirit and will strive to please God from a clear conscience.
Chapter 8:1 ~ Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Sin is done away with – period. My response is not to try to save myself, or to allow sin to reign, but rather to do away with the lusts of the flesh by the power of God.
I will not allow sin in my life as a companion.
I will not allow sin in my life as a guest.
I will not allow sin in my life as a thief that breaks into my home make me a victim either.
The Law exists to direct people to a savior, whether they are unsaved or mature Christians.