Romans 7:18-21 Romans 7:18-21 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Romans 7:22-25 Romans 7:22-25 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Romans 8:1-4 Romans 8:1-4 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Focus Verse Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Focus Thought Our carnal nature is not subject to the law of God and cannot be conquered by the rituals of the Mosaic law, but the grace of God and His Spirit can set us free.
Introduction Introduction Paul’s Epistle to the Romans stands out as the most definitive explanation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of salvation. He clearly proclaimed the gospel to replace and transcend the Mosaic law. “If a person can master the concepts in the Book of Romans, he will have a solid foundation for all biblical study” (David K. Bernard, The Message of Romans, Word Aflame Press, 1987, 11).
Introduction Paul defended the sovereignty of God to save whomsoever He wills, and he discussed the utter impossibility of gaining salvation by works. He dealt with the tension between the Jews, Christian Jews, and Christian Gentiles, confirming that only the grace of Jesus Christ can save us. Paul frankly admitted his struggles with his own fallen nature that warred against the Spirit, and he firmly established the fact that all people share this universal dilemma.
Introduction Paul was hounded by Judaizers who followed him from place to place attempting to influence his converts away from their newly found liberty in the gospel into adherence to the Mosaic law. In his letter to the Galatians, he boldly responded to the Judaizers.
Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
Galatians 2:21 “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:21).
Introduction The Epistle to the Romans contributes greatly to the theology of salvation and makes certain the believer’s dependence on the grace of Jesus Christ. Obedience to the Mosaic law was insufficient to make one righteous, but appropriating the atoning work of the blood of Jesus Christ is enough. Paul declared, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:6).
Bound by the Law of Sin I. Bound by the Law of Sin (A) Paul was an outstanding Christian who by his endurance and willingness to suffer for Jesus Christ put to shame most other people. He was used mightily to win sinners to the gospel and to witness to the miraculous power of God. He had supernatural visions, experiences, and revelations that most people never will experience. (See II Corinthians 12.)
I. Bound by the Law of Sin (A) Yet, with all of his spiritual victories, he confessed that there was an underlying element in his person that rose up in conflict to the will of God: “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
I. Bound by the Law of Sin (A) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:23-24). Certainly, the temptation to sin and his spiritual vulnerability to yield to temptation was always present in him.
Servants of Sin I. Bound by the Law of Sin (A) Mankind’s fallen condition places everyone in a vulnerable place of yielding to perpetual temptation to commit sin. No human being escapes the innate propensity toward sin (Romans 3:23). Regardless of a person’s temperament or personality, ethnic or cultural background, or genetic lineage, he is flawed spiritually. The sin of Adam and his fall from grace extended to the entire human race like a hereditary disease (Romans 5:19).
I. Bound by the Law of Sin (A) Those who yield to their temptations and live in sin are servants to sin.
Romans 6:16 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16).
I. Bound by the Law of Sin (A) They become slaves to their habits and addictions. They forfeit their right to freedom and submit to the carnal cravings of the flesh. Sin is a cruel taskmaster that takes people down a road of pain and destruction (Romans 6:23). Sin breaks up homes, wrecks personal finances, destroys inner peace, and breaks down the health of its hapless servants.
Internal Warfare I. Bound by the Law of Sin (B) Since the law came from God, it was holy, just, good, and spiritual. It revealed God’s holiness, His thoughts, and His expectations in contrast to mankind’s fallen sinful nature. The new birth brings about a change of nature, but not a total death to the old nature. Either the old nature or the new nature can control a believer’s mind—it is a choice that each believer must make for himself.
I. Bound by the Law of Sin (B) That struggle between two natures is exactly what Paul described so forcefully in Romans 7: “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong” (Romans 7:21, NLT). Honest Christians can sympathize with Paul. Even though we want to do right in our spirit, we all have disappointed ourselves with our frequent failures to do the right thing.
Our Carnal Nature I. Bound by the Law of Sin (C) Paul used four contrasts in Romans 8 to illustrate the difference between a Spirit-filled Christian and those who are still in sin.
1. The flesh versus the Spirit (verse 5). A person who is not filled with the Holy Spirit lives for his own flesh. His mind is focused on how to satisfy his fleshly passions. On the other hand, the born-again Christian has the Spirit of God within and lives with the Spirit-driven capacity to overcome sin. The Holy Spirit inspires and motivates his mind. Believers are not perfect and neither are sinners incapable of doing good things. However, the nature of their lives is different. One lives for the flesh, and the other lives for the Spirit. I. Bound by the Law of Sin (C)
I. Bound by the Law of Sin (C) 2. Death versus life (verse 6). The unregenerated person is alive physically but dead to spiritual things. The heart of the sinner is dead toward God and does not respond to the moving of the Spirit. A sinner may be a good person, but he still needs to be born again in order to become alive spiritually.
I. Bound by the Law of Sin (C) 3. War with God versus peace with God (verses 6-7). Those who are not saved are not passive or static, but they are at war with God. The old nature lives in perpetual rebellion against God and refuses to submit to God’s law. The great salvation experience brings a person to a place of “peace with God” (Romans 5:1), while the unsaved individual remains at war with God.
I. Bound by the Law of Sin (C) 4. Pleasing self versus pleasing God (verse 8). The unsaved person rarely thinks about pleasing God. Selfishness is a consuming motivation—getting, accumulating, satisfying sensual desires, and so forth. Conversely, born-again believers will focus on pleasing God.
I. Bound by the Law of Sin (C) An Indian chief became a Christian and explained his struggle with this analogy. He said, “There are two dogs fighting within me—a white dog and a black dog.” Someone asked, “Which one is winning?” He replied, “The one I feed the most!”
Judged by the Law of God II. Judged by the Law of God The law of God is eternal and universal, and it remains the final authority. It is pervasive—affecting all people for all time. God’s law will judge us whether or not we are cognizant of it.
II. Judged by the Law of God Paul declared, “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law” (Romans 2:12). The Jews were blessed to know God’s law and, consequently, they understood their sinfulness.
Purposes of the Mosaic Law II. Judged by the Law of God (A) Moses’ law was a revelation of God’s divine requirements and expectations of His chosen people. The law defined sin. This knowledge made them a special, enlightened people. At the same time, it condemned them. They became aware of their hopeless sinful nature and their inability to measure up to God’s expectations (Romans 3:23). They also were able to see the radical consequences of sin through the sacrificial system.
II. Judged by the Law of God (A) Their knowledge of the law made them aware of the separation that sin brought between God and mankind. “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were” (Romans 5:20, NLT). Paul confirmed it further by writing, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20, NKJV).
II. Judged by the Law of God (A) The Mosaic law defined sin. “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7).
Romans 7:9-11 “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me” (Romans 7:9-11).
II. Judged by the Law of God (A) In Romans 7:9-11, Paul could have been referring to his childhood since he was raised a Jew and would have learned the Jewish law early in life. As a child, he was not responsible due to his lack of spiritual knowledge and inability to grasp the significance of right and wrong. But as he grew older, he matured and became knowledgeable of God’s requirements and of his responsibility and accountability to God for his life. (See also I Corinthians 13:11.)
II. Judged by the Law of God (A) The Mosaic law was so extensive, complex, and demanding that it was impossible to obey completely. Then, not to obey only one part made one guilty of the whole law. (See James 2:10.) For fifteen hundred years, mankind’s attempt to obey the law resulted in universal failure.
II. Judged by the Law of God (A) This long period of time and mankind’s thousands of attempts to follow it made it clear that individuals needed empowerment from an outside source. Therefore, the law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24-25), teaching us that we needed a Savior.
Weaknesses of the Mosaic Law II. Judged by the Law of God (B) The apostle Paul declared, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11). The Mosaic law did not empower people to be obedient; it only demanded obedience. The law revealed God’s holiness and mankind’s sinful nature.
II. Judged by the Law of God (B) Paul explained the tension between the fleshly desires and the demands of God. (See Romans 7:14-25.) Even though the law was good, fallen human nature was powerless to conform to its demands. The spirit of mankind wanted to obey, but the fallen nature ruled the day.
II. Judged by the Law of God (B) Just as the sacrificial system was only a temporary measure until something better came (Hebrews 7:19), so was the impossible ceremonial and moral demands of the Mosaic law. The blood of bulls and goats could not take away the sins of mankind; it only atoned for sin until a perfect sacrifice could be provided (Hebrews 7:19; 10:4). The law was only a shadow of better things to come—Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of sacrifice (I Peter 1:19).
II. Judged by the Law of God (B) Concerning the lack of perfection in the law, the writer of Hebrews explained it this way: “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure” (Hebrews 10:5-6).
II. Judged by the Law of God (B) Paul summed it up, “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin” (Romans 7:25, NLT).
Delivered by Grace III. Delivered by Grace (A) Grace through Jesus Christ delivered the human race—not only from the Mosaic law but from the law of sin and death. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). (See also Romans 6:23.) His grace truly is amazing!
Victorious over Sin III. Delivered by Grace (A) “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4).
III. Delivered by Grace (A) The law was powerless to free mankind from sin due to the fallen nature of the human race. God accomplished deliverance from sin by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful mankind (likeness of the flesh of sin). Jesus did not come into the world in sinful flesh but “in the likeness of” it.
III. Delivered by Grace (A) His supernatural conception made the nature of Jesus free from the indwelling principle of sin that has plagued all other human beings since Adam (Luke 1:35). Although He possessed the ability to sin through His human flesh, He also possessed the greater power to resist and overcome sin through His deity!
III. Delivered by Grace (A) Paul clearly stated that the law brings life or death depending on whether the Spirit has written it in one’s heart. The prophet recorded the words of the Lord: “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:27).
III. Delivered by Grace (A) If one attempts to follow the statutes of God only as an external standard of righteousness, he will discover that conforming to them perfectly is unattainable by human effort alone. (See Romans 3:27; 9:31-32; 10:6-8.) If, on the other hand, he serves the Lord Jesus Christ from a heart of love and commitment, he will produce many good works that will honor and glorify Him. The Spirit within empowers the believer to live righteously.
Born Again III. Delivered by Grace (B) “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Romans 8:9-10).
III. Delivered by Grace (B) It is imperative that a believer be filled with the Holy Spirit. There are not two kinds of Christians—those who are Spirit-filled and those who are not. A person cannot be related to or belong to Christ without the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote of the Spirit’s leading all Christian believers.