Thursday, May 24, 2007

Walking through Romans pt 10: Romans 7

Walking through Romans pt 10: Romans 7

Romans 7
7:1 Or do you not know, brothers and sisters (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law is lord over a person as long as he lives? 7:2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of the marriage. 7:3 So then, if she is joined to another man while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she is joined to another man, she is not an adulteress. 7:4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God. 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 7:6 But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.
7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! Certainly, I would not have known sin except through the law. For indeed I would not have known what it means to desire something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 7:8 But sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of wrong desires. For apart from the law, sin is dead. 7:9 And I was once alive apart from the law, but with the coming of the commandment sin became alive 7:10 and I died. So I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life brought death! 7:11 For sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it I died. 7:12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.
7:13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? Absolutely not! But sin, so that it would be shown to be sin, produced death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual – but I am unspiritual, sold into slavery to sin. 7:15 For I don’t understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want – instead, I do what I hate. 7:16 But if I do what I don’t want, I agree that the law is good. 7:17 But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. 7:18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do the good, but I cannot do it. 7:19 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want! 7:20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me.
7:21 So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me. 7:22 For I delight in the law of God in my inner being. 7:23 But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members. 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.


In Romans chapter six, Paul ends with the thought, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Here Paul picks up the point that if one is under the Law, then the Law is Lord over them until they die. In that manner Jesus cannot be the Lord of one if they are under the Law… you cannot serve two masters as Jesus stated in the Gospels.

So, as with a woman bound by the law of marriage commits adultery if she divorced her husband and he still lives. (I am not going to go into the ramifications of this as far as the topic of divorce… as each person must walk in the Grace God gives them.) Yet, if the husband dies, so the law is nullified and she is free to marry another. I do not think Paul is making the case that it is a sin to divorce. I think that even under the law of Moses, God knew the hardness of man’s heart and allowed it, though He hates divorce… to me this shows the love and compassion of God rather than the strictness of the Law… yet still if one is under the Law, the law is Lord… and if the law is lord, it is without mercy, grace, or love… it is just to be followed and obeyed.

We are dead to the Law if we are in Christ. What a wonderful thing that is. We are dead to the law and to sin. If we are under the law we find that we only face our death… and in that “the wages of sin is death”. Many miss that it is not that our sins being forgiven is the part that we enter into Christ… without His death of course there is not forgiveness, yet without His resurrected Life we do not have Life.

The Law only points out our sin as if under a magnifying glass… we can see our sin even clearer under the Law… and it should lead us to the place of recognizing that we are in need of salvation from death… not our sins. In that as we have died to “what controlled us”… that Lord called the law… and we now have newness of Life in Christ Jesus. Before we came to the end of our own works… which only bore fruit unto death, now we bear the Fruit of God.

Is the Law sin? Paul states this as some seemed to ask that if sin leads to death and the Law leads us to death is the Law also sin? And Paul states very clearly “NO!” and then states again that the Law exposed our sin. And that was its job. The job is to show that we are utterly sinful. The Law was given to show that we are sinful… Paul states that covertness was in his heart. Before the Law he did not see this was there… in his mind he was alive… yet when he came under the law… he realized he was dead. Sin came to life in his heart and death also entered his heart… “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.” It holds the standard that is required for holiness, righteousness and goodness… and we fall flat into our grave.

The Law itself is good… it reveals our own sinful heart as it teaches us how perfect we must be to please God… and we should recognize that we cannot please God by our own works. We are as one sold to sin as a slave. The last few versus propel us into Chapter 8… yet before we get there I hope we can just meditate on the point were Paul has brought us… we are wretched people…We cannot get good "right" as all our good turns to evil no matter how hard we try… Sin in us is a hard master and we without Jesus are but slaves to him… The law leads us to the conclusion that we need salvation… to come to the end of ourselves and cry out… WHO WILL SAVE ME!!!!???

But, there is good news! "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" For it is by Jesus we are saved and by His Holiness we are made holy. As we live now we are saved by a good and clean conscience before God, yet our body will still die. Yet we hold to hope to come in the Resurrection of our bodies.