So chapter 6 Paul proved that our sanctification is by faith in Christ alone and have been brought under a new law.
Chapter 7 Paul will show us the motivation for seeking Christ in daily Christian living.
Basically what Paul speaks of here is that According to law, a woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive. If during his lifetime she has a sexual relationship w/another man, the Law of marriage condemns her as an adulteress, broken the law. But if her husband dies she is no longer bound by the Law of marriage, free to marry another.
Paul explains his analogy in 7:4.
Explain to me how we \”died to the law through the body of Christ”.
We died to the law through Christ, and particularly in His sacrificial death, because as the substitute for sinners He suffered the penalty of death that the law demanded. IE The law brings about our sin, Christ took my sin by His death and thus paying the penalty of the law for me.
“belong to another” And who is this “other” that we belong to now?
What are some implications for us belonging to Christ?
Because we are in Christ/belong to Him we are not condemned, we’re loved, accepted, adopted, we have purpose, new/resurrected life, we have a devotion to Him.
Paul is saying here that just as the widow in the analogy was freed to remarry, the believer has been freed from his hostile relationship to a law that condemned him, and can, therefore, be remarried-this time to Christ.
And for what reason have you been released from the law and joined to Christ?
“in order that we may bear fruit for God”
What does a fruitful Christian life look like exactly?
Simply put it is a daily walk with the constant inward and outward obedience to God’s word out of a heart overflowing with love/gratitude for God. This is chiefly shown in our actions and attitudes.
You were saved to live a purposeful life for God.
How were our “sinful passions” produced from the law?
We wanted ways to rebel against God, the law showed us how.
Kind of like in Elementary and all the computer monitors had the “Don’t touch the monitor screen”; and of course what did we do? We touched the screen only because we desired to rebel against the rule (or law, as it were).
Also, do take note of whom Paul speaks, “for while we were living in the flesh”. The “in the flesh” Paul speaks of is the antonym for “in Christ”. IE they are both opposites of one another; for if one is “in Christ” they cannot be in the flesh.
Per example, I cannot be at my house and at Fairmount at the same time; I am in one or the other. And being in one of them I receive the natural consequences of being in one of them; at home, I receive the greatest benefit of all; my dog. and at Fairmount, I get you guys.
I can’t be in both at the same time; thus I can’t have the benefits of both at the same time.
So having been freed from the law I can now do whatever I want right?
No; you are freed from the law/freed from the spiritual liabilities and penalties of God’s law.
Because we died in Christ when He died the law with it condemnation and penalties no longer have jurisdiction over us. Moreover, you are freed from the law to be a servant of Christ; you are released from the harsh taskmaster into the loving Lord’s dominance.
“new way of the Spirit” vs “old way fo the written code” What is Paul contrasting here?
Our new life and old life.
And what would some core differences be old life and new life?
The new way of the Spirit is a new state of mind which the Spirit produces, characterized by a new desire and ability to keep the commandments of God.
The old way is the external, written law/code that produced only hostility and condemnation. The new way relates to God lovingly the old way related to God hatefully.
I’ll illustrate Paul’s point here for us:
So a murderous criminal is caught red-handed, and he’s brought before the judge and the judge reviews the evidence and determines that this man has broken the law and taken a life and condemns the murder.
Now, in this illustration would we say the law or the judge is evil?
No. Because the judge and the law both did what was right and just. Just because the law resulted in a conviction it is by no means bad/unjust but in fact, it is quite the opposite. Likewise, God’s law is good, righteous and holy.
What does Paul say the law reveals to us?
And what is sin?
Transgression of God’s law, or to put it another way, sin is falling short of the glory of God.
Thus, the law reveals sin and in doing so reveals God’s divine/holy standard. IE we would not have known that “covetous” was against God had the law not said, “Do not covet”.
The word “opportunity” describes a base of operations for an expedition. Sin uses the specific requirements of the law as a base of operations from which to launch its evil work. Confronted by God’s law, the sinner’s rebellious nature finds the forbidden thing more attractive, not because it is inherently attractive, but because it furnishes an opportunity to assert one’s own self-will.
“sin lies dead” Not lifeless, but dormant. When the law comes, sin becomes fully active and overwhelms the sinner.
“sin came alive” Paul realized his true condition as a desperate sinner.
“I died” He realized his spiritual deadness, and that all his religious credentials and accomplishments were rubbish.
How is sin deceitful?
In the same way, the serpent was deceitful, it promises life but brings death.
Here, Paul is saying that the Law, and his keeping thereof, convinced him to trust in Himself rather than God and the law was trying to teach him; in trusting in himself he found no life in God but separation from God/death.
IE much like our criminal illustration a moment ago; just because the law reveals, brings about, and condemns sin, bringing death to the sinner that does not mean that the law is evil. Rather the law is a perfect reflection of God’s holy character and the standard for believers to please Him.
This next portion of Romans is the second most conversational passage Romans (the first being Romans 9); mainly because to so it is unclear whether Paul speaks of his pre-conversation struggle with God or his post-conversation struggle with sin.
So, I’ll ask y’all: what are your thoughts? In 7:13-25, is Paul speaking of his coming to faith or struggle with sin?
Given 7:22 I submit to you that Paul is speaking of his struggle with sin. This view also is most reasonable when one considers the content of the chapter; IE the believer’s relation to the law and sin.
Considering our conversation on the law let me ask this question:
How is a sinner brought to Christ?
Through the Spirit of course; but more specifically the Spirit works in a two-pronged manner:
The Spirit convicts the sinner of their sin under God’s law; showing the sinner that they have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory
The Spirits drawing of the sinner toward Christ; one could say that the Spirit renews the will and causes the sinner to desire Christ.
This is a summary of the Spirits ministry in the life of the regenerate/converted sinner. The Spirit drives the sinner and draws the sinner to Christ.
In 7:13 Paul shows us this by telling us that sin is the cause of spiritual death, not the law. The law is a tool that brings one to an awareness of their sin once convicted of their sin the law also serves to show the sinner a savior.
Paul continues to describe the believer and our struggle with sin.
Paul says that he desires to obey God hates his sin (7:15, 19, 21);
he is humble recognizing that nothing good dwells in his humanness (7:18);
he sees sin in himself, but not as all that is there (7:17, 20-22);
and he serves Christ with his mind (7:25).
Paul has already established that none of these attitudes ever describe the unsaved in Romans 3.
Moreover, given that Paul speaks in the present tense I also submit to you that he speaks of himself, obviously, but because of his great insight and that he is also in Christ, as we are, his struggle is our struggle and thus, his solution also applies to us.
“of the flesh” is that the same thing as “in the flesh”?
Paul is speaking of his mortal humanness; he doesn’t say he is still “in the flesh” but rather the flesh is in him.
“understand” literally I don’t approve of my own actions. I do what I hate and that which I don\’t want to do.
And here, Paul is wishing to excite his new desire; to live according to his own nature.
Would y\’all say you “want” a Christian life? Or that your “desire” God?
I think this is one of the best signs that one is indeed saved. A natural man does not “hunger and thirst for righteousness”.
“no longer I who do it” Basically, Paul here speaks of his new “I”. The Greek adverb for “no longer” signifies a complete and permanent change. Paul’s new inner self no longer approved of the sin that was still residing in his flesh, like the old self did.
“nothing good dwells in me” The flesh serves as a beachhead from which sin operates in the Christian’s life; it is still contaminated, the not-yet redeemed portion of us.
“I delight in the law of God” the believer’s justified, new inner self no longer sides with sin, but joyfully agrees with the law of God against sin.
“delight” aka ‘joy’ I know we talked last week about being joyful in God; did y’all find this past week joyous? Why or why not?
[Let them answer. Follow up as needed].
“another law” or, to reference last week, another wolf. Both these laws go against each other-waging war against Paul’s desire to obey God’s law.
“wretched man” We don’t talk like this anymore do we?
No. Because we don’t think like this anymore.
The song doesn’t say, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a (self-esteemed) worthy-fella like me.”
Why do y’all think we don’t talk like that anymore?
We have a too low view of God and a too high view of ourselves.
This part of the purpose of the law for us now; to see the high, holy standard of God and the lowliness of man.
The law, in this way, also makes the Gospel that much sweeter to our souls.
If man is so far separated from God and God so far separated from man then the law underscores just how much God did for us in Christ and just how awful we should be in response to God’s work.
“deliver” the Greek word here is used to refer to a soldier pulling his wounded comrade from the battlefield. Literally, to rescue from danger.
No doubt, Paul chooses his words carefully here to remind us of Christ and how He, in a way, rescued us from the battlefield.
And I’m also sure Paul chooses his words wisely as well as the rest of Romans as well; wouldn’t you all agree?
You will also notice this:
What direction does Paul look toward for his deliverance? Inward or outward?
Outward, “Who will deliver me…”.
And who is this great deliver?
And what Paul’s reaction to the deliverance brought to us by Christ?
We have seen several statements of Apostolic Abhorrence in Romans; but here I believe we see, what I’ll call, the Apostolic Adoration.
Christ delivers and is delivering Paul from his sin and Paul adores/love/worships Christ for it.
Y’all are smart; tell me what\’s the application is for that last part.
Simple, Christ delivers us from our sin, sin is death, Christ delivers us from death into life and we live in gratitude of that.
You’ll notice as you grow in your Christian walk that the more holy you become, the more sin you’ll see in your life.
Which means, all the more opportunities to be delivered, which only increases our gratitude/adoration to the Deliverer. This is why God does imitate justification but not imitate sanctification; God is increasingly honored by continually aiding/delivering us from our sin.
“my mind” how exactly do we serve God in our minds?
Jonathan Edwards said, “The will is the mind exercising its choice according to its strongest desire at that moment”
That is to say, the regenerate mind choices to love God, choices to submit to Him, to kill the sin in us daily.
Paul teaches that though we still have sin in us we are to still activity submit to God out of gratitude for Christ and His delivery for us; we do this out of love, adoration, gratitude and not out of self-reliant pride.