May 22, 2011

Romans chapter 7

Romans 7:1-13

Few chapters in the Bible have been subject to more decidedly different interpretations than this chapter. Though many good men have given their opinion on this chapter, it is still open to much discussion.

Law. There are at least four laws referred to in chapter 7:

1. V. 7ff, the law of the conscience. Paul has dealt with the inborn law of the conscience in the first 6 chapters.
2. V. 12, the moral law as revealed in the commandments
3. Vv. 12, 22, the law of God.
4. Vv. 23, 8:2, the law of sin and death that wars in the members of every person.

V. 12, Law of God; that is, the general law. The commandments; that is, specific applications of the Law of God, such as thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery.

Chapter 7 continues on what Paul has been saying in chapter 6.

V. 1, know the law.

In Romans 1:13, he tells us that he is writing to the Gentiles. In Romans 2:17-3:6 he rebukes the Jews.

We can gather some things from the first 6 chapters of Romans.

First, though the letter is to the Gentiles, Rome had an abundance of Jews. We know from other epistles that the gospel preachers went first to the Jewish synagogues, for that is where those who were interested in the God of Israel met. From there, it spread into the Gentile community.

Second, it is clear that the church here is made up of both Jews and Gentiles.

Third, the false teachers were active among the believers at Rome, insisting that the converted Jews had to continue in conformity to the Jewish manner of religious life, and that the Gentiles needed to convert to become Jews, that is, following the Jewish manner of life, in order to be good Christians. There was big money in the jewish religious practices of the day, and they certainly did not want to lose that money.

The false teachers showed up in every new church, up until the time of the destruction of the Jewish race and religion in 70 AD.

Acts gives us an idea of how these false teachers worked:

Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

The Gentiles had responded to the gospel of Christ. The false teachers, the Pharisees, were following he gospel preachers trying to convince the converts that faith was not enough. If they hoped for genuine salvation, they had to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. The Roman church was made up of both Jews and Gentiles, and the false teachers were working to convince the Gentiles that they had to become Jews and keep the law of Moses if they would be true Christians.

We see from Paul's letter here that the problem was not unique with the Gentiles, but the Jewish Christians were being influenced also.

In Romans 1, Paul expressed his desire to see the Gentiles at Rome, but his primary calling was to those who had never heard the gospel. He was so busy going where Christ had never been named that he was unable to go to Rome, where Christ was already being preached. Romans 15:20-23. So he writes to them, dealing with the problem of the false teachers who were influencing both the Jews and Gentiles in the church.

The group at Rome was a strong church. According to 7:1, they were all very well instructed in the law of Moses. The godly Jews in Rome would have seen to it that the Gentiles were well instructed in the law of Moses. The false teachers were trying to add the Jewish religious traditions to the gospel for both the Jews and the Gentiles.

We understand this by the situations Paul deals with. His theme up to this point to both the Gentiles and the Jews at Rome has been that the law cannot justify, only faith in Christ justifies.

Let us now try to gather some points together.

Vv. 1-3. We saw in 6:3-5, and other places, that Paul uses illustrations that are easily understood by his readers. Here he uses the moral law of Moses concerning marriage. The law has power or control over the married individuals as long as both are alive. When one dies, the law loses its power.

Using the example of marriage, he shows how the law of sin and death loses its authority through faith in Christ, vv. 21-23.

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 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.

Vv. 4-6. The law we are dead to is the law of sin and death that seeks to control our body's instruments that work unrighteousness. 6:13.

Paul has shown how the believer is dead to that law of sin and death through the work of Christ.

V. 5 continues the thought of 6:13. He tells the Romans that since they are freed from the law of sin and death, their members, or instruments, are no longer servants to unrighteousness. Rather, they are now under the new law of God which requires service unto righteousness, 6:22.

Paul uses the very real and practical illustration of marriage to explain this deeply spiritual truth. Marry as well as both Bettie and I can easily identify with Paul's illustration.

Death of one spouse, frees the other to be married to another. Thus, death with Christ, as illustrated by baptism in 6:3-5, frees us from the law of sin and death. Baptism illustrates being raised from our deadness in trespasses and sins to newness of life in Christ Jesus.

Paul is simply stating the facts of chapter 6 in a different way. By the work of Christ, the believing sinner has been set free from the law of sin and death that ruled his members, or instruments, in the past, the same as the death of a spouse frees one from the marriage laws.

Now that the legal binding to sin has been broken, the believer is married to another, even Christ Jesus. The believer has been freed from the law of sin, so he can now walk in the law of newness of life.

Following the marriage illustration a little further. Under the law of sin and death, the sinner is obliged to follow sin to its conclusion, destruction and death. The unbeliever cannot be expected to act in anyway except in unrighteousness, though it is nice when he does "good".

But married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, brings with it the expectation of bringing forth fruit unto God.

Again, Paul is continuing his argument he started in chapter 6, as he follows the logical conclusion of 6:5. Being free from the law of sin, which was our old master who demanded unrighteousness, we are now free to serve the new Master, Christ and his righteousness. Newness of spirit, or newness of life according to 6:5.

Vv. 7-13.

To this point, Paul's words are easily understood from what he said in the previous chapters, particularly chapter 6.

But from v. 7 to the end of this chapter is one of the most discussed passages in Scripture, with no one being able to give a firm understanding to Paul's words here. It is certainly one of those passages referred to by Peter as hard to understand.

As I have considered this passage for many hours over the past week, here is how it seems best to fit together. I have looked at about every commentator I have access to on this passage, and my understanding is not inconsistent with what others have seen, particularly Robertson's NT Word Pictures.

Paul now gets down to the personal level as he shows us his personal struggle over sin. He presents two views of his struggle--his struggle before his conversion and his struggle after his conversion.

As we read the Scriptures, both Old and New, we are inclined to think of the authors as sinless and perfect. Peter calls them holy men of old,

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. {in old time: or, at any time}

But we are clearly told that these holy men of God were sinners as we are:

Acts 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. {subjectc: of the same nature, that is, a fellow mortal} {earnestly: or, in his prayer}

Paul told Timothy,

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Present tents.

These holy men were sinners saved the same way every person must be saved; that is, by grace though faith in Christ. Their salvation did not make them sinless any more than salvation makes us sinless, though some might preach such foolishness.

However, we do understand that the holy men of God received a greater measure of grace from God to equipt them for their exceedingly high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (See Philippians 3:14)

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. {soberly: Gr. to sobriety}

Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

We understand that it is God who must call one to Christ, for no man can come to the Son except the Father draw him, John 6:44. Then God is the one who gives to each person the enabling grace to fulfill that personfs unique calling in Christ. And no one can say to him, What doest thou? Job 9:12.

All of that to say this, we have no record of his sins, nor of the sins of any of the Apostles. But we do know that none of these holy men were sinless. They were men as we are, born sinners, saved by the grace of God, sanctified by the indwelling Spirit, yet still possessing a body of fallen flesh, whose instruments could either be used for good or evil.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Conversion did not make them sinless, any more than it made us sinless.

Now on to,

Vv. 7-13, Paul considers the law and its past effect on him as an unsaved man. He starts this section with I had not known sin...

Vv. 14-25, he considers the law and its present effects on him as a saved man. He starts this section with but I am carnal...

Paul presents the sin problem from a personal level, which is on the level of his readers. He offers two points of view: past and present.

We need to keep in mind that the problem Paul is dealing with is not about pardon of sin, but about deliverance from the power of sin and death that continued its attempt to control him, v. 24. The situation is that the law of sin sought to control him, not that it did.

The law of Moses is holy, just, and good (v. 12), requiring a holy walk. But though the law was given for life, it had then nor has now any power in itself to enable Paul to walk a holy walk before his conversion. Then even after his conversion, he found that the law did not have the power to produce a holy walk.

In other words, throughout the first 6 chapters, Paul has shown that thought the law and commandment are good, holy and just, there is no power in them to produce a holy life pleasing to God. We have seen and will see that the good and holy law that was meant for life can only produces death apart from conversion and the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit is not involved as Paul defines the struggle here. It is Paul himself in the flesh, or in the strength of his own will that is seeking holiness. He is warning his readers that the holiness required by God cannot be accomplished by the law, and can only be accomplished through the power of the resurrected Christ.

The discussion is just starting to get good, as he deals with the problem of sin he experienced both as an unsaved and as a saved man. What he presents is very good, practical, and common to all men. He tells us of his problem, and identifies our problem, of doing what he does not want to do, and not able to do what he wants to do.

I do not want to stop once we start examining what Paul will say, so we will stop here, and pick up the rest of the chapter next time.

Romans 7:7-14.

As we said, this section is probably one of the most discussed passages in scripture. The discussion is over whether Paul is talking of himself or of others. And if Paul is talking of himself, is it before or after conversion. I have done my research, and the way I see it fit together is not inconsistent with the way other far better men have understood it.

I mentioned that Paul refers to four laws:

1. V. 7ff, the law of the conscience. Paul has dealt with the inborn law of the conscience in the first 6 chapters.
2. V. 12, the moral law as revealed in the commandments
3. Vv. 12, 22, the law of God.
4. Vv. 23, 8:2, the law of sin and death that wars in the members of every person.

V. 12, Law of God; that is, the general law. The commandments; that is, specific applications of the Law of God, such as thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery.

Which law is Paul talking about as he refers to all four?

Thus far in Romans, he is confronting the Jewish false teachers who were following the preachers of the new gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. We saw in Acts 15:5-11, that these false teachers were the Jewish religious leaders. Elsewhere, we find that these teachers were concerned about losing their power over the people, and of losing their very lucrative income from their position as leaders.

According to the first 6 chapters of Romans, we understand what the message of these false teachers was. It was basically that righteousness came by keeping the law of Moses. Paul dealt with this evil message of death and destruction not only in Romans, but in every letter he wrote.

We saw in Acts 15 that the false message to the Jews was that though the message of salvation through Christ was good, it did not go far enough. The new converts still had to keep the law of Moses if they expected to see God.

The message to the Gentiles was that though they had been drawn to Christ, they needed to become Jews. They needed to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses.

We see in Galatians that the Gospel church is now the new Israel of God. That is, it is the circumcised heart that makes one a true Jew. The Jewish race of Paul's day was completely destroyed by Rome in 70 AC. That which is considered Jew today is simply a religion as one is a Roman Catholic, or one is a Muslim.

We also pointed out last week that Paul, as well as all the other holy men of God who spake for God as they were moved by the Holy Ghost were men of like passions as we are. 2 Peter 1:21, Acts 15:15, James 5:17. In fact, Paul identified himself a the chief of sinners, 1 Timothy 1:15.

Paul tells us that the law of Moses is holy, just, and good (v. 12), and it requires and defines a holy walk. But though the law was given for life, it was never designed to give life. It was never meant to nor did it ever have the power to produce a holy walk before God, whether converted or unconverted.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

The idea that was promoted among the Jews and Gentiles of Paul's day was that the law could justify. Paradise was possible through keeping the law and commandments.

So throughout the first 6 chapters, Paul has shown that though the law and commandment are good, holy and just, the law had no power to produce justification. We have seen and will see that the good and holy law that was meant for life can only produces death apart from conversion and the Spirit of God.

We need to keep in mind that the problem Paul is dealing with is not about pardon of sin, but about deliverance from the power of sin and death that continued its attempt to control him, v. 24. The situation is that the law of sin sought to control him, not that it did.

Paul presents the sin problem from a personal level, which is on the level of his readers. He offers two points of view: past and present.

Vv. 7-13, Paul considers the law and its past effect on him as an unsaved man. He starts this section with I had not known sin...

Vv. 14-25, he considers the law and its present effects on him as a saved man. He starts this section with but I am carnal...

Vv. 7-13.

V. 7, Is the law sin... Far from it. The law reveals sin; it does not cause sin. I had not known sin... Before his conversion, Paul's conscience was hardened in sin. So hard that he could murder Christians.

In fact, the first seven chapters of Romans seems to be written from Paul's personal experience, for they all fit together with this seventh chapter.

He lived a moral life according to his upbringing, even believing he was doing God a favor by killing those who worshiped the Christian God of Scripture. His definition of a moral life was not a result of the new law written within by the finger of God. It was defined by what his conscience told him, but his conscience was corrupted by his upbringing and by the society in which he lived.

The conscience:

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Note. Over the past 100 years, the enemy of all righteousness has worked very hard to re-educate the conscience of society from one that feared God and loved righteousness, to one that hates God and loves unrighteousness. The major instruments of change has been the education system. That system demands control of the children as soon as the state can convince the parents to release them into the state. They are kept by the state until the children are separated from their parents'old fashioned, biblical, ideas.

The final blow against the Christian God is college.

It is interesting to note that the National Guard had to be called out in New York to force the parents to send their children to the state schools.

Over the years, the public conscience has been slowly changed by the education system, the entertainment system, the political system (they are all crooks), as well as the false religious system. The vast majority of people today, including those who might attend church, think they are acting in a moral way, yet they are in opposition to the commandments.

The public conscience has been seared through the indoctrination of the world. The public conscience has been changed from one based upon God's law to one based upon how the world thinks. The public conscience now sees little or no problem with drinking, sodomy, fornication, adultery, covetousness, lusts of all kinds, murder of the unborn, lying, cheating, theft, and the list goes on and on.

Here are six areas that immediately come to mind, in which the public conscience has been changed.

First, the law is clear:

Exodus 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

Work has been replaced by welfare: It used to be a shame to live off public welfare. The once Christian work ethic is almost gone. People have been encouraged to work the system so they can survive off of the system, not off of work.

God made man to work, and women to be the help-meet. Though the conscience has been re-formulated to accept income without work, the resistance to work leads to depression.

Second, the law is clear:

Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

2 Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

World Magazine, 6/4/11, had a review of a book in which the authors claim that three-fourths of 18-23-year-old women are in dating relationships of some kind-and 94 percent of those are sexually involved on college campuses. They pointed out the problem is the abundance of females and the lack of marriage minded men. Only strongly committed Christians remained chase. They pointed out that because universities are consumer-driven, they give the students what they think they want, which includes co-ed dorms, easy access to sex and alcohol, &c.

Notice the new word now for fornication and adultery, or gshacking uph is fiancee. The word fiancee is used without any conscience to justify a very immoral life-style.

We had the car painted a few months after we got it. A few weeks ago after the snow, I noticed a rust spot which was not there before nor after we had it painted. Since the paint shop was in Winchester, it would have taken us longer to drop it off, come home, and then go back and get it that it would have to just wait there for them to paint the hood. While waiting, a man came in to pay on his bill. He was very insistent that he get a receipt because his fiancee was helping him pay the bill, and she wanted to be sure the money went where it was supposed to go.

When he left, the owner told another person in the office that the girlfriend wanted the accounting of the money.

All of that to say this. It seems that the term fiancee is now used to ease the conscience over the fact that people are gshacking uph.

Women seem to be afraid of not having a man, so they sell themselves cheap.

Third, the law is clear:

Deuteronomy 23:17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Romans 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

The same World had an article about the Presbyterian Church (USA) voting to ordain open sodomites to the ministry. The sodomite agenda that has been pressed for the last couple of decades is paying off for the sodomites, as this very noisy and violent minority has put us all under some very odorous laws.

Fourth, entertainment.

The Christian God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ has been forcefully removed from public view, because he might offend someone. Not only are secular films anti-god, very few even Christian films will mention the name of Jesus, which is the name above every name that can be named. The desire is for a god that offends no one, and the separation brought about by Christ is very offensive to the world.

Fifth, actions.

Teens Riot In Manhattan Businesses, 24 May 2011

MYFOXNY.COM - It's like a flash mob gone bad. Security footage from a Manhattan Dunkin' Donuts shows a group of youths climbing on counters, throwing chairs and throwing tables in a violent attack on workers. That evil conduct is becoming more and more prevalent as young people rush into a store, grab what they can, and then trash the store.

The system, no doubt, is encouraging that conduct. The goal is to get the people to cry out for more police powers from the state.

Sixth, immodesty.

Public nakedness that was not even imagined when I was in school is now common. Many girls today seem to be in competition as to who can show the most skin, or who can attract the most lustful attention to themselves.

The public now serves many gods after their own making. The religious community in its attempt to attract the world has become like the world, as it competes with the word for attention and money.

What has happened?

The public conscience has been seared, or hardened to God and to the truth of Godfs law and commandments, Romans 7:12.. The sinfulness of sin and its deadly results have been educated out of the public conscience.

We know people whose conscience allows them to do about anything. They are controlled by lust and covetousness, seemingly with no conscience. Even the professed Christians have a re-educated, as the church accepts all kinds of unbiblical things, including pastoretts.

The sinfulness of sin must be revived.

Paul's conscience may have "spoken" a little at various times, but it was not that "speaking" of the conscience that led him to see himself as a sinner needing a Redeemer.

Paul says he had not know sin as defined by God's law. He only knew sin as defined by what he had been taught and by the society around him. His conscience reacted according to his upbringing. His conscience was hardened against God's commandment.

This does not mean that he acted out his lust and covetousness in ways commonly associated with those sins of the heart, but the roots of those sins were there, waiting to be revealed by the Spirit.

Note that our hearts can be given to various sins without the sins being worked out in a manner that is obvious. Look around---the conscience of society is seared against nakedness, lust and covetousness.

V. 8, unknown to Paul, he was being deceived by sin, not realizing his corrupted conscience was leading him to death.

Sin took advantage of him before his conversion, allowing him to sin even more.

Concupiscence...desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust.

Without the law as revealed by the Spirit, he did not know sin. His corrupted conscience was in control, and retained control until the Spirit revealed the true law to him It must be the Spirit of God revealing the holy law to the individual that leads to conversion and life change.

The law of sin was dead, or unknown to him until the Spirit acted to reveal the sinfulness of sin to him.

Note: How many times do we acknowledge sin with our words, and maybe even mean those words. Yet it is only when the Spirit speaks to us, that that knowledge of sin is acted on.

V. 9, alive without the law once... Pre-conversion. He was hardened in sin, seeing little or no problem with what he was doing. Actually, he was deceived by sin, believing he was alive, and even doing God a favor in his persecution of Christians.

But when the truth of the commandment was revealed to Paul by the Spirit, sin was revived, or made alive, and he realized he was dead.

Paul was alive without the law, but the revelation of the law killed him.

Note: We need a revival, a revival of the knowledge of sin as God sees it. We need to be killed by the law of God. Without the Spirit of God revealing the God's law to us, sin is dead to us. That is, we are unaware of God's definition of sin, the seriousness of sin, and the eternal results of sin.

How many are convinced they are alive because their conscience is not speaking against what they are doing? But when the Spirit confronted them with the commandments, sin was made alive, and they realized they were dead.

The Spirit works through the conscience, and makes us uncomfortable in our sin, which leads us to Christ.

V. 10, God gave the commandments for our good and life:

Leviticus 18:5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.

Romans 10:5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

So the commandment meant for life was found to be unto death once the Spirit revealed the truth of sin.

Paul's letter to the Romans deals with those who are being taught to trust in the law for their justification. From the context of Paul's words here and elsewhere, it seems that the false teaches were ignoring the significance of the death of Christ for one's relationship with the Father, and were replacing Christ with the commandments and Jewish rituals.

Paul has argued for 6 chapters the foolishness of depending on the law for justification. Justification is by grace through faith alone. But he also makes it abundantly clear to the Romans, the Corinthians, the Ephesians, the Galatians and others, that justified will result in willing and joyful submission to the law and commandments.

Found... How did he find this out? The Spirit alone can show the sinner his sin, and the truth of his corrupted conscience that calls bad good.

Of course, people are not only deceived in their moral sins, they are deceived in about every way possible, not seeing that their living the life of approval of the world is leading to death.

Though these people think they are alive, sin has them deceived. They are in the way of death.

1. What will it take to wake up those living in sin?
2. What will it take to get the attention of those who are seeking after the things of this world?
3. What will it take to make those seeking the ggood lifeh that the ggood lifeh is only a facade to deceive people down the path of death and destruction?
4. What will it take to allow those deceived by sin to see the seriousness of sin, and its deadly results without Christ?

V. 9, sin must be revived. We need a revival in this nation. That is, a revival of a true realization of Godfs holiness and his definition of sin. We need to see the deceitfulness of sin, and its final destruciton. A revival of understanding that Christ is the only way of life. And the Spirit alone must reveal the truth. Neither sinner nor saint can understand they are on the path to death and destruction without the Holy Spirit confronting them with the true commandment in that area.

V. 11, speaking of the past before conversion, Paul identifies sin as a person in this section, the tempter. Though living a perfect example of a moral life by the world's standards, sin had him deceived. The tempter deceived him by hiding the commandment from him, and the tempter slew him by deceiving him, and sending him down the broad way that leadeth to destruction. Matthew 7:13.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (16:25)

Note: the tempter is very effective today.

Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

Jeremiah tells us that there is an abundance of false prophets who tell the people what they want to hear. They tell the people that it is OK to take the broad way, but they do not tell them the end, destruction.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

The religious leaders should be warning the people for God of their sinful ways, and the destructive end. But the tempter has gained the religious leaders, and it seems they have delivered the whole world into the tempter's hands. His deceptions have the whole world joyfully running down the broad way to destruction. But God has promised a faithful remnant, and has promised the total victory of his Kingdom in his good time.

V. 12, The law is holy, and the commandment holy, just, and good, and are for the good of mankind.

Just and good because the commandment reveals the deception of sin.

V. 13, was the law described in v. 12, meant to bring death to me? Certainly not. It was the holy, just, and good law that revealed the deceitfulness of sin, and its deadly results. The law itself was not death. The law is good, for it reveals the sinfulness of sin, and the wages of sin, death.

The purpose of the holy, just, and good law was and is to make sin exceeding sinful, which is what Paul said in,

3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

The purpose of the law to the unsaved is not to destroy him, but to stop his excuses for the way he is, and bring him to Christ.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

After we are brought to Christ by faith, the law changes from a schoolmaster to instructions of how to live as a child of God as explained by Paul in Romans 6:3-5.

Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Paul goes on to say that if we are sons, why do we desire to again be in bondage to the old ways?

Exceeding sinful. This seems to be the breaking point. The exceeding sinfulness of sin was revealed to him by the Spirit, and he is converted.

Acts 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Romans 7:14-25

As I pointed out last time, I believe the context up to this point requires that Paul be speaking of himself.

Vv. 7-13, Past. Paul considers the law and its past effect on him as an unsaved man. He starts this section with I had not known sin...

Paul has made it very clear that the law was never designed to give life, nor does it have the power to produce a holy walk either in the converted or the unconverted. It never had nor has now any power to justify. Rather, its purpose was and is to define sin. The Spirit uses the law to show the sinfulness of sin and the results of sin.

Upon conversion, it still shows sin, as it reveals the holiness of God, and establishes those things which pleases and displeases God.

We saw that typical of all unsaved men, Paul was dead to the knowledge of sin as God sees it. Sin deceived him, and he thought he was alive, though he was dead. The Spirit revived the knowledge of sin, revealing the truth of sin, and he realized he was dead in sin.

V. 13, seeing sin as exceeding sinful, he was converted.

Vv. 14-25, is Paul speaking of unsaved or saved condition has been debated from the start of the Christian faith. There are good arguments on both sides. But I believe he is now speaking as a saved man, as he starts this section with but I am carnal...

This understanding is not inconsistent with what others who are far more qualified than I to speak on the subject discussed by Paul here.

We have already seen that we are told that all the Holy men of God who were used of God to write his word to us were men of like passions as we.

In vv. 14-25, Paul considers the law and its present effects on him as a saved man. He starts this section with but I am carnal...

We know that the law is spiritual, for it was given by the Holy Spirit, and it was applied to our corrupted conscience by the Holy Spirit. It revealed formally unknown sins to us. The things we at one time had no problem with, now present a great problem. And the Spirit shows us how to deal with that sin and death problem.

Carnal... Paul says that even after conversion, he is still a creature of flesh. Though there had been a mild conflict with his conscience before the law was made real to him, the conflict has greatly intensified. Now his conscience has been brought to life by the Spirit applying law of God. Now the never-ending and hot conflict really starts. The conflict is between the tempter and his lively conscience.

Sold under sin. That sale was made by Adam.

Though the mortgage has been paid by Christ, the former owner, the tempter, still works to reclaim what was his.

V. 15, allow is identified in the margin as know.

For that which I do, I know not... Because the flesh in which he still lives even as a Christian is corrupt, he was unable to recognize the true nature of sin. His spiritual perception was dulled by sin.

This is where sanctification inters in.

Paul pictures a dual life with which we can easily identify. Though we have high ideals of doing as God requires, we slip back into doing those things we hate.

V. 15 describes very well the battle waged between "good and evil" in our lives, particularly after conversion.

Paul says here that he falls into the trap of doing the things which he hates as a Christian. The former owner continually seeks to retake possession of what was his. And that which he hates he does.

Note: How true in our lives. How many times have we found ourselves doing those things we hate, though we tried to remain away from those things.

Though we try to keep the flesh and impure motives out of our efforts for the Kingdom's sake, it seems that the impure is always present, and even in control at times.

V. 16, could easily fit into what Paul has already said about the conscience. The unsaved man has a conscience, and in it is written the law of God. Whatever desire the unsaved has to do that which is good shows that he agrees that the law is good.

Even the worse of sinners will admit that certain things are wrong. In that admission, he agrees that the law is good, though he desires to ignore certain parts of it.

Note that it is interesting here that those who claim that we are under grace not under law---hat is that God's law is no longer binding---still refrain from doing the things forbidden by the law. Though with their words they deny the law, with their actions, they consent unto the law that it is good.

When anyone admits that certain actions are not lawful actions, he shows that he accepts that God's law is good.

V. 17, Paul's true self desires that which is holy, just and good. But due to the power of the indwelling sin, he fails to consistently fulfill his holy desire.

He certainly in not trying to avoid his moral responsibility, as many do with We are all Sinners.

Note: Every person can identify with Paul here, in that what starts out holy, good and godly, ends up as sin, whether in motive or in action.

Vv. 18-20, fit more with Paul speaking as an unconverted individual, yet he is speaking in present tents. However, even as a Christian, I have found this fact to be true.

Vv. 18. Though Paul's will is from his higher self, he finds his lower self in control far too often.

Paul has made it clear that we were sold under sin in Adam. That sinful nature did not leave us at conversion. Rather, the desire and power of God was given to us at conversion to do good as required of us by the law, which is good and just and pure.

V. 19. We got a movie over Netflix, "My name is Howard H." It was the story of the man who started AA back in the early 1900s. It showed his struggle with drunkenness, showing how that no matter how hard he hated drunkenness, and tried to quit, he continually fell back into drink, destroying everything around him.

Sadly, it also showed how the roots of AA are very anti-Christian in the sense of victory without Christ.

Vv. 21-23 confirm that Paul is speaking as a converted man. And every Christian can identify with what Paul says in vv. 19, 20.

Vv. 19, 20, when the tempter wins out, it is no longer I, or my higher self doing it. Though it is his lower self doing the deeds, it is the sin that dwelleth in me doing the evil. He in not trying to avoid responsibility.

Remember, John said that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. 1 John 1:8, 9.

V. 21, Paul tells us that what he has presented in vv. 18, 19 as a law. This law says that when I would do good, evil is present with me.

V. 22, cannot be the words of an unsaved man, for the unsaved does not delight in the law of God. To him, it is a curse that is to be removed from him.

2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
Ephesians 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

V. 23, the war Paul describes here is one that is all too familiar to all Christians. The Christian is of two natures. The old nature that had dominion before we were saved, and still seeks to exercise that dominion. The new nature that became ours at conversion, and God's grace enables us to given dominion to the new nature.

The law of sin, or the use of our members as "instruments" of unrighteousness is a continual campaign against using our members as "instruments" of righteousness.

Paulfs higher self agrees that the law of God is good, yet the tempter works to bring into captivity his members to the law of sin.

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Every Christian understands this war that Paul describes in v. 23, as the old nature seeks to bring again into captivity our members. But Paul told us at the beginning of this chapter that the power of that law of sin and death was broken by the death and resurrection of Christ.

V. 23, gives us a heart-rending cry from the depths of despair. (Robertson's...)

As we have already mentioned, Paul described himself,

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am ( not was) chief.

I believe Paul gives us a glimpse of the inner battles he faced, as he depended wholly upon the grace and power of God to do what God had assigned to him.

2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Flesh may be taken literally for the body, or figuratively for the corrupt nature. Calvin and many others take the latter view. But there is no reason for departing from the literal meaning, which should in all cases be preferred, other things being equal. (Hodge)

Hodge is firm that it cannot mean evil suggestions, or fiery darts of Satan, as understood by Luther, Calvin and others. Calvin:

My opinion is, that under this term is comprehended every kind of temptation, with which Paul was exercised. For flesh here, in my opinion, denotes -- not the body, but that part of the soul which has not yet been regenerated. "There was given to me a goad that my flesh might be spurred up by it, for I am not yet so spiritual, as not to be exposed to temptations according to the flesh."
He calls it farther the messenger of Satan on this ground, that as all temptations are sent by Satan, so, whenever they assail us, they warn us that Satan is at hand. Hence, at every apprehension of temptation, it becomes us to arouse ourselves, and arm ourselves with promptitude for repelling Satan's assaults. It was most profitable for Paul to think of this, because this consideration did not allow him to exult like a man that was off his guard. {3} For the man, who is as yet beset with dangers, and dreads the enemy, is not prepared to celebrate a triumph. "The Lord, says he, has provided me with an admirable remedy, against being unduly elated; for, while I am employed in taking care that Satan may not take advantage of me, I am kept back from pride."

There are as many understandings of what the thorn was as there are commentators, some ideas even ridiculous. No one can give a firm reason for his definition of thorn.

I do not think it could have been a physical deformity, for Paul had been a gPharisee of the Pharisees.h The Old Testament forbad any physical deformity from the priesthood in the tribe of Levi. Paul was from Benjamin, yet the Pharisees were known for their placing oral tradition above even the law of God.

The Pharisees had pretty much taken over the temple service by the time of Christ. I have little doubt but that they also assumed many of the Old Testament qualifications of the temple service, such as no physical deformities.

I certainly am not being dogmatic, but from what we see in Romans 7, I agree with Calvin that Paul's thorn was not a physical thorn. Rather it was some sort of spiritual infirmity under which he labored. He had to be totally dependant upon the Spirit of Grace, "My grace is sufficient for thee", to carry out God's commission.

When we realize how much sin is still in us, we should be ashamed, and humbled that God would see fit to call us to himself, and use us in his service.

Knowing the sin that still lies within each of us should stop any idea of pride.

V. 25. Again, Paul is speaking in the present, not in the past.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

With the mind... This is characteristic of the renewed nature. Would a sinner make such a statement that with his mind he serves the Law of God.

I myself... He is one and the same person, yet he acts in this apparently contradictory manner.

The law of sin... The flesh has no natural tendency to holiness. Its corruption can only be overcome through the grace of God. In a Christian context:

1. Paul shows us the painful conflict between sin and God, even in Christians. They are opposed in all things.

2. Paul shows us the raging warfare even in Christians, and the destructive effect of sin on the soul. In all circumstances, sin tends to destruction, woe and death.

3. Paul shows us the inability of the moral law of God and of the conscience to overcome the power of sin in our lives. Both the law and the conscience only produce conflict and woe.

4. Paul shows us that only the gospel can overcome sin. The overcoming power of the gospel should be the subject of ever-increasing thankfulness on our part. The gospel alone can do what neither the law of Moses nor the inbuilt conscience could do.

5. Paul shows us that sin has taken its tole.

Paul ends this "down" chapter with an "up" look:

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Paul had probably been married,