I found the law of God and it convicted me
I found the law and it judged me
I found the law of God and I judged myself
I found the law and I condemned myself
I found the author of the law and I was set free
I found freedom from the law of sin and death
I found true forgiveness and love
I found the one who paid my debt in full
I found a savior of love and a love for His law
I found the one in whom I give my life
I no longer serve the law that kept me bound
I now serve the one who set me free
I found Christ
AMAZING MESSAGE BY: MIDDLETOWN- CHURCH
Romans Chapter 7
The Believer’s Relationship to the Law
The twin themes of Romans chapter 7 are 1) the believer’s relationship to the law and 2) the utter failure of the law to sanctify. Let us compare Romans chapter 7 with Romans chapter 6:
|Romans 6||Romans 7|
|Key Word in Chapter||SIN (see verses 1, 2, 6, 7, 10-23) 11 times||LAW (see verses 1-14, 16, 22, 25) 18 times|
|The Believer’s Relationship||The Believer’s Relationship to Sin||The Believer’s Relationship to Law|
|Dominion||Sin has dominion (6:14)||The Law has dominion (7:1)|
|Death||I died to sin (6:2)||I died to the law (7:4)|
|Freedom||Free from sin (6:18)||Free (delivered) from the law (7:3,6)|
|Newness||Walk in newness of LIFE (6:4)||Serve in newness of SPIRIT (7:6)|
|Fruit of the Flesh
Fruit of the Spirit (God’s LIFE)
To have victory in the Christian life the believer must KNOW, RECKON and YIELD (see notes on Romans Chapter 6). Faith in the finished work of Christ is the key. The human tendency is to try to live the Christian life in the flesh, by works, by our own human effort and striving, by trying and struggling, by making resolutions, by trying to follow rules and regulations and schedules, etc. The more we try, the more we struggle and fail. The whole point of Romans chapter 7 is that sanctification (holiness) by the law just does not work! See Galatians 3:1-5.
We must keep in mind the statement Paul made in Romans 6:14 — “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” This implies that if we were under law, then sin would have dominion over us. What does GRACE mean and what does LAW mean? Consider the words of Watchman Nee:
Grace means that God does something for me; law means that I do something for God. God has certain holy and righteous demands which He places upon me: that is law. Now if law means that God requires something of me for their fulfillment, then deliverance from law means that He no longer requires that from me, BUT HIMSELF PROVIDES IT. Law implies that God requires me to do something for Him; deliverance from law implies that He exempts me from doing it, and that in grace He does it Himself . . .The trouble in Romans 7 is that man in the flesh tried to do something for God. As soon as you try to please God in that way, then you place yourself under law, and the experience of Romans 7 begins to be yours. [The Normal Christian Life, p. 105. The use of quotations in this chapter by Watchman Nee does not mean that we are in agreement with everything that he writes.]
The problem is not with the law (see Rom. 7:12); the problem is with sinful man (Rom. 7:14; 8:7).
Brief Outline of Romans 7:1-6
Verse 1-The principle is set forth.
Verses 2-3-The illustration given: marriage.
Verse 4-The application is made.
Verses 5-6-The application is further explained.
“Dominion” means to be under the lordship of. The law is lord over a man (rules over a man), and thus a man is subject to the law as long as he lives. HE IS UNDER THE LAW AS LONG AS HE LIVES! There is only one thing that can break the man’s relationship to law: DEATH!
Romans 7:2-3 (the illustration of marriage)
“Which hath a husband” — this means she is married, is under her husband and is to be subject to him. “Bound” means to be “tied” (when two people are married they are tied together for life; they are bound together until death parts them—see Matthew 19:5-6). Marriage is BINDING until one of the persons involved dies (see 1 Cor. 7:39). No one can be loosed from the law of marriage until this death takes place.
Marriage is a life long commitment. As long as her husband is alive she is not free to marry another person or enter into a relationship with another person — this would be adultery. If her husband dies she is then free (1 Cor. 7:39). Death ends the relationship and allows for a new relationship. For the Lord’s teaching on marriage and divorce, see Luke 16:18 (one of many places). The main point of the illustration is this: DEATH BREAKS THE RELATIONSHIP AND MAKES POSSIBLE A NEW RELATIONSHIP.
I am bound by the law. It has dominion over me (v.1). How shall I ever be delivered and set free? (cf. v.6). In Christ’s death I DIED! I died to the law! The law can never die, but I died! My death makes possible a new relationship to a new husband: “that ye should be married to Another, even to Him who is raised from the dead” (v.4). Because I died with Christ I am FREE FROM THE LAW. Because I am alive in Christ I can be JOINED TO HIM IN A WONDERFUL RELATIONSHIP. God has made it possible (by His grace) for us to be cut loose from the law and to be joined to Jesus Christ (in UNION with Him). Christ, not the law, now has dominion over me. The law is a terrible husband — strict, inflexible, stern, rigid, demanding and unbending. The Lord is a wonderful husband — merciful, gracious, and He, by His power and life, ENABLES me to please Him. Just as a marriage relationship produces FRUIT (children), so my marriage to Christ produces fruit (see Rom. 6:22; Gal. 5:22-23). See also John 15:1-7: “fruit” “more fruit” “much fruit.”
Notice that there is only one woman, while there are two husbands. The woman is in a very difficult position, for she can only be wife of one of the two, and unfortunately she is married to the less desirable one. The man to whom she is married is a good man; but the trouble lies here, that the husband and wife are totally unsuited to one another. He is a most particular man, accurate to a degree; she on the other hand is decidedly easy-going. With him all is definite and precise; with her all is casual and haphazard. He wants everything to he just so, while she takes things as they come. How could there be happiness in such a home?
And then that husband is so exacting! He is always making demands upon her. And yet one cannot find fault with him, for as a husband he has a right to expect something of his wife; and all his demands are perfectly legitimate. There is nothing wrong with the man and nothing wrong with his demands; the trouble is that he has the wrong kind of wife to carry them out. The poor woman is in great distress. She is fully aware that she often makes mistakes, but living with such a husband it seems as though everything she says and does is wrong! What hope is there for her? If only she were married to that other Man all would be well. He is no less exacting than her husband, but He also helps much. She would fain marry Him, but her husband is still alive. What can she do? She is ‘bound by law to the husband’ and unless he dies she cannot legitimately marry that other Man.
The first husband is the Law; the second husband is Christ; and you are the woman. The law requires much, but offers no help in the carrying out of its requirements. The Lord Jesus requires just as much, yea more (Matt. 5:21-48), but what He requires from us He Himself carries out in us. The law makes demands and leaves us helpless to fulfill them; Christ makes demands, but He Himself fulfills in us the very demands He makes. Little wonder that the woman desires to be freed from the first husband that she may marry that other Man! But her only hope of release is through the death of her first husband, and he holds on to life most tenaciously. Indeed there is not the least prospect of his passing away (Matt. 5:18). The Law is going to continue for all eternity. If the Law will never pass away, then how can I ever be united to Christ? How can I marry a second husband if my first husband resolutely refuses to die? There is one way out. If he will not die, I can die, and if I die the marriage relationship is dissolved. Verses 1 to 3 show that the husband should die, but in verse 4 we see that in fact it is the woman who dies! The Law does not pass away, but I pass away, and by death I am freed from the Law. How do I die? When Christ was crucified, I was crucified with Him. On the hill of Calvary it was forever done (Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life, pp.107-109).
But if I am dead, how can I be married to another? In Christ’s death I died and in Christ’s resurrection I LIVE! Thus I can be joined in marriage to Christ!
The believer is married to Christ! It’s a LOVE RELATIONSHIP not a LAW (LEGAL) RELATIONSHIP. This love relationship (joined to Christ and in union with Him) is what Christianity is all about. Christianity is not a RELIGION, it’s a relationship to a PERSON, the Son of God (John 17:3). It’s not doing something but it’s knowing Someone (John 17:3; 1 John 2:3-4). It is not a set of rules and it is not a system of morality. It is a unique and intimate relationship with the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
Many in our day have lost sight of this truth. For many the Christian life has degenerated into another legalistic religious system. It is common for people to get wrapped up in rules and regulations and requirements and duties. It is easy for one to think that the Christian life is reading the Bible and praying and witnessing and memorizing and doing certain things and not doing certain other things. We know how a Christian ought to live, we know how a Christian ought to act, we know how a Christian ought to speak, we know how a Christian ought to think, we know the kinds of things a Christian ought to do and we know the kinds of things a Christian ought not to do, AND WITHOUT REALIZING IT THE CHRISTIAN LIFE HAS LOST THE VERY THING THAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT FROM EVERY OTHER RELIGION. We have missed the whole point.
To emphasize this, let’s see what the Bible does not say:
Philippians 1:21 — For to me to live is reading my Bible, memorizing Scripture, praying at least 15 minutes daily and witnessing at every opportunity.
Philippians 3:8 — I count all things but loss for the excellency of trying to guard my tongue, trying to overcome my bad habits and trying to have my daily devotions.
Philippians 3:10 –That I may do this and avoid doing that and that I may force myself to witness and avoid every appearance of evil.
Revelation 2:4 — Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy daily Bible reading schedule and thou hast broken thy New Year’s resolutions and thou hast failed to keep the Ten Commandments.
2 Corinthians 5:9 — Wherefore we labour (we are ambitious), that, whether present or absent, we may watch our temper, keep following our strict diet, memorize verses, get enough rest, and not watch too many bad television shows.
What do these verses really say? In the above verses the emphasis is upon KNOWING and LOVING and PLEASING a PERSON! Read carefully Colossians 1:9-12. Notice the emphasis of this great prayer: to know His will (v.9), to walk with Him (v.10), to please Him (v.10), to increase in my knowledge of Him (v.10), to be strengthened by Him (v.11), to be joyful in Him (v.11), to thank Him (v.12)!
Again let us think of the marriage relationship. There are many things the husband must do and there are many things the husband must not do. There are duties he must carry out, there are responsibilities he must meet and there are obligations he must perform. But why does he do all these things? BECAUSE HE HAS DECIDED TO LOVE A PERSON — namely his wife. The wife does many things: prepares meals, washes the dishes, cleans the floor, washes the clothes, etc. But WHY does she do all these things? Is it because her husband has given her a long list of THOU SHALT’s and THOU SHALT NOT’s? Hopefully this is not the reason. She is doing these things because she is responding to the love of her husband. The marriage relationship is based on love, not law.
What then is the Christian life all about? The Christian life is simply knowing a Person, loving Him, seeking to please Him, walking with Him, honoring Him, obeying Him, thanking Him, rejoicing in Him, delighting in Him, trusting in Him, growing in Him, talking to Him, talking to others about Him, abiding in Him, learning of Him, learning from Him, sitting at His feet and enjoying His presence. Note the emphasis on HIM (on a PERSON)!
As we go through each day, are we walking with a Person and enjoying Him or are we following a religious, legalistic routine? If we really have that unique intimate love-relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, then this will change everything we do. This will change PRAYER (prayer is talking to the Person I love). This will change BIBLE STUDY (I want to get to know this Person better!). This will change WITNESSING (I want to introduce others to this wonderful Person! I want others to know the Christ I know and love). Compare Revelation 2:2-4.
Are we walking with a Person or are we working at a religion? In light of John 17:3, can we say from our hearts: “I KNOW THIS PERSON AS MY SAVIOUR, MY LORD, MY FRIEND, MY SOVEREIGN MASTER, MY HELPER, MY SHEPHERD, MY EVER-PRESENT COMPANION… (and so many more things that could be said)”?
Verse 4 talks about the fruit of the new relationship; Verse 5 looks at the fruit that was produced under the old relationship. In union with Christ and abiding in Him I can bring forth fruit unto God (v.4). In the flesh (see Romans 8:8-9) the motions (passions) of sins, which were (aroused) by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death (v.5). Compare also Romans 6:21 (the fruit of the old life) and Romans 6:22 (the fruit of the new life). The law can never conquer my passions. It can only arouse my passions. Notice the words that are joined together in this verse: LAW-SINS-DEATH and then compare Romans 8:2.
“But now (now that we are saved and IN CHRIST) we have been (past tense) delivered (released, compare 7:2 “loosed” and 7:3 “free”) from the law, that having died to that by which we were held (bound); we should be serving (as God’s slave–6:22) in newness of spirit (compare Romans 8:2) and not in the oldness of the letter (a reference to the law). The law can never deliver a person. We need God’s Spirit and God’s life. The believer can say, “I died to the law because of Christ’s death and I live to serve God because of Christ’s resurrection.” Paul said it this way, “For I through the law died to the law that I might live unto God” (Gal. 2:19 and see also Gal. 2:20). Do you recognize the wonderful fact that as a believer in Christ you have DIED to the law and are ALIVE unto God?
Notice what we have been told about the law so far in this chapter:
|Verse 2 — bound by the law . . . loosed (released) from the law
Verse 3 — free from the law
Verse 4 — dead to the law
Verse 5 — the law arouses our sinful passions
Verse 6 — delivered (released) . . ..ye were held (bound)
The law sounds like something horrible! How terrible the law must be if I need to be freed from it and delivered from it! It has me held and bound! It arouses my sinful passions! The law sounds like some very evil thing, but it is not, and Paul corrects this false idea: “IS THE LAW SIN?” Is the law something evil and sinful and wicked? “GOD FORBID!” Perish the thought! Let it not be! The real problem is not with the law! Don’t blame the law! (The question is actually answered in Romans 7:12. The law is the very opposite of sin!)
See the discussion of the mirror illustration under Romans 3:20 in these notes. The purpose of the mirror is to show the person that his face is dirty. The problem is not with the mirror but with the person’s face. The mirror is not dirty at all! But the mirror makes known the dirt that is on the face. You cannot blame the mirror for the dirty face. “Nay” means “on the contrary.” The law is not sin but it makes known sin (Rom. 3:20). The mirror is not dirty but it makes known dirt. “I had not known sin.” Paul was ignorant of his own sin. [Before the mirror came along the person thought he had a clean face!] As the mirror shows dirt so the law shows (and convicts of) sin.
Paul gives a specific example of how the law makes known sin. His illustration is the Tenth Commandment. “Lust” means “a strong desire, a strong desire for what others have, covetousness, a great longing for what someone else has.” To paraphrase: “I would have been ignorant of this dreadful sin of coveting that was in me, except for the fact that God has an excellent mirror especially suited for revealing the covetousness of my own heart, namely the Tenth Commandment (Ex.20:17): “THOU SHALT NOT COVET (HAVE A STRONG DESIRE FOR THINGS THAT OTHERS HAVE).” God has a very special mirror for showing a particular kind of dirt, the dirt of covetousness, and this mirror is called the Tenth Commandment.
“But sin (the real culprit), taking occasion (opportunity) by the commandment (the Tenth Commandment), wrought (produced, worked) in me all manner (every kind of) concupiscence (lust, strong and ardent desire, same word as LUST in v.7). For without the law (before the commandment came-v.9) sin was dead (inactive, lifeless, dormant, showing little activity).” Without the mirror the person is not very much aware of his dirty face but once the mirror comes along that dirt just seems to jump to life! “Wow, look at that dirt!” It was there all the time but the mirror made him aware of it! Think of a snake coiled up and sleeping in the sun. It is inactive and almost seems dead. But if you come along and poke it and disturb it that snake will really come alive (be aroused to activity). This is what the law does to sin!
Illustration: Think of the Second Commandment in Exodus 20:4. This command is holy and just and good. There is nothing wrong with it. But when sinful man is confronted with a holy command, what does he naturally do? He rebels and revolts against it! God says THOU SHALT and the rebel answers I WILL NOT! God says THOU SHALT NOT and the rebel answers I MOST CERTAINLY WILL! Thus we have the tragic account of Exodus 32:7-8. The sin of idolatry was always in their hearts but the commandment aroused it. The sin of idolatry was dead and inactive and dormant before the commandment was given. They did not make golden calves as a habit before this time. The law arouses and incites sin. Can we blame the Second Commandment for the golden calf? God forbid!
“Once” refers to the time before Paul was confronted with God’s law, the time before the commandment came. “Alive” carries the meaning of undisturbed, unconvicted, not realizing the great death sentence that he was under. Everything seemed fine (like the person with the dirty face who has not yet looked into the mirror. Everything seems fine but it is not fine. The problem is there even though I don’t realize it yet). “Sin revived” means “sin came to life again, lived again” (it’s a word used of resurrection). The commandment revives sin and resurrects sin (just as the snake is suddenly aroused to life). “I died“—I suddenly realize that I’m a law breaker and law breakers deserve death! Thus the law is called “the ministration of death” and “the ministration of condemnation” (2 Cor. 3:7,9). God’s holy law convicts and “slays” the sinner!
“Ordained to life“—This expression is explained in Matthew 19:16-17 and Luke 10:25-28. All a person needs to do to LIVE and to inherit eternal life is to keep the law. But he must keep it perfectly and completely and he must do so throughout his entire life! The problem is that no person has ever done this and no sinful person will ever do this! Those who have clean faces do not have to fear the mirror. The problem is that none of us have clean faces! We are all sinners and thus the law condemns us all! “I found to be death“—As I was confronted with the law I realized my own sinful disobedience to the law and I had to face up to the awful penalty of a broken law which is death.
Who is responsible for deceiving you and killing you? Who is the real culprit? Who is the real deceiver and the real killer? SIN!!!
Hebrews 3:13 – SIN the deceiver!
James 1:15 – SIN the killer!
But sin took advantage of the law.
This verse is the conclusion of the section (the conclusion indicated by the word “wherefore“) and it answers the question raised in verse 7. The problem is not with the law. The law is a perfect reflection of the God who gave it. [It’s an excellent mirror. It can show me my dirt, but it can’t make me clean!] The law is holy but it can’t make me holy. The law can never sanctify. It can only show me how unholy I am! The law is just (righteous) but it can never justify me (Romans 3:20; Gal. 2:16). It can only condemn me. The law is good but it can never make me good. It can only show me my wretchedness (Rom. 7:24) and the evil that dwells within me (Rom. 7:17-21).
Again we see that sin is the real culprit. The law does not bring death, SIN DOES (James 1:15; Rom. 6:23). Don’t blame the law. Sin is the real enemy. But sin uses that which is good (the law). “Exceeding sinful” means “utterly sinful.” The law magnified sin (the dirt was there all the time but I didn’t think I had much of a problem until I looked in the mirror and then it appeared exceedingly dirty!). Whenever we see ourselves next to something HOLY we see ourselves as utterly sinful (compare Isaiah 6:1-5). Next to God’s HOLY LAW (v.12) we appear utterly unholy!
Notice the three things that the law does with respect to sin:
The law REVEALS SIN (as a mirror) — v.7; Rom. 3:20
The law AROUSES SIN (snake illustration) — v.5, 9
The law MAGNIFIES SIN — v.13 and compare 1 Cor. 15:56
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