DescriptionA very clear outline and explaination about Romans 7.
… I would like to read this evening in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 7. Romans, chapter 7, from verse 1. Romans, chapter 7, from verse 1. She is free from the law, so as not to be an adulteress, though she be to another man. So that, my brethren, ye also have been made dead to the law by the body of the Christ, to be to another, who has been raised up from among the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins, which were by the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit to death. But now we are clear from the law, having died in that in which we were held, so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in oldness of letter. What shall we say then? Is law sin? Far be the thought. But I had not known sin, unless by law. For I had not had conscience also of lust, unless the law had said, Thou shalt not lust. But sin, getting a point of attack by the commandment, wrought in me every lust. For without law, sin was dead. But I was alive without law once. But the commandment having come, sin revived, but I died. And the commandment, which was for life, was found as to me itself to be unto death. For sin, getting a point of attack by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. So that the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Did then that which is good become death to me? Far be the thought. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death to me by that which is good, in order that sin, by the commandment, might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin. For that which I do, I do not own. For not what I will, this I do, but what I hate, this I practice. But if what I not will, this I practice, I consent to the law, that it is right. Now then, it is no longer I that do it, but the sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, good does not dwell. For to will is there with me, but to do right I find not. For I do not practice the good that I will, but the evil I do not will, that I do. But if that I do not will, this I practice, it is no longer I that do it, but the sin that dwells in me. I find even the law upon me, who will to practice what is right, that with me evil is there. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man, but I see another law in my members, warring in opposition to the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which exists in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me out of this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, I myself with the mind serve God's law, but let the flesh sin's law. There is then no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. It has been a long portion and I realize it is not the time to get into many details about it, but maybe just an overview of this magnificent chapter, and realizing that it is very difficult, because it speaks about things that are contrary to our normal understanding. As human beings, when we are children, we tend to think that we are kind of good, but sometimes we do some wrong things, and we should just improve. That's the idea in all the religions. They all say the same. You are good, essentially, but sometimes you do bad things, and maybe you can improve, and maybe the good things you do will be more than the bad things you have done, and so maybe God, some God, will receive you somehow, somewhere, once. And that's it. Just a vapory idea. Nothing more. Nobody can be happy with that. But the Bible tells us the contrary. So, Paul is starting to speak to these brothers in Rome who were knowing the law. Which law? That's a civil law. They were people acquainted with what the human law was saying. You know this, that the law of sin and death, They were people acquainted with what the human law was saying. You know this, that the law rules over a man as long as he lives. And now he's telling the situation, he's picking the example of a married woman. What is the solution for a married woman no longer to be under the law of her husband? But is that necessary? Well, if we understand that he wants to make a parallel to our situation, and that we are the woman, and the law is the husband, then we find ourselves in a terrible marriage. We cannot withstand here. Something has to be done. What would be the solution? And Paul is telling us, there is one solution. If the husband dies, then the woman will be free. Yeah, but the law cannot die. The husband never dies. That's the problem. We didn't realize it. So what's the solution? And it's exactly what Paul is saying in verse 4. So that, my brethren, we also have been made dead to the law by the body of the Christ, to be to another who has been raised up from among the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. Yeah, indeed. There are two solutions for this marriage to be broken between me and the law. Either the law will die, that will never happen. Or I die. But if I die, it's the end. Or there is something after death. Yes, it is resurrection. I don't die actually. I die effectively in the death of the Lord Jesus. That's very interesting to note, and it is a very great thing for a believer when he understands this. And I'm speaking about the situation of many believers who were born in Christian families. When the Lord was crucified, there were three graves near the cross. That's what Isaiah is telling us. His grave was with the wicked, but his tomb was with the rich. Every, I mean, each of the two thieves was put in his own grave. But the grave of the Lord remained empty. He was put in another tomb, as we know well. Well, that is my place. And it is the only way in which I can be delivered by this marriage where the law is the husband and I'm the wife. We died by the body of Christ to be to another who has been raised up from among the dead in order that we might bring fruit to God. The reason why this happened is that we may be made able to bring fruit to God. That's again what we said in the beginning. Man and Adam cannot bring fruit to God. The law never provides the possibility for such a thing to happen. The things that happened with us in the death of the Lord Jesus, they are in order that we might bring fruit to God. And this is very important to understand and to note. Because as young believers, we think that doing some things, following some rules, will help us to bring fruit to God. That's very important to understand that this is impossible. There is also impossible to mix Christ and the law. This is spiritual adultery. That's what Paul is saying here. It's impossible. You either are with the law or with Christ. Of course, the law applies to man and Adam. The law applies to man and Adam. But Paul will show here another completely different position. And this is the position of a man in Christ. I would like to stop a little bit here and ponder a little bit this expression made dead to the law by the body of the Christ who has been raised up from among the dead so that we might bear fruit to God. There is a very serious thing here. Collateral, I would put it in brackets. If a colleague would ask you to give him a proof of the inspiration of the Bible, what would you say? Maybe you would tell him about prophecies. Maybe you would tell him about scientific affirmations in the Bible that have been proven to be true. Maybe you would tell him that no lie has ever been found in the Bible, although there are many things that we don't understand, that we cannot yet understand. But in 3,500 years, it has not been re-edited, although it has been many times reprinted. And there was no mistake in it. Maybe you would tell him that. I did that. I hope we all did that to some extent. I hope our colleagues and our neighbors ask us about the Bible and about our Christian belief. Do they? Do we talk to them? Do they know that we are believers? But if this is the case, and it should be so, then what would we tell them? All the religions of the world speak in this way. Do something, and you will please God, because you are essentially good. While the Scripture says something that no human mind could have ever invented. And if there is a doubt, look in 6,000 years of history of religion. No human mind could have ever imagined to say, you are essentially bad, and there is only one solution for you, that God will come, take the body of a man, and die for you. That's the highest proof, and that will surely touch the consciences. And then Paul goes on and says, For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins, which were by law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit to death. But now we are clear from the law, having died, in that which we were held, so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in oldness of letter. When we were in the flesh. Aren't we in the flesh now? Why does he put this in the past tense? Because this is the truth of Scriptures. But I may object here and say, it is not my experience. I have the same problems now. Yes, maybe. But our experience should never go before, or lead our lives. But the lead in our lives has to be taken by the word of God. And the experience will come later. This is the normal way in which Christian life goes on. When we were in the flesh, we were in Adam. Now that Christ has died, and we died with him, and it is a clear indication of a believer here, it means that we are no longer in the flesh. We are no longer in Adam. God does not see us like this anymore. But we are in Christ, In the flesh, we do not serve in oldness of letter, but in newness of spirit. What shall we say then? Verse 7. Is the law sin? Far be the thought. But I had not known sin unless by law. For I had not had conscience also of lust, unless the law had said, Thou shalt not lust. This is another very interesting thing that Paul is saying. What is actually sin? What is this that he describes here as sin? It's not the singular for sins, but it's the root that produces sins. It's the tree. It's called sin. And the fruits are the sins. Everybody will be, who is honest, will allow the fact that he has sinned, and that he has sins. His conscience is telling him about this. Even the most moral people in this world, unbelievers, if you talk to them and if they are honest, they will allow that they have sinned, that they have sins. But there is something more. It's precisely what we said before. I am essentially bad. It's not only that I do sins, and I have done sins, and this problem has to be solved, and it has been solved because the Lord Jesus died for our sins on the cross of Calvary. But it's the problem that I have a bad nature. I have sin in me. Now, how do I know this? Well, in different ways. But one is this. Look to the commandments of the law. They all say don't do. So that means that I have the tendency to do exactly what God dislikes. Why? Why am I so much opposed to God that morality had to be described, even by the ancient philosophers, as one would try to push a big stone in the top of a mountain? Why? Okay, I can understand that there is a big stone. Why isn't it all flat? Or better, valley? Because there's something wrong with me. Why am I in this position? Why do I have to describe things like that? Because naturally, I don't do what my conscience tells me I should do. That means there's something wrong with me. Again, I say no religion has ever told this clearly. That's only the revelation of scriptures. Now, I look to the commandments of the law. And there are several. But there is one at the end. You shall not lust. I may have not lied. That's impossible. We all know this. But suppose it would be possible. Just suppose. I may have never steal. I'm not an adulterer. But I know what lust is. And if you tell me do not lust, it's equal as if you would tell me be not a man. So now, it's like when you play chess. There is no more movement to make. It's over. The game is over. The right commandment of the law gives me no chance anymore. Either I'm not a man or I break the law. And now I know with this last commandment that there is something terribly wrong with man and Adam. Do I speak about me? Does Paul speak about himself? Does Paul speak about us? No. This is in principle. This is the relationship between man and Adam and the law and the deliverance that the position of man in Christ brings to the believer. It's not about a certain person. Although, no doubt, we can draw very many good conclusions and we can be very much helped if we understand what Paul is saying here. I had not had conscience also of lust unless the law had said, thou shalt not lust. How is that? As simple as it is. Is lust sin? If you don't follow it, if you don't do what it tells you to do, do you consider it sin? Or you have to be happy because you did not do what your lust told you to do? It's very good if we don't do according to our lusts. But still, the fact that we have them shows that we are sinners having this wrong nature. But sin, getting a point of attack by the commandment, wrought in me every lust. For without law, sin was dead. But I was alive without law once. But the commandment having come, sin revived, but I died. And the commandment, which was for life, was found, as to me itself, to be unto death. That's another interesting thing that Paul is telling us here. Without law, sin was dead. But getting a point of attack by the commandment, sin wrought in me every lust. If you are telling a man who loves money, don't love money, what will be the result? He will do exactly that. He will love money even more. Now you may think that this is about an adult. Tell a child, don't do this, and it's precisely what he's doing. Parents even take great care when they defend something to their children. Because they know that that could be the very trigger for the child to do that thing. So they have to put it in a very diplomatic way, so to say, not to trigger this to their own child. There's something wrong with this from the very beginning. And we read here also that I was alive without law once because I didn't realize my situation. I thought everything was okay. But when the law came, the condemnation of death fell upon my conscience. And in this marriage, clouds come in. I thought it was okay if I had a law. And I had it in my conscience. I thought it is even better if God would give me His righteous law. I said, it's not about me, it's about us men in Adam. We said we will do all that Jehovah has said, hoping to the better. But the result was tragic. Condemnation of death deep into our conscience. Oh, our conscience has to be purified. That's what Paul is telling us in the epistle to the Hebrews. But there's no time to get to this point now. And the commandment, which was for life, was found as to me itself to be unto death. For sin getting a point of attack by the commandment deceived me and by it slew me. Yes? How was the commandment for life? What commandment was for life? The commandment of God. Do this and you shall live. That was the reason of the commandment that men should do it and live then. But this is absolutely impossible. Not because the commandment is wrong, but because I am wrong. The problem is with me, not with the law. How did sin deceive me? Very simple. By telling me that it would be possible to live if I obey the law. That's a terrible delusion. And it's very bad if Christians and young believers still think that those things are possible. I remember the period of time when I was thinking in the same way. And I was asking all the brothers what I should do and what I should not do. It's not wrong to have clear principles in mind, but it's wrong to think that I can fulfill the will of God. That means simply that I don't know myself enough. That means simply that I did not read the word of God with enough attention. So that law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Did then that which is good become death to me? Who is saying that? Who says that indeed the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good? Who agrees with that? The natural men? Go and ask people on the streets. Do you agree that the law of God is right and holy? And they will start laughing. Have you lived 200 years ago, and you were revived somehow? There's something wrong with you. Our grand-grandfather was speaking like that. Who believes that today? Come on, get modernized. That's what we would be told. But the truth of the scripture remains the same. So this person who speaks here understands that the commandment is good. And this is the first, maybe the first, or one of the first glimpse that shows us that something happened in the case of this person who is an imaginary person. He starts being against himself He starts being against himself on the side of God. Now that's a wonderful change. Often we do not appreciate it enough. But I think we should pay attention to that in the case of those whom God has put in our hearts and with whom we started an evangelistic work. There is something that happens. At the beginning, they were on their own side against God. And then, slowly, or all of a sudden, they are against themselves on the side of God. Maybe they don't know many things. Maybe there are still many things that they should understand. Maybe we will keep talking with them. Of course, we will. And we don't evangelize mainly to deliver people from hell, to make them escape hell. But the scope of an evangelistic work is for the Lord, for God the Father to have worshippers. That's the aim of evangelizing a person. But this movement is something very important. When the man stands on the side of God against himself. Did then that which is good become death to me? Far be the thought, but sin, that it might appear sin, working death to me by that which is good, in order that sin, by the commandment, might become exceeding sinful. So, do I understand well? Does Paul say that sin is not so very bad, but with the help of the law it becomes far worse? No. Sin is bad, as bad as it gets, as bad as possible, and that's it. The point is that I did not know that. I did not see sin as such a big tragedy before I realized what it can do having as base a good thing. This commandment which is holy. How terrible sin is if it is able to do this. I remember a situation in which Britain was shocked. The whole world was shocked. When a German warship, Bismarck, destroyed another warship, Hood, just with one shot. And they said, if Bismarck can do that with one shot in 15 minutes, then what else can Bismarck do? And all the world became so terrified. It's something similar here. I did not realize that sin is able to do these things. And the problem is that this sin that does that and is exceeding sinful is in me. And then Paul goes on and says, for we know that the law is spiritual. Really. We know. Who knows that? That the law is spiritual. That God is right in his claims. Who knows that? We. And please note what the translator, Mr. Darby, puts here. Know is the Greek word Ida. That means inner instinctive knowledge. We know. That refers to the knowledge which is common to all believers. We know that the law is spiritual. But I am fleshly, sold under sin. Now I am asking a question. Can the tragedy be greater for this man here? Again, imaginary. Maybe not. But what he realized up till now is that he is completely bad. And this, this is an excellent evolution in his understanding. Although, he cannot rejoice now because of this. He does not realize yet what a great fact is that he realizes that he is altogether bad. But that's the best start possible. And then Paul says, For that which I do, I do not own. For, not what I will, this I do. But what I hate, this I practice. And now I would ask this question. Isn't this the experience? Do not those words describe the experience of many young believers who go to school or are with their colleagues and they realize that they want to do good, they want to serve the Lord, but they do exactly the opposite. And he goes on and says, But if what I do not will, this I practice, this I consent to the law that it is right. Now then, it is no longer I that do it, but the sin that dwells in me. That's another excellent development. Before, there was not me and the sin because the sin was in me and was myself. Now something changed. How can I say that it is not me but the sin that is in me? That is because this person already has two natures. One is me and the other one is sin. Ah, that's too simple. Come on. You are a deserter now. Put it clearly. You are a sinner. Sin is in you. You are the sin. You are equal with the sin. Isn't it so? It's too easy to say. It's not me. It's someone else which dwells in me. Or is it so? Who's right? Is Paul tricking us? Is the word of God telling us wrong? No. It's the very truth. It is no longer me. Why? Because God does not see me in Adam but in Christ. In Christ, me in Christ, it's not the sin. I have the right to see myself like that. And that is another wonderful development although, I say again, this man did not yet utter the shout of deliverance. But the development is wonderful. Does that mean that if we are in Christ we are no more responsible for our sins? No. But that simply means that when I realize that I am responsible before God, I should ask this question. I am responsible in Adam or in Christ? That's fundamental. That could bring much peace to our consciences. And then he goes on and says, For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, good does not dwell. It is very much what we have heard last night about the new birth, about conversion, about living according to the will of God and that our old man is an alt, has died, but the flesh remains in us. That's why he is saying here in a very exact way, For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, good does not dwell. For to will is there with me, but to do right I find not. That's another excellent development. Because if I try to fulfill the law of God, then I suppose that there is something good in me. But I have to get to this point to understand that nothing good can be expected from me. And more than that, that God does not expect from me anything good. I have no problem with that. Nothing good dwells in me. God knows it. He knew it. Now I got to understand it. Happy man I am, because I understand this. And when I understand that, probably I will never forget it. In verse 22, he says, For I delight in the law of God, according to the inward man, but I see another law in my members, warring in opposition to the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which exists in my members. What law is this? Well, we could put it in a different way and say that this is a rule. A rule. It's not the law of the Ten Commandments. It's not the civilian law, the civil law, that we have seen in the beginning with husband and wife. This is a rule. I see a rule. I want to do good. Really. Do I want to do good? Yes. Honestly, yes. Someone from the world will not steal because he's afraid of the police. I do not do that because I'm afraid of God. He will not lie because sooner or later the others will find out and he will be very much ashamed. So he is moral because he's afraid of the consequences. But for me things are different. Who is Paul talking about here? About someone who has the new nature. That would be impossible otherwise. That's another wonderful thing to understand because the man who speaks here says, I'm in a tragic situation. I want to do good and I cannot. But actually, if he would pay attention, he would say that in a happy way. I want to do good. I have the new nature. I'm born again. I never heard this accent in this verse when believers are attacked by Satan. They never put it this way. They say, if I'm born again, how can I be born again if I cannot do what I want? What I honestly want in order to please the Lord. But they don't realize that this very fact is the proof that they are born again. Wonderful thing. But you see, deliverance comes a little bit later. But the development is there and is wonderful. What is this law? What is this rule? It's very simple. If I take a pen and I drop it, it falls. I can repeat that no matter how many times. Mr. Newton has put it very clear. It will always happen like this. And we are all sure of it. Now this man is all absolutely completely sure that this is what will happen when there will be the conflict between the wish of the inward man and the manifestation of the old nature, which is sin. It will always happen like that. He will sin. Another wonderful development. Do we realize this? The confrontation between the good wishes of the new nature and the mechanisms of taking hold of our bodies of sin, in this confrontation, there will always be defeat. If I understand this, I never try to oppose sin in flesh, in Adam, according to the responsibility, for example, as an Israelite had to the law. I will never try to do this because I know the rule. I experienced that so many times. Or maybe not so many times, but I believe the Bible. That would be better. I know that's impossible. There is this law, this rule. Where is this rule? In my members. It's not only sin there, but it's also a rule that is called the law of sin and death. And then verse 24, he says, O wretched man, I am. Well, in the original, as we see here, am is not there. It is in the sense and is very rightly put there. But the sense can be deeper if we put it like that. Wretched man is me. Oh, oh, oh, how bad can I be? This is the climax of this conclusion. It's not only that I'm bad, but I'm terribly bad. What can be done? You see, we have an example of this, of this impossibility to do according to the right law of God or to the right claims of the law of God. We have this example in John chapter 5. This illustrates very well the situation of this man here in Romans. It's a very similar case. There was there in John chapter 5, I suppose we all know the story, a man who was paralyzed. He has been like this for 38 years. And he was next to a pool. And something happened there that the water was moved and from all those who were there and they were sick, the first to get into the water was healed. Among those, there was one man there who could not walk. The only thing he had to do was to get into the pool. But it was precisely what he was not able to do. Tell him, for example, when you see the water moving, just smile a little bit. That would be okay. He could do that and get healed. Tell him, move your hand or say some words, some magic words maybe. No, but things were not like that. He was supposed to do precisely what he would never have been able to accomplish. That's the situation here without possibility of escape. And he'll move. Tragic. And then the Lord Jesus comes in. Exactly as here. I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the only answer. The only deliverance from this state comes from the Lord Jesus. Now what does the Lord say to him? Do you want to be healed? Yes. Then I will help you and listen what we do. When the water is moved, I can move it because I'm God. I will move the water properly and then I will help you to get into the pool. Is this what you said? I have nobody to help me to get there. That's what he said. I will help you. Wonderful. And when it happens, you get into the pool and get healed. That's the same stupid idea as if I would think that the Lord Jesus has come to help me to fulfill the law. Some Christians think like this. They think that the Lord Jesus is just to help so that the believer may fulfill the right demands of the law. And this is impossible. Take the tenth commandment. That's impossible. The Lord did not tell him this. The Lord said, now that I'm here, lift your bed and walk. That's how it goes. That's how it went with that man. Will the same happen with me? Well, many here can testify and say, yes, that's true. It happens. That's how it goes. But please notice another thing. Before, this man could have thought like this. Maybe if I could just crawl on my hands and get nearer to the pool. Maybe I could do this or that. No, that was wrong. Maybe something else. Tomorrow, I'll figure out another idea. But at the end, he is answering to the Lord Jesus in the right way. Lord, I have no one. That means, I am unable, completely unable to do that. The help has to come from outside. That's already wonderful. This is the blink of deliverance. This is the moment when I realize that the solution in this situation in which I find myself is not in me. I tried so many ways. I said, tomorrow, I will wake up at six o'clock and pray for two hours instead for one hour. And that will do. And it was not true. And I tried so many ways until I realized the solution is not in me. The deliverance has to come from another. And then this man says, yes, I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So then, in myself, with the mind, I serve God's law, but with the flesh, sin's law. So it depends how am I living. But already, I know the secret of deliverance. The secret of deliverance is to live in Christ, not in Adam. The conflict will always be there. But it is one thing when the enemy keeps his knee on your head, or if you keep your knee on the enemy's head. The conflict is there and will remain. But there is a completely different situation when deliverance is experienced. And then he says, there is then no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. Period. Nothing more added. Other translations, and we have that in the old Romanian translation, add something more here. There is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus if they do well, if they... No, no, no, no. The word of God is clear. There is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. That's where God is seeing me. That's my proper place because the Lord Jesus has died and I died with Him. This is where I have to consider myself and this is where I have to live. And he says, for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. What law? Another one. Where is this? In myself? He does not say this. That's the point. It's not in myself. But there is another rule. What does that say? It says that if led by the spirit, I can live as to bring fruit to God. It's the same rule as the other one. If I live in Adam and in the flesh, I will sin. There is another rule. If I obey, if I'm led by the spirit, if I'm obedient, I will bring fruit to God. First law, we all agree about. Second law, do we all agree about? Do we know that it is like that? The secret here, in order to experience this, is obedience, again. What was the first movement that led to sin? That was self-will. What is the only solution in order to bring fruit to God? Obedience, being led by the spirit. I wake up in the morning and I don't want to do anything. I say, Lord, whatever you want me to do. I think I should go that way, but I'm free if the Lord tells me no, go just the other way. They wanted to preach the gospel in Bitinia, but the spirit of Christ did not allow them. And then they were led slowly, slowly, according to the will of the Lord. It is a wonderful thing when we experience this deliverance once. Probably we will never forget that moment. You feel you would like to kiss everybody and say, hey, I'm delivered. Maybe you cannot say this word. Maybe you have a different word in your language, but there's something you will never forget. The deliverance is much more than that. It is to be led by the spirit to that an extent that the flesh does not manifest itself anymore. I remember when speaking that to the brothers back in my country that I did not get that from the very beginning. But they made a wonderful job and they explained that to me. Deliverance is not aimed, I mean, it does not mean only that I know how I can be delivered and that I am delivered from time to time, but otherwise my natural life is sinning and then confessing. But I know how I can be delivered and I tasted that and I'm happy because of that. And I know to make the difference between me and Christ and sin, but nevertheless my life is dominated by sin. Deliverance does not mean that. Although having known it once is a great thing, but deliverance means to be led by the spirit all the time. That's what we should wish and that's what we should turn our eyes to. Only the Lord can help us with that. Thanks be to Him. And only if we obey what the spirit is telling us, we can do that. To what extent? I'm happy that I can say it here because it has been said here for the first time. One dear brother, it doesn't matter the name, we all know who he was. He spent his last period of his life in the house of another brother who agreed to take him in his house. And this dear servant of the Lord, as he used to say, this being the highest title possible, this dear servant of the Lord and faithful said to this other brother, Please, if you see in me something which is not like Christ, let me know. Who of us can say that? To his friend? To his wife? To our children? We don't dare to speak like that. But deliverance means precisely this. …