The Man of Romans 7

The Man of Romans 7

Scripture: Romans 7:1-25
Date: 08/21/2010  Lesson: 8
A discussion of Romans 7 explores the law's relationship to sin and grace.

Beyond Mercy: What is the Unpardonable Sin by Doug Batchelor

Beyond Mercy: What is the Unpardonable Sin by Doug Batchelor
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ood morning. It is my pleasure to welcome you to another "central study hour," coming to you from the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. We welcome you, and we know that many of you tune in every week and are blessed as you join us. And of course, we always start with singing. And we're going to do that this morning of course.

The first request that has come in is number 270, "o holy dove of God descending." This is a beautiful song. So those of you at home, pull out your hymnals and join us this morning. We will be singing all four stanzas, 270, "o holy dove of God descending." Is that your prayer this morning, that the Spirit will live in you? If you have a favorite song, those of you listening on the radio, watching live on our web site at saccentral.org, or on the various television networks, if you have a favorite song that you want to sing with us, it's very simple. I'm going to tell you what to do. Go to our web site at saccentral.

org, click on the "contact us" link, and you can send in your favorite hymn request. And we will sing that with you on an upcoming Sabbath. Our opening song this morning, "I come to the garden alone," . And we'll be singing all three stanzas, 487. This comes as a request from carmen and angie in argentina, don and enid in australia, antoine in brazil, betty, leon, kim, marshall, mary, alice, muriel and nicole in California, shawna in Canada, Mark in the czech republic, joy in england, marjorie in greece, shirley in Hawaii, John in Idaho, jusinth in india, the zempaly family in Indiana, feary and unanis in indonesia, susie in Iowa, marabel in japan, the parson family in Maryland, nuvind in mauritius, tina in Montana, bonco and stephica in netherlands, zachariah, gabriel and jennifer in New Hampshire, ediath and fran in New Jersey, elizabeth, falon and martin in New York, Joel and sharon in North Carolina, eldon in Iowa, monese, vernon and stella in Oklahoma, joe in Oregon, marlue in Pennsylvania, tony in Texas, katalungal in uganda, Christa in Virginia, and lee in West Virginia.

So they've been waiting a long time to sing this song, some of them. And it's a favorite, 487, all 3 stanzas. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much this morning that you walk beside us no matter what we're going through, whether we've lost a loved one, whether we've lost our job, whether we're going through a divorce, whatever it is, father, that is weighing on our hearts this morning, that you will just put your arms around those who especially need it. And I pray that you will pour out your spirit and your love. And we thank you so much for being the loving Heavenly Father.

We want to meet you face to face. And we know that that day is coming very, very soon when all the pain in this world will be forever gone. We thank you for the hope that we have as Christians. We thank you for blessing us with the Sabbath day. And we also just thank you so much for Pastor Doug who will be bringing us the lesson study that you will fill him this morning and the words that he has for us will be straight from you.

We pray that you will just open up our hearts and minds as we study together. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. He is our senior pastor here at Sacramento central church. Thank you debbie and our singers, our musicians, appreciate The Song service.

It's always fun to hear these requests coming in from all over the world. And it is especially vivid having been to the general conference meeting a few weeks ago. We just met so many of our friends who are part of the class from all over the world. So we want to welcome our friends who are studying with us in africa and europe and scandinavia and india and south America and australia, in the orient and the middle east and just all over the country. People came up and said, "oh yeah, we watch the Sabbath school program every week.

" And so it's exciting. Welcome. I also want to welcome those who are some of the cyber members of Sacramento central. You're part of our central family here. We've got people all over the country and the world who do not have a church locally they can attend.

And they have joined locally via the internet. There is a process to that. And we do everything we can for our central members out there. We can't yet download a potluck or a hug, but we're working on it. And so we want to welcome our extended family.

We are going through--oh before we get to the quarterly, there's something very important you've heard us talk about. And if you haven't heard, I want to remind you. Amazing Facts is doing something very special for teenagers. It is going to be a 10-day series. It's going to be October 8-16.

Some of you say the "amazing adventure" programs we did for the kids like 8 to 12. Well, a lot of folks say, "boy, when are you going to do something for the youth?" And so we've been praying and planning for 2 years now. And we're going to be doing it. And it's called, "miq: most important questions" it's Amazing Facts for teens. And it's spelled "faqs, Amazing Facts for teens.

" And so we hope that you'll be telling the youth department in your church. A number of schools are going to do this as a week a prayer, oct 8-16. It's going to be broadcast live in front of 250 teenagers. It'll be on the inspiration channel, 80 million homes, as well as 3abn and hopefully some of the other affiliates of Sabbath school. And so please pray and if you want to know more about it, go to the web site.

It's miqteens.com. You know, www--you don't have to say that anymore, do you? Everyone knows www. That's for wild, wild, west. That's what it stands for-- www.miqteens.com. There's information there.

It'll tell you more about it. But we're really wanting to reach the young people. If you can reach young folks during that age in their life, they can make a difference in their eternity, amen? And pray for that event. There's all new lessons we're writing right now and it's a lot of work. So we appreciate your prayers.

Okay. Now, this lesson today is lesson number 8, but it's on Romans number 7, Romans 7, is one of the most controversial chapters in the new testament. And I am really praying as I teach not because I don't know what I believe, but I want to communicate it well. I hope you'll be praying for me as well. We're going to go through Romans 7.

And that chapter is a very important chapter. Well, first the name for the lesson is--it's lesson number , it's "the man of Romans 7." We're identifying who is this man in Romans 7 that Paul is talking about. It's based on Romans 7. We're going to try and read through the whole chapter. We have a memory verse.

And the memory verse is from Romans 7:6. I always like when I can hear you say it with me. So if you've got your Bibles or read it right there out of your quarterly, Romans 7:6. You ready? "Now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of the Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter." Oh, and I should mention at this point also we have a free offer that goes along with our study guide. And it's called, "does God's grace blot out the law?" "Does God's grace blot out the law?" It's offer 715 for this book, "does God's grace blot out the law?" It's offer number 715.

And it's a free phone call. It's 1-866-study-more, -866-788-3966. We'll send you, "does God's grace blot out the law?" Now by the way, there's another book written by Joe Crews that specifically deals with Romans 7. He does a masterful job. And it's in harmony with the sca Bible commentary.

And it's called, "carnal Christians." You may just type that into Google. It's "carnal Christians and Joe Crews." And I think you can read it online for free. Or go to the Amazing Facts web site. You can even listen to his radio broadcast on that. He does a great job.

Alright, open your Bibles. I think sometimes the best way to do this is just get right into it and let's read in the Bible. Romans 7. And we've given out some verses. I'll be calling on some of you to--how many of you got one of those little slips of paper with a verse on it? Hold up your hands.

I just want to make sure that they're dispersed and see-- oh, we kind of favored the right as to the left. Of course, the sheep are saved, the goats are lost anyway. So, but that's my right, not yours, anyway. Alright so, Romans 7:1, "or do you not know, brethren, for I speak to those who know the law." Now who's he writing to? Jews. He's writing to jews who are contemplating Christianity in rome.

You remember when Paul was under house arrest there in rome, he spoke to the jews frequently there. He plead with them everywhere he went. Some were coming in. Some were struggling with this. And so he's appealing to them.

Alright, "or do you not know, brethren." They're his brethren. Is that clear? He's speaking to according to the flesh, the jews. And that'll be clear further along in this study. "Do you not know, brethren, for I speak to those who know the law, that the law has dominion over a man as long as he is alive? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.

" Some of you remember when oswald assassinated kennedy. They were preparing their case against him and gathering evidence, but in route from one police station to another, he was shot. So they tried him in absentia. No they didn't. He was not at his trial.

He was dead. They did some more research to find out, but he was never sentenced, 'cause he was dead. And so when a person's dead, they're not under the law anymore. Do you think they took oswald's body and put it in jail for 99 years? No, he was dead. They didn't electrocute his body after he had been shot, because he was dead.

And so death releases a person from the law. Death is the penalty of disobeying God's law. Now it's talking about the law of marriage in particular, because that's very important. It's talking about being married to the law or married to Christ. He's talking to the jews.

He says, "yes, you've been married to the law." He says, "but now you're married to the essence of the law. Christ is superior because he is the incarnate word." And so when a woman is married to a man, she has an obligation to that man. If she marries another man, she's an adulteress, while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies and she remarries--was it a problem when Abraham took hagar? Was that a problem? Was that God's will? Why? Sarah was still alive, and that was a big problem. And God finally told Abraham, "put her away.

" But after hagar is put away, and then Sarah died, Abraham married another wife named keturah. Does the Bible say there was ever anything wrong with that? Nope. It just names it as a matter of fact because his wife was dead; he was free to remarry. And so this is what he's saying here. When we are dead, when we are in Christ and dead--now this is the principle thing Paul is saying, so I just want to say it and we'll read on and see it--we are free from the penalty of the law.

The penalty for the law is death. If I'm crucified with Christ, I die with Christ and now I live a new life, okay? So he says to the jew, "look, you need to accept Christ. You are crucified with Christ. You are dead to sin." You read in Romans 6, it says, "he that is dead is free." Right? You're dead to sin. And so they, the jews, love the law, but they didn't have freedom, because they said, "the law is not giving me power to obey.

" And so they were trying to find the power to obey the law in the law. And he said, "you're never going to find it there." The law is just and holy and good, but the power is not there. You know what I think is very interesting? If you've got your Bibles, turn to the longest chapter in the Bible. I'm not going to tell you what it is. You tell me.

Psalm 119 and I want you to just notice something for a second here. In psalm 119, what is the central theme of psalm 119? The Word of God, the law of God, the commandments of God, the testimonies of God, the statutes of God, the ordinance of God. And it is exalted. It is praised. It is held up.

And so here you've got in psalm 119 through 175 verses-- there's more than that but I'm not getting to 176-- through 175 verses it talks about the wonderful, glorious, good, just, incredible, spectacular, splendid, outrageous nature of God's law. And then what does it say in 176, the last verse in psalm 119? "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments." In spite of all the wonderful things it says about the law of God, the conclusion of this incredible chapter is I have gone astray like a sheep. And it sounds like David wrote that, doesn't it? "the Lord is my shepherd." And so in spite of all the wonderful things about the law being just and good and holy, he says, "but I am not keeping it." And so the law does not save. And Paul, I think, is alluding to that here. So go back to Romans 7, "so then," verse 3, "if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if after her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has marries another man.

" If that's clear, say "amen." It's just--he's stating something. He's making an illustration that's going to pave the way for what he's leading into about the law. Oh by the way, you know, I get so excited sometimes just reading it, I forget all the wonderful notes that I've made. And I want to share with you some of these things. Some words appear quite a bit here.

You're going to find the word, "law," in this chapter times. You're going to find "commandments" six times. That's sort of like the law, so you add that up and you've got what, 29 references to the commandments and the law in one chapter. So you've got to say what is he talking about here? He's talking to the jews about the relationship to the law and the victorious life. What it's good for, and what it's not good for, what it's not designed for.

The law is a mirror that shows us our sin, but you cannot then wash your sin away with the mirror. That's not its function. It's perfect, but it's not the purpose for it. And again, you'll find the word "sin" 14 times in Romans 7; "me" 12 times; "dead" or "death" 5 times. And so you can see that it's got that emphasis about how do we relate to and understand the law.

Alright, back to Romans 7. Then he goes on again, verse 4 again, "therefore, my brethren," you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ," this is the central theme. Through Christ, we are crucified with Christ, we are dead to the law, we receive the penalty of the law in Christ. We're no longer under the penalty, 'cause we died in Christ, that we might now live a new kind of life. "That you might be married to another--" not the law now.

You're married to someone else. "Even him who was raised from the dead--" we are raised with him, Christ. "That we should bear fruit to God." Doesn't he say when he talks about baptism, baptism is a type of the death, burial and resurrection that we experience. So we're crucified with Christ, but we're also raised, so we live a new life not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Now don't miss that.

"For when we were in the flesh, the passions--" now "when," is that future tense or past tense? The tenses here, understanding that is--the whole thing rises and falls, your whole understanding of this chapter is understanding is he talking past, present or future. He says, "for when we were in the flesh," past. Is that clear? "When we were in the flesh, the passions and desires were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit, not the oldness of the letter." Now we serve--there's a new power, a new spirit. It's not the action, it's the attitude.

You know, periodically--there are several stages in people's lives. You got some people who are out there in the world that are just plain lost, and they don't care. They don't seem to know. They're on death row, and they're asleep like Peter. They're oblivious.

Have you heard people say, "oh Christianity, I'm happy. I don't have God. I don't need God. I'm happy." Are there some people like that? Psalms 137 talks about people. It seems like the wicked sometimes are prospering and they're fat and happy and-- it's like this young man came to church one day.

Preacher preached on sin and conviction and he came up later, said, "look, I visited your church today, but I just want you to know right now: I'm not a Christian. I have no conviction about sin." And the pastor asks him, "you ever been to a funeral?" He said, "yeah." And he asked the young man, he said, "now if you took 50-pound weight and set it on the body in the casket," he said, "would it hurt him?" He said, "no." He said, "would he feel it?" He said, "no." "Why not?" "He's dead." He says, "the reason you feel no conviction for sin is 'cause you're dead." Then you've got, it's not just two categories, then you've got another person. Once the Holy Spirit has conceived new life in a person, there is a gestation period where there is a lot of change going on that results with this tremendous turmoil. There's pain and labor and crying. And then the deliverance and the new birth.

Don't forget that phase, that 9 months you had. It's not necessarily 9 months. But there's a period of time where a person may not be born again, but they're under conviction. Paul is describing. So many of these jews, they were seeking after God, but they were looking in the wrong place.

They were convicted by the law, but they had no peace. When Peter preached at pentecost, did they say-- it says, "their hearts were pricked." They were convicted. And they said--they weren't saved yet. But they had an awareness of their sin, 'cause when Paul--when Peter preached Christ, they said, "men and brethren, what shall we do?" And then he said, "repent and believe and you will be saved." Right? There was something they had to go through. So Paul prepares to describe this turmoil of the person who loves the law, but they don't know how to obey.

They're still controlled by the flesh. But that is not supposed to be the ongoing experience of the Christian. Now this is where a lot of people--matter of fact, it says right here in the opening lesson of--in the opening statements of the lesson here. I've underlined it. "The meaning of verses 14 to 25," and we'll get to that in just a minute, "has been one of the most discussed problems in the whole epistle.

" I think in the whole new testament. "The main questions have been as to whether the description of such an intense moral struggle could be autobiographical. And if so, whether the passage refers to Paul's experience before or after--" see it's the tense: past, present, future. What's it talking about? "His conversion." Then I also should add here, next chapter in the lesson admits, "Bible students differ on whether Romans 7 was Paul's experience before or after." Now I'm going to submit to you, we have to know that answer. Because--oh, I'm getting ahead of myself.

If we don't understand, we may be content to think that we continue living forever in the gestation experience of the Christian. Turmoil, darkness, o wretched man, is that the ongoing experience of the Christian? Or is there a deliverance from that condition? Is sin supposed to be the rule for the Christian life, controlled by the flesh, or is it the exception once you are converted? Understanding this is going to define your experience. Now I'll submit to you I think that a lot of dear Christian people that I love and respect, because they are failing and falling in their experience, they're reading Romans 7 with the glasses of their personal experience. And that is jading them to what it's really saying. So we've got to compare Scripture with Scripture.

Now let's read on here, Romans 7. I want to get to verse 6. "For now we have been delivered from the law." It doesn't mean delivered from obedience; it means the penalty of the law. "Having died to what we were held by, so we should serve in a newness of the Spirit, not the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin?" God forbid! "Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.

For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'you shall not covet.'" Now, of the Ten Commandments, most of the commandments involve an action. You can kill someone. You can rob. You can commit idolatry. You can speak God's name in vain.

They're all actions. One of the Ten Commandments involves an attitude. Which one? Tenth. Which commandment does Paul pick now? He picks one that involves something on the inside. It's an attitude.

You could all be coveting right now. Person sitting next to you could be coveting right now. And you wouldn't know it, 'cause it's going on on the inside. Now it can be external and internal, but you know, mostly it begins with an attitude on the inside. Then you act out on that by maybe robbing or committing adultery.

You're coveting a neighbor's house or his wife or his things. So he goes on. He listened. And I think that's interesting. "But sin," verse 8, "taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire," concupiscence.

"For apart from the law sin was dead." In other words, without the law, you don't notice sin, 'cause you're dead. It's like that rich young ruler. Matter of fact, he's going to get to this here in verse 9 he says, "I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died." You know, the rich, young ruler came to Jesus, he said, "what should I do that I might have eternal life?" And Christ said, "you know the commandments." And he said, "which ones?" And Christ begins to list the Ten Commandments. And he may not have even let Jesus finish. He says, "oh Lord, all these I've kept from my youth.

" You think of the audacity. And first of all, most of us would love to have had that young man in our church. Most of us would like to have a pharisee in our church, because you know, they're typically not going to steal your stuff. But are they really living the victorious life? This young man knew that something was missing. He was experiencing that wretchedness of saying, "I'm obeying the law, but I'm not happy.

" Well, he was obeying the letter of the law, but not the Spirit of the law. And then Paul had that Revelation too. Paul thought, "here I'm serving God. I'm out there killing Christians." And then Jesus revealed to him the true nature of the law, and he died. He realized, "I'm dead.

I'm not serving God." Alright, I skipped a verse here. Now verse 8, "but sin, taken opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead." Now you notice Paul has gone from talking about the law, now he's talking about himself, his experience that he's relating to his Jewish brothers that are going through the throes of conversion, the gestation of the new birth. They're convicted. They love the law.

They honor the law. They respect the law, but something's missing. They don't have the power to obey. And so he now relates to them. He says, "I resonate with you.

I'm going to commiserate with you. I was in your shoes, my brethren." "And the commandment," verse 10. Now by the way, when he said, "I was alive once without the law," is he talking future tense, past tense, present tense? Past tense. So he's talking about his experience back then. And we're going to soon transition into the most difficult part of this verse.

And I haven't forgotten you that have verses to read. "And the commandment that was to bring life, I found to bring death." It just made me aware, 'cause the law does convict. And then you go to Jesus for cleansing. Has that which has become-- "has that which is good," the perfect law of God, "become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful." That's a wonderful sermon right there. I'd like to stop and launch off into that.

"Sin that it might become sin," "must be exceedingly sinful." I'll submit to you the reason we don't have more revival and more conversions is because that there are not more sermons on sin, and the exceeding sinfulness of sin. In order for a person to be healed from a terrible disease, they need to be made aware that they need healing. And that means someone needs to show them the x-ray, and say, "it's bad! You need radical surgery. It's exceedingly bad." And unless they recognize that, they're not going to do anything until they're enveloped by death. But there is a shunning, there's--it's not politically correct to talk about sin.

All we want to talk about is grace. But in order for us to appreciate God's grace, sin must be made exceeding sinful. That's what Paul is saying. And that's what had happened to him. the Lord had to really get his attention in a radical way so Paul saw how wretched he was.

Now, I got something here in the lesson that I think is going to be very helpful. Oh, let's see. Where did I put that? Paul puts himself here as a pattern. I just want to explain something. Timothy 1:12, Paul said, "and I thank Christ Jesus--" you're going to have to bear with me.

I'm going to read 12 to 16, but this is so important to understand as you read the rest of this passage in Romans 7. "And I thank Jesus Christ our Lord who has enabled me, because he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly," past, present, future, "I was formerly a blasphemer." That means he not only persecuted the church, he spoke against Jesus and he said that Jesus was demon-possessed, Jesus was a deceiver. That was blasphemy, 'cause now he's God. "A persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom i--" was chief. Does he say "was?" "Am." Now wait a second. He says, "I am chief." "I was a blasphemer." Was he still persecuting Christians when he wrote this? No. But he says, "I am chief." He identifies his old experience in the present tense, because he doesn't want to boast. He says, "I don't count myself to be perfect.

" Paul was very humble about boasting about his being victorious and an overcomer. So he often identified with his old experience, but he wasn't still persecuting Christians. Do you understand that? 'Cause it plays out. I'm going to keep reading here. "However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me Christ Jesus might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on him for everlasting life.

" Paul says, "what happened to me was unusual and different, but God is using me as a pattern." So now Paul is going to use himself as a pattern for his Jewish brethren to understand conversion. So he then throws himself back in the first person in the narrative, in the lament of what his experience was. And he rehearses it to them dramatically like it was when he lived it. So even though Paul is no longer the wretched man, he says, "let me tell you about what it was like back when I was that man." And he rehearses it. And some people think Paul is describing the ongoing experience of the Christian.

Alright, oh, where did I leave off here? Verse--i think I read verse 12. Let me read verse 12, "therefore the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good." He reiterates to his Jewish brethren that were zealous of the law, nothing wrong with the law. "Has then that which is good become death?" Oh, I read verse 13. "But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am--" now he goes present tense.

"I am carnal, sold under sin." He's not saying that he continues to be carnal, because he says that we should not walk after the flesh. Let me read on here. "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will do, that I do--" let me say that again. "What I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do.

" Alright, let's just stop here. And let's ask a rhetorical question. Is this describing what is to be expected for the ongoing experience of the Christian, doing what we hate, not doing what we want? No. Do you know a lot of people read it that way, a lot of people. Even within our own church, there may be 50%, 60% that read it that way.

But I'm going to make what I think is a good case that that's not the way you are to read it. I think he now is transporting himself back. He's resonating with his readers, and saying, "I know what you're going through. I went through it. It's a dreadful experience to be in the throes of the new birth and be under conviction and have no peace.

" It's a wretched experience. "If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law, the law is good." Problem is not that the law is bad. "But now, it is no longer I who does it, but sin that's in me." We long to do what we know the law says, but we are controlled, we are enslaved by sin. "For I know that in me, in my flesh, nothing good dwells." We've got these mortal bodies with all these animalistic desires and pride and passions. "For to will is present--" we have minds.

We have the Spiritual side that's yearning to do what's right. It's present with me-- "but how to perform what is good I do not find." Now is that to be the ongoing experience of the Christian? We never find how to perform what's good? No. But some read it that way. Oh, God forbid that we would believe that Paul is describing, "this is the way it's going to be from now on. How to perform what is good you'll never find.

" Boy, that's kind of a defeated experience. "For the good that I will to do, I do not." Now there may be exceptions for the Christian. But is that the rule? Some read that that's the rule. Heaven forbid. "For the good I will to do, I do not, but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

" Alright, here you are, you're a new born-again Christian, and so why don't you underline that. That's going to be your pattern for life. The good you want to do, you won't do. The evil you hate, that's what you'll do. I hope not.

I mean, you know, come to Christ; you're a drug addict and you're smoking and you're cursing and you're drinking and you're lying, you're a slave to sin, and someone reads this to you, and say, "cheer up. This is the way it's going to be." Where's the deliverance? Where's the victory? Where's the overcoming? But some people read that as though Paul is saying, "this is just the way it is still. I love God with my mind, but with my body and my life, you know, we're all just going to continue this captivity to sin." God forbid. "Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who does it, but sin that's in me." Oh, that's it. Let's blame the sin.

And is that the attitude Christians are to take into their experience? "Well, you know, we all sin. It's the sin; it's not us. With my mind, I love the Lord, but with my body, I'm going to sin." That's the doctrine of the nicolaitans, the thing that Jesus said, "I hate." The idea that we'll just, you know, "we'll be spiritual in our minds, but we'll be carnal in our bodies." Doesn't the Lord give us the ability through the power of the Spirit to subdue the flesh? This is why this is so important to understand this. You get this wrong, and you can get everything wrong. Alright, let me keep going here.

I'm almost done, and then we're going to back up in our time that's left here. "For I know that in me that is in my flesh nothing good dwells." Verse 19, "for the good that I will do I do not. The evil I will not that I practice. Now if I do what I do not do--" let me see. This is--these words sometimes, the way the sentences are structured here can scramble you.

"For if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law--" now that's true. We all know that there's a war between the Spirit and the flesh-- "warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of this death?" So he's closing this chapter and saying, "who's going to deliver me from this condition?" And here's where people get mixed up especially, verse 25, "I thank God." He's praying for deliverance. "I thank God," deliverance is coming, there is a way out." And then he ties off his former thoughts by saying, "so then--" we've determined, in other words-- "with the mind I in myself--" if I'm still in myself, by myself, by my own strength, I'm going to be "serving the law of God," maybe with my mind, "but in my flesh I'll be serving the law of sin." If I am still in myself, you're going to have that defeated experience. You cannot stay in yourself. You have to die and be married to another. Now, you have to read Romans 6 and Romans 8 to understand Romans 7.

I remember hearing a story at a camp meeting years ago. An evangelist, dunbar henry, I think was his name, was telling about when he was in the mission field. And he was doing an evangelistic meeting, and you kind of got to do everything. He had a generator for the amplification. And the generator stopped.

He found out it was an electrical problem. And he had someone helping him. And he said, "look, I'm going to go fix the wires." Someone had kicked the wires at the meetings. He said, "I got to resplice the wires." So he's off at the other end of this tent, and he's resplicing the wires. And he thinks, "boy, if he turns that on, I'm in big trouble.

" So he yells to him. And he says, "whatever you do, do not turn on the generator, or I will be electrocuted!" Now in the din of all the people that were at the meeting, what do you think he heard? He didn't hear the part that said, "whatever you do, do not!" And he did not hear the part that says, "or I will be electrocuted!" All he heard was, "turn on the generator." And he was holding the wires at that point, and he got a terrible shock. And they turned it off and he survived obviously. But nearly killed him, because he didn't get what came before, and he didn't get what came after. And he took what came in the middle, and it was totally out of context, because he didn't get what was before and what was after.

You've got to do this with Romans. Now let's look here, I'm just going to read some of the verses here. Matter of fact--yeah, by the way, this--Romans 6. "We are dead to sin," "freed from sin." "Let not sin therefore reign." "Sin shall not have dominion over you." "Shall we sin? God forbid!" "Being made free from sin." I know pastor mackintosh was teaching on this chapter last week, and I'm sure he did it consistent with that theme. He's telling us how to be dead to sin, free from this enslavement in the flesh.

You read Romans 7, then it goes on, "carnal," "sold under sin," "bringing me into captivity to the law of sin," "what I hate I do, o wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" Who wants to be left there? You got to go on and read what it says in chapter 8. Matter of fact, chapter 8:1, "there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." They're not married to the law anymore. They're married to Christ. "Who do not walk--" the walk is not just in your mind. The walk is your life, your body-- "according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." He summarizes it there. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak--" and I'll be teaching this next week, but I've just--you got to tie the two together. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: he condemned sin in the flesh." Jesus did, in his life, did he live a sinless life? Through Christ's perfect life he condemned the power of sin in his flesh that we, in Christ, could walk in a newness of life. Now, I've got a lot of verses that bear this out. You kind of understand where I'm going.

So when Paul now is talking about this lament, when he's rehearsing his experience before his conversion, when he knew the law was good, but he was powerless to obey, he is not speaking in the present tense--or he speaks in the present tense, but he's not referring to his converted experience. Let's, oh, let's pray that he's not. Because the Christian experience would be a very sad one. Now let's just look at some verses that bear this out. Somebody read for me Romans 2:17-18, who has that? Right up front here.

"Indeed you are called a jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know his will, and approve the things that are excEllent, being instructed out of the law." Alright, now the reason this verse is important, is it clear to everybody who he's talking to? He said, "you call yourself a jew. And your boast is in the law." He's saying, "if you are looking for justification through the law, you're doomed." Is that clear? You've got to go back sometimes in Romans to get the context. They didn't stop after reading a chapter. They read the whole letter. Alright? And then read for us, what did I say? Romans 6:6.

"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." If that's clear, say "amen." No longer slaves to sin. But here in Romans 7, he's describing the thing that, "I don't want to do, that's what I do." That's slavery, right? Isn't that a description of slavery? It's a power of sin controlling you. But when you're dead to sin, you're no longer slaves to sin, when we are crucified in Christ. Hebrews 10:26. For the converted believer, sin is the exception, it is not the rule.

Sin does not have dominion over you. Now, dominion doesn't mean--right now, praise the Lord, we still have freedom in our country. There's still criminal elements, but it doesn't have dominion. Hebrews 10:26, "for if--" if, notice that word, "if." You may sin, but it's not when you sin, it's if you sin. It's the exception.

"But if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there is no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment." John 2:1, "my little children, these things I write to you, that no man sin. And if anyone sins--" he says that you may not sin. Why would he say that if Paul was saying, "look, we're all sold to sin. We're going to do sin. Just accept it.

Live with it." No, he says, "if you sin." Christians must be living lives where we are striving for the ideal of being Christ-like who was sinless. Our goal is to be like Christ. It is a perfect goal. Do I claim perfection? No, my goal is perfect. But if you resign yourself to, "well, with my mind, I'm going to serve God, but my body I'm going to serve sin," no wonder you've got so much carnal behavior in the church with that kind of theology.

That's what you're going to get. It's not a life of striving for victory. Corinthians 4:10, I gave that to somebody. Over here, heather. Get her a microphone.

And while we're setting up for that, let me read to you Colossians 2:11, "in him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ." In other words, it's now an inward transformation. When we are in Christ, we put off the sins of the body. Is that clear that he's saying, we're not controlled by the flesh. Okay, read for us Corinthians 4:10. "Always carrying about in the body of the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

" Alright, so the life of Christ is to be lived out in us. Is that clear? Now in fairness to those that may have the other interpretation, it is true that when we are not dead in Christ, you're going to feel the resurrection of the carnal desires. And Christians do struggle with that. But that is not to be their experience. You know why? Paul says, "I die daily.

" Daily we are dead to the law and to self. We are in Christ. You must be born again every day. It's a renewed experience. It's an ongoing relationship of crucifying the flesh so that you are not controlled by the flesh.

One more thing. Paul says here, the end of chapter 7, "o wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?" You know, in the roman empire, the Romans didn't so much do this, but they had tribes within their empire that would do it and they'd look the other way. If someone was guilty of murder, they would sometimes take the murdered corpse, and they would chain it to the back of the person, arm to arm, leg to leg, around the neck, with chains that could not be broken. And they would make that person wear the corpse as it decomposed, so that the contagion of this dead body would eventually envelope and kill them. That's terrible, but Paul is using that verbiage when he's saying, "who will deliver me from this body of death?" Another thing to think about, just keep this on the shelf when you're reading Romans 7.

Even for the converted Christian, do we have our glorified bodies yet? When Paul is describing the carnal nature, he doesn't really mention any specific sin. We have these mortal bodies that are growing old. And sometimes when I say, "who will deliver me from this body of death?" I'm just thinking I think that right now! 'Cause I want my glorified body. You know what I mean? And as long as you're in this body, it's just growing old. It's dying.

Who will deliver me from this body of death, this dying body? But it's also talking about those that are carrying around the flesh. Except you surrender to Jesus, and you're buried with Christ, you are then trying to walk around like one of these criminals with a decomposing body chained to your back. Adam clarke in his commentary writes a little poem on this. Actually he quotes a poem by pitt. And it says, "what tongue can such barbarities record or count the slaughters of his Ruthless sword? 'Twas not enough the good the guiltless bled, still worse he bound the living to the dead.

These limb to limb and face to face he joined, o monstrous crime of unexplained kind, 'til choked with stench the lingering wretches lay. And in loath embrace died away." Oh! That's some of the old english prose, paint a pretty vivid picture of what it's like to be controlled by the flesh. Paul is not saying this is the Christian experience. Praise the Lord! He says we're delivered from that. That's why in chapter 8--matter of fact, you go to chapter 8, it says, "Jesus Christ has set me free from the law of sin and death, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, who live in accordance with the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

" It says, "those who set their minds on the flesh are dead. But he who sets his mind on the Spirit, it's life. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God. It does not submit to God, indeed it cannot." And this is really my study for next week. But can you see you've got to look at what's in between the sandwich here to get it right.

In the middle here, he's explaining the lost, struggling condition before deliverance and conversion. And you know what my appeal would be as I close. There are people who go to church for years that stay in that condition. They never experience that blessedness. They're still in the old, wretched man experience.

Paul is talking to Jewish members of the church who are lost. When Peter preached at pentecost, who did he preach to? Devout jews from every nation. And what do they say? "What shall we do to be saved?" They were church members, who were still in that sinning, repenting, sinning, repenting, enslavery to that body of death. They had not yet been crucified with Christ, so they could live a new life where they're not controlled by the flesh, but rather controlled by the Spirit. And there's a lot of people that are in the church, and they've resigned themselves that this is the way it's going to be.

God forbid. Don't believe that. Without Christ, you can do nothing. Through Christ you can do all things, amen? It says, "we do not walk according to the flesh. We walk according to the Spirit.

" It says in Galatians 5:24, "and those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:16, "I say then walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit." That's true, there's a battle. "And the Spirit against the flesh. And they're contrary to one another, so that you don't do the things you wish.

" That's why he says, "don't walk in that." Jesus said, "I am the vine. You're the branches. He abides in me, and I in him. He will bear much fruit. Without me you can do nothing.

" But through Christ, if we're crucified with Christ and risen again, we can do all things. I hope this was clear, friends. I recommend you read the books. I recommend that you ask for the offer, "does God's grace blot out the law?" . And again, I want to remind you, if you go to the Amazing Facts web site, you can read that book, "carnal Christians," by Joe Crews.

Just type in "carnal Christians," Joe Crews. Several web sites have put that up because it's such a good book. And it just is focused on Romans 7. And I think you'll appreciate that. We're out of time.

God bless you, friends. By the grace of God, if Jesus doesn't come first, we'll study again next week. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our web site at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents." One location, so many possibilities. Amazingfacts.org.

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