Christ, the End of the Law

Christ, the End of the Law

Scripture: Romans 10:4, Romans 5:12-21, Galatians 3:19-24
Date: 05/17/2014  Lesson: 7
This lesson explores the law and grace.

God's Law and God's Grace by Jim Pinkoski

God's Law and God's Grace by Jim Pinkoski
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Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are so glad that you have joined us, as you always do every week, to study God's Word together. Whether you're right here in our audience - we have many visitors here with us today - or around the country, across the world - we study together, we sing together, we pray together, and soon and very soon we will be seeing Jesus together and living forever in heaven. I can hardly wait for that day. But until then we will sing.

We're going to begin today with 'immortal, invisible, God only wise' - hymn #21. This comes as a request from agnes in the uk, Mark in china, irban in trinidad and tobego, lydia in Georgia - of the united states - and dave from Indiana. Hymn #21 - 'immortal, invisible, God only wise'. We'll sing all four verses. If you have a special hymn - a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming study together.

It's very simple. Just go to our website at 'saccentral.org', click on the 'contact us' link and there you can request any hymn in our hymnal and we will sing that with you on a coming presentation. Today's new hymn is - for those of you that are usually joining us, we are going through the hymnal and learning the hymns that are lost to most people. Hymn #102 is a request from no one this week so it is a brand-new hymn to everybody. It's a little tricky but it's so beautiful - the words and the music that go together are beautiful.

Hymn #102 - 'unto the hills' and we're going to sing all four verses to give you a chance to learn it this morning. Amen. Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, we do adore you and that is why we're here is because we've come to worship you, to sit at your feet, to listen to the words that you have to present to us through Pastor Doug and that we can become more like you and that we can be shining lights. So Lord, please fill us with your spirit.

Help us to do our part to hasten your coming. Please be with Pastor Doug today as he brings us words of life. And, Lord, may we each of us leave this place more equipped and more in love with you - to serve you and to help bring this earth's history to a close that we can live with you forever. We pray these things in your name, Jesus, amen. Our study today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Thank you very much jolyne and our singers and musicians. That was beautiful. I'd never heard those songs either, but they're very pretty and we should sing some of those more. Greetings. Happy Sabbath, friends.

And I want to welcome those who are watching online and our extended class - some are watching via satellite around the world. Now, you know, I'd like to do something here - we like to sometimes assume people who are watching all may know everything going on and I know that the church family here is aware, but some who are watching are wondering, you know, the schedule seems to have changed a little bit. Back in January - the end of January - i, technically, ceased to be the senior pastor of Sacramento central. This church planted a church in Granite Bay - oh, about six years ago. And the Lord has blessed and we have always known that as the time came that I'd eventually shift - transfer over there and - which happened the end of January.

Challenge is we still don't have a church. We're renting facilities from another church and I just want to say 'thank you'. Sacramento central has been nice enough to let me be at least a guest teacher sometimes here at Sacramento central and I'm very thankful for that, but something happened while I was in germany and I'm just very excited to share with our extended members that are online and our viewing audience - I'd like to invite pastor chris buttery to come up and - now you've seen pastor chris teach a number of times because he's part of our staff here. So how long have you been here with central church? I've been here for just under a year and a half. Yeah, and it was about a year and a half ago or a couple months before that, I called pastor chris and his wife jennifer and said we would love to have them be part of our team here at Sacramento central and in the back of my mind I knew the day might come where I would be going somewhere else and I was just prayerful that the congregation and the conference would see wisdom in his staying on in that capacity and they've seen the light.

So, it sometimes is a long process in searching for a new senior pastor but - you know, there's meetings with the board and meetings with the search committee with the conference, but I think it was last Sabbath you were officially introduced as the senior pastor. Yes, that's right. And so I was just very excited - I wanted to introduce you formally as the senior to our online members. There are members of Sacramento central around the world. Some I met that were in europe last week and you're going to continue.

I thought it would be great to maybe say a word about - do you have any plans? We have plans. Probably not as great as your plans but we have some plans, yes. And, again, Pastor Doug, just - it's been a privilege to serve with you and work with you this last year and a half or some and so I recognize - and I told the congregation and our online viewers last week that I certainly have big shoes to fill and it's certainly a humbling task that's before us. But we're excited about a new page - a new chapter - in Sacramento central's future. Some folk do ask us whether central study hour might be continuing and we hope to see it continue in some capacity so folk can continue to view and tune in as well.

But we're excited about what the Lord might have in store for us here. Yes. Amen. Well, you know, I thought it would be appropriate for us to just have prayer together for pastor chris. I think I see jennifer not too far away.

Would you mind coming up? Now, again, you've seen jennifer singing many times - those who watch Sabbath school - but I don't know that it's ever said a lower third, 'jennifer buttery, the pastor's wife' and so some people may not have made that connection. It may have happened but I would just like to have them here before you. Being a pastor of the central church in the capital of California is a big responsibility and it's only by prayer, I think, we need to pray for God's Spirit to be on this couple and that the Lord will give them wisdom and just bless this church - that it will continue to be a light both in the community and beyond, amen? So why don't you bow your heads with me as we pray and those who are viewing. Father in Heaven, we just are so thankful for the assurance that you are on the throne and as we surrender our lives to you that you will bless and you will guide and as we're willing to do your will you'll give us strength and wisdom to do the tasks and to fulfill the ministry you have for us. Lord, right now, in a special sense, we pray that you'll continue to bless pastor chris and jennifer buttery.

Be with their family and their children. We pray, also, you'll be with the thompsons - pastor mike and helen - and as they search, also, to replace some vacancies for the pastoral staff here, just guide in that whole process. Lord, you've blessed this church in many ways. We pray you'll continue to bless in even greater, more abundant ways. And so we just commit them to your care, pray that you'll fill them with your spirit, and we thank you because we believe you will because we're asking in Jesus' Name.

Amen. Amen. Thank you and God bless you. And i, again, want to thank central church for letting me continue to - at least for a little while - be a guest teacher here. I love teaching and this lesson, in particular, today is a very important lesson.

First I should say we have a special gift offer - it's got a strange title and it's called 'square circles and carnal Christians'. Now a square circle sounds like an oxymoron, right? And so is a carnal Christian. We're going to be studying, in a little bit, Romans chapter 7, which is a very important chapter to understand - sometimes misunderstood. If it is misunderstood, the results can be catastrophic in your theology. And so, this book helps explain that in a way that everybody can understand.

I was even reading it this morning. So we'll send it to you for free. Just call 866-study-more - that's 866-788-3966 - I think we've reprinted it even, with a new cover - and ask for the offer number that appears on your screen. It's free. Read it and then share it with somebody and you'll find that a blessing.

And that's everybody. If you haven't read this book it really helps you understand Romans 7. And our lesson today is on Christ and his law. We're going through our quarterly dealing with Christ and his law. It's lesson #7, in particular, 'Christ, the end of the law'.

Now why is it that just the title itself can sometimes throw people - 'Christ, the end of the law'? What does that mean? Does that mean when Jesus came there's no more law? Didn't Jesus say something in Matthew chapter 5 - I think it's verse 17 - 'think not that I've come to destroy the law and the prophets. I've not come to destroy but to fill full - fulfill' - that's what that means - 'for whosoever shall tell men to break the least of these commandments' - or - 'whoever shall break the least of these commandments and teach others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever will do and teach them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.' And the rich young ruler came to Jesus and said, 'what good thing should I do that I might have eternal life?'And Jesus said, 'keep the commandments.' He said, 'which ones?' And Jesus began to quote the Ten Commandments. So when it says 'Christ, the end of the law', this lesson is actually quoting a verse from Romans but it is a verse that is often misunderstood and that's vwhy we've got a lesson on this subject. Our memory verse is from Romans , verse 4 and this is the source of the title for the lesson - Romans 10:4 - and it comes from the new revised standard version.

If you could say it with me - are you ready? Romans 10:4, "for Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." What does that mean? Okay, well we're going to get to that in just a second, but to start with we're going to go on to 'where sin abounded' - the first part of this lesson - and I want to invite you to turn in your Bibles to Romans 5. We're going to get to Romans 7 in just a minute but first we've got to build a foundation. Romans is a book that if you read it - just one verse by itself or one little section by itself, you can miss the thought because Romans - the book of Romans is like mount everest in the writings of Paul. It gives you a panorama of the whole plan of salvation. It's just an incredible book, but you need to know as he's leading people in their thinking so that when you get to a certain point you say, 'ah, this makes sense because of what he said before and what he says after.

' So join me in Romans chapter 5 and we're talking about where sin abounds. And start with verse 12, "therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world," - that one man being adam - "and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned - (for until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed where there is no law." - He says, 'until the law sin was in the world.' In other words, until the law was given by Moses on Mount Sinai - or by the Lord on Mount Sinai - was there sin in the world still? Was it a sin to commit adultery before the Ten Commandments were written down? Was murder a sin? Was lying a sin? Did God tell cain that murder was a sin? Did Joseph say to potiphar's wife adultery was a sin? That was before the ten commandments. So Paul is making an argument even before the law was spoken there was law because there was sin and where there is no law there is no sin. You know, I was in germany on the autobahn and people were driving by at a hundred miles an hour - literally - or faster! We were driving a hundred at one point - not kilometers, miles per hour - and it was perfectly legal because it was a section of the road where there is no speed limit and it's pretty amazing. Any of you ever been to the autobahn? It's pretty amazing.

So he's just making that argument here. And then you go on to verse 14, "nevertheless death reigned from adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of adam, who is a type of him who was to come." - Adam is a type of Christ - "but the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense" - adam - "many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many." - Through adam's sin death passed on all men, but through Christ's victory, that eternal life can go to all men. How many of you believe that adam fell and we all suffered as a result? It's very real every day, right? Do you believe just as much that Jesus succeeded and through the second adam we can have victory? We can have righteousness? We can have heaven? Adam fell in a garden. Jesus overcame in a wilderness.

On the sixth day of the week adam went to sleep and his side was opened up and out came a wife. On the sixth day of the week Jesus went to sleep on the cross. He said, 'it is finished.' His side was opened by a spear and in the blood and water that came out his bride was born - the church. So that's why it says Jesus is like the second adam. Alright, I want to jump ahead here.

Go to verse 20, "moreover" - I'm in Romans verse 5:20 - "moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." You know, I lived sort of unaware of the law of God - I knew things were right and wrong, but once I started reading the Bible and - I thought I was okay compared to other people, but I read the ten commandments and once I read the law, sin abounded. I realized, 'wow' - because I became aware how fast I had been driving. I had no idea what the speed limit was - I'm using this metaphorically - you know what I'm saying? Alright, I want someone to look something up for me. Somebody has Proverbs 6:23 - who has that verse? Hold your hand up.

Over here? Let's get you a microphone. Hold your hand up so they can see where you are. And then in a minute I'm going to get to John 15:22 - you got that over here? Do we have a microphone on this side? Okay, he'll bring you - hold your hand up - he'll bring you a microphone. Alright, and as we're getting ready for that, I'd like to read Romans 7:7, "what shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid! Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, 'thou shalt not covet.'" - He goes on to say, 'where there is no law there is no transgression.' By the way, if Christ is the end of the law - some people take that to mean that when Jesus came the law is done away with - if Christ is the end of the law is there still sin in the world today? Let me repeat Paul: 'where there is no law there is no sin.' If there's still sin, mustn't there also be a law? Yeah, so the law - when it says Christ is the end of the law, it doesn't mean that he did away with the law. We'll get to that in a minute.

Are we ready then? Go ahead and read for us Proverbs 6:23. Proverbs 6:23, "for the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life." So why would God do away with light? The commandment of God is a light - it's a lamp - it illuminates. It does not save. What does light do? Light reveals. Light exposes things.

Light makes things manifest. James compares the law to a mirror because a mirror shows a reflection of something that may need attention. And so it doesn't save. It was never intended to save. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness meaning: if someone is looking upon the law as a source of righteousness, he put that to an end.

The law never did bring righteousness. What the law does - it amplifies our need for righteousness. The law amplifies our need. I might think, you know, 'I need to take a shower once a week and wash my face, but looking in the mirror that might be amplified. You see what I'm saying? And so that was the purpose of the law.

It's not to save. Alright, go ahead, read for us John 15:22. John 15:22, "if I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin." Alright, now is there more accountability once there's a knowledge of what God's will is? Jesus says in Luke - and I don't remember the verse - but he said, 'he that knew his master's will and did not do it will be beaten with many stripes and he that knew his master's - did not know his master's will and did not do it will be beaten with few stripes.' In other words, 'you are more accountable when you know than when you don't know.' And even every court system in the country, they take things - there's a different punishment for what they call 'premeditated murder' - it means it was planned. It was calculated. Something that happens, you know, in a fight on the street, then they call it manslaughter.

It wasn't premeditated. And so, having a knowledge in advance makes you more responsible. And this is what Paul is saying - the law is there to make us more responsible. Now let's go to the next section here and it covers Romans 6:15 through 23. And someone look up for me Romans 7, verse 12.

Who has that verse? We've got a hand? Do we have someone we gave that verse to? Okay, hold your hand up. We'll get to you in just a moment. And in the meantime, I'm going to take you to Romans 6 and we're going to be reading verses to 23. "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!" - If you have king James it says, 'God forbid!' - Don't even think it. Shall we continue in sin because we're not under the law? What does it mean to be not under the law? Does not under the law mean not under a responsibility to obey the law? Are Christians still obligated to keep the commandments? Should Christians - once you accept Jesus, do you have more of an obligation or less of an obligation? I would think more because, first of all, when you realize that it's your lawlessness that put him on the cross, why would you want to increase your lawlessness after you've accepted his forgiveness? Now does that make sense? A Christian should be the most law-keeping people because it's for our sins - transgression of the law - that Jesus died.

So this idea that we're not under the law means that we're not under the obligation to keep the commandments - that's not at all what Paul meant. That's why Paul said, 'lest you misunderstand, should we continue to break God's law that grace might abound? God forbid! Perish the thought. Don't think it.' And yet, I hear pastors say that all the time. They take this phrase 'under the law' to mean an obligation to obey and they say, 'we're not under the law, we're no longer under an obligation to keep the Ten Commandments.' Have you heard this before? I hear it all the time, but whenever I hear someone say this I pin them down a little bit and I say, 'wait, let me just - help me. Are you saying that since we're not under the law, that means we don't need to keep the ten commandments anymore? And they realize where it's going and they say, 'oh, well, we're not under the old law.

' I say, 'is it okay to lie?' 'No.' 'Is it okay to steal?' 'No.' 'Commit adultery?' 'No.' 'Covet my neighbor's goods or spouse?' 'No.' And you go through the Ten Commandments - 'can I pray to statues? Can I worship other Gods?' 'No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Of course you have to keep all of those.' And then you say, 'remember the Sabbath day.' 'We're not under the law.' I've seen that dance so many times I would think that somebody would realize it's suspicious. They have no problem with the Ten Commandments until you get to the fourth commandment. And they, basically, invented this whole new theology that 'not under the law' means you're not under an obligation to keep the Ten Commandments. They say, 'we need to keep those because those commandments are restated in the new testament.

' That's not true. They say the only commandment not restated in the new testament is the fourth commandment - the Sabbath. That's not true. That's what you call a Christian urban myth. Sometimes people say things over and over again - they think it must be true and they don't ever search it out.

Actually, you don't find anywhere in the new testament where it says, 'thou shalt not have other Gods before me.' So can we break that commandment? No. 'Don't take the name of the Lord in vain' - that's the one - you don't find that in the new testament. Where does it say in the new testament, 'don't take the name of the Lord in vain'? Can we break that then? Do we find the fourth commandment repeated and addressed in the new testament? Yeah, Hebrews chapter 4, for one thing. Acts chapter 13 - there's a number of places where it talks about keeping the Sabbath in the new testament. So that argument that, 'well, it's not repeated.

' - I heard one evangelist say it this way: 'many evangelical Christians really struggle to get rid of the Sabbath. It's like a man who has a sore finger and in order to deal with that sore finger he cuts off all ten fingers and sews nine of them back on. And so, to get rid of the Sabbath they actually have to get rid of all ten, they reattach nine of them, and really, the problem is, we should keep all ten. And when Christ says we're not under the law - this is what under the law means - we are not under the curse - or the penalty - of the law, we are under grace. When you sin you're under the condemnation of the law.

You're under the penalty - the death penalty. After you're forgiven, praise God, by the grace of God, we are no longer under the penalty of the law. It doesn't mean an obligation to obey the law. And so, but I've heard it twisted in so many - millions of Christians think this verse means we are not under an obligation to keep the law. That's not what he's saying.

"Do you not know" - and listen to Paul - let him speak for himself - verse 16 - Romans :16, "do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin" - breaking the law - "leading to death, or of obedience" - keeping the law - "leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness" - you can't misunderstand what he means here - before you were saved you were slaves to lawlessness - "so now present" - lawless means without the law, right? Lawbreaking - do we all agree? If I tell you someone's an outlaw are they law-abiding or not? They're lawless. Okay, Paul is very clear here - "leading to more lawlessness," - I'm in verse 19 - "so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness." - In other words, you are separated from righteousness - "what fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness" - a law of obedience - "and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Alright, so that's the good news there. And someone, I think, is ready to read Romans 7:12. Where are you? Back here? Oh back here.

Okay, good, are we ready? Let's go ahead and read that. Romans 7:12, "therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." Only a few things are called 'holy'. By the way, the only place in the Ten Commandments you find the word 'holy' is in the fourth commandment. Only a few things are holy and did Jesus come to do away with something that is holy and just and good to replace it with something unholy, unjust, and bad? Of course not. So Paul is saying there's no problem with the law, the law's function, though, is not to save.

That's the point that he's making and you know why Paul is making that point? He's talking here in Romans about his personal experience. Was Paul - would he consider himself a lawkeeper before he knew Jesus was the Messiah? Sure. He was a pharisee of the pharisees - that's his own words. Did pharisees make a big deal about the law? Yeah. Did they even - were they even a little legalistic? Isn't legalism thinking you're saved by the law? Paul is talking about his own experience about the time he thought he was being saved by the law and he finally realized the law does no saving.

Salvation and forgiveness comes from the grace of God and through the righteousness of Christ. And so - now the law serves a purpose. You know, when I was first learning to drive, a lot of you probably fancy yourself pretty good drivers. How many of you remember when you were first learning to drive, there was a driving manual put out by the state and it might have been California's dmv driving hand book and there were regulations. How many took the test? Anyone driving you didn't take the test? Just want to - we want to get you on camera right now because we want you off the roads.

So we all took a test - there's a lot of laws about when to pass, when not to pass, what the lines mean. You don't want someone coming towards you not knowing what those lines mean - solid lines, dotted lines, yellow lines, white - there's a - they all mean something, right? And you probably studied that book and took a test and I'm assuming you passed. How many of you carry that book in your glove box now? I see some of you do. Well, that's good. That's okay.

I know it pretty well. I've sort of got it in my heart. How many of you sort of - it's second nature for you now? Isn't that what the law should be? Where it's in our minds and in our hearts so it becomes like almost a natural response to obey the laws? I mean, I had to think so hard to turn on my turn signal when I was first learning to drive that when my driving instructor took me out - that was just something - he said, 'turn signal. You forgot turn signal - changing lanes - turn signal.' And it got so bad that now I'm up on the country roads - I'm on dirt roads twelve miles from anybody and I go around the corner I turn on my turn signal. There's nobody up there.

I'm just surrounded by a cloud of dust on a dirt road and I'm turning on my turn signal. It's just - it's a habit now. You know what I mean? And so - but that's kind of - when you walk with Jesus and you live that kind of life and you study His Word and it becomes in your heart - isn't that that new covenant? When you're governed by love for God then you start driving right because you've got the law written in your heart. Deuteronomy 6, verse 6 - just a couple more thoughts on the law here, "and these words" - in Deuteronomy 5 - Moses recites - he repeats the Ten Commandments - "and these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Now, this was really meant to be a symbol. When God says you should have them in your heart, did that mean literally to open your heart and put them in there? When he said they should be on your doors and on your gates - well, there's no harm in doing that. You know when you go into the home - a Jewish home - sometimes there'll be a little scroll and you'll see them kiss it and put their finger to it and it's supposed to have a little piece of the law written inside this little - I can't remember the word for it - anyways, it's a Jewish word for the little element of the law that is in this silver box nailed to the door. And you've probably seen the pharisees that have these phylacteries - they've got a little leather box with the law on the forehead and they've got one tied to their wrists and they think there's some spiritual merit - showing their holiness by having, literally, the law tied on their hand and on their forehead and on their gates.

But what did Moses mean? Surround yourself with it. It should be in your hand - in your actions - in your heart - your affections - in your head - in your thoughts. Now that's very important because did any of you see the new youtube? I just put it up on my Facebook last night - amazing - some of you saw it - Amazing Facts just put out a new youtube on the Mark of the beast - explaining what the Mark is. Is it symbolic or figurative? And we quote this verse and you can go to the Amazing Facts website - we'll have it there - but it's only - it's a four-minute youtube because people misunderstand the Mark. They think it's a physical line.

They think it's a tattoo, a barcode, a computer chip. You know, there might be some mechanism that the beast power will use to control buying and selling, but a credit card is not the Mark of the beast. And where is the Mark of the beast? The hand and the forehead, right? This is a clue - when Moses says 'these words shall be in your hand and between your eyes' - he symbolically means the law of the Lord. How many people in Revelation have a Mark? What percentage? A hundred percent - a hundred percent have a Mark. They either have the seal of God or they have the Mark of the beast.

You notice how I worded that? Everybody has some kind of distinguishing Mark. Isn't that right? Are you all with me? And the whole world's going to get polarized into one of two groups. The seal of God is the law of God in the head and in the hand - it's in the heart really. And in that law there's a special commandment that talks about holiness and worshiping God because the big battle in the last days is about worship. And so that's why the devil attacks the law and that's why we're studying this subject.

So many people misunderstand. Is it still a good idea for Christians to do what Moses suggested? To surround ourselves with the law of God - when we lay down, when we rise up? To teach it to them? Have it in our hands and in our hearts and in our heads and on our doors and - shouldn't we know the law of God? We're not saved by it, but in teaching the word - 'thy word is a lamp unto my feet' - it's very important for us to have the mirror of the law - to have the light of the law - to reveal our need of Christ, amen? So, that's just a very important point there. Let me read something - this is in your lesson from 'acts of the apostles' page 393 - "Paul had ever exalted the divine law. He had shown that in the law there is no power to save man from the penalty of disobedience. Wrongdoers must repent of their sins and humble themselves before God, whose just wrath they've incurred by breaking his law.

And they must exercise faith in the blood of Christ as their only means of pardon." So, for those who think that Seventh-day Adventists believe that we're saved by keeping the law, we don't believe that any more than an evangelical believes they're saved by not committing adultery. But evangelicals teach their flock not to commit adultery - is that legalism? Evangelicals teach their flock not to steal, right? Don't most Christians teach that? So do we become legalists by also teaching 'remember the Sabbath day'? That's not fair. You mean because we do a hundred percent of the commandments instead of ninety percent, we become legalists? No, it's the same principle. We're saved by grace from all disobedience, but you still teach the law, right? Okay, so now let's get to that difficult passage that I really pray we all understand. Go to Romans chapter 7, verse 15.

Now, in Romans 6 and in Romans 8 and in Romans 5 Paul is talking about the wonderful liberty and freedom and deliverance we have in Jesus - this new life, this new heart, the joy, the praise - and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, in Romans 7, he describes this very depressing condition and people misunderstand. They're going, 'what is he talking about?' Let me read this to you - Romans :15, "for what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If then I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

" Now, I've just go to pause here - some people believe - and this is the part that I just hope everybody will wake up and engrave in your mind. Some people believe that Paul is describing what is supposed to be the regular experience of a converted Christian in these verses. Many Christians do not believe that, they believe Paul is describing here what his struggle was as Saul the pharisee, where he had no peace when it came to trying to find righteousness through the law. If we believe that we can say, 'well, I'm just going to continue to sin, but I'm not responsible, it's sin that dwells in me.' I remember when I lived on the navajo reservation - they struggle with alcohol - and sometimes they'd do the most embarrassing, even deadly, things under the influence, but their attitude was - among many - 'well, it wasn't me, it was the alcohol.' And it's almost like they said, 'I'm not responsible, it was the alcohol.' Well, but you're responsible when you choose to drink the alcohol. And so, some people have this attitude, 'well, I sin but I accepted Jesus so it doesn't matter because I don't have to worry about sin.

It's just the sin that dwells in me. It's just the normal experience.' And they give up making any effort to repent and turn from their sins because they think that this is supposed to be the normal experience. That's dangerous. That's exactly what the devil wants people to think. Listen, let me continue here, "for I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me,"' - the desire to do right is present with me - "but how to perform what is good I do not find.

" - I don't know how to do what I'm supposed to do. Is that the ongoing experience of the Christian - hopelessness? Where you have no idea how to do God's will? We know what it is but we can't do it - "for the good that I will to do, I do not do;" - now we've all experienced that - me too, right? But is that supposed to be the pattern? "The good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." - So this is the new born-again Christian: the evil you don't want to do, that's what you're going to do. Well, why be a Christian? - Now 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.

" - I mean, I see the law. It makes sense and - will there be a day when even the wicked fall before the Lord and declare he's just? So you can be lost and still declare that God is just. Did balaam - didn't balaam try to curse Israel and he said, 'let me die the death of the righteous? I mean, he praised the goodness of God. And yet, he continued to chase after money. So the idea that only people that are abject - abandoned to sin - can say that is not true.

A lot of sinners out there know God is good and the law is just - "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 of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am!" - So is that the condition of the saved Christian? Wretched? I mean, that's going to be a great evangelism slogan, "come, be a Christian. Be a wretched man and woman in constant conflict. Knowing what you should do - never able to do it.

' Boy, that's going to be hard to do evangelism with that as our motto - "o wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" - Now we all know about this body of death. By the way, when Paul says, 'body of death' many scholars believe he's alluding to a very despicable practice the Romans had for the very worst criminals. If you think crucifixion was the worst thing, they had one thing worse - they would actually chain you to a dead body. They would chain a living person - a criminal - in a dungeon - to a dead body that was decomposing and so the contagion of that dead body would eventually spread to them and they would die from it - from the contamination and Paul is referencing that and he's saying, 'I feel like I am chained to this body of death. Here I've got this desire to be a Christian but I've got this carnal nature and I can't get away from it.

What do I do? And everybody in the conversion process experiences that. There is a struggle. Paul is describing the struggle for deliverance - this wretched battle between the Spirit and the flesh. Did the children of Israel just wave a hanky and leave Egypt or was there a tremendous struggle? In getting out of Egypt, was there a struggle? Is there sometimes a struggle when a baby is born? I know we've got a lot of things to make it easier today, but it didn't used to be that way. Rachel died giving birth.

It was a tremendous struggle and so the conversion struggle - people go back and forth and say, 'who will deliver me?' Have you ever read Ellen white's story? The struggle - she had days of darkness saying, 'who will deliver me?' And then she found it and she was converted and she praised God and she was on cloud nine. She experienced a real conversion. She understood it. This is what God wants us to have - where we have a born-again experience. This is important because my heart goes out to the millions - and I don't - I'm not exaggerating - millions of Christians out there that think Paul is describing what is supposed to be the normal experience - the daily experience of the Christian.

Paul is describing here what was his struggle as a pharisee. Paul went three days without eating or drinking after he ran into Christ and there was a tremendous struggle. Let me finish here - "but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" - So is there deliverance? Through whom? Christ. And then he backs up and he says, "so then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

" What does that mean? Does that mean we are to go on serving the law of sin with our flesh? No, he's just saying the operation - this law of sin is in our flesh and we're going to want to serve God with our mind but we can be delivered from the control of the flesh - let me see here. I want to read something - this is from adam clarke - adam clarke is a great commentary writer. He was the right-hand man of John wesley - "that all that is said in this chapter of the carnal man sold under sin did apply to Saul of tarsus." - Notice he didn't say 'Paul' - Saul, before his conversion - "no man can doubt that what is here said can ever be, with propriety, applied to Paul the apostle. Who can believe, of the former, all is natural?" - It makes sense that Saul of tarsus would talk about this struggle of his conversion while a pharisee - "of the latter, all here" - it would be monstrous and absurd, if not blasphemous to believe Paul is describing the ongoing experience of the Christian as a wretched one. You know 'amazing grace'? That saved a what? Saved a wretch like me.

Saved a wretch from what? From wretchedness. We're saved from it. Let me give you another part of adam clarke's comment on this, "had he been in captivity to the law of sin and death after his conversion to Christianity, what did he gain by that conversion? Nothing for his personal holiness. Had he found no salvation under an inefficient law and he was left in the thralldom under an equally inefficient Gospel, the very genius of Christianity demonstrates that nothing like this can, with any propriety, be spoken of as a genuine Christian." And yet pastors - not just evangelical - even in our own church - are teaching their flock this is the normal experience - the daily experience - this is what you expect being a Christian. Is it any wonder Christians don't look happy? Because they think that they are continually - let me read to you from Galatians.

Galatians 5 - who wrote Galatians? Paul did. Galatians 5:16, "I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;" - there's that battle again - "and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." - Isn't he describing the same struggle here? - "But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law." - Under what law? Under the law of the flesh - "now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past," - notice - "that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God." - If you are led by the Spirit you will not walk according to the lusts of the flesh. Is that clear? And he's describing the same struggle here. But we are not left to be losers in that battle.

the Lord wants us to have victory in that battle. Do you believe that? Notice - he goes on to say, "but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." So you're in the law of God. There's no law against having the fruit of the Spirit. There is a law against the other things if you are led by the flesh. You know, I was reading - actually, this is an excerpt from Joe Crews' book that we're offering on 'square circles and carnal Christians'.

Can you imagine how these words could ever apply to the Spiritual giant who was Paul? "I am carnal sold under sin. Bringing me into the captivity of the law of sin. What I hate, that I do. O wretched man that I am! Who can deliver me from this body of death?" Is that where we're left? Or what does this miserable sin-bound creature have in common with the experience described in the previous chapter? Notice what he says in chapter : "we are dead to sin. We are free from sin.

Let not sin reign in your mortal body. Sin will not have dominion over you. What? Shall we sin? God forbid! Being made free from sin..." That's the previous chapter. So in order to take Romans 7, verse 15 on, to mean this is the ongoing experience of the Christian, you've got to do away with everything else he says in Romans. And yet, some people, they butcher their theology by getting rid of everything the Bible says about a victorious life, they embrace Paul describing his life as a pharisee - the struggle - and they say, 'yeah, this is just the normal, miserable, wretched experience of a Christian and we just have to deal with it.

' Wow, that's sad. And how could Paul, himself, harmonize this wretched state of Romans 7 with the soaring spirit of spirit-filled victory described in Romans 8? Let's go there real quick. Go to Romans 8. Now, notice what he says in verse 24 of chapter 7, Romans, chapter 7, verse 24, "o wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ..." - Then go to chapter 8, verse 1, "there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to" - what? - "the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did..." - We couldn't do it. Paul describes the condition, 'when we couldn't do it we were weak through the flesh. He says, 'what we couldn't do, Christ did. God did.' How? "By sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh," - he took my flesh - "on account of sin: he condemned sin in the flesh," - in his life - why? - "That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Now we know what the works of the flesh are, right? We just read them. We do not walk according to the flesh anymore.

God is calling us to holiness, right? This is such an important thing to understand about the law. Oh, let me just read a few more things real quick. I'm running out of time. "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." - He's already described that hopeless condition - "so then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God." You can't please him in the flesh, you can only please him in the Spirit. We need to live spirit-filled lives. "But you are not in the flesh" - I'm in verse 9 - "Romans 8, verse 9 - "but you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his." - We need to be spirit-filled Christians, friends - "and if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin" - and he that is dead is free from sin, Paul said in Romans 6 - "the body is dead because of sin" - "but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit who dwells in you.

" So yes, our mortal bodies - these carnal bodies we're trapped in - he gives us new life through his spirit. I just can keep on reading but I've got some other things in my notes here. You know what I want to do - I'm just going to have to skip a few things, forgive me if I don't get to everything. But turn with me to Romans chapter 10 - we've got to get through the title. What does it mean - it talks about the goal of the law - "for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

" What does it mean when Christ is the end of the law? The word 'end' in Greek there, is 'telos' and it's translated 'the end' and it can be - you know, you can get a terminal where it's the end of something, but it really means what completes a thing or renders it perfect - for instance, if you look in your Bible in Timothy 1:5 - now I think I gave that to somebody - right here, mike. Let's get you a microphone and we'll let you read that. What version are you going to read? New king James? Alright, good, I want you to read that in the new king James version. While he's getting ready to read that, I'm going to read the King James version. King James - 1 Timothy 1:5 - it says, "now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart" - the end of the commandment - same word - telos.

Alright, you're going to read it now in the new king James version. "Now the purpose of the commandment is love..." Wait a minute. I'm going to stop you. Mine says 'the end' - yours says what? "Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith." That word 'end' is really translated 'the object; the purpose' - so now reading Romans - "for Christ is the purpose of the law" - Christ is the object of the law. He is the essence of the law - "for righteousness to everyone who believes.

" Do not think that word 'end' there means that it is kaput - as they would say in germany - that Jesus came to do away with. That's not what it means and there are many other - let me read you one more - 1 Peter 1:9, "receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls." Is our faith supposed to be done away with? Does the word 'end' there mean 'done away with'? It's the same word - telos - and it means 'the object of your faith - the purpose of your faith' is even the salvation of your souls. That's what the word 'end' means. So the title of the lesson, 'the end of the law' - it doesn't mean 'the doing away with the law' - it means the purpose of the law is Christ. Is that clear? Alright, we're out of time but I want to encourage everybody - if you didn't catch it at the beginning please request and read this book: 'square circles and carnal Christians' - it explains these conundrums in Romans very well.

We'll send it to you free. Just call 866-788-3966 and we'll send it to you. God bless until we study God's word together again next week.

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