All Scripture verses are taken from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted.
When I sin or when you sin; who is to blame? Some might say “The Devil made me do it!!” Another will say, “Sin living in me caused me to sin!!” However, I argue that I have no one to blame but ‘me.’ Only I am responsible for my rebellion against God; ole Slewfoot is not responsible and sin living in me is not responsible only I am responsible for whatever sin is present. At this moment in time the Holy Spirit living in me has fully convinced me of my sin, His judgment upon that sin He defeated at Calvary and His righteousness which results after I have confessed and repented of what I have done!! No, sin does not reside in my life, Jesus Christ in the Person of the Holy Spirit lives in my heart.
A few days ago I commented on Paul’s statement in Romans 7:14-25 in which the Apostle addresses that which lives inside of him. I did not ‘unpack’ these verses in my previous post, but will do so here; phrase by phrase. Some address the verb tenses because there is a change from present to past tense and vice-versa, and I will not do that here. The verb tenses are not at issue, the subject matter is. Here we go: We will be looking at Romans 7:1-25.
Paul uses the illustration of marriage from vv 1-3 in an effort to clearly demonstrate what he is about to address. The marriage relationship is bound by God and cannot be undone by the man or the woman for this bond is in God alone and only death can abolish that bond. To break this bond apart from death is to sin against Him. Paul begins verse 4 with the word ‘therefore’ which signals a continuation of his thought.
Released from the Law of bondage; Freedom in the Holy Spirit
“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” verse 4. The Law of God consists of 613 distinct laws found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and these laws are there to give instruction in the righteousness of God. However, these were very burdensome to the Hebrew people and God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to become our Savior and Lord, and to set us free from the bondage of the Law. At the moment that one expresses faith in Jesus Christ that person dies ‘to the Law through the body of Christ,’ and by grace through faith in Jesus, this person and Christ are ‘joined to one another’ because of His resurrection “not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:9-10. Two become One in His Spirit by grace through faith.
“For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:5-6. This is self-explanatory. We are not able to walk in the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Before meeting or repentance and expressing faith in Jesus Christ everyone is living in sin, bound by the Law which sheds light upon sin. “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” verse 7. Apart from Christ, all that a person can accomplish is a result of sinful desires centered upon satisfying self.
“But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” vv. 8-12.
There are 2 operative phrases in these verses:
“but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;” and “So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.”
These phrases are the ‘Tales of Two Cities’ which are in direct opposition to one another. One of them produces death and evil and the other produces holiness and righteousness. The person living under the Law must make choices by what might be called situation ethics, “that which pleases me or fulfills the Law,” kind of decision. One decision pleases God and the other brings His discipline. Notice that sin is actively involved here and this sin alive in the life of those who are attempting to live according to the Laws of God. The Adamic nature is alive and well.
Bondage through the Law of God
“Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.” verse 13. Satan is the cause of evil effecting spiritual death through deception by working in the Law of God. The Devil is very skillful at twisting lies to seem true just as he told Eve, “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5.
“For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.” verse 14. Before Christ died on the Cross and His Resurrection from the dead, spiritual sin and death reigned in the heart of man. Effectively there was no hope for eternity with God even though His Law is spiritual, good and determined for the righteousness of man if he could keep it, but he could not because of the evil living within. Human nature spelled death because of the bondage to sin.
What we know is “that the Law is spiritual” and Jesus is Lord.