1Know you not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2For the woman which has an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. 7What 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, You shall not covet. 8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But 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. 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
This chapter is a little bit difficult to understand, not least because it seems to be out of order. Some might be tempted to think that it should really be around chapter two or three, with the bad news. However, it comes at the point where one has made the choice to serve God and righteousness and to cease from sinning. But the question is, Can we|? Living the Christian life is a bit like Jesus walking on the water. It is a miraculous walk. Of ourselves, that is in the flesh, we cannot do it. Our nature sins just like iron sinks. The sea could be likened in some ways to sin. Everyone sinks in it, no-one has conquered it. And significantly Revelation tells us that there is no sea in heaven, only rivers. Only Jesus walked on water. Being a Christian is as supernatural as that. So if you think you can walk on water,
Here is a gale warning!
You couldn’t stop sinning before you became a Christian, so what makes you think you can do it now. It’s not like giving up cigarettes or drink you know. It’s a bit more impossible. You overcome sin in your life only by faith and the power of the new Spirit in you. That Spirit starts at your new birth as a baby and has to grow by being, fed, breathing fresh air and being free to exercise. So may be at first you won’t be too strong, but that does not stop you being alive and God smiling on you with great pleasure, as his new baby. He delights as you chuckle in prayer and gurgle your first ‘‘Dadda’’. (Abba) However during that growth, the Spirit will teach you two things.
1. How Holy and wonderful the Lord Jesus is.
2. How unholy and worthless you are without Him
Perhaps when you were unsaved, you thought you were quite a good person. Even when you came to the Lord for salvation you may have thought that you only needed a wash and brush up, or a dust down, to fit you for God. But that is not true. There is not an ounce of good in you, as God counts goodness, and you have the potential, given the circumstances and the environment to commit all the sins in the book, and even those hideous things you may have once read in the Sunday papers. At first you may not think this is true, but God wants to show you that you really did cost ‘the earth’, or rather ‘the heaven’, (for God sent his richest treasure from heaven) to save you. You were really that bad and hopeless.
Because you now have a ‘‘holy’’ Spirit in you, you will become far more sensitive to things which are wrong. Many things you never ever thought were even questionable may now give you an uneasy feeling within. Consequently it is quite on the cards, yea probable, that you will be conscious of more sin after you become a Christian, than before. We soon get the feeling that anything in us that is unlike Christ is sin.
So what the Holy Spirit will do now when you sin, is to use your sin as a black board upon which he teaches you how clean and holy the life of Jesus is - The life you have by faith. It is impossible to see more and more of the righteousness and beauty of the character of Christ, as you get to know Him, and not at the same time see the utterly awful state of your own nature. So how should you cope when the Holy Spirit, opens your eyes to the comparison in whiteness between the righteousness of Jesus and the very grubby ‘‘whiteness ’’ of your own righteousness? There is every possibility that you will get quite depressed because you may start thinking that you cannot keep up to the standard you know that the Holy Spirit expects. Such thoughts come because you have forgotten who is in you and you are looking at yourself, and realising just how sinful you are in the flesh.
The aspirations which you have to please God are excellent and the power to do so will surely come in time not by your power but by the power of the Spirit. Under this new agreement you are a child of God by ‘‘being’’ rather than ‘‘doing”. Do not let your inability to keep the Law, get you down.
The hymn writer wrote that as I stand before the cross, “ Two wonders I confess, The wonder of His matchless love, and my own worthlessness.
In light of these things we can progress to understand a bit more of what Romans ch 7 really teaches us.
Romans chapter seven seems to be a very depressing chapter in the Christian experience. It is however almost inevitable, because we start our christian life with such enthusiasm and full of new life zest. Then when that initial newness has worn a little we try to live the christian life in much the same way as we have tackled any task in the past. We try our hardest.
However, no matter how hard you try under your own steam, which the bible calls “the flesh”, you will never succeed. You will set yourself goals, take note of what you see and feel, and draw your conclusions accordingly. So that when you sin, you will feel an utter failure. “O wretched man that I am” cries this great apostle Paul. So if he did the things he shouldn’t do and didn’t do the things he should have done- will it not be the same for you.
Will you ever live without sinning?
Answer; as long as the Law exists you will always fall short of its standard.
What you have to remember is that you are dead to the Law and married to Christ. Don’t live in the flesh, judging yourself to be righteous by what you know, see and feel. Live in the spirit, by faith. Take God at His word. Why condemn yourself? God doesn’t - He justifies you. Jesus doesn’t – He died for you!
Dying for a change.
To illustrate, let us suppose that the lady in the picture is married to a nit picking, nagging, fault-finding husband, who was impossible to please. That is like living under the law. You will never please it. The lady wants to marry that lovely man down the road who loves her, thinks she is wonderful and expects little from her.
How can she do it? Only if her husband dies, can she legally marry the nice chap. Her present happiness depends on whether she feels she is pleasing her husband or not. But she is never happy because she can never please the one she’s got, for he has too high a standard. The Law will never give you that pleasure either, you will never be happy trying to please the Law. You will never do it.
The bad news is that the Law cannot die, it is eternal. But if the Law,
is the husband and he cannot die, what you have to remember is that you have died and you also have eternal life. For you are now dead to the Law and married to Christ who finds no fault in you, whatsoever. Nor is there anyone who can accuse you justly before God. (See end of chapter 8.) So do not misjudge the work of the Holy Spirit. When He shows you your sin, it is not to condemn you, on the contrary it is to point you to your wonderful cleanness you have in Christ, and to make you dependent on it by faith. The more He works in you the more you will see your real self for what it is and the more you should rejoice in what you have by faith. (and can only obtain by faith.).
There is a difference between the work of the Lord Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit.
The work of Jesus has finished and the debt is paid. You have been justly counted righteous before God. But the work of the Holy Spirit is to help you in the battle between the flesh and the spirit, your old nature and the new nature. Often times the Holy Spirit will convict you and you will feel quite sore over something you have thought, said or done. Please mark the difference between Conviction and Condemnation. The latter brings death, through the Law, for it is the Law that condemns us. But Jesus took our condemnation so there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, but there will be Conviction from the Holy Spirit within us.
In the days when children used to play Cowboys and Indians, they usually fell out when one participant who had been “shot”, refused to be ‘‘dead.’’ So remember, when the scriptures tell you, “you’re dead”, be dead and stay ‘‘dead’’ (Col.3:3.)
Let's go a little deeper:
Having forewarned you about the difficulty of understanding this chapter as a new born child of God, lets try to understand something of the deeper meanings in this chapter.
The first profound truth we should discover is that chapter 7 joins the last verse in chapter 6, to the first verse in chapter 8. How profound is that? However if you or any other christian, were to try to join these two verses I don’t think either would come up with anything remotely like chapter 7.
In understanding the bible, one of the fundamental exercises is to try to grasp the thoughts process in the mind of the writer, when he had the blank piece of papyrus in front of Him.
Such is the case here, if we are to understand Romans chapter 7.
The last verse in Romans ch 6 says “The wages of sin is death”
Let's consider that for a moment.
When the Bible speaks about “LIFE” is referring to living in the world that God inhabits, and to enjoy His presence, where there is fullness of Joy and Life for evermore.”