Walk for the Cure - Have you ever walked this?
Paul would really like this walk. He’d be there, along with cheering, also he’d be preaching: said “walk for the cure” of cancer is commendable, but you who are Christians = really need to “walk for the cure” of sin, “walk in the Spirit” that’s the only real cure. Talk about this today and next week.
Remember the megathemes in Romes: CHART - sin, salvation, sanctification (growth, maturity, living the X life).
I. Died to the Law Romans 7:1-6
II. Doomed by the Law Romans 7:7-13
C. Results in death
III. Defeated by the Law Romans 7:14-25
IV. Delivered by the Spirit Romans 8:1-4
Underlying question to this chapter that is still bothering some of you Jews, “Is the believer under the law?” Already told you Romans 6:14 fuller explanation. Jewish legalism in the church, book of Acts is filled w/episodes where some Jews insisted the road to faith in Christ led through Judaism. To be a true Christian faith plus circumcision, keep Mosaic law, traditions. Paul always resisted trying to mix faith and law. As he writes to Roman believers, aware that legalism was a potential if not actual problem. In expounding the truth that believers have been freed from bondage to the Law through union w/Christ, his basic point is that the LAW is operative only for those who are alive; DEATH nullifies the effect of law, obviously law can have no authority over a dead person. Illustrate his point…
According to law, a woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive. If during his lifetime she has a sexual relationship w/another man, the Law of marriage condemns her as an adulteress, broken the law. But if her husband dies she is no longer bound by the Law of marriage, free to marry another.
This is you, applies to our union with Christ. Remember Paul has already said, thru faith we are united with Christ (Romans 6:3-5), potentially dead to sin (Romans 6:11-13). Now Paul says, we died to the Law. Just as death breaks bond between a husband/wife, so our identification with Christ’s death breaks the bond that yoked us to the law. We’ve been released from our marital union with Law and entered into a new marriage with Christ, share his name, His power, experiences, position, glory, eternal relationship. WHY has he saved us? READ Romans 7:4 bear fruit for God, not fruit that perishes, embarrassed about, but fruit that is good and pleasing to God. Speaks to our motives. We used to keep a code of rules to try to gain God’s approval, NOW that we have experienced His love, assured of His acceptance of us in Christ, we want to thank Him, show Him our love, “walk in newness of life” Romans 6:4 and serve God in the “new way of the Spirit” Romans 7:6. Have you ever really stopped and thought about your motivations? Why you do the things you do? Why do you serve at your kid’s school? Is it to minister kindness and love or so that the principal will favor your child? Why do you work in the nursery at church? To pay your dues, or to show God’s unconditional love and model what the church should be for all, even the little ones? What’s your motivation when you go to work, get through the day, or do you see yourself on the mission field, as one who carries God’s love to the world? Paul says, you’ve been released from an old way of thinking/doing to be free to love and serve God in a brand new way. Truth: because we are no longer under the authority of the law, died to it, united to Christ, the motivation of our obligations should be radically different. Our obedience to God is not like a slave fearing a master, but bride lovingly pleasing her husband. Motivated to serve God, because we love.
Paul has said through Christ’s death we are dead to sin and the Law. Does that mean the Law and Sin are the same thing? Is the Law sinful. NO. Here through the rest of the chapter we have an intimate look at the apostle Paul, picture of his spiritual autobiography. See his perspective and his own personal experience with sin. Now this section Romans 7:7-13 verbs are past tense. Caused some to believe these verses refer to Paul’s life before Christ. 4 things Paul wants us to know:
Law is not sin, law exposes sin, defines sin. Game of Tennis. Imagine you have never played, don’t know the rules, volley back/forth, you let the ball bounce more than once before returning it. No problem, no rules. Tennis pro shows us. Explains the game. Only allow ball to bounce once-bounces twice=fault. Learn the rules, there are rules that define the game, what is allowed, what is not allowed Law is like that, the law defines what God says sin is. Interesting to note the wisdom of Paul to choose the 10th commandment to illustrate his point. Differs from the other nine in that it is an inward attitude not an outward action. Insidious sin that most people never see but God’s law reveals it to our hearts. Sin of the rich young ruler Mark 10:17-27. Young man, outwardly very moral but never had faced the sin in his heart. True, never committed adultery, robbed, never given false witness, or dishonored parents, but what about covetousness? When Jesus told him to sell his goods, and give to the poor, follow Him, he went away, in great sorrow. Why? Most likely very attached to his possessions, in heart he coveted his stuff. The commandment “Thou shalt not covet” revealed his sin.
Before the law came I had freedom from an accusing conscience, false peace, law changed that. Showed me there is something in my human nature that wants to rebel whenever a law is given. Think about kids, tell a child you can jump on the trampoline outside but not on the couch, where do they want to jump? Can’t have a cookie until after dinner, but you can have a carrot, what do they want? The sign says “wet paint, don’t touch” Hermitage in St Pete, only Michaelangelo statue in museum roped off, man touches it…don’t touch makes me want to touch, roped off pews
Law cannot give life, it can only show a person that they are guilty and condemned not by the commandment but by sin. READ Romans 7:11. Sin deceived me=that’s sin’s greatest power it deceives us. We’re fooled into thinking we have life under control, when in fact it’s sin that controls us. Three ways sin deceives:
1. find satisfaction. No one ever took/did something forbidden w/out thinking this will make me happy, then to find that misery followed behind. ie friend affair, read Anna Karenina Tolstoy. 2. Excuse our sins. When sin deceives someone, endless excuses and defenses for doing the wrong thing - the one that tears my heart out is when someone says, “well God wants me to be happy, right?” as the justification for sin. Reality is God is more interested in our holiness than our happiness. You can’t use God as an excuse for sin. 3. Believe we will escape the consequences of sin. No one sins without the hope of getting away with it. Numbers 32:23 - Be sure your sins will find you out. Maybe not immediately, but eventually.
Truth: The Law of God is righteous, revealing our sin, desperate need for God’s grace to help change us.
Application: As you have studied Romans, has God revealed a sin in your life that you need to confess and put away? Has God’s Word pointed out something that makes you feel unsettled, not right? Maybe it’s the first time you really see half-truths as really whole lies? Your critical spirit is really just sin. Offering help is really Manipulation: taking control where God says hands off, let me. I don’t know your sin, we’ve all got areas God is working on in us, what have you seen that needs God’s grace and forgiveness. Process of maturing, growing up in faith = seeing sin, confessing, asking for God’s help. We are never going to be sinless, but the time between seeing our sin and our confession hopefully gets shorter because we are listening to the Holy Spirit convict us, learning what God’s word says is sin, deliberating asking Him to help remove it from our lives.
Paul now switches to present tense verbs. Perhaps this is a key to understanding the timing, the when. Before salvation, after? I wonder how you answered the challenge question this week. Who is Paul describing in these verses? I hope you had a chance to read the article, at least the conclusion. Debated for centuries. The best I understand: Paul is describing the life of a Christian ANYTIME when SELF is in control. Anytime when self is trying to be good, do the right thing, stop bad habit, anytime when you’re working in your own energy. Result: you will most likely lose the struggle with sin.
PAUL saying “Let me tell you about my own personal experiences, what happens when I try to live the Christian life on my own determination, willpower, my own strength.” READ the Message :
I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it! I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decided not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decided to do good, sin is there to trip me up.
Application: Can you relate to that? Sure you can, we all can.
Paul is outlining the scenario that is familiar to all Christians. We know the right thing to do, but find ourselves failing to do it, in fact we do the opposite. WHY? Explanation is simple, yet, profound. There dwells in us, in our flesh, a sin principle, a law of sin, persistent tendency toward sin (17.18.21) sin nature. as a Christian, we have something within that wants to do good, agrees w/law, says “Do right” at the same time there’s something inside us that rises up and says “no” even when our determination is to do right, given a set of circumstances, our determination melts away, our willpower is gone, we end up doing exactly what we don’t want to do.
This totally frustrates and stresses us out. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?
Application: Is there anyone feeling that way right now?
Paul does not leave us hanging - Romans 7:25. Thanks for what? For the wretchedness, frustration? What’s he referring to? Thanks for the truth he is leading us into in Chapter 8: Only God can deliver us from our struggles with sin. Put it another way, we cannot handle the struggle with sin on our own. Our Christian life must be defined as “God dependent, not self-dependent”. Paul says, I need help to live this new life…God is there, Jesus Christ our Lord.
These verses actually answer his question in Romans 7:24. Conclusion of his argument in 7. He has told us that the key to overcoming this struggle with sin is seeing Jesus as Lord of our lives. What does that mean? Dictionary defines “lord” as one who has power, authority over another. When the Bible says Jesus is our Lord = He came not only to save us, Savior, but also He is the Lord, authority, ruler over those who trust Him. So for Paul, this meant that Jesus was in charge of every aspect of his life, that is the solution to the dilemma in chapter 7. But how does that work out in every day life? Chapter 8.
Truth: We see Jesus as our Lord to the extent we recognize and accept the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
You don’t have to feel “condemned.” READ Romans 8:1. Therefore, because Jesus is Lord. We do not have to feel put down or insecure in our spiritual struggles. There is no sin that you’ve ever committed or ever will commit that will put you back under God’s wrath. You may feel guilty from time to time, probably the Spirit convicting you of some sin you’ve committed, like gossip about a neighbor, angry yell at kids, bad mood spills over to hurting others, you need to confess that. But you should never feel shame from God, no condemnation. Those kind of feelings are not from God, scripture tells us that is the mark of the evil one, trying to make us feel unloved by God. Don’t listen to that.
You don’t have to feel “trapped” in chapter 7. READ Romans 8:2 - NO condemnation BECAUSE…You have been “set free” from the prison cell of sin and death. Now you can walk back into that tiny cell, but the Spirit of God will keep trying to tell you, you’re free, you’re free to live the new life in Christ.
You don’t have to live in chapter 7 “according to the sinful nature”. READ Romans 8:3-4. Jesus became the “sin offering” for us so that we have eternal life with God but also so that we have power to live this life radically different. This what Paul calls living according to the Spirit…controlled by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit.
Application: Do you know what that means? The walk in the Spirit? Can you describe that? Have you experienced that?
Ie. Church in Richardson. In 1972, married 4 years, never gone to church, invited by husband’s boss, Sunday brunch, after a couple weeks, visit Sunday School class, women separate from men, small church 80, pastor 28-30 year old seminary student, old (anyone 10 years older than you is old) wife taught the women, sitting in circle, someone shared “the Holy Spirit impressed me to” …didn’t really hear the rest, someone else said “I asked the Holy Spirit to help me …” again all I hear was the Holy Spirit. That day after church, thinking and told my husband, “I think we’re in a cult”- it says “Hillcrest Baptist” – I grew up in the church, all the time, I tuned out a lot, never heard the Holy Spirit spoken of as a person who is involved in your life, I heard about don’t sin and do your Christian duty, we sang the doxology “In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.” I knew about the Trinity, but had no idea of how important the Holy Spirit is in living the Christian life. I had no clue. Wonder do you?
Walking in the Spirit is intentionally allowing the Spirit of God, Holy Spirit to live His life through you. Colossians 1:27 - To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
John 14:16 - Jesus said when I leave you I will send a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who will be with you and in you, He indwells believers. He is the one that has the power to overcome the struggles of Chapter 7 - we, alone, ourselves without His help, we never will. Walking in the Spirit, coming face to face with overcoming a sin, or fulfilling one of Jesus’ commands, saying I can’t do this, done, I can’t, BUT you can… Holy Spirit live through me the life of Jesus, help me now.
I.e., Corrie Ten Boom