“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:” —Romans 7:21, 22
The word “law” in Romans 7:21-23 presents many facets and dimensions of God’s law as it pertains to the sinner saved by grace. Because we are “dead to the law” (Romans 7:4) as Christian disciples, some may want to refer to the “law” as simply principles of truth. It would not be wrong to define “law” in this way, as principles of truth, for so they are; yet, they are also more than that.
As the apostle describes it of himself, I can also look at this struggle within my own Christian life through this warfare within me, as God continues a sanctifying work within me because of this experience. As I am declared holy, immediately sanctified when I am justified by God’s grace at the moment of salvation, I am also growing in that grace by experience as the revelation of this truth is manifested in my daily life.
“I find then a law” that is far greater than the 613 commandments that were codified in the Hebrew Torah given by God to Israel through His servant Moses. I find a law that expresses the blessed holiness of God in His entire revelation of Himself from Genesis to Revelation, because it “was ordained to life” (Romans 7:10). I find a law that is “holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12) because it came from God. I find a law that manifests the righteousness of God in His holy justice, which condemns every descendent of Adam (Romans 3:19); yet, I also find a law that expresses the beauty and excellence of God’s righteousness set forth in its utter and complete fulfillment in and through and by Jesus Christ (Romans 3:25-26). Therefore, though I am “dead to the law” through Christ’s atoning death (Romans 7:4), and because I have been “raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father” (Romans 6:4), I find a law that, being fulfilled in Christ, reaches into the depths of my being; a law that is found in every line and every precept of holy writ; a law that “is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). It is a law that I find that is so lofty, so holy, and so indescribably pure because it has its entire fulfillment in Jesus Christ, I cannot possibly attain to the least of its commandments; that is, “when I would do good,” when I desire to do what is right and well-pleasing before Jehovah God, I find “evil is present with me.”
I find the Word of God, a law, and see it for what it is: the revelation of Jesus Christ, in all His divine glory as God, all His righteous humanity as the pure and perfect Man, and in all the excellence and supremacy of His holy sacrifice, which reconciles me to God by grace alone. Because of Christ I find God’s law to be even holier than ever I thought it before; therefore, I recognize that even in my desire to please my holy heavenly Father, there are areas in my life that still contain corruption; areas that are still stained with sin, that are still infected with iniquity.
Therefore, though I cannot keep the law in the perfection and holiness that is required by the law, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Romans 7:22). Why? The reason why, as mentioned above, is that I find a law that is now written on the fleshly tables of my heart (Jeremiah 33:31; Ezekiel 36:26-27), that expresses to me more fully the glory, the beauty, the majesty, the splendor, and the excellence of Christ, who fulfilled the law. I delight in God’s law according to my inner being because the law, in its fulfillment by Christ, allows me to see more of the majesty and eternal excellence of Christ Jesus, my Lord.
Again, this truth should drive me, even more earnestly, to desire to embrace God’s grace, to surrender daily to His mercy, to trust continually in Him, to cling to that old rugged cross, and to cleave to Christ alone as my Savior, my Lord, my King, my All and my Everything.
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Read the previous article in this series, from Romans 7:19-20, “My Wrestlings: Accountable, Not Condemned.”