“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.” —Romans 7:23
Let’ us first remind ourselves how we opened our last article, in “My Wrestlings: I Find a Law”…
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 “law” as merely 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.
I perceive a different law in my members. “Another law” is translated from the Greek words ετερον νομον (heteron nomon), meaning “different law.” Does this mean that God has given another or a different law than that which is understood in scripture? No, I suggest that what Paul sees as a disciple of Christ, and what you and I should perceive, is a different dimension of the law, because now, in Christ, the statutes of God have been put in our inward parts, written in the new hearts given us by God’s grace (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26-27). So, what is this different law in my members?
Knowledge of the law, apart from Christ and outside of His free grace, seemed merely a system of do’s and don’ts. After Christ fulfilled the law both actively and passively, I not only see the law as something I cannot keep in perfect righteousness as a sinner separated from Christ (Romans 7:9-10), but the depth of the truth of corruptions that still remain in me grows in my awareness. I see; that is, I perceive the law in a different way, as if it were a different law. That which is in my members has a willingness to freely choose to act according to God’s will and good pleasure or act independent of God’s will and good pleasure. Just as Adam had that freedom through his created innocence in the Garden of Eden, we also have that freedom as those redeemed by Christ. Yet, there is a difference; for we were born naturally as descendents of fallen Adam, and as “we are carnal, sold under sin” (Romans 7:14), I will have a greater willingness to willfully move in a direction to sin against God in my members, “warring against the law of my mind.”
“The law of my mind” is that truth of the law that I do have a new heart and new spirit. My mind, which is the seat of my decisions and the source of my will, is renewed by the washing and cleansing of the Word of God through the law of Redemption (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23; Titus 3:5).
This different law in my members is “the law of sin” that, if I am not submissive to the grace of God in Christ Jesus, cleaving to Him alone for mercy in time of need, which will bring “me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members;” that is, arrest me to commit sin because I still possess an earthly humanity in a body of flesh, and that I have not been made immediately sinless in perfection, nor will I ever attain sinless perfection in this body: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12).
This is why we are taught in scripture, that though the flesh has been crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:2; Galatians 5:24), we must still kill (mortify) our flesh (Colossians 3:5).
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Read the previous article in this series, from Romans 7:21-22, “My Wrestlings: I Find a Law.”