We are not under bondage to sin; nor are we under bondage to the Law. Can we sin freely and openly disregarding the law? No. Does forcing the observance of the law upon myself and others make me more righteous? No.
The freedom of bondage from both sin and law presents a struggle since the sinner saved by grace has been changed, that is, he has been made alive in Christ; nevertheless, he is not yet glorified. The struggle exists because it keeps us at the Cross of Christ; it presses us to trust in and depend upon the Master, leaning upon His everlasting arms. We will examine more of that reality in the articles to come through the remainder of Romans 7.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7).
The law comes from God and is perfect, good and holy. Because we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ, and because His righteousness is imputed unto us while our sin is imputed unto Him, then we may understand that the law does not convert us; that comes by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel.
The law cannot be observed and obeyed by fallen man because the law exposes our sin; and with sin exposed, we can receive the Gospel as the good news it is intended to be.
Even for those who have not studied the law, as the Jews had, when the Gospel is preached, they must ask, “Why did the God become a Man, sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth? Why did He leave His celestial glory to die upon a Roman cross?”
What do we know from what we have learned in this series of articles thus far? One of the things we have learned is that no man can meet the standard of righteousness expressed in the law.
Even if, by God’s grace, there is magnificent effort put forth on our part as redeemed men and women, and even if we were able to muster up the strength of character to perform an incredible act of worship toward God, the equipping and empowerment was still by God’s grace… AND would never come close to the absolute perfection of Christ Jesus, who never sinned, never swayed from His mission, never sank in His devotion, was never swept away from His bring pleasure to the Heavenly Father, and never sullied a thought, word, or deed upon the earth in His incarnation.
When the law of God is expressed, sin is exposed, and the Holy Spirit convicts the sinner of sin, being unable to fulfill the law in our flesh. The Spirit also convicts the sinner of righteousness; that Jesus Christ, the righteous Son, is the only One that is perfectly and sufficiently righteous to keep the Law, and thus becomes the precious and sufficient sacrifice according to God’s eternal decree. The Holy Spirit also convicts the sinner of judgment; that God’s divine justice was poured out upon Jesus Christ as the substitutionary Sacrifice, and for those who have believed upon Christ and placed their trust and dependence upon Him as Lord and Savior, they are declared by God to be justified before Him. Those who do not receive God’s gracious gift in His one and only Son, they receive the judgment of God’s holy wrath deservedly for their unrepentant sin.
Yet, if the law does not convert us in salvation, does this present a contradiction in what the Psalm declares? Not hardly. As the conversion of a soul takes place through the effectual calling of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit does use the law to convince the soul of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and since the incarnation of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, this is done most gloriously through the revelation of Christ’s righteousness. Even as it is that in Jesus Christ dwelleth the fullness of the Godhead bodily, so does Christ embody the blessed perfection of the Law of God.
The perfect law of the Lord does convert the soul of the Godless sinner. The conversion of the dead soul to that of living soul is the miraculous and transforming work of God.
When we who are saved reflect upon the perfection and holiness of God’s law in and through and by Jesus Christ, who Himself is the fulfillment, revelation, and expression of the law, conversion takes place in our souls; viz., we are being conformed, by God’s grace, to the image of Jesus Christ, being changed from glory to glory. The law in its glorious fulfillment in Christ keeps us clinging to the Cross, embracing grace, and cleaving to Christ alone because we see that the best of our righteousnesses, though saved, can never attain to the only righteous Man who ever lived perfectly, the only Jew who ever kept the law obediently, the only Prophet who ever uttered God’s truth sinlessly, and the only Son who ever wholly obeyed His Father submissively! That Man is none other than Jesus Christ.
Believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him alone for His righteousness and His sufficient sacrifice upon Calvary’s tree.
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Read the previous article in this series, “The Rule of the Law” (Romans 7:1-6).