Tag Archive: grace

My Wrestlings: I Find a Law

“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

Preaching-Christ-CrucifiedThe 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.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.

Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 7:14-25,O Wretched Man!,” on December 6, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

Read the previous article in this series, from Romans 7:19-20,My Wrestlings: Accountable, Not Condemned.”

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My Reality: Hating My Actions

“Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”Romans 7:17, 18

Preaching Christ CrucifiedThis is a truth that reminds us that we must not forget from where it was we came, and also with what we have been previously taught. Although I am dead to the law and resurrected unto Christ, the law is unchanging as a standard of God, which is made even more visible and apparent through the perfect obedience and righteousness of Christ, wherein the law has been fulfilled. As my saved soul has been declared justified, having my sins imputed to Christ as the perfect sacrifice for sins, and having Christ’s righteousness accounted to me, I still have mortal flesh because I amsold under sin” (Romans 7:14, remember— present tense). Understanding this, the apostle reminds you and I, “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”

Does that remove my culpability before God, my accountability with God, and responsibility to God? No. In fact, the use of the first person pronoun indicates quite the contrary; Paul does not want to remove from himself the responsibility, accountability or culpability. Furthermore, he absolutely cannot and neither can I; nor can any one who is saved by God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

Although I have been “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood” (Romans 3:24, 25), and have been “buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,” I should also “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), so that I should no longer obey the sinful lusts of the flesh (Romans 6:12): and although I desire to walk pleasing to God (Romans 7:18), I fail miserably to even keep the least of His commandments (Romans 7:15-20). Why?

The reason why is because the righteousness of the law, which is revealed through Christ, fulfilled by Christ, and exemplified in Christ, can never be completely attained by me because of the soiled corruptions of my flesh, because of my mortal person as a descendent of fallen Adam. Through the illumination of the holy Son of God in human flesh, in His utter perfection as a man, even my humility is full of pride compared with His. Though I believe that no man is deserving of the least of God’s attentions or the smallest kindness in His affections, and that every man is deserving of only eternal death because “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23); and yet, having become a recipient of God’s grace, that truth should humble me to the dust, for I can do nothing to attain or maintain the humility of Christ.

Does this truth leave me in despair? It will not, as we will find as we continue through the scriptures presented in this blessed letter. Yet, alerting us to this truth, it will make the reality of clinging to the Cross, embracing grace, and cleaving to Christ a more firm foundation in the truths of scripture by the grace and mercy of God’s Spirit….

The apostle expresses his inability to act righteously in verse 18, “how to perform that which is good I find not,” as an obvious truth because he has just explained in verse 17 and previously that his own performance is sinful, “sin dwelleth in me.” As our righteousness rests wholly upon the holy, imputed righteousness of Christ, the good works that spring forth in actuality, must spring forth from gospel truth, by gospel grace, through gospel faith. The truth of this reality actually exalts and magnifies the Lord Jesus Christ while amplifying God’s grace. This truth will enfold more and more through this epistle.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.

Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 7:14-25,O Wretched Man!,” on December 6, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

Read the previous article in this series,My Reality: Hating Sin.”

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The Cords of Eternal Love

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” —Mark 16:9

Young Charles SpurgeonShe is described in the text as “Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” Sovereign grace is resplendent in Mary’s history; in the first place, because this cure was unsought by her. Others who were sick sought the healing hand of Jesus, but no person possessed of an evil spirit ever did or ever could cry for deliverance to the Son of David: their friends might bring them, but they never came of themselves. The evil spirit drives men as far as possible away from Christ, and clamours against Jesus us a tormentor; but it never guides men into the pathway of the merciful Saviour. Even thus is it with us all, and especially with desponding souls. If we are saved, it is not because we have the first motions of desire towards Christ, but because eternal love casts its cords around us, and draws us towards the Lord Jesus.

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) from a sermon delivered on Sunday, January 26, 1868 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington he Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 14 Sermon No. 792, “Mary Magdalene”

Tendency toward Extremes

Preaching Christ CrucifiedThough we have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we are not all-powerful spiritual supermen. This new life is called a new birth (“born-again”) because the new creature in Christ is a spiritual babe. As infants we must mature, learn to crawl as babes, waddle as toddlers, and walk as children, before we can ever learn to run, and specifically as one running in a race.  As we grow we have a tendency toward one extreme or another.

Grace is an eternal truth that carries with it all the power of heaven, so when we are delivered from the bondage of sin and death through Jesus Christ, justification by faith may be exhilarating to our souls because of truth’s freedom, and thus we may have a tendency toward licentiousness; that is, treating grace as if it were a license to sin.  Romans 6:1-23 confronts that very issue: “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue to sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid” (Romans 6:1, 2).

When the Holy Spirit reveals that tendency of license to us, we may tend to offset that extreme with legalism; that is, treating grace as if it must be maintained by certain works from the laws and ordinances of the Bible. The apostle Paul addresses this in Romans 7:1-25.

Pharisaical and popish religion carries legalism to an even greater extreme by adding traditions to Biblical law, and calling that grace! Those man-generated traditions are certainly not graces as blessings from heaven, neither is it grace that bestows salvation from God. Any legalism perverts grace, and pharisaical or popish traditions, especially, deny the truth of justification by faith alone (sola fide).

“Christian” cults carry legalism even further than the Pharisees or the Popes by removing grace altogether and imposing unbiblical rules and regulations upon its subjects in order to be justified in themselves, by themselves.

Therefore, as we read through Romans 7 we will recognize that not only does a struggle exist for the soul saved by grace, but moreover, this struggle must exist between flesh and spirit, and between license and legalism, for it is in that struggle we face daily that keeps us ever clinging to the truth of Cross of Jesus Christ.

In the next several doctrinal articles we will examine three main points from Romans 7:1-13.

1.         The RULE of the Law. 2.         The ROLE of the Law. 3.         The RESTRICTIONS of the Law.

It may be more functional or helpful to view them this way:

1.         The Law’s AUTHORITY. 2.         The Law’s UTILITY. 3.         The Law’s INABILITY.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.

Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 7:1-13,Freed from the Bondage of the Law,” on November 29, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

Read the previous article in this series,Set Forth to Bear Fruit for God’s Glory” (Romans 6:21-23).

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No Small Stir

“Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.”Acts 12:18 

MeditationsWhen the Lord is working in and through those He has saved through His marvelous grace, there will be evidence of His handiwork among the unsaved that are watching. Certainly, the soldiers witnessed God’s direct intervention into the life and circumstances of Peter as he was imprisoned by Herod. Yet, what continues to happen today, with greater significance than the divine disappearance of Peter from the prison, is the divine transformation that God works in the lives of His people; the evidence of His workmanship, conforming His children into the image of His beloved Son. Unbelievers may not like it (John 15:18); and they certainly won’t understand it (1 Corinthians 2:14); but, yes, there will be “no small stir among” those watching the Christian to whom God’s mighty hand rests. 

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”Romans 12:2

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