Tag Archive: sin

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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My Reality: Hating Sin

“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.”Romans 7:15, 16

Preaching Christ CrucifiedLet’s begin looking at this text from the last part of Romans 7:16 first; that is, with regard to consenting to the good of the law, or rather, agreeing with the law that it is good.

The unsaved sinner doesn’t “consent with the law that it is good.”  He violently disagrees with the law and suppresses God’s truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Because the unsaved sinner hates God (Romans 1:30), he hates the law of God because it comes from God and is holy, just and good (Psalm 78:1; Romans 7:12).

Well, is this then the “carnal Christian”? Is this about the doctrine that suggests that someone is saved; yet, he still walks in open carnality and willful sin? The first part of Romans 7:16 should put that to rest, because there is recognition of conviction that the saved life doesn’t live up to the law: “If then I do that which I would not…”  In other words, the verse says, “If I do that which I do not want to do, do not wish to do, do not desire to do, I agree that the law is good because it reveals to me that I actually have sinned; that I have done wrong; that my actions were not glorifying to God; that what I has not met His holy standard in the law!” That does not sound like someone who is blissfully ignorant of sin and sin’s reproach against God.

No. Since there is recognition of sin, and that there is a struggle between the standard of the law and the weakness in the flesh, that is great evidence that such a one is saved; not as one that is unsaved or one who is walking in willful disobedience. Clearly, the first part of Romans 7:16 supports the view of a person whose will is set on doing what the law requires, but fails.

Paraphrasing Romans 7:15 we might say, “I want to please God, but I don’t.  I want to walk righteously but I fail. I want to keep from sinning but I sin despite my best efforts.”  Does that sound like the unsaved? No way. The only reason the unsaved will do “righteously” is because they are selfishly concerned with the reprisals of their sin. These are the cries of a maturing Christian, or at least of a mature Christian, such as the apostle Paul.  The mature Christian recognizes sin for what it is: an offense to God.

I didn’t stop being a human being (“carnal, sold under sin” according to Romans 7:14).  Sin continues to be a very present reality, everyday, all the time. This is why Christ’s righteousness is IMPUTED to me and my sin is IMPUTED to Him. That is reality. Yet, the power of salvation presents a dynamic truth in the life of a Christian because the Christian life is not stagnant.  It grows in grace, is strengthened in faith, and is conforming to the image of Christ for God’s glory. Therefore, sin is loathsome to me; sin is hated by me; my sin offends me because it offends my God.

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,Carnal, Sold Under Sin.”

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My Reality: Carnal, Sold under Sin

“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”Romans 7:14

Preaching Christ CrucifiedAs mentioned in the last article, there is a shift from the use of the past tense to the present tense: “…the law is spiritual… I am carnal.”  Not only do I believe that this verse is key to unlocking the truth in the verses to follow, but that the tenses used in this verse are a key to unlocking the truth in the verse itself.

It can be troubling to many to consider the words of the apostle; yet, if we think about it critically and seriously for a moment, especially in light of what we have already seen in scripture, it makes sense. First, he recaps what he has already taught concerning the law in Romans 7:1-13 by telling his readers that “the law is spiritual.” The law must be spiritual because it is “holy” (Romans 7:12); and every commandment in the law is “holy, and just, and good” because the law comes from God, who is holy, just and good; and that the law has been “ordained to life” (Romans 7:10). Therefore, although I am dead to the law and raised to newness of life in Christ, “I am carnal,” says Paul, “sold under sin.”

The controversy begins, I believe, because of the word “carnal.” The Greek word σαρχ (sarx, meaning flesh), and σαρκινος (sarkinos, meaning carnal, fleshly, flesh-like, coming from the same Greek root, sarx), may convey many things. Often we tend to think of flesh in terms of sin; yet, it has other meanings such as ethnicity or heritage (Romans 1:3).  It speaks of the body itself (Romans 2:28). Flesh may even refer to a spiritual truth, as understood by the Lord’s words the day after feeding the multitudes, “For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed” (John 6:55). The same goes for the word “carnal.” It has several meanings; and those meanings will be derived from its context. For example in Romans 8:7, we see the term “carnal mind” as being the enemy of God.

So, what is Paul speaking of when he says that he is “carnal, sold under sin”? He’s merely speaking of his depraved humanity as a descendent of sinful, disobedient Adam. Do you remember when we defined ourselves as a “living soul” at the time that we have been saved? A soul is what I am. Yet, I have a nature. You and I have a nature as human beings (I am carnal). The nature that you and I possess, however, is sinful and suffers the effects of sin: we grow old; we get sick; we have diseases; we die. Until that day when we are glorified at the return of Christ, that doesn’t go away.“I am carnal,” is Paul expressing, at that very moment in time when he is dictating his epistle to Tertius, that he has sinful flesh because he has been “sold under sin,” past tense. His present condition is a result of what has happened in the past when Adam plunged the entire human race into corruption, selling his birthright for the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden.

Romans 7 is part and parcel of the sanctification of the Christian life expressed in Romans 6-8. There is a difference between the godless reprobate of Romans 1:18-3:20 and the justified sinner saved by grace through faith of Romans 3:21-5:21.  There is, likewise, a difference between the godless reprobate of Romans 1:18-3:20 and the sinner being sanctified by God’s grace in Romans 6:1-8:39.

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,The Struggle of the Bondslave.”

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The Struggle of the Bond Slave

Preaching Christ CrucifiedAs we examined the Scriptures from Romans 6 several weeks ago, the Holy Spirit illuminated to us that we, as sinners saved by grace, are no longer under bondage to sin. In the past several lessons we have examined the Scripture portion from Romans 7:1-13, which taught us that we are not 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? Absolutely not.

The freedom of bondage from both sin and law presents a struggle since the sinner that is saved by grace has been changed, made alive in Christ; nevertheless, he is not yet glorified. The struggle exists, and must exist, because it moves us to embrace grace and not let go; to cling to the Cross of Calvary; to cleave to Jesus Christ and no one else; it presses us to trust in and depend upon the Master, leaning upon His everlasting arms.

Over these next few weeks, as we bring Romans 7 to a close, we will look at four primary points in our struggles as the Lord’s bond slave:

  1. My Reality
  2. My Wrestlings
  3. My Wretchedness
  4. My Redemption

I’m using “My” in the headings because we ought to see this as individual Christians; it needs to be personal. It must be intimate. Even in the writing of this letter, the apostle seems to treat this as a very intimate and personal matter. Not only does Paul shift from his use of “you” in Romans 6 to “we” in Romans 7:1-6, but he also shifts to “I” in Romans 7:7.  I believe that we should as well.

And having built upon what we have already learned through this tremendous epistle, I pray that we come away from this with the blessed simplicity that God intended us to have by it.  Yes, the past one hundred years has brought a controversy to the text, and the irony is that, because of what this teaches, it will be very apparent to us why the controversy exists.

In the text ahead, the apostle Paul makes a noticeable change from speaking in past tense (Romans 7:1-13) to speaking in present tense (Romans 7:14-25).  That is important to note; in fact, critical for our understanding because without recognizing that, we will not understand Romans 7:14. If we do not understand Romans 7:14, we will miss the truth of this text to follow; if we miss the truth here, our Christianity will lack life, power, and victory.

Now, there are three possible views taken concerning Romans 7:14-25:

  • One says that Paul is speaking as if he were a natural, unsaved, unregenerate man;
  • Another says that Paul is speaking of a “carnal Christian” that has not yet been brought into the glorious and victorious life of Romans 8; and finally,
  • The last view states that Paul is speaking in the present tense as a mature believer.

I believe it is the third view that is most consistent with the context of the overall and continuous flow of the letter, especially when considering all that we have learned from the preceding portions since Romans 1:1.

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,The Restrictions of the Law” (Romans 7:10-13).

DogeCoinMy Doge Address is: D8gkz1d4VNj5VcbMu6DFZ9L3jwxxLW9R5i

 

Set Free from the Power of Sin

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”Romans 6:14 

Preaching Christ CrucifiedBecause of the infinitely glorious work of Christ’s crucifixion, we have been set free from the power of sin. It does not say that we will be perfectly sinless in this life. It does not say that we will be free from temptation.  It says that sin will “not have dominion over” us; that is, it will not reign in our lives, rule over us or dominate our thoughts and actions. Yes, there are struggles with sin, and we’ll cover that in more detail when we get to Romans 7, but often, for many, a great difficulty begins with a misunderstanding between law and grace

From Exodus 20 through the Book of Leviticus, God gives us a very interesting pattern; and though there is much, much more meaning to it than we can discuss here, I just want to explain the law for Israel as simply as I can. In Exodus 20:1-17 we have The Ten Commandments, also referred to by some as “the moral law,” considered to be those moral absolutes expressed by God as the minimum standard and guide for fellowship with Himself. Immediately following those Commandments, God begins giving judgments (ordinances), which are referred to by some as “the civil law,” considered to be the ordinances and statues by which a righteous, God-fearing society should conduct itself in their dealings one with another. Then instructions for the building of the tabernacle and the garments for the priesthood are given; and after that, we are brought to the book of Leviticus, which are the instructions and requirements for the worship of God, which are referred to by some as “the ceremonial law.” 

The civil law and the ceremonial law, given unto Israel, stemmed from the moral law. The moral law (the 10 Commandments) is eternal truth as a standard for man that is always applicable. Take the first commandment, for example: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).  When was it ever acceptable to deviate from this command? The answer to that is quite simple as our previous studies in Romans has shown: Never. Yet, no descendent of Adam, including Adam himself, has ever kept this commandment perfectly, without fault or hesitation. The only person who has ever kept this commandment, as well as the entire moral law wholly, perfectly, and completely, is Jesus Christ, “who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The civil law and ceremonial laws were given to show Israel how utterly corrupt they were. The blood sacrifices of bulls and goats in the ceremonial law demonstrated how the civil law was constantly broken; thus breaking the moral law. Romans 5:20 states, “Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Immediately following the moral law, the first ordinance given in the civil law was the law of slavery among God’s people: 

“Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.”Exodus 21:1-4 

The slave, who is under bondage to another through the law, is set free in the seventh year. This is an illustration of our freedom from the power of sin through the grace of God in Jesus Christ. We are set free from the bondage of sin and death that the law brings; therefore, in Christ, sin has no more power over us; no longer rules over us; does “not have dominion over” us. In His perfect sacrifice, fulfilling every shadow and type of sacrifice from Leviticus, Christ has freed His people from the bondage of sin when He declared as God Almighty, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Those who believe and trust upon Christ’s finished work upon the cross are forgiven of sin and freed from it.

In our next article we will explore the last part of Romans 6:14 to gain an understanding of what it means to be “under grace.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT. Let us know your thoughts.

Listen to the sermon preached on this text, Romans 6:12-23,Being Made Free from Sin,” on November 15, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

Read the previous article in this series,Let Not Sin Reign” (Romans 6:12-13).

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