In chapter 7 (LISTEN TO IT HERE) Paul starts off talking about a law that has dominion…the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives… in the same way as a women is bound to her husband as long as he lives.
Remember in chapter 6, Paul was clear to help us understand in verse 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. This was death to sin but now he explains that we also died to the law. We are dead to the law as far as it represents a principle of living or a place of right standing before God. (David Guzik) This means that working for our salvation by keeping the law is not an option for us. Just like that expression of a women is bound to her husband as long as he lives. We are no longer bound to that old way called the Law, we are free to be bound to Christ.
4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.Romans 7:4-6
Paul calls this being delivered from the law – meaning we have been delivered from its dominion. It can’t justify us, it can’t sanctify us, it can’t bring us closer to God or make us holy. Basically the source of our goodness is no longer rooted in the fact that we can keep the law and be called good. The source of our ability to become good in rooted in the love of Christ and the power of the Spirit at work in us.
Paul wants us to be careful though that we dont start to think that the law itself is sin. It’s not. It is the thing that shows us what sin is. When law is laid out before us, it reveals that thing in us that desires to go against the law. That is sin. The law is the revealer of the sinful heart. It reminds me of a little story my daughter and her husband told about their youngest daughter. She saw that their guest had sparkly nail polish and she went to grab for it. Her parents said, “No,no, not for you?” and then her little hand pulled back but was scratching at the side of her pants as if to say, “but I want that!” That is what the law does, it reveals that desire in us to go against what has been given to us as right and wrong by God. This dominion of law reveals that death is on my tail and it is accelerated by the acts of sin I commit.
11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.Roamns 7:11-13
So the law itself is good! It helps us know what is right and wrong. We may even desire to do what is right instead of wrong but Pauls shares with us that those things are not the issue. The issue is the ablility to do right. We have no power to do it. The law says, “heres the rules now follow them but doesnt give us the power to perform them.”
19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.Romans 7:19-25
If you have ever tried to stop sinning – then you know how hard it is! If we try to stop in our own strength because we know its right or just because we understand this will fail. But Paul gives us a key to how to perform. How to stop doing what is against God and how to start doing what is of God. He said in verse 22, “with my inner being I delight in God’s law” not with my own strength and power. But with my inner being I delight. How do we do that – well lets go back to the beginning of this chapter. Paul said in verse 4, ” that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.“
Jesus talked about bearing fruit too – He said in John 15:4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
See, the truth is that through Jesus we have been delivered. He gave us the ability to obey God and His law. We have been set free. Yet sin continually fights us. It’s our choice to cave to it or to overcome by staying connected to the vine for that power to do what is right. We can not do it on our own.
Thanks for Listening,