ROMANS 7:21-25: “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: What is a “law”? One definition is as follows – “…a statement of an order or relation of phenomena that so far as is known is invariable under the given conditions.” (Webster) Gravity is such a law.” What comes up – must come down. While on this earth you cannot escape the law of gravity. Like gravity, Paul sees a constant in the human experience – “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” This is a dilemma that we all face.
This is not a new dilemma. In the book of Genesis we read – “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7 ESV) Therefore, it should not be a surprise to us when we constantly face temptation around every corner. Evil is always lying close at hand. This is a war that we cannot escape. This is a battle that we cannot avoid.
Is this battle hopeless? Paul confesses that in his spirit (inner being) he delights in the law of God, but in his flesh (sinful nature) there is always a pull to the law of sin. What are we to make of this. Do we simply throw our hands up and give in? If this is true, who can win this battle? Paul shares this frustration and cries out – “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of death?”
If this is where the story ends, we are of all men most miserable. It would have been better to have never known the truth then to know the truth and awaken this battle within – only to lose it over and over again. This would truly be a wretched state. But this is not where the story ends. We have Hope! We have a Victor! We have a Savior! Paul cries out again – “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” It is Jesus who can break this cycle of sin. It is Jesus who can overcome the “law of sin” – through an even greater law – the “law of the Spirit of life”! It is not through our self-effort that we overcome sin, but it is through the indwelling and transforming power of the Holy Spirit! It is through the “law of the Spirit of life” in Christ Jesus!
We must never forget this foundational truth. With our “new man” we naturally desire the law of God. Yet, with our “old man” we will always desire the law of sin. Our old man never changes. It is not rehabilitated as we walk with Christ. It has been crucified with Christ, dead and buried. If we daily go to the tomb and reckon it to be dead, choosing to follow the “law of the Spirit of life” in Christ Jesus – we will live and follow the law of God. If we exhume our “old man” (diggin up bones), dust it off, and give it a spin – we will find ourselves once again following the law of sin. This is a “law”, a constant. There is only one solution for our old sinful nature – keep it in the grave!
Lord, thank you for uniting me with You in Your death to sin. Through Your Cross I have died to my old way of living. Through being united with You in Your death and resurrection You have broken the power of sin and death that used to control me. Lord Jesus, You have given me a new heart, a new life, and filled me with power through Your Holy Spirit. Teach me each day to walk according to this new way of living – according to the “law of the Spirit of life” in Christ Jesus! (Read Romans 8!)
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” In Jesus Name!