ROMANS 7:24-25: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: What is a “law?” Paul talks about the law of God and the law of sin. In Romans, chapter 7, he contrasts the two and the affect they have upon our life. It is important for us to understand these principles if we are going to walk a life that is marked by victory and freedom in the Lord.
Paul here is referring to both a natural and a moral law. The definition of a such a law is,
“A body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct; an observable law relating to natural phenomena.” (Oxford Dictionary)
This means that there is a constant interaction, an unchangeable interaction between to things. To illustrate this, let’s consider the law of gravity and a stone. It is a law, if I throw the stone up in the air, the force of gravity will always pull it down to the ground. Anywhere I am on this earth, this will hold true. I must leave the earth’s atmosphere for this law to be nullified.
In Romans chapter 7 Paul is not speaking of an unregenerate individual. He is speaking of himself. He is writing about the struggle between the old nature and the born again nature. In Romans chapter 6 Paul told us that we needed to consider our old nature dead indeed unto sin. However, this is easier to say than it is to do. We all find ourselves in this struggle.
- “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” Romans 7:19 NKJV
When we find ourselves in this struggle we wonder what is wrong. Am I truly saved? Why am I still struggling with this area in my life? Is there any hope? Our struggle is because we forget the truth about the law of God and the law of sin.
The law of God is a constant. The truths and principles of God’s Word never change, because God never changes. The law was given as the light of life, but it became a pathway of death because of our sin. This was not the fault of God’s law. God’s law is perfect, holy, and true!
- “And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” Romans 7:10-12 NKJV
Notice the contrast. Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived Paul and it proved to be death. Yet, the law of God remained holy, just, and good. It is our sin nature that fails when it confronts the perfect law of God.
This leads us to the law of sin. This is where I struggled and failed for so many years. I still struggle, but now I struggle with understanding. Many will recoil at this next statement, but it is true. My old nature will never desire the law of God. It does not matter whether I have been a Christian all my life, read the Bible through hundreds of times, or served in the ministry. My old nature will always be opposed to the law of God and pulled by the law of sin and death. This is why Paul cried out,
- “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
Now, if Paul stopped here it would be a very miserable truth. If we were nothing but a wretched man, there would be no hope of walking in a growing victory over sin and abiding in the peace of God. Yet, Paul does not stop here – he proclaims,
- “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Paul knew that his only victory was in Jesus Christ. It was not in his human effort, or his ability to follow the law perfectly. And, Paul knew that even though he had complete victory in Jesus Christ, this victory did not nullify either the law of God, or the law of sin.
- “So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
The original Pauline letters were not written with chapter and verse. These were added later. Paul’s thought does not stop here, but it proceeds into the opening verses of chapter 8. It is in these verses that we discover his hope and source of victory!
- “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4 NKJV
Let’s break this down. God’s law is holy, just, and good. Our old nature is always defeated by the law of sin. Our born-again spirit desires the law of God, but is engaged in a battle with our flesh, our old sinful nature. We cannot win this battle through our own human effort. Like the rock and the law of gravity, the only way we can overcome the law of sin is if we can rise above our current situation. And, we rise above the law of sin as we begin to walk after a new law – the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus!
It is only when we begin to walk after the Spirit of God that we find the power and ability to walk in the law of God. The cross is the death and answer to the old man. The Spirit is the power and answer to the new man. And, as we walk in the Spirit, something wonderful happens!
- “He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
As we consider our old nature dead indeed unto Christ, we desire to follow God in our spirit. And, as we renew our mind with the Word of God, we begin to walk after the leading of the Holy Spirit. As we do this, we experience the wonder of flight. We rise above the wretchedness of our old sinful nature and are lifted by His Spirit and His glory. What the flesh never could do, we begin to experience naturally in our lives through the Spirit of God!
Our old nature will never change. It needs to remain dead and buried through the cross of Jesus Christ. If we think that we could never fall again in sin, we are simply deceiving ourselves. As surely as the rock will plummet to the ground, so we will find ourselves in sin if we begin to follow the lead of our old man.
We must rise up daily in newness of life and walk moment by moment after the Spirit of God. When we do – we will soar! Soar into His victory! Abide in His peace!
Lord, this morning, help me to soar!
In Jesus Name!