Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Victory in Christ - Part 11

This is the next installment of a series I am writing concerning what Romans 6-8 teaches about our sin problem and God's plan for victory. To find previous installments do a search for the title: Victory In Christ. You can find the first installment here.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

The problem is that the law is a spiritual thing, but I am a carnal or fleshly being in my natural state. Because of that fact, sin has an advantage in me when the law is brought into contact with my carnal nature. Paul shows how the frustration of this worked its way out in his life. I'm sure that you as well as myself have faced a similar struggle. The things I want to do to be obedient to God, I don't seem to be able to do. The things that I know I should avoid, those things I end up doing. Why is that?

He makes several points here that are important. First he says we are sold under sin. In our minds we agree with the law that it is good. But then Paul does something interesting in his analysis of this problem. He separates himself from “sin” that dwells in him. He says, “It is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” He says this twice. The real Paul wants to do right, but sin is right there to overcome that good desire. The frustration then is how can I perform what is good? How can I overcome this power that sin has in my life? Is he passing the buck, trying to evade responsibility for sinning? No, but as he analyzes how this works, he realizes that there is a sin problem at the core of his being that needs to be dealt with and overcome somehow.

Principle 14: It is not me but sin in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 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.

Principle 15: There is a war between me and the sin in my members.

So he ends the chapter by coming to several conclusions, laws, or principles. First, when I want to do good, evil is right there present with me. 2) There is a law or principle in the members of my body warring against the principle or law of my mind. 3) This brings me into captivity to the law of sin. Later he will describe this as the law of sin and death. It's the law that works death because of sin taking place in our lives. It's a cause and effect principle. Sin works death in us. This state of affairs for Paul and for many of us is the sense of wretchedness because we want so much to have victory, but yet the sin and the flesh seem to have so much sway over us. It makes us almost spiritually schizophrenic because with our mind we desire to do the right thing, but our body or flesh does not cooperate. This discord makes us miserable. Who will deliver us? Our answer should be the same as Paul's, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Principle 16: God through Jesus Christ is our deliverer.

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