Monday, October 21, 2013

Romans Chapter 7 Part One

Romans 7:1-3

Conflict in sanctification
It is one thing for a believer to understand that his identification with Jesus Christ means that he has died to sin (Rom_6:2) and to count or reckon that to be true (Rom_6:11). But it is something else for him to deal with the sin nature that remains within and its efforts to express itself in his thoughts and actions. This is the internal conflict in the area of sanctification that every believer faces.

The Believer And The Law
Rom_7:1-6 relate to Rom_6:14, the intervening verses (Rom_6:15-23) being a digression raised by the question in Rom_6:15. The statement that a believer identified with Jesus Christ in His death is no-longer “under Law” (Rom_6:14) should not have surprised Paul’s readers because they were men who know the Law. This statement should not be restricted to Jewish believers in the church at Rome because Gentiles also knew the principle that the Law has authority (kyrieuei, “rules as lord”; cf. Rom_6:9, Rom_6:14) over a man only as long as he lives. We see here, that Paul is speaking to his Hebrew brethren who knew the Law of Moses. A man was required to keep the law all the days of his life.
No matter how serious a criminal’s offenses may be, he is no longer subject to prosecution and punishment after he dies.
This is a self-evident truth, which Paul then illustrated by marriage. A married woman (lit., “the under-a-man woman”) is bound (perf. tense, “has been bound and stands bound”) to her husband as long as he is alive. But if her husband dies (in Gr., a third-class condition indicating a real possibility) she is released (perf. tense, “has been and stands discharged”) from the law of marriage (lit., “from the law of the man”). In verses 2 and 3 we see that these two verses are not a complex allegory, but a simple analogy, using marriage law to illustrate the point Paul just made about law’s jurisdiction. This passage is not teaching that only the death of a spouse frees a Christian to remarry; it is not teaching about divorce and remarriage at all. Both Christ and Paul have fully addressed those issues elsewhere.
She is bound to him by marriage as her husband while he lives, and obviously his death frees her from that marriage.
Then Paul continued the illustration, pointing out that if a wife marries (lit., “if she comes to”) another man while her husband is still alive she is called (future tense, “shall be publicly known as”) an adulteress. Conversely, on the death of her husband she is free from that marriage (cf. Rom_7:2). So she is not an adulteress if she marries (lit., “even though she comes to”) another man. The law that governs a married woman’s actions no longer has any jurisdiction over her once her husband dies. Widows are free to marry again, and Paul even encourages younger ones to remarry as long as their potential mate is a believer. (1 Cor. 7 3:9 and 1 Tim. 5:14)
Here, again, we see that husbands and wives are one flesh until one is taken in death. The obligation is to the flesh (not the spirit
 A widow who marries again is not guilty of adultery. 

Romans 7:4-6

In these verses Paul applied his illustration of marriage to a believer and the Law. He said, You also died (lit., “you were put to death,” as was true of Jesus) to the Law. Just as a believer “died to sin” (Rom_6:2) and so is “set free from sin” (Rom_6:18, Rom_6:22), so he also died to the Law and is separated and set free from it (Rom_6:14; cf. Gal_2:19). As a wife is no longer married to her husband when he dies, so a Christian is no longer under the Law. This separation was through the body of Christ, that is, because of Christ’s death on the cross.
As a result Christians belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead (cf. Rom_6:4, Rom_6:9). This One of course is the Lord Jesus Christ. In a sense believers are united to Him as His bride (Eph_5:25). God’s purpose in all this is in order that we might bear fruit to God (cf. Rom_6:22; Gal_5:22-23; Php_1:11). In response to faith in His Son, God makes the believing sinner forever dead to the condemnation and penalty of the law.
Just as the widow in Paul’s analogy was freed to remarry, the believer has been freed from his hostile relationship to the law that condemned him, and can therefore, be remarried – this time to Christ.
“Bring forth fruit unto God” is a transformed life that manifests new attitudes and actions.
Only a person who is spiritually alive can bear spiritual fruit, that is, holy living (cf. Joh_15:4-5). A person who is married to Christ can bear spiritual progeny. Paul moved from the second person plural (you) to the first person plural (we), including himself along with his readers.
The apostle continued, For when we were controlled by the sinful nature (lit., “For when we were in the flesh”; sarx often means sin nature; cf. Rom_7:18, Rom_7:25) the sinful passions aroused by the Law were at work in our bodies. Scripture uses the word “flesh” in a non moral sense to describe man’s physical being, and in a moral evil sense to describe man’s unredeemed humanness, that remnant of the old man which will remain with each believer until each receives his or her glorified body.
Flesh here describes a person who is able to operate only in the sphere of fallen mankind.
The “Motions of sins” is referring to the overwhelming impulses to think and do evil, which characterize those who are “in the flesh”.
The sinful passions at work in an unbeliever product a harvest of eternal death.
This describes a believer before he was saved (cf. Rom_6:19). The Law by its prohibitions aroused sinful passions, as explained in Rom_7:7-13. In that sense unsaved Gentiles were “under” the Law. Consequently their progeny was not “fruit to God” (Rom_7:4) but fruit for death. Sin, Paul repeatedly affirmed, leads to death (Rom_5:15, Rom_5:17, Rom_5:21; Rom_6:16, Rom_6:21, Rom_6:23; Rom_7:10-11, Rom_7:13; Rom_8:2, Rom_8:6, Rom_8:10, Rom_8:13).
But now, being identified with Christ, believers are dead to the Law. Like a widow released from marital obligations, so believers are released from the Law and its arousal to sin. The purpose of this release “from the Law” is so that they may serve (a better rendering is “be slaves”; cf. “slave[s]” in Rom_6:6, Rom_6:16 [thrice], Rom_6:17-18, Rom_6:20, Rom_6:22) in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. We are not free to do what the law forbids, but freedom from the spiritual liabilities and penalties of God’s law.
Because we died in Christ when He died, the law with its condemnation and penalties no longer has jurisdiction over us.
“Serve” is the verb from of the word for “bondservant”, but here it is parallel to being slaves of righteousness, emphasizing that this service is not voluntary. Not only is the believer able to do what is right, he will do what is right.
The newness of spirit is a new state of mind which the Spirit produces, characterized by a new desire and ability to keep the law of God.
“Oldness of the letter” was the external, written law code that produced only hostility and condemnation.
Galatians 5:18 "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."  Those whom Jesus made free are free indeed.
The word “Spirit” may be “spirit” (lowercase “s”) to contrast with the written document, the Law. The thought then is that believers do not live by the “oldness” of the Law but by the “newness” of a regenerated spirit. Or “Spirit” may refer to the Holy Spirit, the Source of new life.

 Romans 7:7-8

The Law And Sin
The involvement of the Mosaic Law in the discussion of a believer’s identification with Christ and death to sin raises a question about the Law’s relationship to sin.
Is the Law sin? Paul’s response again was a vehement denial. Certainly not! (mē genoito; cf. comments on Rom_3:4) The Law arouses sin (Rom_7:5) but that does not mean the Law itself is sin. In fact, Paul said later, the Law is holy (Rom_7:12) and spiritual (Rom_7:14). Paul went on to explain that the Law made sin known (cf. Rom_3:19-20). Then to be specific, he mentioned coveting. The Law’s prohibition, Do not covet (Exo_20:17; Deu_5:21), makes people want to covet all the more. The law is not sin. It just makes us aware of right from wrong. When we know right from wrong and do wrong anyway, then we have sinned. Paul did not want his readers to conclude that the law itself was evil.
Galatians 3:24 "Therefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." 
We would not have even known we needed a Savior had there been no law.
The law revels the divine standard, and as believers compare themselves against that standard, they can accurately identify sin, which is the failure to meet the standard.
Paul uses the personal pronoun “I” throughout the rest of the chapter, using his own experience as an example of what is true of unredeemed mankind and true of Christians.
Paul knew sin as a principle and specifically, covetousness as an expression of it, and that knowledge came through the Law. Paul described how it worked. The indwelling principle of sin, seizing the opportunity (lit., “taking a start point” [aphormēn, a base for military operations or for an expedition]) afforded by the commandment (cf. Rom_7:11), produced in me every kind of covetous desire. The Law is not the cause of the act of sin; the principle or nature of sin within an individual is. But the Law’s specific commandments stimulate the sin principle into acts that violate the commandments and give those acts the character of transgression (Rom_4:15; cf. Rom_3:20; Rom_5:13, Rom_5:20). As Paul concluded, Apart from Law, sin is dead. Concupiscence means lust, or a desire for things that are forbidden. Sometimes the forbidden is the very thing the flesh lusts for.
Sin uses the specific requirements of the law as a base of operation from which to launch its evil work. Confronted by God’s law, the sinner’s rebellious nature finds the forbidden thing more attractive, not because it is inherently attractive, but because it furnishes an opportunity to assert one’s self will.
“Sin was dead”: meaning not lifeless or nonexistent, but dormant. When the law comes, sin becomes fully active and overwhelms the sinner.
This does not mean that sin has no existence without the Law (cf. Rom_5:13), but that without the Law sin is less active, for the Law arouses “sinful passions” (Rom_7:5).
It is significant that, beginning with Rom_7:7 and continuing through this chapter, the Apostle Paul turned to the first person singular, presenting his personal experience. Up to this point he had used the third person, the second person, and even the first person plural. But now he described his own experience, allowing the Holy Spirit to apply the truth to his readers.

Romans 7:9-12

Some generalize the words, Once I was alive apart from Law, to refer to the experience of mankind in the period between the Fall and the giving of the Mosaic Law. But there is no basis for this. Evidently the apostle was speaking of his personal experience as a child and perhaps even a youth prior to his awareness and understanding of the full impact of God’s commandments. When we were without the law, we did not have a lack of concern for the law but a purely external, imperfect conception of it.
When God’s law came, men began to understand the true requirements of God’s moral law at some point prior to their conversion. He then began to realize his true condition as a desperately wicked sinner.
With the words “I died”, it was then that man realized his deadness spiritually, that all his religious credentials and accomplishments were rubbish.
The clause, but when the commandment came, does not speak of the giving of the Mosaic Law, but the dawning of the significance of the commandment (“Do not covet”) on Paul’s mind and heart before his conversion. The result was that the principle of sin within made its presence and power known (it sprang to life) in his violations of the commandment. As a result Paul died spiritually (cf. Rom_6:23) under the sentence of judgment by the Law he had broken. The commandment not to covet was given to help people see how to live, but it actually produced death because of the sin in human hearts. The law was first given to help people understand what the will of God was and show that it was possible to please God by keeping His commandants. Perfect obedience to the law could bring eternal life, and with it happiness and holiness. But no one except Christ could or has ever fully obeyed it.
Thus the law was our schoolmaster to show us that we needed Christ as the only way to eternal life.
Repeating from Rom_7:8 his description of sin’s relationship to the commandment, Paul declared that sin… deceived me. By leading man to expect life from his keeping of the law, when what he found was death and by convincing him that he is acceptable to God because of his own merit and good works.
Apart from the Law, the principle of sin was dormant and inactive; but using the commandments of the Law, it demonstrated its controlling force over one’s actions. So this sin deceived him (exēpatēsen, “led [him] astray”; cf. 2Co_11:3; 1Ti_2:14) and put him to death (lit., “killed” him), not physically but spiritually. Sin is like a personal enemy within (cf. Gen_4:7). The Law, instead of being sin (Rom_7:7), is holy, and the commandment not to covet (which, as a part of the Law, represents the whole) is holy, righteous, and good. We see the fact that the law reveals, arouses and condemns sin, bringing death to the sinner, but does not mean the law is evil.
We read in Psalms about the perfect law Psalms 19:7 " The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple."
We also see a similar statement in 1Timothy 1:8 "But we know that the law [is] good, if a man use it lawfully;"