“THE BOOK OF ROMANS” Part 6 of 8

 

Chapters 6,7,8 = Subduing the flesh

Ch. 6 – Daily struggle with sin
            We are to be servants of righteousness

So Paul raises the question that some might ask. “Well, if we can have God’s grace for sinning, why not have more of God’s grace by committing more sin?” His answer? Of course not!

As Christians, we have been …baptised into his death (Rom 6:3) by the Holy Ghost and are … buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:4).

Paul goes on to say that Christ … died unto sin once: but in that he (the Christian) liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:10-11)

In this chapter, Paul outlines what our daily behaviour should be. We were servants of sin but now we are to be servants of righteousness. There is the struggle between the two natures that Christians have – the inner man is spiritual, but being born again, is also trapped in a body of flesh and sin. This teaches us that while being utterly freed from the power of sin, we cannot be lazy, idle and secure in this knowledge. 

We now have genuine freedom from sin. We have a choice. This choice and liberty we now have, does not abolish the law, but supplies us with the things that the law demands – willingness and love to fulfil the law as Paul outlines it (1Cor 11:1). The liberty that a Christian has is not a flesh liberty to indulge the flesh. As all Christians find, when we have true liberty, we must practice true discipline on ourselves.

Ch. 7 – Dead to the demands of the law
            
The law is holy
             Our natures of flesh are evil

In this chapter, Paul uses the example of a woman who becomes free from her marriage as a result of her husband dying. When a husband dies his wife becomes free to marry another. So here is man’s problem. In an unsaved state, our old man/nature gets very angry with what the law demands because it can’t fulfil it. Now, it’s not that the law is evil, far from it, as it is holy just and good (Rom7:12). The problem is that man’s nature is evil.

Instead of having God’s solution to sin, man changes the laws to accommodate his sinful nature. “God’s laws are out of date, man is evolving, we are becoming more modern, more rational, more loving and more accepting of others.”

Like a fisherman that throws out bait into the water to attract the fish, God ‘throws’ out his laws to attract the sin. No bait – no fish, no law – no sin.

How could Christ fulfil the demands of the law that produces nothing but sin in man’s flesh?

Here is an explanation: There was a movie not so long ago called “Ghostbusters” where three men had a machine that could attract, trap and destroy all the evil ghosts. Similarly, Christ is ‘the machine’ whereby in the flesh he could fulfil/‘defeat’ the law by not sinning.

So he does this on our behalf. Like a gladiator in a ring fighting for the release of condemned prisoners (should he lose they die). He kills the opposing foe. They shout “We have won! We’ve won!” just as if they had delivered the death blows themselves. Like children whose father is rich, they proclaim “We are rich! We are rich!”

 Those who don’t understand the correct use of the law, completely misunderstand what it is designed for. They strut around in their conceit and imagine that they are satisfying the law by their works. But the opposite is true as they are still alive to the demands of the law by attempting to satisfy them. The purpose of the law is hidden from them.

 Paul then goes on to outline the struggle we have as Christians and how our flesh daily fights with the Holy Ghost within us. Both make demands that are opposite with each other. This fight lasts as long as a person lives. In fact, the ‘closer’ that we would be to our heavenly father, the more violently our flesh rebels and tries to grow stronger. Paul sums up this dilemma with  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this 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. Romans 7:24-25

 

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Harley Hitchcock

Saturday 11th September 2021

 

                                          

THE BOOK OF Part 7 of 8


                                                                                                                                                                                        

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