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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Romans 8:4 - The Law of Love

Romans 8:4 - The Law of Love

Romans 8:4 — The Law of Love Written Upon Our Hearts

Thus satisfaction was made to Divine justice, and the way of salvation opened for the sinner.  By the Spirit the law of love is written upon the heart, and though the righteousness of the law is not fulfilled by us, yet, blessed be God, it is fulfilled in us; there is that in all true believers, which answers the intention of the law. (Matthew Henry)

The very substance of the law of God might be fulfilled, or that same which the law requires, that we may be found just before God: for if with our justification there is joined that sanctification which is imputed to us, we are just, according to the perfect form which the Lord requires. (5) He returns to that which he said, that the sanctification which is begun in us is a sure testimony of our engrafting into Christ, which is a most plentiful fruit of a godly and honest life. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  (NASB)

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (KJV)

He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. (NLT)

so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (NET)

Here we could contrast the "breath of life" from man's creation in Genesis to his recreation by the "Breath" pneuma Spirit.  We see the two laws of life represented here, the law of the flesh (sarka) and the law of the Spirit (pneuma) and how we should accordingly walk (kata paripateo).  The new life in Christ Jesus is a new Breath or new Spirit.  The "righteous requirement" dikaioma (NET) of the law is completely fulfilled in Christ so that is no longer is over us but rather the Spirit then gives us the energy and the desire to live the will of God and thus is the wind beneath our wings.

(Phil 2:13) For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.  (NLT)

To walk after the flesh is to obey the dictates of the flesh; to walk after the Spirit is to obey its dictates. It dwells in the believer to help him, but its dictates are found in the "words of the Holy Spirit." (Peoples New Testament)

Not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (mē kata sarka alla kata pneuma). The two laws of life (kata sarka in 7:7-24, kata pneuma Romans 8:1-11).  (Robertson's Word Pictures)

Gal 5:22-24  But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. (NLT)

Eph 5:26-27  to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word.  He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. (NLT)

Col 1:22  Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault. (NLT)

Heb 12:23  You have come to the assembly of God's firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven.  You have come to God Himself, who is the judge over all things.  You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. (NLT)

1Jn 3:2  Dear friends, we are already God's children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is. (NLT)

Jud 1:24  Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault. (NLT)

Romans 8:3 - What the Law Could Not Do

Romans 8:3 - What the Law Could Not Do

Romans 8:3

He does not use an argument here, but expounds the mystery of sanctification, which is imputed to us: because, he says, the power of the law was not such (and that by reason of the corruption of our nature) that it could make man pure and perfect, and because it rather kindled the flame of sin than put it out and extinguish it, therefore God clothed his Son with flesh just like our sinful flesh, in which he utterly abolished our corruption, that being accounted thoroughly pure and without fault in him, apprehended and laid hold of by faith, we might be found to fully have the singular perfection which the law requires, and therefore that there might be no condemnation in us. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (NASB)

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (KJV)

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. (NLT)

For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (NET)

The law of Moses could not saves us, because of our sinful nature.  Why?  Because is was impossible!  (to adunaton tou nomou). Literally, “the impossibility of the law” (Robertson's Word Pictures)

(τὸ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου) Lit., the impossible (thing) of the law.  (Vincent's Word Studies)

So God did the impossible and sent His Son to die in our place.  He wore a flesh and blood container so that He could really be our kinsman redeemer.  This is important for us to comprehend in every fiber of our being because the latent power of the soul will daily raise its head to assert that we have done something for ourselves.  This battle will rage as long as blood pulses through our veins.  But as the spiritual man created new in Christ Jesus grows in His strength, the daily victory will become more apparent.  Let us not forget that it is by His stripes that we are healed (His stripes, our back).  The Apostle Peter encapsulates the thought:

"For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin" (1 Peter 4:1b NLT).

This is not to be confused with suffering the gravity of sin but rather suffering for the Gospel!  The question we must ask ourselves today is, "Are we finished with sin?"

Rom 3:20  For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. (NLT)

Act 13:39  Everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God—something the law of Moses could never do. (NLT)

Gal 3:21  Is there a conflict, then, between God's law and God's promises?  Absolutely not!  If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. (NLT)

Heb 7:18-19  Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless.  For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (NLT)

Heb 10:14  For by that one offering He forever made perfect those who are being made holy. (NLT)

Joh 3:14-17  And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.  "For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. (NLT)

Gal 4:4-5  But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.  God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. (NLT)

1Jn 4:10-14  This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.   Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.  No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.  And God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us.  Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. (NLT)

2Co 5:21  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (NLT)

Gal 3:13  But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When He was hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." (NLT)

1Pe 2:24  He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed. (NLT)

1Pe 4:1-2  So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude He had, and be ready to suffer, too.  For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.  You won't spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. (NLT)

Romans 8:2 - The Law of the Spirit of Life

It is a glorious day in the life of the Christian when he or she realizes that God’s children are not under the Law, that God does not expect them to do “good works” in the power of the old nature. When the Christian understands that “there is no condemnation,” then he realizes that the indwelling Spirit pleases God and helps the believer to please Him. What a glorious salvation we have! “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage!” warns Paul in Gal. 5:1 (NKJV). Wiersbe's expository outlines on the New Testament)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (NASB)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (KJV)

And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (NLT)

For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. (NET)

This verse thus becomes the answer to the culmination of the argument illuminated in chapter 7:  With the law of my mind, I try to obey the law of God, but the law of sin and death causes me to fail.  Here in verse 2 we see the new law now in effect, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" that has set us free from "the law of sin and death."  Where verse one reveals His redemptive purpose that pardons us from the just condemnation we deserved because of our sin, in verse 2 our utter deliverance from the oppression of sin becomes evident.  The problem for us is that our experience may clash with this truth until that day when our intimacy with Christ transforms our mind so that we can discover that we have been empowered with the ability to say yes to Christ and no to sin!  This is NOT natural but rather supernatural!  This is a daily journey as we give ourselves to the headship of the Shepherd.  This is an hourly journey as we relinquish our arrogant "I" to the Lordship of Christ.  It is a minute by minute journey as we submit ourselves to the will of the Father.

"Believers may be chastened of the Lord, but will not be condemned with the world." (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

The Gospel of the grace of Christ, which is not only a law or rule of life, but affords that sovereign energy by which guilt is removed from the conscience, the power of sin broken, and its polluting influence removed from the heart.  The law was a spirit of death, by which those who were under it were bound down, because of their sin, to condemnation and death.  The Gospel proclaims Jesus the Savior; and what the law bound unto death, It looses unto life eternal. (Dr. Adam Clarke)

This deliverance from the law of sin and death is not a mere experience (it will produce precious experiences); it is a divine operation, known by faith in His operation who raised up from the dead, known in all its power by its accomplishment in Jesus, in the efficacy of which we participate by faith.  The difficulty of receiving it is that we find our experience clashing with it.  That Christ has put away my sins, and that God has loved me, is a matter of simple faith through grace.  That I am dead is apt to find itself contradicted in my heart. (Dr. John Clarke)

The law here is not a written law but a regulative principle which exercises a control over the life of the believer. This regulative control over his life is exercised by the Holy Spirit. This control is in the form of the energy given the believer both to desire and to do God’s will, this energy coming from the life that God is, which in the believer is given him by reason of his position in Christ Jesus. (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament)

Romans 8:1 - Now No Condemnation

Romans 8:1 - Now No Condemnation

Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation - Either for things present or past. Now he comes to deliverance and liberty. The apostle here resumes the thread of his discourse, which was interrupted, Romans 7:7.  (John Wesley)

CONDEMNATION, n.
1. The act of condemning; the judicial act of declaring one guilty, and dooming him to punishment.
For the judgment was by one to condemnation. Rom 5.
2. The state of being condemned.
Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation. Luke 23.
3. The cause or reason of a sentence of condemnation. John 3.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (NASB)

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (KJV)

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (NET)

We find here a conclusion drawn of all that has preceded from chapter 1 verse 16.  Where we were once objects of God's holy wrath, condemned under the law, but now by faith, having died with Christ and have been set free from the law, are now declared to be grafted into Him.  We are, in Christ, not guilty and delivered from the punishment for our sins.  As Dr. Zodhiates points out with the contrast from Romans 5:16 that this resulted from the Lordship of Christ in our lives.  We have been given liberty but are no longer freeman but bond-slaves of our Lord and Savior, no longer living for ourselves but living for Christ who died for us and was raised for us (2 Cor 5:15 paraphrase mine).

2 Cor 5:15  He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

G2631
κατάκριμα
katákrima; gen. katakrímatos, neut. noun from katakrínō (G2632), to condemn.  The suffix -ma makes it the result of judgment. A decision against someone, a condemnatory judgment.  Only in Romans 5:16, Romans 5:18; Romans 8:1.  In verse sixteen, contrast dikaíōma (G1345) justification, the right given to the believer as a result of his acknowledgment of the lordship of God in his life.  In verse eighteen katákrima contrasted with a more definite dikaíōsis (G1347) justification, the act of making life righteous; therefore, a judgment of condemnation in the sense of the economy of redemption. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary, General Editor: Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D.)

Rom 5:16  And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin. For Adam's sin led to condemnation, but God's free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. (NLT)

Rom 5:16  And the gift is not like the one who sinned. For judgment, resulting from the one transgression, led to condemnation, but the gracious gift from the many failures led to justification. (NET)

Rom 5:18  Yes, Adam's one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. (NLT)

Rom 5:18  Consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all people. (NET)

So when the shadow of your past comes knocking (and it will) we can remember that we are no longer condemned for the things we have done, nor the things we may yet do.  Even when we trip over our own shoelaces we remain safe in the arms of Christ.

The verse does not say “no mistakes” or “no failures,” or even “no sins.” Christians do fail and make mistakes, and they do sin. Abraham lied about his wife; David committed adultery; Peter tried to kill a man with his sword. To be sure, they suffered consequences because of their sins, but they did not suffer condemnation. (The Bible exposition commentary.)

I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:12-14 NLT)

One must notice immediately the additional clause rendered in Romans 8:1 in the King James Version.  I have included a couple of notes that well explain the accepted probabilities.  The addition adds the obvious and its omission detracts nothing.

This last clause is wanting in the principal MSS., versions, and fathers. Griesbach has excluded it from the text; and Dr. White says, Certissime delenda; it should most undoubtedly be expunged. Without it, the passage reads thus: There is, therefore, no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus; for the law of the Spirit of life, etc. It is a fairly assumed point, that those who are in Christ Jesus, who believe in his name, have redemption in his blood; are made partakers of his Spirit, and have the mind in them that was in him; will not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit: therefore the thing itself is included in the being in Christ, whether it be expressed or not: and it was probably to make the thing more obvious, that this explanatory clause was added by some copyist, for it does not appear to have made an original part of the text; and it is most likely that it was inserted here from the fourth verse. (Dr. Adam Clarke)

 

Romans 7:25 - Mind With God - Flesh with Sin

This is the true perfection of those that are born again, to confess that they are imperfect. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (NASB)

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. (KJV)

Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. (NLT)

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. (NET)

Perhaps it would be good to remember the beginning of this section of the argument as we come to its conclusion.  It began with the thought that:

God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.  But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful kindness became more abundant.  So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Romans 5:20-21 NLT96)

Paul has expanded the argument by illustrating that sin is the master and we are the slaves.  I would have liked it better had the Lord done away with sin, but instead he did away with the sinner for in Christ we have died to sin.  Then he used the illustration of marriage to express the law and its holiness provoking sin to display itself in us.  But since we are dead to the law in Christ, it no longer has the power to provoke:

So then, dear friends the point is this:  The law no longer holds you in its power, because you died to its power when you died with Christ on the cross.  And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead.  As a result, you can produce good fruit, that is, good deeds for God.  (Romans 7:4 NLT96)

This then culminates the finding of fact in Paul's experience that with the "law of his mind," he tries to obey the "law of God," but the "law of sin and death" give him only one choice.  We have thus seen the sad but continuous epitaph of the sin in a battle with God Himself and the sinner with a terminal case of self-inflicted wounds.  The first husband (the Law) unable to extricate the fallen but the second husband (Christ and His Gospel) bringing not only deliverance but everlasting triumph!  Thanks is too small a word to convey the song of a soul set free!

Romans 7:24 - Wretched Man That I Am

The body serving as the seat of the death into which the soul is sunk through the power of sin. (Dr. Marvin R. Vincent, Vincent's Word Studies)

May we be enabled to shake off that lethargy which is so apt to creep upon us! For this end, a deep practical conviction of our natural depravity and weakness will be found of eminent advantage. (William Wilberforce)

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?  (NASB)

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (KJV)

Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? (NLT)

Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (NET)

Romans 7:24
O wretched man that I am (talaipōros egō anthrōpos). “Wretched man I.” Old adjective from tlaō, to bear, and pōros, a callus.  In N.T. only here and Revelation 3:17. “A heart-rending cry from the depths of despair” (Sanday and Headlam).  WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT by Archibald Thomas Robertson

Revelation 3:17  You say, 'I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. (NLT)

Paul here has understood the full measure of that from which he has been delivered!  Who can know the vile depths of a reprobate heart.  His retort is that of total exasperation at this continuous revelation of his fleshly estate and the need for a Savior.

1Timothy 1:15  This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"—and I am the worst of them all. (NLT)

I used to think that I was the only person in the world that struggled in the faith!  But then somehow I was led to discover John Bunyan--a man whom Christ saved in the very act of suicide.  John's honest sharing of his struggle in the book, Grace Abounds to the Chief of Sinners, told me that I was not alone and, most importantly, that knowing Christ brings victory.  I have not discovered some sort of celestial bliss wherein all struggles cease.  Rather I have discovered how to struggle in the victory over sin that Christ delivers to all who would believe.  I have learned how to live, not under the law, but under His Grace, a place of perfect rest.  However, the struggle is important in our lives because now that we know Christ, it works to produce true humility.  It is truly a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  It is terrible because it strips us of all of the veils behind which we hide.  It is wonderful because it provides peace (not as the world gives) but the peace of knowing that our sins have been forgiven.  It is superior in that we are constantly reminded of the riches of Christ's glory into which we have been adopted as joint heirs.  It shakes us from our sleepful state and drags us from our slothfulness.  With each remembrance of our sin it expands our understanding of the length, breathed, and depth of the Savior's love.

It tends to produce humility. It is humbling to man to be thus under the influence of evil passions. It is degrading to his nature; a stain on his glory; and it tends to bring him into the dust, that he is under the control of such propensities, and so often gives indulgence to them. In such circumstances, the mind is overwhelmed with wretchedness, and instinctively sighs for relief. Can the Law aid? Can man aid? Can any native strength of conscience or of reason aid? In vain all these are tried, and the Christian then calmly and thankfully acquiesces in the consolations of the apostle, that aid can be obtained only through Jesus Christ. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

May we be enabled to shake off that lethargy which is so apt to creep upon us! For this end, a deep practical conviction of our natural depravity and weakness will be found of eminent advantage. As it is by this we must at first be roused from our fallacious security, so by this we must be kept wakeful and active unto the end. Let us therefore make it our business to have this doctrine firmly seated in our understandings, and radically worked into our hearts. With a view to the former of these objects, we should often seriously and attentively consider the firm grounds on which it rests. It is plainly made known to us by the light of nature, and irresistibly enforced on us by the dictates of our unassisted understandings. But lest there should be any so obstinately dull, as not to discern the force of the evidence suggested to our reason, and confirmed by all experience, or rather so heedless as not to notice it, the authoritative stamp of Revelation is superadded, as we have seen, to complete the proof; and we must therefore be altogether inexcusable, if we still remain unconvinced by such accumulated mass of argument. (William Wilberforce)

Romans 7:23 - War on My Mind

The law of the mind in this place is not to be understood as referring to the mind as it is naturally, and as our mind is from our birth, but of the mind which is renewed by the Spirit of God. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

He perceived it by experience; he felt the force and power of inbred corruption working in him, and as a law demanding obedience to it; and which he might well call "another law", it being not only distinct from, but opposite to the law of God he delighted in; the one is good, the other evil; this other law is a transgression of the law of God, and which he observed to be "in his members", i.e. in the members of his body; not that it had its seat only, or chiefly in his body, and the parts of it, but because it exerted itself by them, it made use of them to fulfill its lusts (Dr. John Gill)

But I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. (NASB)

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. (KJV)

But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. (NLT)

But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members. (NET)

It is once again good to reiterate that the war wages because of the law that points out our fallen nature.  But since we are no longer subject to the law the war is only fought when we place ourselves under the law.  Notice I said, "we place ourselves."  How stupid is that?  Way stupid!  Paul was sharing openly from "experience" the perceptions of his personal war that we might fully understand both our falleness and the victory that is ours in Christ Jesus!  Fortunately for us God has created a new day, and called it today, whereby we may enter into His Sabbath rest!  Each day is new and precious and ever so fragile.  We now have a new chooser that allows us to choose to follow Christ or "we place ourselves" back under the law by our rebelliousness.  If we are under the law then we are held captive as a prisoner is captured in a conflict and held against his will.  Held not by the Law of God but by the law of sin and death.  However, if we choose Christ, we are no longer captives to our own sin but bond-slaves of Christ's righteousness that lives in us the power to save us from our sin!

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NLT)

This is therefore no metaphysical speculation, but a practical matter: Slight and superficial conceptions of our state of natural degradation, and of our insufficiency to recover from it of ourselves, fall in too well with our natural inconsiderateness, and produce that fatal insensibility to the divine warning to "flee from the wrath to come," which we cannot but observe to prevail so generally.  Having no due sense of the malignity of our disease, and of its dreadful issue, we do not set ourselves to work in earnest to obtain the remedy, as to a business arduous indeed, but indispensable: for it must ever be carefully remembered, that this deliverance is not forced on us, but offered to us; we are furnished indeed with every help, and are always to bear in mind, that we are unable of ourselves to will or to do rightly; but we are plainly admonished to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling."--Watchful, for we are encompassed with dangers; "putting on the whole armor of God," for "we are beset with enemies." (William Wilberforce)

Romans 7:22 - Delight in the Law of God

Sensual gratifications and illicit affections have debased our nobler powers, and indisposed our hearts to the discovery of God, and to the consideration of his perfections; to a constant willing submission to his authority, and obedience to his laws. (William Wilberforce)

For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, (NASB)

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (KJV)

I love God's law with all my heart. (NLT)

For I delight in the law of God in my inner being. (NET)

Romans 7:22 
For I delight - The word used here Συνήδομαι  Sunēdomai, occurs no where else in the New Testament. It properly means to rejoice with anyone; and expresses not only approbation of the understanding, as the expression, “I consent unto the law,” in Romans 7:16, but more than that it denotes sensible pleasure in the heart.  It indicates not only intellectual assent, but emotion, an emotion of pleasure in the contemplation of the Law.  And this shows that the apostle is not speaking of an unrenewed man.  (Dr. Albert Barnes)

 Every Jew, and every unregenerate man, who receives the Old Testament as a revelation from God, must acknowledge the great purity, excellence and utility of its maxims, etc., though he will ever find that without the grace of our Lord Jesus he can never act according to those heavenly maxims; and without the mercy of God, can never be redeemed from the curse entailed upon him for his past transgressions. (Dr. Adam Clark)

The more pure and holy the heart is, it will have the more quick feeling as to the sin that remains in it. The believer sees more of the beauty of holiness and the excellence of the law. His earnest desires to obey, increase as he grows in grace. But the whole good on which his will is fully bent, he does not do; sin ever springing up in him, through remaining corruption, he often does evil, though against the fixed determination of his will. The motions of sin within grieved the apostle. (Matthew Henry)

Perhaps the New Living Translation most accurately captures this thought for the modern western mind.  I think in our busy world where every minute is spoken for as we go about the ritual of our daily lives the thought of deep and reverent contemplation are foreign to our custom and nature.  How often do we contemplate anything?  Thus since we do not in our day delight in the law of the lord nor meditate on it day and night we remain barren of the fruit in season! (Psalm 1)  This speaks adamantly of our deception as we think we are doing good while all the while serving our sinful selves and doing the work of the enemy instead. (Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections, paraphrase mine)  A quick look through the news of today will find our society crumbling by every measure—certainly a far cry from the observations of Tocqueville.

I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors and her ample rivers … ; in her fertile fields and boundless forests … ; in her rich mines and vast world commerce … ; in her public school system and institutions of learning.  I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.  America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. (Tocqueville, Charles Alexis Henri Maurice Clèrel de)

Romans 7:21 - The Law versus Evil

The conclusion: as the law of God exhorts to goodness, so does the law of sin (that is, the corruption in which we are born) force us to wickedness: but the spirit, that is, our mind, in that it is regenerated, coexists with the law of God: but the flesh, that is, the whole natural man, is bondslave to the law of sin. Therefore, in short, wickedness and death are not of the law, but of sin, which reigns in those that are not regenerated: for they neither wish to do good, neither do they do good, but they wish and do evil: but in those that are regenerated, it strives against the spirit or law of the mind, so that they cannot live at all as well as they want to, or be as free of sin as they want to. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

There can be no doubt that he refers here to his carnal and corrupt nature; to the evil propensities and dispositions which were leading him astray. His representing this as a law is in accordance with all that he says of it, that it is servitude, that he is in bondage to it, and that it impedes his efforts to be holy and pure. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. (NASB)

I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (KJV)

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. (NLT)

So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me. (NET)

Galatians 5:17  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants.  And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.  These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. (NLT)

It is probably a good thing at this point to recall a couple of important things from earlier in the chapter.  We often get focused in the near (like a microscope) and forget at what it is we are looking.

So then, dear friends, the point is this:  The law no longer holds you in it's power, because you died to its power when you died with Christ.  And now you are united with the one who was raised with the dead.  As a result, you can produce good fruit, that is, good deeds for God. (Romans 7:4 NLT96)

I felt fine when I did not understand what the law demanded.  But when I learned the truth, I realized I had broken the law and was a sinner, doomed to die. (Romans 7:9 NLT96)

THE POINT IS THIS:  we are empowered by our union with Christ Jesus our Lord!  But we can be deceived by our own sinfulness into thinking that we are fine!  If we look around the cosmos today we see a universe that is expanding whose end we cannot see (astronomy), whose enormity we cannot comprehend (even with the Hubble Telescope) yet our country is the largest consumer of illegal drugs, we find newborn babies in trash cans, the economy is in shambles, the ship of state has run aground, divorce is just as prevalent inside the church as outside, marriage is no longer a respected institution of the Almighty, and same gender marriages are commonplace.  But "I felt fine!"  We live in a world where armed guards now walk the halls of the churches, background checks are required for ministry workers, and famous church leaders fall like ducks in a shooting gallery.  But "I felt fine."  We must recognize that we are not able to see our own sin and our own deception apart from the Holy Spirit working in our hearts.  Our bellwether becomes our obedience.  "And how can we be sure that we belong to him?  By obeying his commandments." (1 John 2:3 NLT96)  If we are rebellious, the answer is obvious.  If we "feel fine" perhaps not so obvious.  If we are struggling, we should rejoice in our struggle and allow for the victory that is in Christ Jesus as we enter into His Sabbath rest.

God is light and there is no darkness in him at all.  So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness.  We are not living in the truth….If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth….If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts (1 John 1:5b, 6, 8, 10 NLT96)

Rom 7:21 
I find then a law - I am in such a condition and state of soul, under the power of such habits and sinful propensities, that when I would do good - when my will and reason are strongly bent on obedience to the law of God and opposition to the principle of sin, evil is present with me, κακον παρακειται, evil is at hand, it lies constantly before me. That, as the will to do good is constantly at hand, Romans 7:18, so the principle of rebellion exciting me to sin is equally present; but, as the one is only will, wish, and desire, without power to do what is willed, to obtain what is wished, or to perform what is desired, sin continually prevails.

The word νομος, law, in this verse, must be taken as implying any strong or confirmed habit, συνηθεια, as Hesychius renders it, under the influence of which the man generally acts; and in this sense the apostle most evidently uses it in  Romans 7:23. (Dr. Adam Clarke)

Romans 7:20 - Doing the Wrong Thing

But sin that dwelleth in me - the principle of sin, which has possessed itself of all my carnal appetites and passions, and thus subjects my reason and domineers over my soul.   Thus I am in perpetual contradiction to myself….This strange self-contradictory propensity led some of the ancient philosophers to imagine that man has two souls, a good and a bad one….(Dr. Adam Clarke)

But the whole good on which his will is fully bent, he does not do; sin ever springing up in him, through remaining corruption, he often does evil, though against the fixed determination of his will. (Matthew Henry)

But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (NASB)

Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (KJV)

But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. (NLT)

Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me. (NET)

We have thus learned three things:

1.  In me, that is in my flesh, ther is no good thng.
2.  I will do good but sin wills otherwise.
3.  Whan I will to do good, sin is too strong for me to succeed.

Deliverance is what I then must seek and deliverance is what is found in Christ Jesus!  Deliverance is found only when are convicted by the Holy Spirit and illuminated by His light to the fact that we are incapable of self-deliverance and are in great need of His power to deliver us.  The new world order is now in effect (Jesus in my heart).  The old world order is Sin, the very headwaters of my fallen estate.

Rom 7:20 
It is no more I - My will is against it; my reason and conscience condemn it.  But sin that dwelleth in me - the principle of sin, which has possessed itself of all my carnal appetites and passions, and thus subjects my reason and domineers over my soul.  Thus I am in perpetual contradiction to myself.  Two principles are continually contending in me for the mastery: my reason, on which the light of God shines, to show what is evil; and my passions, in which the principle of sin works, to bring forth fruit unto death.

This strange self-contradictory propensity led some of the ancient philosophers to imagine that man has two souls, a good and a bad one; and it is on this principle that Xenophon, in his life of Cyrus, causes Araspes, a Persian nobleman, to account for some misconduct of his relative to Panthea, a beautiful female captive, whom Cyrus had entrusted to his care: - “O Cyrus, I am convinced that I have two souls; if I had but one soul, it could not at the same time pant after vice and virtue; wish and abhor the same thing. It is certain, therefore, that we have two souls; when the good soul rules, I undertake noble and virtuous actions; but when the bad soul predominates, I am constrained to do evil. All I can say at present is that I find my good soul, encouraged by thy presence, has got the better of my bad soul.” See Spectator, vol. viii. No. 564. Thus, not only the ancients, but also many moderns, have trifled, and all will continue to do so who do not acknowledge the Scriptural account of the fall of man, and the lively comment upon that doctrine contained in the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. (Dr. Adam Clarke)

The evil here spoken of is the evil that is in our nature, and the want of power to get rid of it. The forgiveness of sins had been fully taught.  What distresses here is the present working of sin which we cannot get rid of the sense of this is often a more painful thing than past sins, which the believer can understand as put away by the blood of Christ.  But here we have the conscience of sin still in us, though we may hate it, and the question of deliverance is mixed up with our experience, at least till we have learned what is taught us in this part of the epistle, to judge the old man as sin in us, not ourselves, and reckon ourselves dead. Christ, through whom we now live, having died, and being a sacrifice for sin, our condemnation is impossible, while sin is condemned and we free through "the law of the Spirit of life in him."  It is not forgiveness, but deliverance, sin in the flesh being condemned in the cross. (Dr. John Darby)


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