Monday, June 26, 2023

2023.06.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 7:21-25

Read Romans 7:21-25

Questions from the Scripture text: What does he find within him (Romans 7:21)? What does this “law” state must be present with him? But who is he at this point? How does he now feel about the law of God (Romans 7:22)? In what aspect/part of himself? But what does he see where (Romans 7:23)? Warring against what? And trying to do what by this warring? How does this make him feel about his current condition (Romans 7:24)? What question does he ask? What does he call his body? What is his initial response to this question (Romans 7:25)? Through Whom will he be saved and thank God? How does he summarize his current condition?

Why can a believer be so sure that he will win the internal battle against sin? Romans 7:21–25 looks forward to the sermon in the upcoming midweek meeting. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that though the spiritual battle must rage as long as we are still in these bodies, the God Who has united us to Christ is our sure hope of ultimate victory in that war.

In this passage, the apostle uses the word “law” in three ways.

The law that evil is present with me. He has already noted, twice, that sin dwells in him (Romans 7:17Romans 7:20) as well as noting that there is still flesh in him (Romans 7:18). But he has differentiated himself from the man that he used to be, who had been a slave to sin (Romans 7:14b), because now he wills to do what is good (Romans 7:21b, cf. Romans 7:15b, Romans 7:19a). So, he is sure that he is a new kind of man, born of the Spirit as the good law was (Romans 7:14a), because he now delights in that law in his inner being (Romans 7:22). But still, evil is present with him, and he ultimately concludes that this will be a certainty as long as he is in the body of death (end of Romans 7:25).

The law of his mind. Here, he uses the word “mind” to talk about his regenerated thoughts that consider God’s law—even down to the commandments—not an enemy but as holy, righteous, and good (Romans 7:12). The new man that agrees with God’s law that it is good (Romans 7:16b). The new man that delights in God’s law in his inner being. This is the law of his mind or, as he will call it in Romans 8:2, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Finally, God’s commandments have come to be written upon His heart, so that His most fundamental desires match God’s fundamental commands (cf. Romans 7:6b).

The law of sin (and death). But the law that evil is present with him, the law that is “in my members” (Romans 7:23), means that adoration and desire and delight aren’t the only things that he feels toward God’s law. The sin that dwells in him still tries to respond to God’s law with disobedience, still uses the “letter” of the law to escape from its righteousness and goodness and assert its wickedness instead. Every part of who he is (“my members”) continues to be affected by indwelling sin. So, there is a war on, as the remaining sin tries to recapture its old slave (verse 23b).

In this life, the Lord has let His saints in the same decaying bodies that are the effects of our sin and fall in Adam. As long as we are in them, we know that there will be remaining sin dwelling in us. The apostle feels this state to be truly wretched (Romans 7:24). But, thanks be to God (Romans 7:25a!) this condition, and the war that we find ourselves in, is not permanent. We will be winning more and more as we go along (cf. Romans 8:1–2Romans 8:4Romans 8:5b, Romans 8:6b, Romans 8:9Romans 8:11b, Romans 8:13-14). And we will be finally and fully delivered at last (Romans 7:25a, cf. Romans 8:17Romans 8:18Romans 8:23b). In fact, for many believers, they will be rid of this mortal body long before the resurrection, and will be perfected in holiness the moment that they depart to be with Christ. Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So, as you see different responses to the law coming out of you, learn to identify when you are responding according to the inward man, in Christ, by the Spirit—and distinguish it from when you are responding according to the flesh, from the sin that still dwells in you. And having thus identified the enemy, strike blows against it in your war with indwelling sin!

What commandments do you often find a fleshly response to in your heart, wondering how much you can “get away with” and still keep them? What sins do you seem most to keep on committing?

Sample prayer: Lord, our hope is in You. Deliver us from that sinfulness that still dwells in us. Increase our skill in identifying what is coming from our flesh and what is coming from Your Spirit, and give us to do battle by Your Spirit, we ask through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH193 “Baptized into Your Name Most Holy”

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