All Christians have a Dr. Jekyl and a Mr. Hyde inside the body. Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want”.
Romans 7: 1-25, O wretched man that I am!
VV 1-6, 1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
Dead to the law, alive in Christ:
Paul addressed the Jews, those who knew the law, his brethren. The law has jurisprudence only when a person is alive but is nullified when that person is dead. So if a person had died to sin, sin has no jurisprudence over that person. We are dead to the law but alive in Christ. There are two kinds of fruits. Fruit of the flesh, which leads to eternal death, and fruit of the Spirit, which leads to eternal life. The law is righteous but we are sinners and lawbreakers.
VV 7-11, 7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
Is the law sin?
Paul asked a rhetorical question and answered it. Question: Is the law sin? Answer: No! The law is like a mirror revealing our sin. By the law is the knowledge of sin. Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith”. Paul quoted the 10th commandment, “you shall not covet’. Unless the first nine commandments, covetousness is an inward attitude of the heart, not an outward action.
VV 12-20, 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. 13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 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 law is good but we are not:
Paul asked another rhetorical question. Question: If the law is good, why did it bring death? Answer: because we are not good. The law is scripture, the foundation of our faith, and revealed the righteous standard of a Holy God. 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness”. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law because He lived a perfect life and kept the law. The law is spiritual but we are carnal. What we want to do, we do not do, what we do not want to do, we end up doing. Herein lies the struggle between the flesh and the spirit.
VV 21-25, 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.
Victory is possible:
Paul cried out in desperation, I am a wretched man! but then he said, thank God, victory is possible through Jesus Christ!
Romans I:1, ‘’Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’’.
Jesus condemned sin in the flesh:
Romans 8:3-4, “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, 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’’.
Walk in the Holy Spirit:
Galatians 5:16, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh’.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the simple and yet profound truth of justification by grace through faith and sanctification by the Holy Spirit. Help us to walk by faith and not by sight. in Jesus’ name, Amen.