MY VIEWS ON ROMANS 7
The main topic on the whole book of Romans is sin under the Law as compared to freedom from sin under grace. But it starts off with the reason why people are sinners, saying it is because God has handed them over to sin because none glorified God at a certain point of a own life, and that it was from there that sin spread all over the inner being of man like cancer, and sins became unusually horrible (for a reason). People wanted to try their own way and they were given the chance to see for themselves they would end up in misery eventually. Then Paul goes to explain the mystery of genuine faith as opposed to a non-genuine one. From there goes on explaining why the Law was brought and we find two reasons in his arguments, even though we may come to find more in other epistles from Paul. He says that the law was brought so sin would not go beyond its boundaries after God has tried to show people how sin could become ugly and terrible if left either undone with or unpunished.
The other reason he talks about here, is what leads to this difficult portion of Scripture in Rom7, over which most theologians and preachers so easily stumble because they have not the Blessing of Pentecost to teach them Scripture, as they should – mostly on that account, if we disregard disobedience, unwillingness to listen (having an ear to hear). Paul says that the law brings conviction of sin if and when used by God. He goes to explain what law is in the real sense, that it is good, that it judges, that it is alive still, and that is has a punishment. In fact, that is what a law is all about: it has sanctions, it bears goodness in itself (or it would not be binding) and shows all of it out openly - it being just and righteous it may and will judge.
Related to all of this, Paul links two of the words which are used everywhere in this epistle: life and death. Now, he goes describing death as a consequence of sin, life as the consequence of the opposite of this kind of death. He is not describing death here (unless occasionally here and there) in any other sense than a certain death of soul (as opposed to the abundant inner life God is able to grant freely). Physical death is just a mere consequence of this kind of death. By talking about death here, he speaks of it as man being a living, walking corpse in terms of the reality of God, because without God there is no inner life at all – and sin’s consequence was this kind of death: a genuine separation from God). From this death, physical, spiritual and eternal damnation came upon men as well, only as a further consequence. But the great issue here, is for Paul to prove that this death people seldom acknowledge (because a dead one cannot see that he is dead as a resurrected one would be able to acknowledge just how dead he had been), is the main consequence of sin. People become dead in themselves if they sin, Rom6:23, and can’t take notice of it until they come out of that death coma (Life precedes faith all along, believing may lead to that Life whose fruit is faith).
Now he goes on saying and explaining a great deal of things which I want not, at this point, get into at all. But, the main issue in Rom 7 is this: There was sin living without law; then law came; men became convicted on account of it and were turned to sin more on account of the coming of that law SO SIN COULD LOOK AND BE EXTREMELY SINFUL, Rom 7:13 (not merely to others, it meaning it was a personal experience so as to link them to a genuine salvation from personal conviction on and never without that conviction at all, annihilating the possibility of people judging others and not themselves mainly, on account of bearing the law within them, Rom.2. It says the law was brought to bring conviction, judgment and setting the outlines (boundaries) to all sinning and sin, because sin had been given freedom to multiply as it wanted). It says why then it could not save at all: if you compare it to the work of the Holy Spirit within (John 16:8), it did not change, but lacked something to take the sin of the world away (its practice and not its guilt alone and merely) John 1:29 “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Mark that this does not say it takes people from the sinful world, but sin from them in this world (from the world, in this world Tit 2:11-13).
It was necessary for the Law to bring conviction of sin because if people had the Law (Rom.2) they would be able to judge others and not themselves with it. It was necessary that people would get cut in themselves, convicted of their own sin and never of other people’s sins unless they could help after having been helped out of it themselves. We also read in Gal (especially 3:19) and in a few more places that, the Law was there to convict and convince, sanction, but not save fully (to the uttermost, as we read in Heb.7), but to judge upon sin alone. It lacked something in it though: the power to take sin away from the heart of man. It helped God out to clear His glory in the eyes of all beings, but not mankind. Then he asks “was the Law bad? No, because I would not know to come to Christ unless I was convicted, something which the Law accomplished for me”. In fact, Paul goes then to show that the Law had the opposite outcome upon people also, the counter effect which was necessary, but extremely undesirable. 1.The law made people more conscious of sin (you know how people react by thinking on drugs or sex being addicted to it – they just think more about it and become more conscious of their own sin, something which drives them to further sinning). 2.The law made people all the more unbelieving because they would sin on account of that hyper-consciousness which was driving people towards sinning instead of towards not-sinning; and they consequently would suffer shipwreck in their faith and life on account of that kind of stained conscience 1Tim 1:19.
Now he says sin betrayed him under the Law, because the Law was good yet it brought to him even more consciousness of sin instead of salvation from it, causing him to sin more and not less – and the Law would always require a full complying to it “Gal 3:10 …Cursed is everyone who does not … all things which are written in the Book of the Law, to do them." Then he asks whether the law is bad, and said no, it is not bad (man is bad), because, how will I ever go to Christ if I am not shown my sins as they are, if I am never convicted by the Law’s requirements at all? It had to have the ability to show people how sinful sin really had been. We read, therefore, that the law under these circumstances leads either to Christ or to hell (and is not leading to judge others with it alone anymore, one of the things people under conviction rather do easily 1Cor.11:31). Then he reasons that the Law was necessary, even if it brought more awareness of sin upon and within sinners, something which made them sin all the more also. (Take for example a smoker who would like to quit smoking – the more he fights smoking (therefore we read "withstand no evil"), the more difficult it turns to be for him, because it turns him on by thinking on it more than usual, making him more aware of his own vice, taking such to stumble on account of the new awareness it brought upon him). The Law was good for this purpose alone: that it would show to people (in themselves) just how sinful they really are without God, having been given freedom to sin as they wished. But there was something lacking in it if someone did not want to continue in sin, if such would rather be willing to live and accomplish in himself the works of God: it did not take away awareness of sin , but rather intensified it, leading people to do sin more than usual. We read in the Book of Heb. that it is needed to take away CONSCIOUSNESS of sin to have people stop sinning (Heb 10:1-5) it says that the law could not make perfect on that account, because it brought awareness of sin and not the opposite, but that Christ now can and will. Then we read that “For this reason, Christ come into the world… to take away sin from man”: to finish the half done good work of the Law, because the Law managed to bring and grant glory and all reason to God, but was unable to save man from sin unless written in man from his inside (the New Covenant, Jer.31:30-34) – in fact, it managed to worsen things all the more. He states that people have to be beaten by the Law to flee to Christ as well. This is the whole background which leads to Romans 7. (Gal 3:22, But the Scripture shut up all under sin (through the law), so that the promise (The second blessing) by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe (after believing; Mat 1:21: SAVE HIS PEOPLE; also “believe and you SHALL (yet) be saved (from sin) – read also Gal 3:24,25). The main problem was for people to stay at the law and not go any further than that – to stay convicted of sin, believing that because they realized they were sinners they were good enough for God and to enter heaven. I believe most Christians, even all such who state they are against the Law preaching, remain under conviction all their life long. This might explain why they also say they cannot stop sinning at all.
It is here where we come to Rom.7: becoming more convicted, more aware of sin instead of less. He says in the first verses, that he could never do away with the law (the thing which was mainly responsible for all of this new situation, but that would not happen if either he were perfect, or if that law was imperfect), on account of it having this effect upon people. He says the Law is good; he also says that the law was binding (would stay forever and could not be disdained upon or even disregarded) and that, as long as there was sin, in man or in the world, there would be a law which would be useful and necessary and demanded to be fully fulfilled still and it could and would never go away unless sin died – even if it brought more awareness of sin, causing sinfulness to breed more. That’s is why he says “that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives”. When man dies to sin, then, the Law is useless on such from then on. Then he goes to explain that, if one in a marriage dies, the law is no longer binding – one has got to die first for that to happen: either man or the law has to die for this to be so. He said the law could not die, God could not die, so there was only one option left: man had to die (for sin). Then he uses Christ’s death symbolically in this context to show how people die to sin seeing Christ died to it Himself (Rom 6:10 For in that He died, He died to sin – and we died a same kind of death by attaining to the reality (and not to the supposed thing alone) of this Promised Blessing, I mean, the real Promise of the Father, Rom 6:5 "For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death"). He goes to say that the law made him extremely aware of sin, causing him to do what he could not avoid, putting him in a pretty bad shape, because it made him approve goodness in his mind (one thing the law does as well), and at the same time turn sin to become stronger within him (another thing the law does, among many others). That is why he calls out (because he cannot, may never annihilate the law anymore by any means whatsoever, I mean, that law which is responsible for him to feel so miserable under such conviction of sin “Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Mark that he does not claim he will get away by realizing he was a sinner, for he states this body he has will cause him to die eternally (“body of this death”). Mark also this terrible state of approving good and at the same time being made to sin more and worse! This is conviction of sin in all senses of the word.
It cannot be true that Paul is speaking of himself here from a present experience point of view, even if he is using the word “I” and “ME”, because he used it to describe a situation for the time he himself, as well as others, put themselves into on account of being under a law which they should not ever despise nor disdain at all - no matter how miserable he might feel under it. He says that the Law of God (which could not die ever, even if it brought that course of things upon people) found another law in his members which caused a greater awareness of sin instead of taking away the consciousness of it: it made him to sin even more instead, caused and multiplied transgression even.
Now, to close: Jesus came to the world. But, He could not afford to have the consciousness of sin in people done away with by accepting sin, nor by dishonoring His own law. So, people would still have to become aware of their sins (to give glory to God and His Law), the Law of God would still be upheld and demanded to become fulfilled, (Mat 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill”). So, Jesus was to find another way out towards genuine Life within man, without doing away with the Law itself. He was to take away the consciousness of sin without taking away the law from the table of the covenant, but rather by opening a way to take away sin from the very heart of any man who would come to Him. He reasoned that people who have sin cannot but be aware of it though on account of the righteousness of His Law (for God to be glorified), and that the law was to be maintained forever. So, he did not come to take away the awareness of sin by ignoring sin but rather by the conviction of it and by finding the means towards the obedience of the law of God from then on. So, there was a way out for sinners: that Christ would fully fulfill the requirements of the holiness of the Law within them, in them for them, as He did right through up to the cross where the fulfillment of the law was fully accomplished for us (because the Law demanded a spotless Lamb), and then also that He would be fully able to have man fulfill His Law through Him, by Him and with Him inside pinning it there, seeing man failed and the Law failed to accomplish that as well. (This is the secret of John 15).
Here we come to the genuine meaning of grace: having man die to sin, dying as He did Himself to it before (Rom 6:10). We read, therefore, about the LIKENESS of His death: a death towards sin, by the Law and not by annihilating the Law of God. This is where we read what he goes on to explain in Ch.7 how it worked out. We read before it: Rom 6:5-7 “For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, (Rom 6:10 For in that He died, He died to sin) we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection (living to God); (6) knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him in order that the body of sin (body of death) might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. (7) For he who died (we if filled through His Spirit at all) has been justified from sin”. There are many people who claim to be justified and never died to sin at all.
This piece of Scripture just says that, if you do not die to sin here and now, you will never share in His resurrection power either (here and later as well): bad news for Christians who are not more than conquerors.
I will not go deeply in Ch.8, because this article is plain enough to make a point to the rest of the message of it. We read then that Rom 8:8-11 “So then they who are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, IF the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ (if he has no “second blessing”), he is none of His. (10) And if Christ is in you, indeed the body (body of death) is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (11) But if the Spirit of the One who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised up Christ from the dead shall also make your mortal bodies alive (LIVING as opposed to inner death on account of sin and consequent separation (segregation) from God Who is Life itself, now and not only in future times) by His Spirit who dwells in you”. Mark the words IF and IF in all these verses about being filled with the Spirit. There are Christians who have not the Spirit of God, yet believing they have on account of maybe doctrinal teachings being fully upheld before their eyes everywhere. This is where the "surety of salvation" doctrine started off to ruin many a life down. This doctrine tells people salvation is life after death with God, while it is in fact freedom from all sin down here. The Law of God will always state that "The wages of sin is death", while the New Life will grant life to be able to stand in Love (the opposite of all sin) permanently, under any kind of pressure whatsoever.
That is why Paul ends in up Ch.8 with these words “MORE THAN CONQUERORS WITH CHRIST”. This reasoning he started more or less in Ch.4, going to and fro a few times without keeping a clear growing up line of thought, but rather one of going up to a point and coming back to it again. That is why we find the reasoning of Ch.6 before Ch.7, even if Chapter 7 goes backwards and Ch. should be lined up with Ch. 8 to match there. Now we see him say the wages of sin is certain kind death, whoever does sin, Christian or not. Here he ends saying that, with Christ for real in and within us all, not even death, hunger, pain…. whatever… can come to separate us from God because we have a greater power to overcome sin anytime (My grace is sufficient for you), under any pressure. He says sin separates from God and so does Scripture (Is.59:1,2). So, to state nothing can separate us from God, it means alone this: nothing, not even death, not even angels nor demons, can cause us to sin against God if Christ is fully settled within us and if it is a reality and not just a maybe affair, a belief alone. He says that none of those things will ever separate us from God because they cannot cause us to sin if we endure in the laws of the faith brought about and prompted as a fruit from that pure Life (rivers of Life) within – Scripture is full of this assumption. It happens because “the Spirit also helps our infirmities” Rom 8:26. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, "For Your sake we are killed all the day long. We are counted as sheep of slaughter." (37) But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us”, Rom 8:35-37. Mark that, in his short list (he could have added unto it) he never mentions that you may sin or that it will not separated you from God if you sin (Paul did not have those doctrines of loosing or not loosing salvation then as some have them obsessively today so as to be able to sin until they die at any cost) - it says the opposite, precisely. It says that, not even under such circumstances one may find a reason to sin anymore - not at all. That’s is why, the same Paul whom you quote so often, says specifically this: “2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal: … "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from (all) iniquity!" Do you know why, if you take Jesus name upon your lips, you should depart from all iniquity? It is because the word JESUS means SAVIOUR FROM SIN (Mat.1.21). So, let’s not use God’s name in vain ever again - we will be condemned on doing so.
I hope this short exposition is clear enough, and if in any way I wasn’t able to expose better, I may try again if you call my attention upon it, somehow.
Let me end with this question to all of you: JUST HOW ELSE WILL YOU EVER BE ABLE TO BE MORE THAN A CONQUEROR IF YOU REJECT EVEN THE FAINTEST IDEA OF BEING A MERE CONQUEROR? Please, tell me. Amen.