Chapters 6-8:4—Grace of God

Fred R. Coulter—May 24, 1997

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Let's review just a little bit. Let's go back and follow the progression of things so we can understand where we are in Rom. 6 right now. We're going to see the comparison all the way through of what Paul is doing here to show the solution to the sin problem.

Romans 1:17: "For therein… [in the Gospel] …the righteousness of God is revealed… [a continuous present tense] …from faith unto faith… [from God's faith to us, our faith back to God, and back into us and back to God] …according as it has been written: 'The just shall live by faith.'"

Then he shows the opposite, v 18: "Indeed, the wrath of God is revealed… [on a continuous basis] …from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the Truth in unrighteousness."

Then he goes on showing that—I think it's very profound that we realize something very important—physical status, being a Jew or an Israelite, has no standing spiritually with God. Why? All must repent! All must be baptized! That's what's important. What Paul is showing here, as we saw in Rom. 2, is that he was really telling the Jews that unless they believe in Christ, and unless they keep the commandments of God, their circumcision is made uncircumcision and furthermore, the uncircumcision will judge them! Those are tremendous, fighting words.

Rom. 3 talks about what God is doing to justify. We need to review that again concerning justification. Romans 3:20: "Therefore, by works of law…"

We're going to see why in a more profound way today. When I first read this I just couldn't grasp it. Here we were keeping the commandments of God and so forth, but I misunderstood the application of it.

"…there shall no flesh be justified before Him…" (v 20). Why? Because law was not designed to justify you before God the Father in heaven above! The sacrifice and resurrection of Christ was. We will see one of the reasons that this is, is because of the very nature of human beings. Human beings cannot keep the Law perfectly. Only Christ did!

Then he begins to give the solution in v 21: "But now the righteousness of God that is separate from law has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness of God that is through the faith of Jesus Christ, toward all and upon all those who believe; for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (vs 21-23). This justification by belief then is given freely.

Rom. 4 talks about Abraham and what he did, and how he was justified by belief. Here's how we are to live our lives by faith. We are to:

  • walk by faith
  • live by hope
  • dwell in love

That's how we are to do it. He begins to address the problem of how sin did enter into the world, and it came through Adam. Because of that, we all—by inheritance—inherit human nature. Paul begins to define step-by-step the solution for human nature it.

Here is the conclusion of everything from Rom. 5:12 to 8:14; Romans 8:1: "Consequently, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; because the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus… [the power of grace] …has delivered me from the law of sin and death" (vs 1-2).

The law of sin and death is what all of us have inside of us. That's why it's completely precluded that anyone could be perfect in the flesh, or that anyone—except Christ—could keep the commandments of God perfectly. You can be in the letter of the Law, perfect in some things, as Job was. How was his heart? Needing a vast overhaul! That's the whole point.

Let's look at some things concerning the first Adam and the second Adam and just briefly review.

Romans 5:12: "Therefore, as by one man… [Adam] …sin entered into the world, and by means of sin came death; and in this way death passed into all mankind; and it is for this reason that all have sinned."

We used to believe that babies are born neutral and perfect. Nonsense! They have human nature and by the time they are six months old they're already expressing their human nature. They already are! That's compared with the second Adam, Who was Christ.

What did the first Adam do?

  • he disobeyed God and was displeasing to Him
  • he sinned
  • he disbelieved God and believed his wife and Satan

The second Adam: Christ:

  • He obeyed God, always doing the things that pleased Him!
  • He was sinless; without sin!
  • He believed God!
  • He loved God!
  • He gave His life!

I want you to look at something that is very important for us to understand:

Verse 15: "But should not the free gift be even as the offense was?…." What is the 'free gift'? Jesus Christ! 'God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son.' That means the free gift of everything that Jesus stands for.

"…For if by the transgression of the one man many died, how much more did the grace of God, and the gift of grace, which is by the One Man, Jesus Christ, abound unto many?" (v 15). So, you have:

  • free gift
  • grace of God
  • gift of grace

Verse 16: "And should not the free gift be like that which came by the one who had sinned? For on the one hand, judgment was by one unto condemnation; but on the other hand, the free gift is by one to the justification of many offenses." That is Christ giving:

  • His life
  • His death
  • His crucifixion
  • His resurrection

That is the free gift!

Now then, other things come from that, v 17: "For if by the offense of the one man death reigned by the one, how much more shall those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life by the One, Jesus Christ." So, right here we have three gifts defined or listed:

  • the free gift
  • gift of grace
  • gift of righteousness

All necessary for salvation! The free gift of Christ with His life, death and resurrection comes first. Then you have the gift of grace, which then begins the operation of grace. Then you have the gift of righteousness, which is the imputing of the righteousness of Christ to everyone He calls.

I know we're getting into very detailed theology today. We are going to understand what theologians do not understand. If you can understand this, then you are understanding some of the most deep and profound things that God can teach us; but absolutely necessary for us to grow in grace and knowledge and overcome and realize our standing before God.

Verse 18: "So then, even as by the one transgression condemnation came unto all men, in the same way also, by the one act of righteousness shall justification of life come unto all men. For even as by the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, in the same way also, by the obedience of the one Man shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, so that transgression might abound…" (vs 18-20).

We come to a higher level of the understanding of the Law, which then makes sin exceedingly sinful.

"…but where sin abounded, the grace of God did super abound… [God is able to cover all of those transgressions] … so that even as sin has reigned unto death, so also might the grace of God reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (vs 20-21).

This is very profound, Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? MAY IT NEVER BE!…." (vs 1-2). Let's just survey a little bit.

Verse 15: "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? MAY IT NEVER BE!"

Romans 7:7: "What then shall we say? Is the law sin? MAY IT NEVER BE!…."

Verse 13: "What then shall we say? Is the Law sin? MAY IT NEVER BE!…."

These are all the mistakes that all the theologians make constantly! Yet, Paul said, "MAY IT NEVER BE!"

Romans 6:2: "MAY IT NEVER BE! We who died to sin… [How did you die to sin? Through baptism!] …how shall we live any longer therein?"

Rom. 6 begins the application of the Covenant of God. Recall to remembrance what I gave concerning the covenant sacrifice of Gen. 15, as it relates to the death of Christ. The death of Christ becomes a very profound, pivotal point in history. Yes, in all eternity! His death then is something that we participate in.

Verse 3: "Or are you ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?" Now we're going to start solving the problem.

  • the problem is sin—the solution is grace
  • the problem is death—the solution is life
  • the problem is flesh—the solution is spirit

Here's how it's accomplished, v 4: "Therefore, we were buried… [just as Christ was in the tomb; just as Christ died] …with Him by the baptism into the death… [that's what it is in the Greek, into that very same death as Jesus Christ] …so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life…. [complete newness of life] …For if we have been conjoined… [knit or fused] …together in the likeness of His death…" (vs 4-5).

What are we also saying with this? We're to going to see that as Christ died, we also enter into the covenant relationship with Him, with the same death, through baptism. We died to sin! Just as the death of Christ and the whole purpose of God was irrevocable and He was resurrected from the dead, so likewise our decision with baptism is irrevocable and the resurrection cures the problem.

"…conjoined together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection" (v 5). As Jesus said, 'He who follows after Me must hate his father and mother, brother and sister, children, lands and life, yea, his own life, also. And whosever does not pick up his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.' So, we are crucified with Him!

Verse 6: "Knowing this, that our old man was co-crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed…" A progressive thing that is worked at through the Spirit of God to destroy the body of sin.

"…so that we might no longer be enslaved to sin; because the one who has died to sin has been justified from sin" (vs 6-7). Freely! It is a gift of righteousness! Freely!

Verse 8: "Now, if we died together with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that… [this is what we have to understand and realize] …Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has any dominion over Him. For when He died, He died unto sin once for all…" (vs 8-10).

God is going to apply that to all human beings in His plan. That's something we need to understand.

"…but in that He lives, He lives unto God. In the same way also, you should indeed reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Christ Jesus our Lord" (vs 10-11).

Now we are going to see a comparison going through here. We are to be alive to God, but dead to sin that we should not serve sin any longer. Let's see how that is done. He's talking about exactly the same thing here:

Galatians 2:20: "I have been jointly crucified with Christ… [co-crucified] …yet, I live…. [here we are the same thing; we are living] …Indeed, it is no longer I… [this is the point we all need to come to] …but Christ lives in me. For the life that I am now living in the flesh, I live by faith—that very faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." That's what Christ did! Also, part of the things that we are promised are part of the sufferings that Christ went through.

We are dead to sin, but alive to God! What I want you do is look at these things on a 'A/B'—we're going to see 'A/B' all the way through:

  • 'A'—dead to sin
  • 'B'—alive to God through Christ

Because of this, here's what we need to do:

Romans 6:12: "Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body…" Notice, it doesn't say you have no proclivity to sin at all; don't let it rule! That's why we went through James 1, how sin comes about, step-by-step.

Don't let it rule "…by obeying it in the lusts thereof" (v 12). We are to put sin to death through the power of the Holy Spirit. We're going to see there's this constant struggle going on; constant choices laid before us. People in the world don't go through this. They have no consciousness of it. But we who have the Holy Spirit go through this. We have this fight! this battle! this war!

Verse 13: "Likewise, do not yield your members as [A] instruments of unrighteousness to sin; rather, yield yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and your members as [B] instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not rule over you because you are not under law, but under grace" (vs 13-14).

This is a very profound verse right here. It is misunderstood by the Protestants who say that 'if you're under grace you don't have to do anything'; misunderstood by those who are under law by misinterpreting grace. Here's one way that it was interpreted before; they would read it: 'Sin shall not rule over you because you are not under the penalty of the law'—which is not a true statement.

  • Was ancient Israel under the penalty of law? Yes!
  • Did sin rule over them? Yes!

"…but under grace" (v 14). If you insert the word penalty between 'under' and 'law,' then you must also insert penalty between 'under' and 'grace': 'you are not under the penalty of law, but under the penalty of grace'—which is ludicrous, there's no such thing as the penalty of grace. It is the opposite! So, what does this mean? Let's look at it under law. Under law means

  • you're living in the flesh
  • you have works of law
  • you have a physical temple
  • You have justification to the temple

Did any of those things ever change the heart? Let's go to Heb. 9, and then we will look at what happened to the one who even built the temple.

Hebrews 9:11: "But Christ Himself has become High Priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by human hands (that is, not of this present physical creation). Not by the blood of goats and calves, but by the means of His own blood, He entered once for all into the Holiest, having by Himself secured everlasting redemption for us" (vs 11-12). Again, we are getting the comparison between the spiritual and the physical.

Verse 13: "For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who aredefiled, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh."

What does this mean? What were they purified to? They were purified to the temple! They were sanctified to the temple! That was it. They were not justified to God the Father in heaven above because that requires something greater. Even though they would do these works of law, what was still a problem? There was a vast problem! Let's see what the problem was.

Galatians 3:22 is talking about the time up to Christ: "But the Scriptures have shut up all things under sin…" Who shut them up under sin? God did! Why? Because of the sin of Adam! That's why!

"…so that by the faith of Jesus Christ the promise might be given to those who believe. Now, before faith came we were guarded under law, having been shut up unto the faith that was yet to be revealed" (vs 22-23).

Let's see what the predicament was and then we will see how that actually worked out. They are "…shut up unto faith…" They are "…shut up unto sin…"

Romans 11:32: "For God has given them all over to unbelief in order that He might show mercy to all."

What happens when you're under law and you do the things according to law? Law does not change the heart, because law cannot impart the Spirit of God! Law can modify your behavior for a time. Let's look at the example of Solomon who built the temple. God gave David the plans for everything to build the temple. David set back the iron, the brass, the gold, the silver—set that all in store—commanded that Solomon build it according to the plans that he gave. Look what happened. God also appeared to him twice—didn't He? Solomon gave a tremendous dedicatory prayer when the temple was dedicated. Notice what happened to Solomon.

1-Kings 11:1: "And King Solomon loved many foreign women, even the daughter of Pharaoh, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, Hittites; of the nations which the LORD had said to the children of Israel, 'You shall not go in to them, and they shall not go in to you; surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.' But Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines…. [A thousand women!] …And his wives turned away his heart, for it came to pass when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods. And his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God as was the heart of David his father" (vs 1-4). He had all of it right there. Did being under law solve the problem of human nature? NO!

Verse 5: "For Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites; and Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD and did not go fully after the LORD like his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab... [He went into the pagan temple-building business!] …in the hill, which is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise he did for all his foreign wives, and burned incense and sacrificed to their gods" (vs 5-8).

You talk about being 'hen-pecked'! You talk about giving into your wives! I mean, Adam was bad, it was difficult, but Solomon was impossible! He was so harried by his wives. 'Build me this! You built it for that one there; you build one for me. I want one for my god, she has one for her god. Do you love me? If you loved me you'd build one for me!'

So, he was the most 'hen-pecked' rundown man toward the end of his life, it was unreal! All of this didn't change his heart and then you read the book of Ecclesiastes and you find out how cynical that he really was in his view of life, though being true what he wrote.

What was the law concerning wives. I think we're seeing a good example of the breaking of law, right here. This is not defining anything that is good. This is defining something, which is inherently multiplying over evil.

Verse 9: "And the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel…" Remember when the Ten Commandments were given? What did God say? 'Oh that there would be such a heart in them that they would keep My commandments always' (Deut 5). They were shut up unto sin; they were shut up from the faith; they were all concluded in unbelief—the whole world!

Now let's see what happened to Israel. After all of that:

  • Did punishment change them?
  • Did correction change them?

You can apply this to the world today.

  • Do all the laws that are created make righteousness?
  • Does it change the heart? NO!

As a matter of fact, even those who enforce the law become the oppressors using law!

  • Would you not say this nation is under the system of judges and law? Yes!
  • Has it cured any sin? No!
  • Is every new law enacted something which then makes righteousness in the hearts of people? No!
  • What happened when they reduce the speed limit to 55? We all went over it!

We were all used to going 75 mph and that was the law at one time. They reduced it to 55, now they have it back up to 65. Let's see what the children of Israel did. After hundreds of years of being under law,

  • Did it solve the sin problem? No!
  • Did it change the heart? No!

Let's see what happened, 2-Kings 17:9: "Now, the children of Israel secretly did things that were not right against the LORD their God. And they built high places in all their cities for themselves from the Watch Tower to the fortified city. And they set up images and groves for themselves in every high hill, and under every green tree. And they burned incense in all the high places, like the nations whom the LORD had removed from before them, and they practiced evil things to provoke the LORD to anger, for they served the idols of which the LORD had said to them, 'You shall not do this thing.' And the LORD testified against Israel and against Judah, by all the prophets, by all the seers, saying, 'Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law, which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets'" (vs 9-13). Never penetrated!

Verse 14: "Nevertheless, they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like the neck of their fathers who did not believe in the LORD their God. And they rejected His statutes and His covenant, which He made with their fathers, and His warnings that He testified against them. And they went after vanity, and became vain…" (vs 14-15).

And that, brethren, is exactly where this society is today. You can see the reflected in the television. It is vain! It is stupid!

"…and went after the nations around them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them not to do like them" (v 15).

  • Has this not also happened in the Church?
  • Have they left God and become vain?
  • Yes!

I submit to you that being now endorsed by the International Four-Square Gospel Pentecostal Church that you are bona fide fake Christians is an abomination to God! It is foolishness and vanity. That's what all 'tongues-speaking' is.

What happened? Verse 16: "And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God and made molten images, two calves for themselves. And they made a grove, and worshiped all the host of heaven… [What is my horoscope today?] … and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire…." (vs 16-17). Today it's modern rock music, the school system and the witchcraft that goes on, actively taught.]

"…And they used divination and sorceries, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. So, the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them out of His sight; not one was left, only the tribe of Judah by itself" (vs 16-18)—and Judah heard, feared and repented. NO!

Verse 19: "Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes, which Israel made. And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers until He had cast them out of His sight" (vs 19-20). What do you think God is going to do to those people who reject the New Covenant today?

It didn't solve it. Being under law does not get rid of sin. That's why sin ruled over Solomon, sin ruled over the children of Israel and Judah. Sin rules over everyone because they are under law. Now then, being under law without the temple, you can't even be justified to a temple. Under law there is no justification to God, because there is grace.

Now let's look at what it means to be under grace. We will call this the power of grace, the work of grace. Let's see what it is, how it works. Grace is the entire action of God toward you. It is the grace of God, coming from God to each of us:

  • God calls you—that's the first operation of grace; God does it!
  • God leads you to repentance—that is the grace of God! You become conscience of sin!
  • You are baptized with Christ—after repentance. Repent and be baptized!

That is an operation of God whereby you're co-buried, co-crucified with Him, knit together with Him in the likeness of His death.

  • You are justified to God in heaven above and have entrance into the Holiest!

Think of that, brethren, entrance into the Holiest in heaven above. That is awesome! I tell you, the next time you get on your knees and pray, ask God to help you understand that. Ask God to help you realize that you have the great and awesome blessing and privilege, through Christ, to come into His very presence with your prayers.

  • You receive the Holy Spirit—the begettal of the Holy Spirit in you, to lead you!

That is the beginning of the process of conversion. Conversion is a process, which is very difficult.

  • You receive the gift of righteousness!

You need it in order to be allowed to come into the very presence of God in heaven above, you need to have that grace so He accepts you as He did Christ. Let that inspire you, brethren.

  • We walk in newness of life!
  • We have the fruits of the Holy Spirit!
  • Christ in you—Christ is being formed in you!
  • Eternal life!

That is the power and operation of grace.

Now you understand why it says that 'in this grace wherein we are standing.' We are under that grace, under all of this together. That's the whole amount of it put together.

Let's see how there is a tension. This is the battle and this is the confrontation. And add to that there is also Satan and the world out there putting extra pressure upon people and it will vary from time-to-time.

Rev. 2 is a perfect example that you don't look to the outward circumstances of what is happening in a Christian's life.

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Revelation 2:8: "And to the angel of the Church of the Smyrneans write: These things says the First and the Last, Who was dead but is alive. 'I know your works and tribulation and poverty…'" (vs 8-9). Looking at it from the outside, you would say, 'Whew! Doesn't pay to be a Christian.' God is not for me.
"…(but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who declare themselves to be Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of the things that you are about to suffer…." (vs 9-10).

There are times when we suffer. I have suffered; everyone of us have suffered. Some are still suffering some of the things. In the future there will also be suffering.

"…Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life" (v 10). Looking at it on the outside, it didn't look very profitable, but inside there was something else that was happening with these people.

Galatians 5:16: "Now this I say, walk by the Spirit… [be led by the Spirit of God] …and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh." We're going to see that there is a tension between the Spirit of God that is in you, and the pull of the law of sin and death that is in you. That's why the first resurrection is a better resurrection, because of what we go through. We are suffering with Christ.

Verse 17: "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these things are opposed to each other, so that you cannot do those things you wish to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under works of law" (vs 17-18). No, you are not under the condemnation of law.

Now then he gives the work of the flesh—we just read it back with Solomon—v 19: "Now, the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft…" (vs 19-20)—of which he did all of it.

Verse 22: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love…" That's why it's a very important thing, one of the very important things we can learn in the trials we are going through is this: 'God, help me to understand Your love. Help me in these situations that are impossible, to express the love of God to other people.' And it's difficult, brethren. I know, I've been there!

"…joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (vs 22-23).

But, here's what we do, v 24: "But those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, we should also be walking by the Spirit. We should not become vainglorious, provoking one another and envying one another" (vs 24-26).

We will see the same thing all the rest of the way through; Romans 6:15: "What then? Shall we sin, because we are not [A] under law, but [B] under grace? MAY IT NEVER BE! Don't you realize that to whom you yield yourselves as servants to obey… [whatever person, whatever thing, whatever it is] …you are servants of the one you obey, whether it is [A] of sin unto death, or it is [B] of obedience unto righteousness?" (vs 15-16).

Notice obedience unto righteousness—that perfect righteousness which comes from Christ, through His Holy Spirit.

Verse 17: "But thanks be to God, that you [A] were the servants of sin, but you [B] have obeyed from the heart…" That's what God wants, conversion of the heart—obedience and willingness from the heart!

"…that form of doctrine which was delivered to you… [the whole Gospel, everything that Christ taught] …and having been delivered [A] from sin, you became the [B] servants of righteousness" (vs 17-18).

Now, let's understand something important: set free is to be set free as a slave; to be a servant is to be—the Greek: 'doulous'—now a slave of righteousness unto God! But you do it by choice. In the Roman Empire there were those who freely chose to become slaves, because of whatever circumstances. He's using that analogy. We are to be "…servants of righteousness."

Verse 19: "I speak from a human point of view because of the weakness of your flesh; for just as [A] you once yielded your members in bondage to uncleanness, and to lawlessness unto lawlessness… [now in exactly the same way] …[B] so now yield your members in bondage to righteousness unto sanctification."

Isn't that something? If you are yielding yourselves as members in bondage to righteousness, you have no sin! God imputes the righteousness to you in a greater way. Another thing will happen, brethren, God's Spirit will help convict you of sin even quicker, so that you can repent.

Verse 20: "For when you were [A] the servants of sin, you were [B] free from righteousness. Therefore, what fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For [A] the end result of those things is death. But now that you have been delivered from sin and have become servants of God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and [B] the end result is eternal life" (vs 20-22).

  • What would you give for eternal life? That's what he's really saying here!
  • Can you imagine what kind of thing you could sell if you had the formula to perpetuate life even in the flesh for another 100 years?
  • Do you realize how much money you could make?
  • How much people would pay?
  • But is a hundred years eternal life? NO!
  • What would people give to receive eternal life?
  • What does God require you to give for eternal life? Your life!

Just like Christ gave His life!

Verse 22: "But now that you have been [A] delivered from sin, and have become [B] servants of God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end result is eternal life. For the [A] wages of sin is death, but the [B] gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (vs 22-23).

The free gift is eternal life, but the free gift is the giving of Christ, and the free gift of God is eternal life, which we have here. Now we see the requirements of what we are to do. This is a very detailed way of saying forsake the flesh and walk in righteousness in the Spirit.

We're confronted with a legal problem, which Paul begins to solve in Rom. 7. I'm not going to go into great detail here on this, but just sufficient enough to let you know that the covenant with Israel was a marriage covenant and that had to be solved.

Romans 7:1: "Are you ignorant, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know law) that the Law rules over a man for as long a time as he may live?" All law rules over you!

  • Does the law of gravity rule over you so long a time as you live? Yes!
  • Do not the laws in your body rule your body as long as you live? Yes!
  • Are you not under law in the world? Yes!
  • Are not God's laws ruling over you as long as you live?
  • Who gave the Ten Commandments? God did!
  • Who gave all the other laws? God did!
  • Who amplified them in Matt. 5-7? Jesus Christ did!

Now then, we come to a specific law:

Verse 2: "For the woman who is married is bound by law to the husband as long as he is living; but if the husband should die, she is released from the law that bound her to the husband. So then, if she should marry another man as long as the husband is living, she shall be called an adulteress; but if the husband should die she is free from the law that bound her to the husband…" (vs 2-3).

That's what we are talking about. We are not talking about a theological argument that you are now free from any requirements of the laws of God; that is a ludicrous conclusion to draw from this.

"…so that she is no longer an adulteress if she is married to another man. In the same way, my brethren, you also were made dead to the marriage law of the Old Covenant by the Body of Christ…" (vs 3-4).

Let's think this through for just a minute. Marriage is binding until the death of one of the individuals. Does God live by His own laws? He would have to because He's Lawgiver, and the Lawgiver cannot be a lawbreaker. Who is the lawbreaker? Satan the devil! In making this marriage covenant with Israel—though He had to put her away in divorce—did He marry another nation? No! He kept part of it—Judah—and kept the covenant with her until Christ. In order to terminate that covenant—since covenants cannot be terminated by fiat; covenants must be terminated by death—one of two things had to happen:

  • all Israel had to die—God would have to kill all of them

or

  • God had to die

That's why Christ came and died—one of the main reasons—to end that covenant because He could not even be engaged, betrothed, to the Church unless He first died. That's why Christ died. To release old Israel from the covenant, by the body of Christ,

"…in order for you to be married to another, Who was raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God" (v 4).

Then he starts the deep, internal tug of war. Even though we have the Spirit of God in us, we still have human nature—the law of sin and death—in us. He wants to bring out some very important points here.

Verse 5: "For as long as we were in the flesh, the passions of sins, which were through the law, were working within our own members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we have been released from the law… [of the marriage covenant] …because we have died…" (vs 5-6).

Didn't we die in the operation of baptism after He died? Yes! So, our covenant vow with Christ is also unto death, His death!

"…to that in which we were held so that we might serve in newness of the spirit… [that's how we are to serve] …and not in the oldness of the letter" (v 6).

I could not help but think of that poor Baptist minister standing up there in front of this whole room full of Jews trying to explain to them why he thought that the Baptist should evangelize the Jews. That poor man didn't have a clue!

I've thought about that if I were ever put in that position, what would I say? I thought that I would start this way: All of you in this room are circumcised and that is the token of the covenant that God gave to Abraham, but there is something else that God said that He desired from you, which you need to do, and that is 'circumcise the foreskin of your heart.' You know and all of your rabbis know that you have created traditions and laws that have built a great shield about you and, in fact, have built an iron room between you and God. Now God is calling upon you to let Him circumcise your heart. That's as far as I've gotten on it.

I would use all Old Testament Scriptures. That's what God is doing here. "…newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter" (v 6), because that just builds a mound of things against God and created death, hatred, bitterness, wrath and anger. Back to the Jews:

  • Did all of your anger over the Holocaust change your heart?
  • Did it change the hearts of other people?
  • Has all of your bitterness and anguish against God, in producing so many atheists solved the problem of sin? That's what Paul is saying right here!
  • Has it? No!

Verse 7: "What then shall we say? Is the Law sin? MAY IT NEVER BE!…. [of course, the law can never be sin!] …But I had not known sin except through the Law. Furthermore, I would not have been conscious of lust, except that the Law said, 'You shall not covet.''" Why? Because the desires of the flesh and the desires of the mind are just natural and good to the carnal mind!

Eph. 2 shows the naturalness of sin and lust. You can't know what it is unless God defined it for you.

Ephesians 2:2: "In which you walked in times past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience." They think it's good and marvelous and wonderful and fine, because they've been:

  • shut up under
  • shut up from the
  • shut up unto unbelief

Then God intervenes to call:

Verse 3: "Among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind…"—all great, wonderful human things.

"…and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world. But God, Who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us" (vs 3-4)—reached down with His grace: by grace you have been saved through faith!

When we were in the flesh, like Paul said, Romans 7:7: "…I would not have been conscious of lust, except that the Law said, 'You shall not covet.' But sin, having grasped an opportunity by the commandment… [figuratively speaking] …worked out within me every kind of lust…" (vs 7-8).

Not only did he begin to see lust, but then there was every kind of lust, "…because apart from law, sin was dead…. [the law was there and sin was alive] …For I was once alive without law; but after the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" (vs 8-9). How did he die? By baptism! 'I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, and the life I live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God' That is His very own faith.

Verse 10: "And the commandment, which was meant to result in life…" Didn't God say if you keep the commandments, you'll prolong your days? You'll be happy? It will be well with you? But it didn't solve the inherent sin problem.

I, Paul: "…was found to be unto death for me; because sin, having taken opportunity by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me" (vs 10-11). Sin is deceitful! What can happen with the deceitfulness of sin?

Let's see the warning that was given. Sin can be very deceitful. Why? Because sin can be very pleasurable for a short season! Sin can be exciting, for a short time!

If you don't believe that try driving 120 mph one time. I remember when I got my 1956 Ford V8—I was 21-22—and I got one that was brand new and I only paid $3600 for it. It was a two-door hardtop, first time they came out with the hardtop. The top was black and the top part of the car was white, and then it had this Nike-like chrome coming down the side and the bottom of it was black. It had dual exhaust, automatic transmission, and at that time, Richfield put out Richfield boron gasoline, the greatest thing to ever hit the market.

I was taking a trip down to California and I put in Richfield boron, and I was cruising down the freeway, the first freeway in Oregon. I wondered how fast this will go. I kicked it up to 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, I got up to 105 and Whooooo! My heart was just pounding and I thought, Man! What if I get a flat tire? I immediately took it down from there and never went 105 mph again; although, my wife occasionally thinks I do. There was that excitement for a while and no highway patrol—God was merciful to me! What I'm trying to point out here is the deceitfulness of human thinking, which can lead you into greater and greater sin!

Hebrews 3:7: "For this reason, even as the Holy Spirit says, 'Today, if you will hear His voice… [that's what God wants all the way through] …harden not your heart, as in the rebellion, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, where your fathers tempted Me and tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Because of this, I was indignant with that generation, and said, "They are always going astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways." So, I swore in My wrath, "If they shall enter into My rest—"' Beware, brethren, lest perhaps there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in apostatizing from the living God. Rather, be encouraging one another each day, while it is called 'today,' so that none of you become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (vs 7-13).

So, it is the sin that is deceitful thing. When Paul recognized that deceitfulness, he was as good as dead!

Romans 7:11 "…[sin] deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore, the Law is indeed Holy… [the law is good] …and the commandment Holy and righteous and good. Now then, did that which is good become death to me? MAY IT NEVER BE! But sin, in order that it might truly be exposed as sin in me by that which is good, was working out death; so that by means of the commandment, sin might become exceedingly sinful" (vs 11-13).

Have you ever been going down the road one day, thinking about things and maybe thinking about God, and all of sudden it comes in your mind that you really understand how sinful that thing you did back when really was. Then you have an instant repentance right there and say, 'O God, I never knew how bad that was.' I don't know about you, but I've experienced that, more than once. You then see the 'exceeding sinfulness' of it.

Verse 14: "For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am carnal, having been sold as a slave under sin." That's the problem with being under law. The law is spiritual, but the people were carnal.

Verse 15: "Because what I am working out myself, I do not know.…" Have you ever done things where you say, 'Why did I do that?' I don't know why I did that! I do that all the time. I did that just last week. Very bad!

"…For what I do not desire to do, this I do…" (v 15). Ever find yourself doing something you don't want to do, and you really hate what you're doing, but you're doing it, and it's stupid! That's what he's talking about here.

"…moreover, what I hate, this is what I do" (v 15). This is the struggle that goes on spiritually! If God would condemn us every time this happened we wouldn't exist! That's why there's grace!

Verse 16: "But if I am doing what I do not desire to do, I agree with the Law that it is good. So then, I am no longer working it out myself; rather, it is sin that is dwelling within me" (vs 16-17).

All of us have that law of sin and death! That's why I started out in Rom. 8, so we could understand what he's doing. First of all, he showed the commitment through baptism there in Rom. 6. Then he shows what we are to do: forsake sin and follow righteousness. Then in Rom. 7, he says, 'When you are doing this there's going to be this inner struggle.

Verse 18: "Because I fully understand that there is not dwelling within me—that is, within my fleshly being—any good…. [this is what Job did not understand] …For the desire… [and we all desire] …to do good is present within me…"

Even when people commit murder, they are desiring to do good with this murder. When they steal, they're desiring to do good with this stealing. After all there is a benefit, so they think. But the 'wages of sin is death.'

"…but how to work out that which is good, I do not find. For the good that I desire to do, I am not doing; but the evil that I do not desire to do, this I am doing. But if I do what I do not desire to do, I am no longer working it out myself, but sin that is dwelling within me" (vs 18-20). That's why there can be no good thing in the flesh.

Verse 21: "Consequently, I find this law in my members, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me."

Have you ever done something really uplifting and you feel very inspired in it, and you know that God was with you in it? Then two or three days later, what happens? You do something carnal and nasty! Did you intend to do it? No! Did you do it? Yes! Why did you do it? Because of sin dwelling in you!

And as long as you are in the flesh you have sin dwelling in you. That's why you must overcome daily. That's why you go through these trials. That's why you have this inner battle going on; so that you will really love God and love the good, and serve Him with all your heart. When you do that you are under His grace and God does not condemn you.

Let's see the solution that Paul brings out, v 22: "For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man; but I see another law within my own members… [it's part of him] …warring… [that's the war, brethren, that's the fight] …against the law of my mind, and leading me captive to the law of sin that is within my own members. O what a wretched man I am! Who shall save me from the body of this death? I thank God for His salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, on the one hand, I myself serve the Law of God with my mind; but on the other hand, with the flesh, I serve the law of sin" (vs 22-25).

  • So that you progressively overcome!
  • So that the body of sin might be destroyed!

That is the battle!

One thing that is very, very true: People who do not have the Holy Spirit do not have this battle! So, if you have this battle, what is this? This is proof you have the Spirit of God and that God is dealing with you! That's something, brethren! Now you see why you can't overcome human nature with human nature? It's just like saying, take this oil that's been spilled on the floor and clean up this oil that is on the floor. It is an incongruous statement.

  • Can you overcome the law of sin and death with the law of sin and death? No!

That's an incongruous statement!

  • Can you help yourself in a carnal way?
  • Become more successful?
  • Follow the laws of success?
  • Develop a business?
  • Develop speaking ability?
  • Develop vocabulary?
  • Develop customers, clients, technical knowledge—whatever it may be?
  • Educate yourself to be the finest thing you can be in this world?

But are you converted? NO! Unless you have the Spirit of God! You can pull yourself up by the bootstraps.

I remember years ago, Zig Ziegler came into town and my son David wanted to go see Zig Ziegler. I took him and Jonathan to see Zig Ziegler. Zig Ziegler is one of the greatest promoters of building the self; that you can become what you want to be by thinking and doing. He even brings in some of the commandments of God, and he even brings in love. But he doesn't know the love of God! He is building on that 'eros phileo' love, which is carnal, self-centered love:

  • Be better!
  • Earn more!
  • Be younger!
  • Be stronger!
  • Be more beautiful!
  • Be richer!
  • Have more possessions!

And by the way, 'pay my fee and buy my tapes and buy my books so I can be more wealthy and greater and stronger and more perfect.'

  • Does that change the heart?

You can accomplish certain things with that, but:

  • Is that conversion? NO!
  • Does it change the heart? NO!

It may re-direct the carnal heart in other carnal pursuits, but the law of sin and death and the carnal heart remain the same and remain under law! That's what Christ meant: 'He who seeks to save his life shall lose it'; because a change of one carnal position to another carnal position—though in the mind's eye of the person doing it—doesn't convert the heart. 'But he who loses his life for My sake,' Christ said, 'shall find it.' And that's what Paul is defining here.

Now, because God put in you the law of sin and death, because you are struggling against sin, because you have the Holy Spirit of God residing in you at the same time that this is going on, through the grace of God you are not under condemnation! Now do you understand why he says, 'What? Shall we sin that grace may abound.' No, no, no! This is so that you will be inspired to want to come closer to God.

That's why he says, Romans 8:1: "Consequently, there is  not any…"—not one, even though you may feel guilty in heart and need to repent, you go repent.

"…condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (v 1).

  • the very fact that you have this struggle
  • the very fact that you are wanting to go God's way
  • the very fact that you are striving to go God's way

shows that you are walking according to the Spirit!

What I mean by this struggle and having the Holy Spirit, you are not just doing things where you might—like someone in the world—have a guilty conscience because they know some things are right and wrong. Right or wrong does not mean that they're converted. That just means they have a certain understanding of things that are right and wrong. We're talking about here the whole process of overcoming and conversion with God's Spirit. In that 'there is no condemnation.'

Verse 2: "Because the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus… [those ten things that I call the power of grace] …has delivered me from the law of sin and death."

There will come a time, brethren, with the increase of God's Spirit and the growing in grace and knowledge and understanding, that you will know that God has delivered you from the law of sin and death! The more that you love God, the more that you're going to understand that. The two go hand-in-hand.

Verse 3: "For what was impossible for the Law to do…"

  • could not change the heart
  • could not bring eternal life
  • could not bring true righteousness
  • could not bring justification to God in heaven above
  • could not stop sinning

—even though it knew better! "…in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; in order that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (vs 3-4).

That's the whole operation of growing and overcoming, and the whole operation of grace. That's why, when you have a trial and difficulty, God will see you through it. It may be very difficult. You may have your back against the wall. There have been times when I have had my back against the wall and through it, but God still delivered me, and I'm thankful for that. I hope that that encourages other people who are going through trials themselves!

Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version

Scriptural References:

  • Romans 1:17-18
  • Romans 3:20-23
  • Romans 8:1-2
  • Romans 5:12, 15-21
  • Romans 6:1-2, 15
  • Romans 7:7, 13
  • Romans 6:2-11
  • Galatians 2:20
  • Romans 6:12-14
  • Hebrews 9:11-13
  • Galatians 3:22-23
  • Romans 11:32
  • 1 Kings 11:1-9
  • 2 Kings 17:9-20
  • Revelation 2:8-10
  • Galatians 5:16-20, 22-26
  • Romans 6:15-23
  • Romans 7:1-7
  • Ephesians 2:2-4
  • Romans 7:7-11
  • Hebrews 3:7-13
  • Romans 7:11-25
  • Romans 8:1-4

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Romans 2; 4
  • Genesis 15
  • James 1
  • Matthew 5-7

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 12-31-10
Reformatted/Corrected: November/2016

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