Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P27 (01-08-19)
In Romans, Paul uses several illustrations in explaining truth of living under grace. He uses an illustration of marriage to illustrate that we are to die to the law of sin and death and live to another, Jesus Christ our Lord. So a husband who dies, then the woman he was married to is free to marry another man. She is no longer bound to the law of marriage since her husband has died.
As Paul uses various illustrations, the illustration of master and slaves and the law of marriage, he is explaining truth to people who were so accustomed to living under the law of Moses. They perverted the law and made into a means to obtaining righteousness. The truth he taught went against everything the Jewish world at that time believed to be true. As it was in that day, so it is still today. There is still Jewish orthodoxy under strict legalism, that forbids spitting on the ground on the Sabbath. You even have a Sabbat elevator to prevent work on the Sabbath.
You also have the church world today that puts people under law. You have heard pastors, and so have I said much legalistic things. “God is going to take you to the woodshed”, or “God is going to paddle you” or “God is going to punish you for this.” I am going to tell you something. With God, the wages of sin is death, period, It is not a woodshed, a paddling, or taking your income away from you, or I am not going to make you sick. It is death. The wages of sin is death and as long as you and I are under that death penalty, we are to be pitied of all people. If you are not prepared for what happens to you when you die, you are not prepared to live. So he was saying the law was added so that the trespass might increase. Your sins get worse, and in so doing, you are prepared for the good news of the cross.
The one thing that you learn quite quickly is that those who teach law are opposed to grace. For when you teach grace, those in leadership are no longer in a position to control people. Remember how job security killed Jesus. When people want to control others or protect their position and authority, then if anything that is taught challenges that, they are offended. In today’s world, when truth is told, are you not labeled divisive or marginalized or even called “haters”.
In this world today, there is this push for unity. But the only way to have unity is when you have a common doctrine of Christ, the gospel of grace Paul is preaching. So the statement is true. Know doctrine, know unity. No doctrine, no unity.
So the entire teaching of the apostle Paul is going against everything that the Jews ever believed in. That kind of teaching was not popular. That is why the apostle Paul’s life was in jeopardy every single day of his life. That is why the apostles all died by the hand of legalists, because they were going up against the teaching of Moses. Jesus made statements to the leadership. “You say you believe in Moses but you do not believe in Moses because Moses wrote about me. If you believed Moses you would believe me for he wrote about me.” In essence, he was going against everything they believed in. The only thing they could retaliate on him was to go out and kill him. You could not argue what he was saying. This is what the law says but let me tell you what it means. They have heard it said in the law, “do not murder”. but I say “if you are angry with somebody, it is the same as murder.” Why? Because if you are angry then you are capable of murder. For God does not look on the outward but on the inward. God looks at the heart. Man looks at the outside.
Then in Romans 7, Paul addresses the real problem of the law. It is sometimes called the “do-do” chapter. He is explaining how futile living under the law is. What I do not want to do, what I hate to do, I do, and what I do want to do, the good I know I ought to do, that I also fail to do. How wretched are we under the law, whether you are lost or are saved, but putting yourself back under the law. Then he expresses the hope in Christ Jesus. Oh, praise be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Baptism is a picture of what Paul is saying. A person is dunked under the water as a picture of you dying. You are dying to what bound you, the law of sin and death. You died to the law as you were dunked under the water. Then when you are raised out of the water, you are raised to new life in Christ Jesus. You are no longer bound to the law of sin and death anymore, but instead you are bound to the law of life in Christ Jesus. You are bound to Christ, to allow Him to live His life in you and through you, expressing itself in love. Love is the fulfillment of the law. You can choose to live in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
So when we are learning to walk in the new way of the Spirit, there is error in our minds that has to be corrected with truth. Satan lies to us, and keeps us focusing on our feelings, as if we can change feelings without renewing our minds with truth. Feelings respond predictably to whatever we put in our minds. The real battle is in our mind.
Jesus said he came to give us life and life in abundance, and he said the way to experience this is by truth. The truth shall set you free. If truth sets you free, then it is error that binds you. That is why we are instructed to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so we may know God’s good and perfect will.
There is so much error even in Christendom today. You have all kinds of silliness with this nonsense of being slain in the Spirit, speaking in tongues, if you don not tithe you are robbing God, you have to be dunked in their waters by their pastor to be saved, or you must persevere to the end to be saved. The only way to know the truth that sets you free is to allow the Holy Spirit to teach you the meaning of His word in its context and let Him renew your mind. That way you can test and approve of what anybody says is true or not.
Turn to chapter 7 of Romans. The bible had given the illustration about the law of marriage. If the husband dies, she is released from the law, so if she marries another man, she is not an adulterous. But if she marries another man while he is still alive then she is an adulterous. So jokingly I said, “so don’t divorce him, just kill him.”
The apostle Paul is explaining a doctrine that went up against the entire teaching of the Jewish world at that time, and that was the way they lived, by the law of Moses. They tried to follow the law of Moses. They added to the law of Moses. The law was the centrality of their entire being. To this very day in orthodoxy that is true. They are trying to be law keepers. You have, sometimes, and you will still see that in Israel, they will walk with blinders on, with their head tilted down to the ground, so they would not lust. You had a law that said you could not spit on the ground, because if you spit on the ground that would make mud, and that is considered work. So you can spit on a rock but you cannot spit on the ground.
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
It is in that kind of environment that Jesus entered the world. “You heard what the law said but you do not know what it means. The law says do not commit adultery, but I tell you if you look lustfully at a girl you have already committed adultery.”
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Nobody has done that so you are dead. The purpose of the law is to show us our sinfulness so we will turn to Christ for salvation. Like everything else man does, we pervert the meaning of something, and we use the law as means of obtaining righteousness. Paul said that is not the purpose of the law. God did not give the law to us as a means of righteousness. God gave the law to you so you can know you cannot keep it. Those standards are God’s not ours.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
So the entire teaching of the apostle Paul is going against everything that the Jews ever believed in. That kind of teaching was not popular. That is why the apostle Paul’s life was in jeopardy every single day of his life. That is why the apostles all died by the hand of legalists, because they were going up against the teaching of Moses. Jesus made statements to the leadership. “You say you believe in Moses but you do not believe in Moses because Moses wrote about me. If you believed Moses you would believe me for he wrote about me.”
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
In essence, he was going against everything they believed in. The only thing they could retaliate on him was to go out and kill him. You could not argue what he was saying. This is what the law says but let me tell you what it means. The have heard it said in the law, “do not murder”. but I say “if you are angry with somebody, it is the same as murder.” Why? Because if you are angry then you are capable of murder. For God does not look on the outward but on the inward. God looks at the heart. Man looks at the outside.
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.
1 Samuel 16:7
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
The same thing could be said in regard to prayer, whether we pray in English or Spanish or tongues. God is not listening to what you are saying anyway. He is too smart to listen to you anyway. He is listening to the heart. He is aware that we are capable of what we are saying is not really expressing what is going on underneath the skin. You say, “I am doing great” yet your guts are hanging out. That is hypocrisy we are living in. God knows this. That is why God is saying he is not listening to what we are saying. That is why it does not matter we are babbling in, whether English, German, French or tongues, a language of men or angels. God says, “I am not listening to you any way. I am listening to your heart.” God knows our hearts. You cannot con Him with your words. He is listening to our hearts.
This kind of a message had to be explained to people who were totally legalistic, totally trying to obey all the form of the law, and he got underneath their skin. As we were talking about that law where you cannot spit. On the day he healed the blind man, Jesus spit. Where did he spit? On a rock? No, on the ground. He did not even spit to make mud. He got on the ground to make mud himself. Do you think he had to do that to heal that man? No. Why did he do it? To drive the Pharisees upset. You can hear his disciples say, “For goodness sake, wait until tomorrow to heal this man. We are in enough trouble.” “No, I am going to show their hypocrisy.– Did the Pharisees care that this man was blind that could now see. They could care less. All they could care about is that he spit on he Sabbath. So what did they want to do? They set out to kill him. The hypocrisy of this is like saying, “It is okay to kill on the Sabbath just do not spit on the ground when you are doing it.” That is the hypocrisy of the law.
All through this book of Romans, especially as we have been teaching through chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8, you are going to see the apostle Paul hammering on the fact that you are no longer under the law, but you are under the grace of God. The law has done its purpose. The purpose of the law was to lead us to Christ.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
You cannot out sin the grace of God. The grace of God took over where the law failed. Paul said there is nothing wrong with the law but when it follows through me it kills me. There is a problem. Nothing wrong with the law but I cannot keep it. Under the law we have watered this down as well. You have heard pastors and so have I say much legalistic things. “God is going to take you to the woodshed”, or “God is going to paddle you” or “God is going to punish you for this.” I am going to tell you something. With God, the wages of sin is death, period, It is not a woodshed, a paddling, or taking your income away from you, or I am not going to make you sick. It is death. The wages of sin is death and as long as you and I are under that death penalty, we are to be pitied of all people. If you are not prepared for what happens to you when you die, you are not prepared to live. So he was saying the law was added so that the trespass might increase. Your sins get worse, and in so doing, you are prepared for the good news of the cross.
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
What does that mean? When you are under the law, sin is your master. All you have to do to tell a child, to get a child to do something, is to tell him not to do something. You tell a child not to touch the fire and his little fingers are going over there, and he is laughing at you the whole time. You draw a line over a fence and tell someone not to look over there. What do they do? Look over there.
1 Corinthians 15:56
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
The power of sin is the law. You are under the power of sin and are being mastered by sin under the law. Again, there is nothing wrong with the law but when it flows through us it kills us. That is what Paul is trying to get across to us.
2 Corinthians 3:6
6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
There is another way of life and it is not the law that kills you. It is the Spirit of God that gives life to you. Until you die to the law, you will never come alive to the grace of God. There are people still sitting in this room who are trying to walk down two sides of the street at the same time, law and grace. Are you going to heaven? Well, I hope so. If you hope so, you are still under the law. What you are saying is, “I hope I am good enough. God says you will never be good enough to inherit eternal life. You have to die to what killed you.” That is exactly what this marriage illustration is saying. You are born into this world married to the law, but the law dies.
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
That is what baptism is a picture of. You are standing there. You are dunked into water. Water is an instrument of death. You are raised to walk in the newness of life. Where do you leave the law? In the water, dead, in order to walk in the newness of life under the grace of God, led by grace, led by the Spirit of God, who lives in us. He did not leave us empty.
This is what a lot of people say. “You need tracks to run on.” You are not a train. You do not need tracks to run on. You have the Spirit of God to live in you to guide you into all truth. What does truth do for you? It sets you free. It sets you free from error that binds you. If truth sets you free, then error is what binds you. You have to be set free from the law of sin and death in order to walk in the newness of life in Christ Jesus.
So he is saying that just in this marriage deal, you die to this partner so you are free to marry another, Christ Jesus your Lord, and to walk with Him forever, eternally, in His presence. Now let us go down to verse 7 of chapter 7 of Romans.
7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful?
We have a number of questions asked here. Between chapters 5 and 8 is 6 and 7. It is a parentheses. It is where Paul pauses from what he declared in chapter 5 and what he is going to declare in chapter 8. He pauses to answer these questions. What shall we say then? If you cannot out sin the grace of God, should we go on sinning so that grace will increase? We dealt with that. In the same way, he talked about, what then shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace when he says sin shall not be your master but under grace, so then should we sin because we are not under the law? Now in chapter 7, he asks, is the law sin? Are you saying the law is sin? No.
Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.
Here again. What was the purpose of the law? It was added so trespasses would increase and so show you your sinfulness.
Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.
Is the law still in effect for a lost person? Absolutely. What is the purpose of the law? To show you your sinfulness. So you will do what? Turn to Christ as your Lord. So until you turn to Christ as your Lord, you are still what? Under the law. Under the law of sin and death, until you choose life. That is the whole issue of salvation, life.
For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
It is strange that Paul uses one of the commandments, “do not covet”. It is the one no one talks about. Catholics did a survey years ago about the most talked about sin in the ten commandments. Coveting was never mentioned even one time in the entire world on confession day. Why? You cannot see that. That is under the skin. That is stuff we do that no one knows about. Paul uses coveting. That gets us all.
8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment,
Sin seizing the opportunity afforded by the law.
produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law;
He is talking about the fact that prior to the law being taught to me, I was free from that. But when the commandment came, when I learned the law, sin sprang to life and I died. I found out I was dead.
but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
I thought the commandment was going to bring life, but it actually brought death.
11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.
I finally understood this was something I could not do. I finally comprehended that the wages of sin is death. I finally comprehended that, therefore, I am dead, And so is everybody else, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Is that true or not?
12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
So where is the problem? If the law is good, where is the problem? Us. God forbid, not us? Yes, us. Sin seizing that opportunity afforded by the commandment brought death to me. I understood my death.
13 Did that which is good, then, [the law] become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
It did not become death. It produced death. It showed me I am dead. It was not that I became dead when I saw the commandment. It showed me my death. It produced the death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment, sin might be utterly sinful. Through the commandment of God, you and I see that we are perfectly sinful;. No man will ever be declared righteous through obedience to the law for it is through the law we are conscious of sin.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
We are going to see an interesting passage. We are going to see in this passage, the problem with the Christian life today, and that is people going out trying to live the Christian life in the energy of the flesh. You are going to see something here. Mark these things in your bible as you go along. Bob marked 51 circles around the “I”s and the “my”s in this short passage.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.
The first time I read these passages, I thought somebody had been peeking on me, for this was my life. Folks, people ask if Paul was lost or if he was under the law? It makes no difference. If he was lost, he was under the law. If he was saved, and put himself under the law, this is your lifestyle. It does not make any difference whether lost under the law or saved, but kept yourself under the law, for you will experience the same results in your life. Your pastor said, “You will still be under the law and you have to keep the big ten. We are not under the ceremonial law but we are under the ten commandments.” No, you are not under any of them. You do not go under Mt. Sinai when you are saved. So this is a passage for those lost under the law or saved under the law. This is your lifestyle.
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
This almost sounds like a cop out. Do not blame me. It is sin. If you want to blame somebody, blame what he did. For he said it is living in me. Sin is being fanned by who? Satan. Satan using what? Satan is using the law to fan it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
How many of you are relating to this? Is anyone saying, “I wonder what he is talking about?”
22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;
I understand it is right, good and holy.
23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.
Where is the war raged? In your mind. As a man thinks, so is he.
7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he:
What is one of the ways Satan deceives us? He tries to say, “No. No. It is in your feelings.” That is why we talk about our feelings all the time. How do you feel about this? I feel and I feel and I feel. God says, “Look, I designed you in such a way, whereby, your emotions are going to predictably respond to whatever you are thinking.” You are designed that way. When you are thinking about the things you have done in the past, your emotions do not know whether that is happening or whether that has happened or whether you think it is going to happen. They are just predictably responding to what you are putting in your mind.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
So when you are sitting around thinking and beating yourself up over all the bad things going in the past, or yesterday or today, and you are beating yourself over those things, your emotions do not know whether that is going on right now or whether you just think they are going on. You do not know. Emotions are dumb. They only respond to what you are thinking. If it is not bad enough if we are beating ourselves up what happened in the past, either of yourself or others, that is never good enough for us. We then start thinking about what is going to happen tomorrow. Right?
It is like the husband who is coming home. He is coming home late. When he is trying to get here, the wife has the meal cooked, and she is waiting and waiting and waiting and she is getting madder and madder and madder. “I wonder where he is? He is doing that to hurt me. If he was thinking about me, he would be here on time.” By the time the poor guy walks in the door at night, and he has been caught in traffic, she is irate. Not only is she irate but because of what she has been thinking in the past, but she is also going forward. “I bet the slob is going to be late tomorrow, too. As a matter of fact, if I live with him another 20 more years, he will be late every day.” So now you have 90 mads working. You have got the past working and you have the future working. So he comes in, and brother, he gets it. “What is wrong?” “What do you mean, what is wrong? You have been late for 50 years.” Is that the way things happen?
When I am thinking about what is happening in the past, my emotions just respond. There is only one time I can feel emotion and that is right now. I cannot feel yesterday. I cannot feel tomorrow. But I can think something yesterday and think something tomorrow. I can create something with my mind. I can create a song. I can create poetry. I can create literature in my mind. My emotions will predictably respond to what I am thinking. We are built that way. We are created that way.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
God tells us to live one day at a time. If he was saying that in regard to the physical aspect that would be a dumb thing to say for as the only time I can live is right now. “In your mind, Bob, live a day at a time.” You cannot sit around in your mind thinking about what happened in the past because your emotions will respond as if it is going on right now. Amy can share her testimony about her life back in Russia and she will cry just as if it is going on. Why? Because your emotions do not know whether it is going on, or if you are thinking it is going on, or it has gone on. You are dragging back a past event that is sad and your emotions are predictably responding to them.
Yesterday, he said, forget yesterday. There is not a thing in the world you can do about yesterday. There is not a thing you can do about what you could have done or had done yesterday. It is done, isn’t it? It is over, isn’t it? It is past. It is history. But as long as you insist upon thinking about it, it is present. Is it not? The way you can keep your feelings from feeling something that has happened bad is to quit thinking about it.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.