The Book of Romans, chapter seven, verse five through 25. This is episode 11 in our series. Very important chapter tonight. I'm Michael Pearl and you are at The Door in Lobelville, Tennessee.
Paul wrote in 57 or 58 A.D., from Corinth to Rome, this letter. Psalms said, a thousand years before Paul, "I will worship toward thy holy temple and praise thy name for thy loving kindnesses and for thy truth, for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." Psalm 138:2 Now, God thinks so much of His Word that He's magnified, it exalted, it lifted it up above even His name, above all thy name.
Now let's review chapter six. The reason we're reviewing chapter six is because it is integral to understanding chapter seven, actually six, seven, and eight, hang together. They're all one message.
Now we learned in chapter six, it started off, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." 1 Corinthians 12:13 Now that baptism we learned was a baptism of the Holy Spirit placing us into the body of Christ. So each believer upon believing are placed into his body.
The scripture says, "If one died for all, then are all dead." 2 Corinthians 5:14 Because being in Christ, when He died, we died. We've all been made to drink into one Spirit.
Romans 6:3 "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" So in other words, when we became an integral part of Christ, His history became our history. So when He died, we died. When He was buried, we were buried.
Romans 6:4"Therefore, we're buried with Him by baptism into death." His death.
Paul said later in Galatians, 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, but yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”
Romans 6:5 "...If we've been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection." So when Christ was raised in the dead, the entire church was raised from the dead with Him. In other words, you were raised from the dead before you were even born the first time.
Colossians 2:12 "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you're risen with him through the faith of the operation of God." This is an operation God did, not something you did. It's not something that happened in your experience. It's something happened in God's experience. And so through God's faith, through the faith of the operation of God who raised Him from the dead.
Not only that, Ephesians 2:6 "And hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." So when Christ was raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven, you and I were raised with him and also ascended into Heaven, into heavenly places. So there we are now, the Bible teaches seated in heavenly places. So that's where I am right now. I am with Jesus Christ in heavenly places.
So now let's review chapter seven verse one through four, which was our last week's message. It starts off by telling us that there's a woman married to a man, and apparently she doesn't like it, but it says the man and the woman are bound together as long as they both shall live.
So the law of marriage binds this woman to the man. The story's not about the man. It's not about the law of marriage. The story's about the woman who would seek to be free, but cannot because the law of marriage binds her until he dies. Now, the woman represents the believer, the Christian, we know the Bible has a lot to say about the church being Christ's bride. He, the bride groom.
So here we have the bride wanting to be married to Christ, but instead we're married to the old man. And so in order to be married to Christ, the old man must die. And that old man is the flesh. The flesh is the flesh. You see it, you scratch it, it bleeds, it gets old, it gets wrinkled and it dies. That's the flesh. The flesh is what lusts. The flesh is what eats. The flesh is what looks and consumes. The lust of the flesh is not of God, but of the world the scriptures tell us.
So the law of marriage there represents the law of God. So the believer is bound to his flesh by the law of God. As long as the flesh is alive, the woman is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth. "...but if her husband will be dead, she's loosed from the law of her husband." So this husband got crucified when Jesus died, died with him. "...if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulterous."
So he's not really concerned about marriage in this discussion. He's just using this as an illustration, but if her husband be dead, so finally he's died and here she is free at last. Now, "...if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulterous." So she's happy. “But if her husband be dead, she's free from the law of her husband, so she is no adulterous though she be married to another man.”
Now here's the believer's new reality according to the scriptures. I am now the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21. I am the righteousness of God. That's not what you see, that's what God sees. And after all, there's no committee going to let me into Heaven. God's the one that's going to let me in. And he's going to let me in because I am perfectly and sinlessly righteous in his eyes. Understand that. Because God has taken the righteousness of Jesus Christ and applied it to my account.
Now that's not what I see when I look in the mirror, that's not my wife sees, but it is what God sees and that's what counts.
And then I am crucified, resurrected, and ascended. And I am free from sin. And I am filled with the Holy Spirit of God. And I have a sound mind, according to the scriptures, and I am joyful. And I am an overcomer. Those are facts that are true of those that are in the Lord. Jesus Christ.
Now you say, "Me? Me? Those things are not all true of me." Well, if you're a believer, they are.
Reading Romans 4:17-18, which was part of our earlier study, "As it is written, I have made thee father of many nations." God talking to Abraham, "Before him whom he believed." Abraham believed God, "Even God who quickeneth the the dead." Now he's talking about Sarah being passed childbearing age and Abraham being passed producing seed. And yet God quicken brought to life, both Sarah and Abraham, quickened the dead, "And calleth those things which be not as though they were." That's the key to understanding this, that God calls something that's not. And because He calls it, it is. After all, in creation, when God said, "Let there be..." There was. And when God says to a blind man, "Go and see." He did. And when God says to a sinner, "You're righteous." He is. And when God says to a Christian, "You're free from sin." He is free from sin. When God says, "I'm buried, raised, ascended and seated." I am seated on the right hand of God.
Romans 4:18-19 He “...calleth those things, which be not as though they were." And now Abraham “Who against hope, believed in hope.” That is he had nothing visible with which to hope on, but yet he believed, and that was his hope. "That he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken. So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith..." Now God gives us an example of what we should be experienced now. "Being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead." That is his body was dead in respect to producing children, but he didn't consider that. That wasn't part of his consideration because God had spoken greater things and said, "You're not dead. You're the father of a great nation." "When he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb." He didn't consider Sarah's womb as dead. "He staggered nod at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God." That's the key is that God gets glory when we believe him.And that's why God did this with Abraham is to get Abraham in a position to where there was no hope left, except the hope in God's words.
So when Abraham believed God, had hope in God's words, then God got glory. So God would have glory today by declaring something to be true of you that you don't see, that is that you are free from sin and you believe in God and actually walking free from sin. I love the Bible. Romans 4:21 "And being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was also able to perform." That's where Abraham's faith was not in him making it happen, but in the fact that God would make happen what God said.
Hebrews 11:3, "Through faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Listen, God does not make your sanctification of things which do appear. It's not based on God working something in you to change your heart. It's based on something God did in Jesus Christ that has given you a new Spirit.
Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." So we see it not, but we have evidence in the faith, "But without faith, it is impossible to please Him for they that come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." That's sanctifying faith. Sanctifying faith is believing the impossible. And without faith, it is impossible to please him.
Now, the believer has a new matrix. You're going to learn something new tonight, for this is the first time I've ever said it. I saw this earlier in the week and put this together for you to try to make this simple for the television watching mind. The believer has a new matrix in which to operate.
Matrix in Latin, originally used for the uterus of a breeding woman. That's how it was used a couple thousand years ago.
Now matrix is found in the Bible five times. Did you know that? Did you know that? Look, here is one of them. The latter part of Exodus 13:15. "Therefore, I sacrifice to the Lord all that opened the matrix, being males, but all the first born of my children, I redeem." So the matrix, He opened and that's how children were produced. So the matrix is, in the strictest original sense of the word, the uterus, where children are formed. Now, if a woman's passed bearing children, it wouldn't be a matrix anymore.
Now here's a definition:
Def. a situation or surrounding substance within which something else originates, develops, or is contained.
So the word is used much more broadly today.
Now, here is what the matrix in anatomy, the matrix is the formative tissue of hair, nails, or teeth. You know what they call the quick on your finger, that's the matrix of the fingernail. That's the formative tissue from which the fingernail grows. If you destroy the matrix, there be no fingernail. And hair, hair follicles are the matrix of hair. You cut all the hair off, shave it right down to the skin, but as long as the matrix is there, the hair will keep growing. And the teeth, the teeth of very small children. There's a matrix of tooth there that will eventually produce a tooth in that child's head. In geology, it's the solid matter in which a fossil or crystal is embedded. Like if you find gold in quartz, quartz is the matrix and gold is drawn from it.
The principle metal in an alloy. All kinds of steel, stainless steel is about 60 to 70% iron and then some other ingredients. Whereas a lot of steels are 90% iron, but iron is the matrix from which all alloys are made.
A binding substance as cement in concrete. So the cement is the matrix in concrete, holds it all together.
Political philosophy is the matrix of law. So according to your political philosophy, you develop law.
And then mathematics, numbers arranged in row and columns by which one studies physical phenomenon is a matrix. Some matrix are two dimensional and some very sophisticated matrix are three dimensional, which I don't understand, but I read about it.
“Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every form of freedom.” Benjamin N. Cardonzo
Freedom of expression. In other words, if you don't have freedom of expression, there are no other freedoms. Out of that comes all other freedoms.
“After the first World War Germany's feeling of resentment became the matrix for the second World War.”
And so the second World War was inevitable with this feelings Germany had. Now you say you're taking a lot of time on this. It's important. You're going to see something.
“The Islamic worldview preached in Europe's mosque is the matrix of violent extremism.”
It's out of those mosque, that those violent extremists come.
Adam, (the world, the flash and the devil) composed the matrix of human sinfulness. Adam composed the matrix of human sinfulness, the world, the flesh, and the devil is the womb from which human sinfulness is born.
The resurrected, enthroned Christ is the matrix of redeemed sonship.
The body of Jesus Christ is the matrix of the spiritual man. Now you can't go outside the womb to produce a baby and you can't go outside Jesus Christ to produce the spiritual man. Anything else is an imitation.
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh." Flesh is the matrix of flesh. "That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." Spirit is the matrix of Spirit. So you must be born again in the Spirit.
Now, there are two matrix. The fallen Adam is the old matrix that we were born into. The resurrected Christ is the new matrix that we've been placed into through the Holy Spirit baptism into the body of Jesus Christ. That's the new matrix.
Now, the old matrix is defined as in the flesh and cannot please God. I'm taking all of these two pages of definition, the old matrix, right out of the text here in Romans. Ineffectual will, I do what I hate. That's the old matrix, an ineffectual will, doing what I hate to do. Carnal sold under sin is the old matrix. Power of sin dwells within. Sin in my members bringing me into captivity is the old matrix. Live in a body of death. The old body, the body of flesh and sin is the old matrix from which comes all worldliness and wickedness. Serve the law of sin in my members. You recognize all these phrases from our text. Serve the law of sin in my members. He says, "I'm a wretched man."
So that's a description of the old matrix and further, "What is man, that he should be clean? And he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?" Job 15:14 This is recognition of the corrupted matrix from which you and I have issued.
Isaiah 1:4 "Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers." He's talking about semen, a seed of the evil seed, evil doers, "Children that are corruptors. They have forsaken the Lord. They have provoked the Holy One of Israel under anger, they are gone away backward."
So the old matrix. He says, Psalm 58:3 "The wicked are estranged from the womb. They go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." Now he's not saying that children are counted as sinners. He just says that the wicked person looking back is estranged from the womb. And all people are born estranged, separate from God from the womb. And all babies will speak lies. How do they do that? They cry saying they're hurting when they're not. They just want to be held. So all little babies learn to lie real soon because that's the way they get attention and get favor.
Psalm 51:5 "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity." Now he's not saying that the fetus was formed as an iniquitous object. He's saying that he was inside of iniquity when he was shapen. Notice the Bible always clarifies itself by having two or three phrases together, which triangulate the meaning. "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me." So it was in the mother's belly, the mother being sinful, the father being sinful. It was there in that matrix that he was shapen in iniquity and conceived in a place of sin.
So the old matrix. "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Matthew 7:18 All human beings come from a corrupt tree and therefore all bring forth evil fruit.
"As in Adam, all died..." And we studied how that you and I are in the loins of our father Adam, so that when Adam sinned, we being in his loins share the consequences of his actions, not the guilt, but the result of death passing up on us.
So the new Matrix. 1 Peter 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed..." Look at that, he's talking about seed again. The human seed is corruptible seed, "But of incorruptible..." Seed is the implication. So what is the incorruptible seed? "By the Word of God." So the word of God is an incorruptible seed. Now he is not talking about the New American Standard or the New king James or the New International Version. They are all terribly corrupted seeds, but the King James Bible in English is the uncorrupted seed of God, which liveth and abideth forever. Other languages have an uncorruptable seed as well. Not all of them, but a many of them, especially your Indo-European languages.
John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." So we must have a new birth placing us into a new matrix.
1 John 3:9 "Whosoever us born of God doth not commit sin, for his...” look at that “...his seed remaineth in him." Now I'm not going to go on an explanation of first John, I have a book out on that or some series of tapes and messages, audio that you can get and listen to that. But I just want to point out one point, his seed remaineth in him. In other words, God places a seed in us at the new birth, and that seed remains in us because we're born of God.
Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed with the promises made,” he says " Not to seeds, as of many, but as of one-" One seed, "And to thy seed, which is Christ." So Christ is that new seed from which all others are generated and come, he is the new matrix.
So the new matrix is in Jesus Christ.
The old man is crucified and dead to sin and free from sin in the new matrix. The body of sin is destroyed. By that, we're talking about this physical body that wants to eat the wrong thing is destroyed. This physical body that wants to lust is destroyed. This physical body that wants to heap pleasures upon itself is destroyed. The body of sin is destroyed. Buried, raised, ascended, and seated and reigning. Alive unto God, joint heirs with Christ in the Spirit, spiritually minded. Have the Spirit of adoption cry, Abba father. The Spirit bears witness with our Spirit and the Spirit prays through us. Again, I took all this from the text. So that's what the new matrix says. Think about comparing the two lists.
The believer must reckon on God's reality, the Bible uses the term reckon for our responsibility.
God reckoned Abraham to be the father of a great nation when he wasn't, but he believed in hope.
God reckoned David to be without sin and yet David wrote several Psalms about his weeping for his sin, but God reckoned him to be without sin and did not impute his sin to him.
God reckoned Christ to be a sinner. God made Him to be sin for us, Him who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God and Him. God reckoned Christ to be a sinner.
Now God reckoned the righteous Jesus to be a sinner and reckoned the sinner in me to be righteous.
God tells me to reckon myself to be crucified, buried, raised again, and ascended. I got ascended so fast there I had to back up and come down and do it again.
Now, here are the two matrixes. How you like that graphic? That's pretty good. Here's the two matrix. The one on the left is the matrix of flesh. That's where the old man is. The sinful self. On the right is the matrix of Spirit. And we are to reckon ourself to be dead to the flesh and alive unto the Spirit.
Too many believers reckon they are in the flesh and cannot please God. Do you realize that? That believers are reckoning the very opposite. Most preachers preach to people and convince them that they're in the flesh and cannot please God and all they can do is just come down to the altar and confess their sins and go back and give it another shot. I mean, 99 point something percent of all preachers help Christians reckon that they're still in the flesh, in the old man, and still a slave to sin. And it works because most Christians are a slave to sin. They're helping him by not preaching the truth.
Now I must reckon I'm crucified, buried, raised, ascended and seated in heavily places.
I must reckon the body is dead indeed unto sin, alive unto God that I'm the righteous of God.
I'm free to sin no more. I'm free from Satan and I am an overcomer. You see, I have no fear of Satan. I have defeated him. I reign over him. I have no fear of anything in this life because I am an overcomer.
Now, if I could sing, I would sing, I am going to be an overcomer. Nothing in this world can keep me back. I have got a glimpse of my Lord Jesus, and I'm walking on a one way track. Now, if I could sing, that's what I'd sing.
Now, Romans chapter seven, we've just kind of summed up the whole thing here and bring it together. Now we're going to hit seven pretty fast.
Romans 7:5 "For when we were in the flesh..." What do you mean? What do you mean were in the flesh? He's talked like that's past tense and yet here I stand right now. My legs are hurting. My right foot, the arch is hurting. My nose is itching. My belly is a little bit upset. Yet He says I'm not in the flesh. The question is, am I going to pay attention to my itching nose and my hurt leg, and the deadness from nerves down here that result of little broken backbone I had one time? Or am I going to believe what God says? So he says, I was in the flesh. I'm not anymore.
“When we were in the flesh, the motions of sins,” that's the moving the activity, which were by the law, did work on our members to bring forth fruit onto death.” He said, that's what it used to be.
So again, you've got the fallen Adam as the old matrix, the resurrected Christ is the new matrix, we're either in the flesh, that's unsaved or in the Spirit, that's saved. No in between. So those are in the Spirit, have the Spirit in them we're in Christ, and we are a new creature.
Galatians 5:17:-18, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary the one to the other so you cannot do the things that you would."
Romans chapter seven pretty well takes that and breaks it down into about 14 different verses saying just what that one portion says. The flesh lust against the Spirit. How is that? You know how it is when you decide that you are not going to eat that junk food, because it's bad for you, but it looks better than ever now. And you remind yourself of your law not to eat it before meals, but there it sits and it's crying out to you, "Eat me, eat me." And so what happens many times? The flash wins. The Spirit gives over. Why? Because the flesh is stronger at that point. Why is it stronger? Because you're walking after it, not walking after the Spirit. And we could apply that to drugs, and sex. And pornography, and any other thing that everyone does. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit. The flesh craves the position of the Spirit. The flesh wants to rule as the Spirit wants to rule. Two competing forces, two matrix, which one will win? Modern Christianity tells you that most of the time, the old one's going to win.
Romans 7:5-25, starting the new section. It's not going to be as long as you think. "For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins which were by the law, did work in our members." So the motions of sin worked in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. "But now we're delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held." So in the flesh, the members is what has my lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. And the law used those members to work sin. But he said, "That being dead, wherein we were held." So that thing that lusted is now dead. Remember we studied that last week, we talked about that some? "That being dead wherein we were held that we should serve in newness of Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter." So what was it in our illustration one, two and three of chapter seven? What was it that died? Was it the woman that died, which represents us? No. Was it the law that died? No. What died? The flesh died, okay? So that being dead wherein we were held refers to the old man, the flesh that's been put to death. And I've shown you a great deal of verses that express that same point, right?
And Romans chapter six, the entire chapter was about us being crucified, and what was crucified? It was our flesh, our Spirit wasn't crucified. Our flesh was crucified. What was crucified in Christ, His Spirit? No His flesh was crucified. So we're baptized into His death. We're baptized into a physical death, shedding of blood, dying and going into a grave. The death of flesh. What was resurrected? His flesh was resurrected. His Spirit was in the presence of God immediately and never was a loss or a break after His crucifixion, after His death. But his flesh died. Our flesh died.
Now here's what C.S. Dodd, a noted commentator said about this portion of scripture.
"Forget what Paul says and find out what he means."C.S. Dodd
You've just got started off on the wrong foot, going backwards. You are going to stumble and fall flat on your what-you-call-it, because I don't care what Paul means. I want to know what he said, because what he said is inspired by the Holy Ghost and it's said properly. So I'm not going to start seconding second guessing what he said, but that's what Dodd said.
Now Gaebelein, everybody knows him. I mean, he's a noted commentator and pretty big guy. He said,
"The parallel breaks down.:Arno C. Gaebelein
Paul made a mistake here in trying to create a parallel. He said,
"Paul was no doubt aware of a certain incongruity between illustration and application."Arno C. Gaebelein
That is Paul used the wrong illustration, it really didn't work good.
"The parallel is not exactly carried through through because it would have been obviously untrue to say that the law died."Geoffrey B. Wilson
His assumption is that Paul is teaching that the law died, but he didn't want to say it because that wouldn't suit well.
"It looks as if Paul was mixed up, has mixed up his illustration. But this is not an analogy which corresponds in every point, it's an illustration."Alva J. McClain
Oh, I'm so glad we got the commentators to tell us that our writer was confused and we're going to have to pay a whole attention.
"The apparent confusion in this passage arises from the apostles not carrying the figure regularly through.”Charles Hodge
“Out of respect, probably to the feelings of his readers, Paul avoid saying the law is dead."Charles Hodge
Now that is a snobby scholar's perspective. Casting Paul into his own image. Obviously this writer has failed to say to audiences what was true because he didn't want to offend them. Let me ask you if the apostle Paul, the man who went up on Mars hill, a foreign city with a foreign language, with hundreds and thousands of statues and people walking [inaudible] statues and said, "I perceive you're too superstitious." Now would that Paul who called them too superstitious, be afraid to offend somebody? But that's what they think. Why? Because they've made an assumption about what the passage teaches and the passage does not conform to their assumptions so they have to say he failed to carry it through regularly. He chose a poor illustration. It really doesn't say what he meant to say.
Now, R.C. Sproul pretty near contemporary here, Calvinist,
"Paul introduces an analogy for the purpose of simplifying something difficult. Unfortunately, this analogy, which was designed to simplify has been the occasion of much confusion and a great deal of stumbling over the centuries."R.C. Sproul
Oh, I'm so glad we have R.C. Sproul to straighten us out.
If you don't believe that God inspired the Words of God, that every word or the words of God. Don't you think that God who called light out of darkness and order out of chaos is able to take words and say what he wants? So did God leave Paul to his own devices to stumble around? Was Paul such an uneducated man that he just out of nowhere grabbed an illustration which didn't say what he wanted to say and created confusion down through the centuries? Listen down through the centuries, they believed the wrong thing. Not everybody, but most of the writers. Why have they believed the wrong thing? Because I can show you where one copied other, who copied the other, who copied the other, who copied the other, who goes right back to a point in history and they all want to be liked and accepted, and they're afraid of ridicule so they don't want to depart from the normal accepted interpretation and take the Words of God as face value.
You say, why'd you waste all that time there? Because I am teaching something that you've probably never been taught before. And if you've gone to any of these commentators, you've been taught something different from what you're hearing in the Words of God. And I want you to know exactly what the inside scoop is on these guys. I mean, you know politicians, don't you? Do you believe politicians? How many politicians do you believe? Do you believe they practice deception? What if they're really intelligent men? Do they still practice deception? What if they're brilliant men? What if they're actually good men who call themselves Christians and are against abortion and gay marriage and all that? Are they still all telling us the truth all the time? Or are they practicing to deceive us? You know they're deceiving us and I don't know for sure one that's not. And the more we learn about any one, the more we know we're being lied to. Preachers are no different. They can be smart, they can be nice, but many of them still don't know heads from tails. And I've been wrong too.
All right. Here's what the New king James Version says, we have appropriate background here for the New King James Version. Remember, we're looking at the passage that being dead wherein we were held. Here's what the New King James says, "But now we've been delivered from the law that having died to which we were held." Now, the text says that being dead. Now it says us having died to what we were held by. So the King James Bible is teaching that something died that freed us. This one's teaching that we died. Now, that's why they say Paul's analogy doesn't carry all the way through, because if it did, he would say the flesh died, which he did. And they say, "What he really meant was we died." And then some of them say, "What he really meant was the law died." So instead of saying, "Having died to what we were held by." They're implying that could be the law. We died to the law. Flushing sound.
Romans 7:6 "That we should serve in newness of Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter." So this death of the old man allows us to serve in newness of Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter.
Here's the oldness of the letter. James 2:10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point he's guilty of all." The law is a heavy and a grievous burden to bear.
Romans 8:3 "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh." So the problem was not with the law. It was with the flesh.
Acts 15:10 "...A yoke which neither our fathers, nor we were able to bear," Peter said.
Now serving God by means of the letter. Here's what that means. This is serving God by means of the letter. Number one, you need to hide God's Word in your heart. Learn the Bible, quote it. If you're going to serve God by the letter. Maintain a believing heart. The Amish do that, need to try that. Repent of any known sin, ask for forgiveness. Boy, we got a good Baptist revival going now. Fast and pray, that's going to prove you sincere with God. Deny your flesh Keswick movement we're coming, we're coming. Flee from sin and unhealthy influences. Oh yeah, separation. Maintain a disciplined life. Seek humility, love, and serve your fellow man. All of that goes with serving God by means of the letter.
Folks you're looking at religion right there, sincere full-fledged dedicated religion. Roman Catholic religion, Mormon religion, Jehovah's witness, Seven Day Adventist, Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, Episcopalian, on, and on, and on. You're looking at religion. Non-denominational. Anywhere everywhere you find Christians struggling and seeking to please God, they do that list right there and they serve God by the letter.
I had one that was Hindus sitting right here talking to me and well, he agreed with just about everything. That's what their religion teaches too.
And all the cults all can serve God by the letter.
Now here's what it means to serve God by the letter again, and here's what we found out. It's a failure, a complete, and a total failure in all ways.
For Galatians 5:16 says, "This I say then, walk in the Spirit, you'll not fulfill the lust of the flesh." That's the cure.
Romans 8:4 "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled inus who walk not after the flesh, by the letter of the law, but after the Spirit."
So here's Romans 7:7-14, which answers the question is the law sin? Because the Jews felt like Paul was teaching that the law was sin, something wrong with the law. Since Paul is setting the law aside for grace, for faith, for the Spirit, then he's saying the law is faulty. He's going to answer that.
Romans 7:7 "What should we say? Is the law sin?" Is that what I'm saying? "God forbid. Nay. I had not known sin, but the law-" He said, the law served a purpose. It showed me what I was, I was a sinner. "For I had not known lust, except the law said, thou shall not covet." See the law didn't say you're not to lust. Jesus taught that, but the law didn't. The law simply said, thou shall not covet. But when Paul applied that law to his heart, he interpreted it further and saw it also meant not to lust. So he discovered a deeper meaning in that command, but thou shall not covet.
Romans 7:8"But sin taken occasion by the commandment wrought in me all manner of concupiscence." You see, when that law was erected as a standard and Paul attempted to obey it, he found that he had a deeper struggle than ever before, because now his guilt was compounded. The guilt separated him from a sense of God's presence, and so there he was left alone with his failure and failure breeds failure.
Romans 7:9"For without the law, sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came sin revived and I died." He said I had a revival when I got the law and it killed me.
Romans 7:10-11 "And the commandment was ordained to life-" That says this do and thou shall live, but he tried to do it and he didn't. He died. "I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me." Sin deceived him, sin tricked me. I got the law and thought I was going to be a good man. I got the law and thought my religion would get me to God. I started memorizing scripture, and praying, and fasting, and doing everything I could and everything the preacher said, and instead I got deeper and deeper in sin and it slew me wherefore the law is holy. He admits that. "And the commandment holy and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me?" He said, did the good law, is that actually what killed me? "God forbid." The third time he said that. "But sin, that it might appear sin."
In other words, sin was there. The law didn't originate sin. Sin was already there it was just unknown, unidentified until he got ahold of the law. "That sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual." That's interesting. "The law is spiritual, but I am carnal." Note that word carnal is the same form of the word sarx, which is the word for flesh that we studied before. "I'm carnal sold under sin."
So here's- Oh, welcome back. Welcome back to the potty, folks.
I have a library at home it's top shelf. I keep it up there. It's cults. And then with it, I keep about 45 different translations of the Bible. And so I call that my cult shelf or my funny shelf.
All right, here's the New International Version. And we're dealing with the phrase, I am carnal. "We know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual." Romans 7:14 Oh, the New International Version took the word carnal out and put unspiritual. "Sold as a slave to sin." Now let me ask you, is being carnal the same as being unspiritual? Unspiritual is a negative, something you're not. Carnal is a definitive statement as to something you are. So when you're not something, that doesn't say anything about what you are. And furthermore, no Greek ever said anything like that.
The Authorized Version, "For we know that the law is spiritual." Pneumatikos, is the Greek word. It's like new pneumatic cylinder, pneumatikos. "We know the law is spiritual-" The Greek pneumatikos, "But I am carnal-" Sarkikos. "Sold under sin." So it's the word sarx, but because it is the flesh is like a noun and carnal is an adjective. It's the adjective form of sarx. So it's translated carnal instead of fleshly, "But I am carnal sold under sin."
So the New International Version says, "We know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual." So he takes the word pneumatikos and translates it into unspiritual.
So here's the word, Greek word, spiritual, pneumatikos. 26 occurrences translated spiritual 26 times in the King James Bible. That's what you call consistent. King James Bible sticks to the translation of that word 26 times.
Unspiritual is never found in the Greek text anywhere in the Bible. So they've taken a word that never appears anywhere in any Greek Bible and put it in your Bible.
So carnal, sarkikos is an adjective form of the noun sarx. Flesh is used 147 times and the carnal nine times, and fleshly twice.
The New international Version translates sarkikos as unspiritual. We just read that. Then they translate it sinful man. You know, there are Greek words for sinful man, but they weren't there. They translated material. Remember how consistent the King James was? They translate sarkikos, carnal as worldly. As mere man, mere men. Weapons of the world, regulation, and ceremonial. Let me ask you, what kind of scholarship is that? That's a funny book. That's a travesty. I mean, that's amazing that they take God's words and put them into English in a variety of different ways that has nothing to do with the Greek text or with the context at all. Why? Because they're wanting it to say something different than what it says.
Romans 7:14 "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal." Okay, let me go back to 13.
Romans 7:13 "Was then that which is good made death unto me. God forbid, but sin that it might appear sin working death in me by that which is good. That sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful, for we know the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin."
I am carnal, sold under sin
Okay, here's the carnal. I am carnal, sold under sin. The law is spiritual. I am carnal.
Those are all the phrases for carnal, plus:
That's what the Bible speaks of the carnal. And we've come short of the glory of God.
“for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh.”
What the law could not do. So that's what 15 through 25, the last section here is about. What the law could not do. Romans 7:15 "For that, which I do, I allow not." So many people teach this as current policy for Christians. "For that which I do, I allow not." That is, I'm not making an allowance that causes this to happen. "For what I would, that do I not." What I would do, I don't do. "But what I hate-" I don't want to do it, I hate it. "That do I." So in other words, he said, I'm doing the very opposite of what I want to do. "If then I do that, which I would not. I consent under the law that it's good." Now Paul is giving a hand back here to the supporters of the law, the Jews, by saying, that by the very fact that I try to do the right thing as the law teaches and don't is an indication I'm agreeing that the law is good.
Romans 7:17-22 "Now then it is no more I that do it." He concludes, "But sin that dwelleth in me." So after the coming of the law and after attempting to obey the law, he said, it's no longer I making a choice. He said, sin is now ruling and reigning. I'm on a runaway horse here. "For, I know that in me-" Notice the parenthesis. Me in me and "That is in my flesh." Now I remember how many times we talked about that sarx flesh, flesh, flesh. "In my flesh dwelleth no good thing, for the will is present with me." So for all you can Calvinists that said, we don't have a will. He said, I did. All of us say we can't choose, he did. He chose. It just wasn't effectual. "But how to perform that which is good. I find not for the good that I would. I do not for the evil, which I would not that do I if I do that, I would not is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law-" As in a rule of action, not a written down mosaic law, "I find a law-" Principle of action. "I find that a law that when I would do good, evil is present with me." That evil is in the flesh.
Romans 7:22 “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man." Now that's a religious man. That's a man working through the law. Paul said, "I delight in the law of God after the inner man" Before Paul got saved, he delighted the law of God after the inward man, that is the inward man is that man that's inside the body. That's the mind, the will, the emotions, the soul, the human spirit, all of that. A religious person can delight in the law of God and not be saved. So I delight in the law of God after the inward man.
Romans 7:23 "But I see another law." Another, it's different. It's not like the mosaic law. "I see another law in my members-" Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, feet, sex organs, ear, that's his members. "I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind." His mind that want to do the right thing "And bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members."
Romans 7:24 Then he cries out, "Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Now Paul is not talking about himself at the moment. He's talking about the- He's representing all of mankind in his experience. He says, "I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord." So he's answering the question, which said, "Oh, wretched man that I am, who should deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord."
"So then-" Now notice the period after Lord. "So then with a mind, I myself serve the law of God." That's an unsaved person doing that. "But with the flesh, the law of sin." Remember the two matrix? The first matrix was living in the flesh, serving the law of sin in our members. But with the flesh, the law of sin. You notice there's no Holy Spirit, no redemption in any of this. This is strictly man's will with the law. This is the ineffectualness of the law to produce righteousness.
So with a mind, I serve the law of God. But with the flesh, the law of sin. The rule, the principle of sin, it's workings in my body of flesh.
Now, I submit unto you. That is the condition of all mankind and anybody that's ever tried to be good can represent themselves in that illustration right there. So that's the natural human condition.
Law and flesh are total failures is the conclusion of this chapter. The law working through the flesh is a total failure.
Paul has concluded that the law is good, but incapable of controlling flesh.
We have, again, the law of God, the flesh and the believer.
We are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held. So the flesh has been crucified and the believer is delivered so as to be married to another.
Now here is a breakdown of the body and the Spirit. So under the oldness of the letter, it's a body of flesh struggling against the Spirit in the mind, the mind struggling against the flesh.
Now, the inner man is the place where the mind dwells, the emotions, the will. Remember Paul said that, which I would that do I not? That's the will. That which I hate. That's the emotions that do I. With a mind, I myself serve the law of God. So all the mind, emotions, and will he represents as attempting but failing because that body of flesh, the outer man. So the inner man was not strong enough. The inner man has a Spirit, all people do, but that Spirit was corrupted and too weak to overcome the body of flesh.
But then what happened? The old man was put to death, the body of flesh and the Spirit of God comes and joins our Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Ghost. And that's called newness of Spirit. And now I am alive unto God. So I serve God in newness of Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter because I am the new man now, not the old man. So that's the end of chapter seven.
Now, chapter eight is going to complete this triad of chapters and going to give the victory. Chapter six, laid the groundwork about our crucifixion, chapter seven, dropped back and showed how the law was insufficient. And chapter eight is going to show how the Spirit is sufficient to walk in holiness. Thank you.