I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. ( Romans 7:21-25)
The problem we have been looking at in Romans 7 is simple, why does the christian have to be delivered from the law of God ? God’s law is Holy, True, Good and beautiful, but it can neither justify us or sanctify us.
In fact as we have seen, trying to be saved or sanctified by God’s law brings out the very worst in us, it can only aggravate the indwelling sin that remains in us, that is, in the part of us that we inherited from Adam, our bodies. Law is designed to clarify sin, to bring it out into the light and to revel it in its “sinfulness”.
The man described in Romans seven has been born again, he has to be, for he has been made to “see the Law” in its spirituality and depth, this takes a revelation from God. He is convicted of sin, and hates sin now.He confesses that he “consents to the Law that it is good”(vs 16), and even delights in the Law in his inner man”. (vs 22).
But he is troubled because he cannot conform to it, he fails to do the things he wants to do, and agrees that they are good things that he fails to do. Also he does things he hates, knowing they are against God. The more he attempts to redouble his efforts to do what he knows to be good and lawful, the more he sees another law, (principle) working in him, and against him.
Thus the Born Again believer seeking to please God by adherence to the Law of God, finds that his efforts are undercut by an opposing principle within himself. The deepest part of Him, the inner man, wants to please and serve God. The body that he expresses himself through, his members, exhibit a “law of sin”,a constant downward pull, a readiness to defect, an indwelling sin.
When the conviction of the Spirit comes to a person, showing him his sinfulness, and the depth of the Law of God, the instinct is to vow to reform, to attempt to “clean up my life”, to “get right with God” by various beginnings of spiritual disciplines. but all these efforts do is arouse the opposition within our bodies to Law. Sin revives!
Sooner or later, the constant cycle of resorting to the Law, arousing the opposing law within me, trial, sin, failure, regrouping, new moral stirrings, renewed vows to ‘try harder’, more law, more sin and failure, more acquaintance with the sinful law in my members taking me captive, is designed to bring me to no longer ask What, but Who?
O Wretched man that I am , who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)
The ‘Who’ of this question is Christ Jesus my Lord, and the gift of his indwelling Spirit.
Have you noticed that this chapter doesn’t mention The Spirit? It doesn’t even emphasize Christ that much. this is because its all about why the Law brings out the worst in us and is inadequate for anything but revealing Sin. It can never delivers us from sin, we are to get out of ourselves and look to Christ himself for deliverance from Sin.
The two conflicting laws are in the same person, in the inner man there is agreement with God, love for God and for truth, longing to live holy and pleasing to God. In the flesh, the members, the outer man, there is a principle that “when I want to do good, evil is present with me”.
The Law of God cannot resolve this inner conflict, that is why Paul told us in Romans 6 that “Sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace”, inferring that being under law does give sin dominion over us.
What is lacking in this whole chapter is a third law( by law I mean the principle of life), the “Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”. This ‘law’ doesn’t agitate the remnant of indwelling sin in our yet to be saved bodies, thus by the Spirit we are able to fulfill the demands of Righteousness by the Spirit.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.(Romans 8:1-4)