Part #5 of “WHAT SHALL WE SAY THEN?”
“Beware Of No Man More Than Yourself; We Carry Our Worst Enemy Within Us”.
“A well known preacher of the yester years could not have said it better than this.”
The Bible calls the devil “the accuser of our brethren” and indeed he is according to [Revelations 12:10]. He is our sworn enemy.
However, it seems that more often than not “our brethren” accuse the devil more than he does us.
The fact is that we carry our worst enemy, our flesh, that self-centered fallen sin nature, within us.
This is a reality. It is a “fact of life” that we will carry this enemy till our last day.
This is what the apostle is talking about in [Romans 7:21], when he wishes to do well. It is a battle with the enemy within.
“I find a law”, says Paul. He is not referring to the Mosaic Law (the Ten Commandments) here, but rather a principle, a fact of life.
“That when I would (I want to) do good, ‘evil’ (that fallen sin nature, my enemy) is present with (or within) me.
“And I am subjected to its insistent demands”.
Bad By Nature
We don’t need to be taught to be bad. We are bad automatically. It comes naturally to us.
Paul understood this in [Romans 7:18] that in our ‘flesh’, our fallen human nature, “dwelleth no good thing”.
To do ‘good’ is present within us, but we struggle to perform it.
Is that not true? We all constantly have moments and situations, when we “know” what is the right thing to do.
But yet we find ourselves not doing it or unable to do it, as the case may be. This is our constant battle with our fallen nature, that enemy within.
That ‘old man’, our fallen sin nature is going to be living with us for the rest of our natural lives. So this war will continue.
But the moment we believe in the Gospel of our salvation, we are reckoned dead to it, by Christ’s Crucifixion.
This enemy, our fallen nature referred to as ‘sin’, though existing, no longer has dominion over us [Romans 6:14].
A Change Of Position
Let us understand once again that there is an instant change of position the moment we believe the Gospel.
At this instant a supernatural ‘spiritual shift’ takes place.
The Holy Spirit instantly lifts us out of our position in “sinful Adam” and places us into “The Body of Christ”.
This is what Paul our apostle is showing us in [1 Corinthians 12:13].
Scripture here calls it our “baptism”, which does not involve water by the way, and is the only one that counts.
Hence Paul can make this powerful “Holy Spirit Approved” declaration in [Colossians 1:13]:
That JESUS CHRIST, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son”.
This is all part of that same spiritual and positional shift of ours and is ‘supernatural’ in its essence.
Remember that Jesus Christ was “sinless” and fulfilled the demands of the Law on our behalf. It was a thorough and finished work.
Before we came to the cross, we were an ‘enemy’ of God [Romans 5:10]
And being found “in Christ” God sees us as that finished work too. For one of His Awesome and Great Attributes is that HE declares “the end from the beginning” [Isaiah 46:9-10].
“Nothing ‘IN HIS SON’ will ever fail”. Everything about Christ Jesus, God’s Son is “INFALLIBLE”.
HE has taken it upon Himself to present us blameless “in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” [1 Corinthians 1:8].
Our Salvation is safe and secure.
Take heart in this!
Delivered From The Law
SO with our flesh, that fallen sin nature, nailed and crucified on the cross of Christ, Paul confidently tells us:
“BUT NOW (ONLY because of the cross of Christ Jesus) we are delivered from the law (Ten Commandments) [Romans 7:6].
He wonderfully explains that we are now dead to that Law, which was binding and had a hold on us.
And then he gives us the reason: “That we should (and can now) serve in the newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter (the Ten Commandments).
The old has gone and the new is here to stay.
So now Paul asks that great rhetorical question which brings us to that next “What shall we say then”?
The Third “What Shall We Say Then” [Romans 7:7]
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin?”
In essence Paul is asking, “Are the Ten Commandments likened unto “old Adam”, that fallen sinful nature, that we need to be delivered from it”? “Is that the reason?”
Paul immediately responds to his own rhetorical question with a “God forbid”, have no such thought!
He knows exactly how the legalistically religious critical mind is capable of working.
Jesus Christ constantly faced this mindset during His three and a half years of ministering to Israel.
Nothing has changed much today. Christendom for the most part is saturated with this legalistically religious critical mindset.
And this mindset is a convenient tool in the hands of the devil. He uses it to shipwreck the faith of believers who are still learning to grow in their “In Christ Faith”.
But once again, we thank God that HE chose Paul to be our apostle in this ‘age of Grace’.
Paul alone brings clarity and makes us wise, in relation to our standing with God.
Law Brings The Knowledge Of Sin
Paul tells us in [Romans 3:20]: “for by the law is the knowledge of sin”.
That is why “by the deeds (the keeping) of the Law, shall no flesh (nobody) be justified (legally acquitted) in His (God’s) sight”.
“It’s right here” when that legalistically religious critical mind kicks in and asks, ‘In that case’, “Is the Law sin”? Since “by the law is the knowledge of sin”.
“God forbid”, have no such thought! Says Paul in [Romans 7:7].
He then goes on to say that we would not have that ‘knowledge of sin’, “but by the law”.
Paul explains further, “For I had not (would not have known about) lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet”.
Just think about this for a moment in the natural, within the boundaries of our social fabric.
Lets take a ‘speed limit’ for example.
It is the mind of society that speeding, especially in certain areas can be extremely dangerous.
But this ‘speed limit’ law is not put in place and displayed.
How then would we know we are breaking that law by over speeding?
However, if the ‘speed limit’ is visibly in place, then we know we are breaking that law at our own risk.
And unless we exercise ‘self control’, we naturally would love to violate that law because we love speed.
That desire to ‘over-speed’ is activated, especially if the opportunity and environment is tempting enough.
We Hope You Are Getting This!
We hope you are getting this!
This is what Paul is referring to, but now so in the spiritual realm, because the Law (the Ten Commandments) is spiritual.
They are Holy and Righteous and the very mind of God. They are ‘in place’, written and displayed.
However, when temptation in the ideal environment presents itself, the law activates that fallen pleasurable sin desire within us to ‘go for it’.
“Just do it” is probably the world’s most popular cliché.
It’s our fallen human nature to do the opposite of what we are told to either ‘do’ or ‘not do’.
God knew this, and therefore He judicially created a way for Grace to replace the Law. For the fallen human nature is beyond redemption.
Truth And Experience
In Scriptural Truth, our flesh, that ‘old man’ is crucified when we believe the Gospel.
We take that by ‘faith + Nothing’, in the finished work of the cross of Christ Jesus.
However, in experience, it is an on going war between our ‘flesh’ and the indwelling Holy Spirit [Galatians 5:17].
The indwelling Holy Spirit and our ‘stubborn flesh’ are “contrary the one to the other”.
That is why the apostle Paul tells us that, “ye cannot do the things that ye would”.
However, this is a battle that the Holy Spirit ‘will win’.
Through His influence He will cause us, “to do all things through Christ Who strengthens us” [Philippians 4:13].
That does mean though, that our personal effort is involved too. Fighting “the good fight of faith” [1 Timothy 6:12], means putting in our every effort with heart, soul and mind.
Gratitude In Wretchedness
We have all heard the phrase that talks about “method in madness”.
In Scripture here, in the light of our struggle with ‘ourselves’, we have, “Gratitude in our wretchedness”.
Paul voices this in [Romans 7:24], understanding that our flesh is a real enemy.
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Then his gratitude kicks in, in the same breath in the next verse:
“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”.
The “No Condemnation” Factor
When it comes to God’s plan for the ages, there are only two kinds of people”.
We are either ‘in Christ’ or ‘out of Christ’. There is nothing in between.
And when the sun sets at the end of our day, nothing else will matter.
Paul has shown us the reality of our spiritual struggles and battles within ourselves.
However, we have and know the reason for being thankful in the midst of this severe battle and our wretchedness.
For that day will come, when the LORD shall come for us, and the battle will end. The presence of that old Adam, that sin nature will no longer exist.
The full manifestation of freedom will be experienced. It’s worth the waiting.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free” [Galatians 5:1]
For “we know Whom we have believed” [2 Timothy 1:12].
THEN, Paul the apostle makes his opening statement in [Romans 8:1], in what has become the “Crowning Glory” of all Scripture:
“Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are ‘in’ Christ Jesus.”
…..To continue in Part #6 shortly…..