Romans: The Gospel of God
GRACE IS GREATER THAN THE LAW – ROMANS 7
We have just made our way through the mountaintop experience of Romans chapter 6. Romans chapter 7 drops us back down to where we live every day. The Apostle Paul wants us to understand the real struggle that we all face as believers, even as we live in the reality of our eternal freedom. To do this, he zeroes on the Law.
What is the law?
The law is our attempt to the of God by keeping rules.
2 I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh? Galatians 3:2-3
God’s grace is needed not just when we’re at our , but when we think we’re giving our .
Since I am speaking to those who know the law, brothers and sisters, don’t you know that the law rules over someone as long as he lives? 2 For example, a married woman is legally bound to her husband while he lives. But if her husband dies, she is released from the law regarding the husband. 3 So then, if she is married to another man while her husband is living, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law. Then, if she is married to another man, she is not an adulteress. 4 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the body of Christ so that you may belong to another. You belong to him who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions aroused through the law were working in us to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law. Romans 7:1-6
of the law (v.1-6)
“The husband (law) and wife (us) are totally unsuited to one another. He is a most particular man, accurate to a degree; she is decidedly easy-going. With him all is definite and precise; with her all is casual and haphazard. He wants everything just so, while she takes things as they come. How could there be happiness in such a home? And then that husband is so exacting! He is always making demands upon her…the two cannot get on at all; theirs are completely incompatible natures.” -Watchman Nee
We to the law (v.4-5)
4 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the body of Christ so that you may belong to another. You belong to him who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions aroused through the law were working in us to bear fruit for death. Romans 7:4-5
We don’t have a spouse who is exacting, but who is empowering.
We don’t have a spouse who hammers us, but who helps us.
We don’t have a spouse who accuses us, but who accepts us.
We were from the law (v. 6)
6 But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law. Romans 7:1-6
of the law (v. 7-13) .
First, the law sin (v. 7)
7 What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! But I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, Do not covet. Romans 7:7
20 For no one will be justified in his sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law. Romans 3:20
15 And where there is no law, there is no transgression. Romans 4:15b
Second, the law sin (v. 8-9)
8 And sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind. For apart from the law sin is dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life again… Romans 7:8-9
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 1 Corinthians 15:56
Third, the law us. (v.10-11)
10 and I died. The commandment that was meant for life resulted in death for me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. Romans 7:10-11
21 Is the law therefore contrary to God’s promises? Absolutely not! For if the law had been granted with the ability to give life, then righteousness would certainly be on the basis of the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin’s power, so that the promise might be given on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ to those who believe. Galatians 3:21-22
The law creates a (v. 12-13)
12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. 13 Therefore, did what is good become death to me? Absolutely not! But sin, in order to be recognized as sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment, sin might become sinful beyond measure. Romans 7:12-13
of the law (v.14-25)
1. I don’t understand! (v. 14-17)
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold as a slave under sin. 15 For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. Romans 7:14-17
17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. Galatians 5:17
2. I can’t do it! (v. 18-20)
18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. 19 For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me. Romans 7:18-20
3. I’m at war (in myself)! v. 21-23
21 So I discover this law: When I want to do what is good, evil is present with me. 22 For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, 23 but I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. Romans 7:21-23
The law of my mind leads me to desire God, the law of sin leads me to despise God
The law of my mind leads me to righteous actions, the law of sin leads me to evil actions
The law of my mind frees me, the law of sin imprisons me
4. I am exhausted! (v. 24)
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Romans 7:24
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am serving the law of God, but with my flesh, the law of sin. Romans 7:25
The law can’t. Jesus can.