Sunday Morning Podcast April 18, 2021. Bro. Dave Goble.
In my travels overseas, many years ago, I had traveled from a communistic nation, into a free one. It was almost like going from a land of only black and white, into one of living color! Since then I like to use that as an analogy to remind myself that life is the same way. Before one knows God in a personal way as our Savior and Redeemer, really it’s hard to understand what life could be like, in a “different color.” But when the Lord deals with us in a personal way, in an encounter, a personal experience, it’s as if it goes from black and white to color! Just as many years ago, when television only broadcasted in black and white, with maybe 2 knobs. So when color came, that was a big deal! It was announced then of being “in living color!” Life is the same way. When the Lord really changes us, we go from a kind of black and white life, to a living color kind of life! It’s hard to explain, but it is wonderful! As we read here in Romans 7, we would like to “find ourselves” in the message of this text, to locate ourselves. To see whether or not we need to change! Then be willing to allow God to change us! This scripture is written by the Apostle Paul to the Romans. Paul had begun in chapter 6 a narrative, where he’s trying to translate the gospel in a way that ordinary people can understand. In chapter 6 he is giving some examples of what it must be like to go from death to life or a washed out black and white kind of life, to one of living color. Here he talks about 2 examples. one of baptism, as a type of going from death to life, to being buried to being resurrected. He also talks about another example in chapter 6, of being a slave, what it’s like to being in bondage. but then being free! Being in bondage and being in liberty. This continues in chapter 7, where he makes a comparison between the law of Moses, and the law of Christ. This is another way for us to understand what it is like to be translated from death to life!
TEXT: ROMANS 7:7-19, 24
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not know lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (desires). For without the law sin was dead.
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
For this law didn’t create life in me, but actually death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
There’s nothing wrong with the law he says. The law God gave is not the problem. The problem is in that dispensation, there is not grace to be able to live in such a way that the law doesn’t create death. Having no grace is the problem here. There’s either compliance or non compliance. either acceptance or judgement.
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.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
I wanted to do that which was right, but I couldn’t! I had no grace. Because I was subject to the law, and the commandment to determine right and wrong. Invariably I did what was wrong because I had no power to do what was right.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
The apostle is saying, “there is a conflict in me.” And the conflict is created by my inability to do what I want to do! I want to obey a moral law. In my “earthy” nature, I find it impossible in those moments, to do that what I want to do. As a result, it “slaves” me. I find myself on this roller coaster of life. Going up it it’s exhilarating going to the top! Then you look down, and it’s a long way down, and you know what’s coming! You start down really fast, and it’s scary! And as you go down this thing, it’s like “how am I ever going to survive this?” You think “I need to get off this, but you can’t get off!” The apostle is saying life is like a roller coaster when everything is exhilarating, and I’m doing well, obeying the law of God. Me and God are close, and unified, and He’s looking out for me. But then if I go down this path in life, and there’s a valley down there and it’s awful and I can’t get off it.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
He says “This is wretched and there’s no victory in this experience.” There’s moments when I got it together and I keep it well, and I’m obeying this moral law, but then there’s other moments of life when I want to do what’s right but I can’t. My flesh is in the way, ..I have no grace! Part of the message this morning, is to find ourselves to see if we are in a graceful state with God? Or are we in a graceless state with God? In this passage from Paul, we would say in the biblical words we use, that he is saved, wanting to do the will of God. He wants to do the will of God! And if he disobeys the law of God because the law condemns him, he’ll remorsefully repent. So this is not about a person who is far from God, this person’s actually very close to God! So one of the things this morning’s thoughts is, “Are you close to God this morning? If you’re close to God, this morning, this message is just as important as if you’re far from God. Even more, if you’re close to God this morning, if you find yourself living in a graceless place, that is wretched! If we’re close to God, we want to do good, but if we find ourselves in a graceless existence we hate it! Because we really do want to do good! Most people want to do good, but find themselves in a graceless position without power to do that which they want to do! That is the conflict! So we’re going to speak about the conflict we just described, And the framework for this discussion that we need to find ourselves in. The implications. And finally just a bit about the resolution to this conflict.
First of all there is a statue or a law that is universal. Then there’s us, the human, and these things present themselves in conflict. Each of us has found themselves in this conflict. The law and us conflicting. We break the law, and when this universal law is broken, the human dies spiritually. The gospel doesn’t teach that we’re meant to live in this wretched way of existence. If that were so, then there’s no chapter 8, and not write the rest of it. How anguishing, upsetting to have someone tells you that your human existence is meant to be like this! That you’re going to want to obey this universal law but you’re not going to be able to! The question this morning is “Where does all this locate each of us?” In each of these cases, the bible tells us that grace plays a tremendous role. If we’re far from God, grace draws us closer. If we find ourselves near to God, but kind of still in a wretched place this morning, that is because grace is not working in us. We can see in chapter 8, that we need grace in order to obey the universal law of God, and not find ourselves in a wretched place! The worst place to be found, is to want to be able to obey the will of God, and not being able to do it. And that is often a person that finds himself close to God, but without grace. If we’re justified before God, we are not intended to stay in that place, but to move into the message of chapter 8. Chapter 7 is being near to God, but wretched because we have no victory. Where do we find ourselves this morning?
Confronting Spiritual Conflict