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2:10 AM   [15 Nov 2015 | Sunday]

Romans 7 Revisited (the Flesh)

 Whether you are sanctified unto God or a sinner lost in sin, you will always have the power to choose. A disciple of Jesus Christ will always have a will. It was not taken away at conversion. Even though believers have a new nature in Christ Jesus, they can still choose to walk in obedience or outright sin. Those without Christ have no power over sin, therefore, they have no ability to overcome it. Nonetheless, God still presents them the choice to repent and take on the new nature, and thereby be empowered by grace to say no to sin. Please understand that a victorious life means saying yes to God. It could be said that your no to one thing, is a yes to something else. More powerfully, if you start with a yes to God, the no to sin has more meaning.

To bring more clarity to Romans 7:7-25 for those who may struggle to see whether Paul was talking about a current struggle as a believer or referring to something else.

Context plays a major role in unlocking the scriptures.

As a suggestion, read the entirety of the book of Romans. Don't merely read chapter seven. At a minimum, you should read chapters five, six and eight. If you can read all 16 chapters in one setting that would be awesome. Whatever you do, don't be in a hurry to draw any conclusions by reading chapter seven apart from the rest. Take your time. In short, Romans centers around living by grace and the futility of following the law through the flesh.

Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. As addressed before, God dealt with the sin issue. Those in Christ Jesus do not have a sin nature to contend with. When God justified us, He took us out of the realm of sin and gave us the gift of righteousness found in Christ Jesus (see Romans 5:17; 2Corinthians 5:21). However, we still have the decision to follow the law of the Spirit of life or follow the flesh.

By using the personal pronouns in Romans seven, Paul actually reveals the experience of trying to follow the law by the flesh, or in one's own strength apart from the Spirit.

Anytime you attempt to walk righteously separate from grace, at best you will walk in self-righteousness. You will still wind up doing those things you know aren't right, and fail to do the right things. You cannot start in the Spirit and hope to finish well by walking in the flesh. This is one of the reasons Paul said he served God with his spirit (see Romans 1:9).

If the sin issue has been dealt with, why do people still struggle with it?

Much has to do with carnal thinking. Why do you suppose there's an emphasis on the renewing of the mind? The carnal mind is attached to the flesh. Part of that pertains to our physical brain. Like a computer, there's a lot of data that has been stored up over the years. There are parts that contain bad information that needs to be changed or removed. Bad thoughts need to be replaced by righteous ones. Of course at conversion major changes do take place immediately; nonetheless, there are other changes that take place through process. Until the thought life is sanctified, some struggles will remain. Science has revealed that the Word of God literally rewires the physical brain. Something the Bible eluded to long before such technology became available. When we meditate on the things of God, changes take place. Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Please take heart. We are fighting a battle that's already been won for us. We start from the standpoint of victory; we are not trying to gain the victory. Jesus already overcame the world.

When we received Jesus Christ, it did not mean the end of temptation.

Think about this: we know Jesus was tempted in all areas of life, yet without sin (see Hebrews 4:15). Just because He was tempted, it does not mean He had a sin nature. At the same time, as a man (Son of man), He relied on the Holy Spirit. He did not rely on His own strength, giving us the perfect example to follow.

In heaven, one third of the angels rebelled against God. We are talking in His presence before the throne, yet they decided to follow Satan. Did those angels start with a sin nature? No. Adam and Eve did not have a sin nature prior to the fall. They were counted by God as very good (see Genesis 1:31). They had a free will, and wound up ushering mankind into sin. Jesus, the second or last Adam, ushered those who chose to receive Him out of sin (see Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49). Everyone still has a choice as to whom or what they will follow.

We were not designed to follow the law through the flesh. Some need to stop trying to overcome sin by balancing the scales, and simply surrender to the Lord. Submit to the Holy Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (see Galatians 5:16). Serve God as the result of your new design (see Ephesians 2:10). You cannot earn righteousness. Instead, put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (see Ephesians 4:24).

Consider this in relation to temptation. While God will never tempts us with evil (James 1:13), He will use temptation to expose what's in our heart. He will reveal the way we actually think. God even allows it to reveal lusts that may be lurking. He uncovers hurts that need healing and unforgiveness issues. He will bring to the surface anything contrary to His nature. When He does, we have some decisions: repent or continue as before; forsake the lust or embrace it; receive the healing, or keep the hurts as pets; forgive or walk in bitterness. Decide whether you will embrace His holy nature or the carnal mindset. Grace empowers us to make the proper decisions. Following the law by the flesh disempowers us. Choose wisely!

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