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John 6:35

Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.


Please explain Romans 7:14-24 (Part2)

Thursday, 29 March 2012 22:50 Bolaji 'Theo' Douglas
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Please explain Romans 7:14-24 (Part2)
Walk in the Spirit
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I find this part of Paul's argument to be true "For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do"

So If as a Christian I still struggle to do what is right even though I would like to make the right decisions and I know what is right and wish I could do it all the time, how then can I say I've been liberated through my faith in Christ?

I'm under the impression that the impartation of the Holy Spirit should give me self control to resist fleshly desires and behaviours? If that's the case, does that mean I don't have the Holy Spirit in me and is that not imparted when one declares Christ as his saviour?

I really want to stop sinning, my conscience beats me up no end but I find it difficult at times. Sometimes I'm successful and other times I succumb. I'm I fighting in the flesh instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to fight for me?

Walk in the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh:

Like i stated earlier, the man that Paul was talking about was not a Christian, he was a man living under the law and trying to obtain his salvation by keeping the law. Paul was using that illustration to show that the man could not keep the law because of the law of sin and death that kept on voiding the desire of his heart to obey the law of righteousness. That was why i went down the lane.

A number of Christians keep on making this error believing that Paul was talking about a Christian here, no he was not , he was talking about the man who wanted to please God outside of the grace that God made available by faith in Jesus. A number of Pastors make this mistake as well, and they get into serious trouble as they use it to justify their sinful nature. 
Before flogging yourself to death on this issue , read the leading chapters as to how God justifies people through Christ, you and cannot earn it because we cannot keep the law as the man in Roman 7 who was under the law found out. That man i repeat was not a Christian, if that man had been able to keep the law, there would not have been any need for a Messiah. We would all have been heralded under the law. But like I said earlier the law was not given to save us,

Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. – Galatians 3:21.

Instead the law was given to achieve basically two things:

a. To reveal sin and it’s power over our sinful nature. To make us see our powerlessness in the hands of sin and as a result:

b. Cry out to God for help, like the man did. It was in Romans 8 that Paul began to talk about the Christian who has been born again and has received the spirit of Christ. In his born again nature he has received a nature that can keep the laws of God, but this is not automatic, it is by a process.

Now for you to understand how the born again believer is Romans 8 is now able to overcome the dilemma of Romans 7, you will need to read Romans 6. In Romans 6 Paul declared that the born again man in his union with Christ has died to sin, he is dead by the act of repentance (genuine) to sin, by the act of confessing his faith in Jesus , manifested by the act of baptism. Paul declared that in this position ‘Sin no longer has dominion over the man’, in order words the man is no longer faced with the dilemma faced by the man in Romans 7.
How you will ask? There is no magic here, Paul said:

I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. – Romans 6:19.

How do I interpret this as a Christian? How do i as a Christian offer myself as a slave to righteousness? You see, this is not a wishy washy requirement; instead it is a practical requirement that comes through sound teaching on how to administer the grace of God. Paul did tell the church of the grace he had received to teach the administration of the mystery of Jesus;

Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things – Ephesians 3:8-9.

This grace is still available and everyone who teaches the word must submit themselves to this grace. So let us look to what Paul had to say to the Christian brothers and sisters by visiting Romans 8 again:

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. – Romans8:5-11.

Here Paul began to explain to the Christian brothers and sisters how to live in the victory that this new nature has given to them. The advice is simple, do not live by the flesh, live by the spirit. If you live by the flesh, you will always be faced with the struggles of that man in Romans 7, you will never be able to keep the laws of God, you will never be able to please God, and you will never walk by faith essentially. But walking in the spirit helps to overcome this, this is the help that Jesus promised through the Holy Spirit to his disciples. Hear vintage Paul in the book of Galatians on the same issue:

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. – Galatians 5:17-18.

The question remains how come the man in Romans 7, who now become born again is now able to keep the same law? Not that he needs to fully keep the law to please God, although by the nature he has inherited he now has the ability to keep the law as he grows in that nature. But he does not try to please God through the law, instead he does so by faith in Christ. As a result, he is freed from the dilemma posed by his inability to keep the law? He is now equipped with the ability to keep the law, he comes into this through the help of the spirit in his new nature,  hence the term born again:

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. – Romans 8:13.

This new nature is the very one that God said he would inscribe his laws upon (Hebrews 10:16) and no man would have to teach those who come into it how to keep those laws. Therefore it is through the spirit that is in his born again nature that he is able to now respond to the righteous demands of the laws of God, the ones he is struggling to keep he now able to cry out to God for mercy and for the grace that is available through Christ.

1 Peter 1:18-19
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

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