Posts Tagged ‘Law of God’


An elderly man had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the Doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of new technology hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%.

He went back for a check up and the Doctor confirmed: “your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.”

To which the gentleman said, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve already changed my will three times!”

We are going to eavesdrop on a conversation between God and His chosen people, the Jews. I don’t expect you to change your wills, but I do want you to examine your heart in light of what we will find is of Greatest Value to God.

I am asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us that being a Christian is much more than going to church and reading the Bible. You are a Christian because God puts His Name upon you through Jesus Christ, and His Name upon you means we are partners with Him in pursuing the thing which is of greatest Value to Him!

Historical Background of Nehemiah and Malachi

The Book of Malachi was written during the time of Nehemiah. Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in 445 B.C. to rebuild the wall, and returned to Persia in 433 B.C. He later returned to Israel (ca. 424 B.C.) to deal with the sins Malachi described (Neh. 13:6). So it is likely that Malachi was written during the period of Nehemiah’s absence[1].

Ezra had rebuilt the Temple years before, but Nehemiah was concerned about the city of Jerusalem. The protective wall and gates surrounding Jerusalem had been toppled and destroyed. The people were easy prey for marauding invaders. There was no pride in God’s City.

Cultural Judaism

As Nehemiah served as Governor of Jerusalem from 445-433BC, he discovered there were tremendous problems with the lives of the Jews, problems which would prevent the Name of God from being lifted up by their lives.

The problem was the Jews had become so effected by the thinking of the “heathen” around them, that they were Jews in name only. They were “Cultural Jews.” They were no different from the people around them.

Nehemiah discovered that while everyone “appeared” to be ‘religious Jews’, serious problems were going on.

Some of the Jews were enslaving their fellowmen. Times were tough, crops were not good, and folks were selling their children just to get money to plant a crop. If the crop failed, they had to mortgage the land. They had to borrow to pay the king’s tax.

The people had intermarried with people of other languages, cultures and religions. They were letting those religious beliefs influence how they worshipped. It was OK to worship other gods as long as they still went to Temple worship. Furthermore, God was not real in their homes, and the children were growing up ignorant of God, ignorant of the Hebrew language. When Ezra read the Law, Nehemiah had to have people in the audience who could translate and explain what was being read.

The people were treating the Sabbath as if it were an ordinary day. Ammonites and Moabites were going into the Temple. Merchants were conducting business in the Temple, even storing their goods there, treating it as if it were just another building. The Jews were divorcing Jewish wives and marrying women of Ammonite and Moabite ancestry, profaning the Word of God. Even priests had married foreign women.

Type of Holy Spirit

It became Nehemiah’s passion to rebuild the wall, repopulate the city and restore God’s Name to the nations. As such, Nehemiah is a type of the Holy Spirit, for it was His desire to get the people to stand up for God’s Name and be the chosen people of God that they were.

The Wall represents our Testimony

The wall represented their testimony for God. They kept the evil things out, kept the righteous things in. The gates represented Godly judgment in what went out and was allowed in.

The walls provided protection from the evil of this world.

Zechariah 2:5 “And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst”

REFORMS

Nehemiah in chapters 5-12 effected reforms, but then he went back to Assyria for 9 years. During this time the people resorted to their old ways, and that is when Malachi preached the Message from God.

As a result of the Message, when Nehemiah came back, the people repented and returned to God and Nehemiah was able to write in chapter 13:

Nehemiah 13:30 “I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work”

What Did God Say to His People?

Don’t you want to know what God said to these “cultural Jews” that turned their hearts around and made them start living for God?

But before we do, understand this. These people all thought they were “good Jews”. You would see them every Sabbath at the Temple. You would let your children play with their children. You would see them at Little League. You would help them at harvest time. Times were tough, crops were scarce, and money real tight. Most everyone was barely surviving. The Assyrian’s taxed heavily, and those taxes had to be paid, crop or not.

First of all God called to His people and simply said:

1.  (1:2) God says “I love you”, yet the people say “you call this love?”

God gives them a quick lesson in how He has chosen them, and how if He didn’t love them, they would be in worse shape.

  • He says, you will one day say “Great is the Lord!”

2. (1:6): “Where is my honor?” – His people say “how have we despised your name?”

  • spoiled food & animal offerings
  • blind and lame animals
  • They were giving God their “leftovers”
  • God says “I have no pleasure in you” & “I will not accept your sacrifices”
  • (1:11) because “My Name will be great among the nations” (twice He says)

3. (1:13) The Jews Respond: “What a weariness (burden) this is”

  • They weary the Lord!

GOD: “I am a great King, and my name will be feared among the nations”

When God sees the attitude of the People, He addresses the Priests:

4. (2:2) “Give Honor to my name” (to the Priests)

  • No fear of God’s Name
  • Turned away from God’s Word
  • Corrupted the teaching of God’s Law
  • Partiality
  • Temple is profaned.
  • Covenant is profaned

Then God reminds the people of what He has seen:

5.  (2:13) “Why Does God Not Bless Me?”

  • Cover the altar with tears
  • You think God has no standards, that anything goes!
  • I see how you treat your families, your wives.
  • You are being faithless by divorcing and remarrying foreign wives that do not know me.
  • I seek a Godly Offspring, children that Know my Name!

(2:15) God sought a Godly Offspring! Their children were growing up not knowing the Power and Authority of God’s Name, because of divorce!

  • God tells them “You are wearying to Me!”

6. (2:17) “How have we wearied the Lord?”

  • Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord
  • Where is the God of justice

7. (3:13) “How have we spoken against you?”

  • It is a waste to serve the Lord
  • The arrogant are blessed
  • evildoers prosper, get away with evil

You have dishonored the Name and Word of God!

What Do You Think God Values above everything? What is Mentioned more than anything else?

God Values His Name above everything else in this world!

Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

  • The “name” of Jehovah refers to his authority and reputation. God wants a people who personally stake their lives on the authority and the reputation of Jehovah.
  • God wants a people who Know and Reverence and Honor His Name. That Honor is not superficial but is displayed in the way they live. The Name of the Lord is synonymous with His Power, His Faithfulness, His Love, His Mercy, His Glory, His Being!

When Moses said to the God in the burning bush, Who do I say sent me to Egypt to lead the Jews. God said “I am [hāyâ] that I am [hāyâ].” From haya we see the Name of God – Jehovah (YWWH) which occurs 5,321 times in the Old Testament.[2] Jehovah is Our Lord who has always been. JUst as Jesus says in Revelations 1 “I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.

The Bible that most of us read, that most of us believe is living and God inspired, is only what it is because of the Name of God!

Psalms 138:2 2 I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your loving-kindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NAME OF GOD

Look at what God instructed Aaron to say to the Jews way back in the wilderness, even before they went to Israel:

Numbers 6:22-27

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

  • The Lord bless you and keep you;
  • The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
  • The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

  • God had chosen the Jews to set His Name upon them, and to bless them

God enters into a partnership with the people He puts His Name on

  • God would bless them, but in return he wanted them to honor his name, and represent him to the world.
  • The common bond of this partnership was the Glory of God’s Name!

As Christians, God puts His Name on us!

  • John 17:26  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
  • Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
  • Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Moses knew the Power of God’s Name:

Deuteronomy 28:10 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.

David Knew the Power of God’s Name:

Psalms 20:7 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

When God Puts His Name on someone, He is entrusting that person with the authority and power and reputation of His Name. He expects us to Live our lives as representatives of His Power and Authority, and honor His reputation!

We become the Visible Expression of the Glory of God to the world, to generations to come.

But the Jews of Nehemiah’s days were bringing God down to their level, and making His Name common, and corrupt.

They were saying that God will accept anything and everything you give Him, it really doesn’t matter what you sacrifice. It doesn’t matter who you marry, or how many times you marry. It doesn’t matter how you treat people, or whether you lie cheat or steal to get ahead. He doesn’t really care what we do and even if He really does, He doesn’t have the power to do anything about it!

Psalm 7:11-13 David said, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

What did God reveal that turned these people back to HIM?

God cries out “Return to me and I will return to you” (3:17)

And the people replied: “Yes, let us return to God.  But how shall we return?

And God’s reply is a thousand miles different from what I would ever have thought of.

He replies to them: “God will bless us, and be with us, and open the windows of heaven, and pour out an abounding immeasurable blessing upon us if…”

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse… and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts. if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there should not be room enough to receive it.

“Your hearts aren’t big enough and your arms aren’t wide enough to receive all the blessings I’ll pour out upon you if you will return to Me with a sense of stewardship, with a sense of partnership with my Name.”

Such a gift from God, that no matter where I am in my walk with Him, that if I see that His Name is upon me, and He depends upon me to Honor the power and authority of His Name, if I start honoring our partnership with giving unto Him that which is His, He will uphold His reputation and His Word by blessing me!

I can partner with God Himself. He wants such a relationship with me that He is willing to put His reputation on the line if I simply Honor His Name!

Our tithing, our giving grows out of this partnership, this relationship we have with the Name of God!

If this is not the foundation of your giving: You will see the tithe as nothing but a gimmick to get money out of reluctant people, or as a bargain we make with God. If a man could believe: “If I tithe, I’ll get ten dollars for every one that I give.  Or I’ll get a hundred dollars for every ten that I offer:” Then, who wouldn’t trade a one dollar bill for a ten-dollar bill or a ten-dollar bill for a one hundred-dollar bill?  The most greedy person in Cass County would start tithing!

Tithing is not a gimmick

Tithing is about the Name of God and us Honoring His Name, because we are partners with the power of His name.

Tithing is the way we return to God, the way we show our reverence for His Name. Tithing is proof of our partnership with God!

I read about a man who was having trouble with this concept. He had been taught tithing, so he told his pastor, “I don’t see how I can give ten percent to the church when I can’t even keep on top of our bills.”

The pastor replied, “John, if I promise to make up the difference in your bills if you should fall short, do you think you could try giving that much for just one month?”

John thought about it for a moment and then replied, “Sure, if you promise to make up any shortage, I will try giving ten percent for one month.”

“What do you think of that?” mused the pastor. “You say you’d be willing to trust a mere man like me, who possesses so little materially, but you couldn’t trust your Heavenly Father, who owns the whole universe!” John began giving regularly off the top each month, and God always met his needs.

When you place your money in the offering bag, do so with a sense of His presence. Do so with a sense of the His Name upon you. Do so as a sign of your partnership in the Glory of God’s Name!

IS GOD DISTANT?

If you find yourself wondering where God is in your life. If you find yourself thinking He seems so distant. If you are missing your joy, God says “return to me” start embracing this partnership we have in Honoring and Upholding the Power of My Name. Start realizing the power of this partnership by simply giving me your tithe.

God has placed a burden upon my heart, a burden that our nation, our churches, are becoming a place of “Cultural Christians” who are bringing God down to their level.

CULTURAL CHRISTIANS INFECTING AMERICA

“numerous national polls conducted by highly respected pollsters like The Gallup Organization and The Barna Group are simply shocking. “Gallup and Barna,” laments evangelical theologian Michael Horton, “hand us survey after survey demonstrating that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general.”[3] Divorce is more common among “born-again” Christians than in the general American population. Only 6 percent of evangelicals tithe. White evangelicals are the most likely people to object to neighbors of another race. Josh McDowell has pointed out that the sexual promiscuity of evangelical youth is only a little less outrageous than that of their non-evangelical peers.[4]

Cultural Christians believe they are Christians, but they do not Honor the Name of God to the point that their lives reflect His Values, and the Power of His Name. Cultural Christians simply try to fit God into their lives as long as it is convenient.

If God is getting through to your heart the way Malachi was getting through to the cultural Jews of Nehemiah’s Day, the first thing you do to tell God you take this partnership seriously is simply start tithing!

The Joy of Partnership

Returning to God begins with that “walk of faith” and complete trust in the Name of God. Returning to God is the wonderful acknowledgment that God and you are partners. We are stewards of God’s Name. We are Stewards of God’s Possessions.

I don’t have any breath but that God gives it to me (Breath is a gift of God).  There’s not any sunshine, but God’s sunshine; there’s not any failing rain, but God’s rain; there’s not any increase, but God’s increase; there’s not any harvest, but God’s harvest.  All of it is a gift from God.

As Paul wrote in 1 Timothy: “We brought nothing into this world and we shall certainly carry nothing out”.

I am a partner with God; and, as such, He is my first creditor.  That’s why the first fruits belong to Him.  And He says: “Honor me with the first fruits of all thy substance; so shall thy barns will filled with plenty and thy presses bursting out with new wine.”

He and I are partners.

This is God’s part: The breath, the life, the sun, the rain, the increase—that’s God’s. My Part is the labor and the love of my hands.  And when I honor God, God honors me. God wants to bless us.  God has put His Name upon us. When we come to God in consecration and dedication; and bring to Him our tithe and offering, out of the appreciation of my heart for our partnreship—two things happen.

1. We step into the supernatural.

When we tithe, God’s strength comes into our soul. His Face shines upon us. His Life is upon us! He lifts His countenance upon us and gives His peace! The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. His Name is upon you!

You are stepping into the unseen, the presence of God. You are embracing the Power and Authority of His Name! God has placed His Name upon You!

2.  We bless someone else.

Giving to God is just another name for helping somebody else. Preaching the gospel, saving the lost, teaching our children, assembling our families in praise and worship—it’s just another name for serving Jesus.

Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”  And, when I give to God, that’s another name for ministry to somebody else.

That’s Good. That’s Great

And when the Lord made the beautiful and verdant earth, with its teeming plants and vegetation, grasses, and trees, God looked upon it and God said: “That’s good.  That’s good.”  When the Lord spoke to the air and [it] was filled with fowls and birds; and unto the sea and it was filled with the fish; and to the land mass and it was filled with animals, God looked at it and He said: “That’s good.  That’s great.”

Well, when we bring a tithe and an offering to the Lord, we are being like God.

  • We go to Awana’s and see boys and girls learning God’s Word, learning about Jesus, and we say: “That’s good.  I’m glad I had a part in it.”
  • We look at our teenagers, and we see them being taught how to make decisions based upon Jesus Christ ans His Word, we say: “That’s good.  I’m glad I have a part in it.”
  • When we see families strengthened to follow the Lord, and husbands and wives being encouraged to love each other and make Christ Lord in their homes, we say: “That’s great.  I’m glad I have a part in it.”
  • When you see our church responding to needs and sickness and surgeries and loss of loved ones, we say: “That’s great.  That’s good.  I’m glad I have a part in it.”
  • And we look upon the ministries of our church, reaching out to our neighbors, showing them the love of Christ, we say: “That’s great.  I’m glad to have a part in it.”

But the truth is, I believe we can see God do much more!

Somewhere in rural Midwest, years ago, when most of the income was earned at harvest time, there was a town in which a big expansive elevator was built.  One man owned the elevator and took the grain, the wheat, the corn, the oats, the rye, the barley from the people.

He attended the main church in town. This church had built a beautiful building and was now deep in debt.Giving was down, debt payments were high, they hadn’t been able to fully cover the pastor’s salary. They had stopped giving to missions.

So at a conference in the church, they turned to that man who owned the big grain elevator and asked him if he would be treasurer of the congregation.  And the elevator man said: “I will accept the place as treasurer of the congregation if you’ll give me one year and don’t ask me any questions and don’t expect any report from me until the end of the year.”

Well, they were in dire straits and so they agreed. They elected him treasurer with the understanding they’d never ask him any questions during the year and not to expect a report until the end of the year.  When the end of the year came, he stood up before that congregation and made his report: They had paid every dime of the big debt they had on the church; they had raised the pastor’s salary; and they had increased their gifts two-hundred percent to missions; and they had thousands of dollars in the bank.

And the people gasped in amazement and one man finally had the courage to stand up and say: “But how did you do it?”

And the elevator man said:

Whenever you came into my elevator with the wheat, or the corn, or the barley, or the rye, or the oats,or the beans, I took one-tenth of it and set it aside for God.  You never missed it, you never knew it, but one-tenth of all that you brought me, I set aside for God.  And out of those tithes that you unconsciously dedicated to the Lord, I have paid off the church debt; I have raised the pastor’s salary. I have given to missions.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you, if each of our people were to tithe, if each of you were to partner your life with the Power & Reputation of the Name of God; why next year we would be saying “what are we going to do about the money? Not because we do not have enough, but we’d be wondering what to do with all the extra!

Is the Name of God upon You? Do You See that He has entrusted His Name with You? Do you see that returning to God begins with trusting Him with His tithe, trusting Him to Honor the Power of His Name and His Word!

As we have eavesdropped on God’s conversation with the Jews 2400 years ago, could He have been talking to you? Have you settled for a cultural Christianity, when God wants you to see you are in partnership with the Power of His name?

I encourage to not be a comfortable, convenient, cultural Christian. Allow that which is Most Valuable to God, the Honor and Power of His Name, to be your most valuable possession.

Lift up the Name of Jehovah, see Him as the “I Am of your life, try Him and see if His Name is not the Most Powerful Name, able to open the windows of Heaven and pour out Blessings from heaven that you will not be able to contain.

Those that Lift up the Honor of His Name, who live their lives in the Power of His Name are promised a Reward!

Malachi 3:16-17 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.

Your name is written in His Book. You shall be a treasured Jewel. You shall be spared in the day of Judgment.


[2] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “484: ‏הָוָה‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 210.

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Paul was seemingly singing this song in Romans Seven. He was constantly reminded of the Law of God and how he failed to meet it. Similar to when we are pulled over by a policeman, who reminds us of our failure to obey the Law! Just like this man discovered:

A male driver is pulled over by a cop and the following conversation takes place:
Man: What’s the problem officer?
Cop: You were going at least 75 in a 55 zone.
Man: No sir, I was going 65.
Wife: Oh Harry. You were going 80.
(Man gives his wife a dirty look.)
Cop: I’m also going to give you a ticket for your broken tail light.
Man: Broken tail light? I didn’t know about a broken tail light!
Wife: Oh Harry, you’ve known about that tail light for weeks.
(Man gives his wife a dirty look.)
Cop: I’m also going to give you a citation for not wearing your seat belt.
Man: Oh, I just took it off when you were walking up to the car.
Wife: Oh  Harry, you never wear your seat belt.
Man: Shut your mouth, woman!
Cop: Ma’am, does your husband always talk to you this way?
Wife: No, only when he’s drunk.

Romans 6 deals with freedom from sin. Romans 7 deals with freedom from the law. Romans 6 – how to be delivered from sin. Romans 7 – deliverance from sin is not enough-we need deliverance from the Law. Paul reveals a new discovery in Romans 7: I am in the flesh (vs. 5) I am carnal (vs. 14) and in my flesh dwells no good (vs. 18)

The discovery is that when we are in the flesh, we cannot please God (Romans 8:8)

When we first come to the Lord as our Savior, and then we give ourselves to Him, we feel we must do something for the Lord. So we start out seeking to do his will. We start reading the Bible. We start having regular time of prayer and devotion. We perhaps start tithing. But as time goes by, we forget to read and pray. Money gets tight so we don’t tithe as much or maybe we stop. It seems the more we try to do the will of God, the more we fail. We may re-dedicate ourselves, or try something less intensive, but then we fail that as well.

We get to the point where we exclaim, this is just the way I am, no good thing dwells in me, I guess I just do the best with what I’ve got. And we feel frustrated, or we feel apathetic, or we feel despaired.

We find ourselves in Romans 7. We are despairing because we see there is no way we could please God the way we think He wants to be pleased.

The trouble is we do not know deliverance from the Law!

I. The Power of the Law:

A.The Law Dominates As Long As You Live

VS 1-3: Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. Romans 7:1-3

The Law Does Not Apply to Dead People!

  • Dead men pay no taxes
  • Dead men can’t be incarcerated!
  • A wife is no longer married when her husband dies.

1. Christians are Dead to the Law

VS 4: Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. Romans 7:4

The Law is not dead; the Law has not been done away with. But WE are dead to the Law! Our death has made us dead to the claims of the Law. The Law is not dead; it simply has no claims upon our lives because our old man is dead. The law has no jurisdiction, power, rule, authority, or dominion over the true believer. The believer is dead to the law and the law is dead to the believer. The law simply does not exist for the believer.

What a shocking truth, but that is exactly what Scripture is declaring! We are no longer under the law and its accusing finger, no longer under it’s…

  • Guilt and shame
  • Condemnation and punishment
  • Discouragement and frustration
  • Tension and pressure
  • Sense of failure and unworthiness
  • Sense of disappointment

The Law is Alive to those Walking in the Flesh

2.  We are Free to Marry Christ

VS 4(Phillips): you are free to give yourselves in marriage, so to speak, to another, the one who was raised from the dead, that you may be productive for God.

We are Free to be productive IN THE POWER OF CHRIST!

  • To bear righteousness (Romans 6:21-23; Phil. 1:11).
  • To bear converts (Romans 1:13; John 15:16).
  • To bear Christian character, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Col. 1:10).

None of these is done in the flesh; none of these is done by following a set of rules. Righteousness is of the Heart, of the inward man. People coming to Christ as Savior is dependent upon the working of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Fruit of the Spirit cannot be faked; it is the fruit of the Holy Spirit!

3. The Law is Alive to those “in the flesh”

VS 5: For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. NASB

“Motions KJV or passions” is pathēma, “an affection, a passion, impulse.” Vincent says, “Motions was used in earlier English for emotions or impulses. Thus Bacon: ‘He that standeth at a stay where others rise can hardly avoid motions of envy.’ “”Did work” is energeō, “to be operative, put forth power, be at work.”

The emotions or impulses of sin, stirred to activity by the law, were operative in the members of our bodies with the result of the production of fruit, this fruit being with respect to death, identified with death, thus, characterized by death. Wuest

We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 1 Timothy 1:9-10

The law not only points out sin, it actually arouses feelings and stirs the emotions to do the forbidden. Sinful feelings are actually “stimulated” (enērgeito) by the law in our members. When the law prohibits and forbids something, it actually creates within us…

• an interest •  an attraction •  an excitement •  an appeal •  a tug or pull •  a fascination •  a seduction •  an arousal

There is within man something that makes him want to do what he is forbidden to do. When he is restricted or fenced in, he wants to break through the restriction or fence.

We will see that as long as believer’s walk in the flesh, they will still be subject to these stirrings, these impulses, these motions of sins. James reveals this in writing to the fleshly Christians reading his letter:

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15

B.We Follow a New Way When We are “Born Again”

VS 6: But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6

1. Believers are “delivered” (katērgēthēmen).

We have been discharged from the law. We stand clear of the law. All claims have been dissolved!

2. We Serve God through the Holy Spirit

Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

  • To live by rules is to live a dead religion. Death produces death.
  • To live by the power of the Holy Spirit is LIFE.
  • We do not serve God by following the letter of the law.

II. The Purpose of the Law

A.The Law Exposes our Sin

VS 7: What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” Romans 7:7.

The Law is to make us aware that we are sinners. We need a Savior.

EXAMPLE:  The Law revealed that Paul had a problem with coveting. He never knew it to be so until he read the Law. When people know the Law, they know they are sinners. Guilt is though the law.

When I was pastoring in Edgerton, I went knocking on doors and if a person allowed, I would ask them a couple questions.

Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you? Have you ever looked lustfully at another person?

Most of the time they would answer yes to each of the questions. Then I would say, then by your own admission, you a liar, a thief and an adulterer? What do you think God thinks of that?

They would mumble, well I guess he doesn’t like it.

I would ask, if you are a liar, a thief and an adulterer, would God let you into His heaven when you die?

Most of the time they would answer, well, yes.

I would say why would he? They would say, because overall I’m a good guy or something to that effect.

Then I would say, but God’s word says that the man who sins will surely die! How could He let you into His heaven and be true to His own Word?

I’ll never forget this one Law student that I talked with. He came to this point where he was aware of God’s standard and he was aware of his violation of that standard, but he looked at me and said, “Aw, that doesn’t apply to me;” and then he said “I’ve got to go!” and he closed the door.

The Law is given so that men and women would see that they are lost. All we can do is hold that Law up, and pray the Holy Spirit convicts them to the point where they realize they need Jesus Christ!

B. The Law is the Revealing Standard

VS 8-9: But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; Romans 7:8-9.

1. The law reveals the fact of our sin

  • That men are not in a right relationship with God.
  • That men are not in a right relationship with other men.
  • That men are living selfishly, thereby dooming themselves.
  • That men are coveting and lusting, thereby destroying their world and their future.
  • That men are displeasing God and have become unacceptable to Him.
    • We will take that second helping of food.
    • We will try to keep up with the Jones.
    • We will go after the excitement and stimulation of the forbidden.
    • We will fulfill the lust of our flesh: “I know that is not how a Christian should behave by talking with his fists, but man can he fight!”
    • We will feed the lust of our eyes. Bachelorette – “I know Adultery to be wrong, but as I watch this TV show I find myself routing for this couple as they seem so right for each other, even made for each other!”
    • We will satisfy the pride of life. “I just have to have that car!” I just have to have that jewelry!

2.  The Law Reveals The Truth Of Our Condemnation And Death.

VS 10-11: and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. Romans 7:10-11

This is a major purpose of the law. By knowing the law the man becomes acutely aware of sin when he breaks the law. It is the law that gives him…

  • A painful awareness of sin.
  • A sense of guilt.
  • A sense of judgment to come.
  • A dread of punishment and of death.

During the Second Great Awakening (1790–1840) in early America, the Law was preached by Charles Finney, Lyman Beecher, Barton Stone, Peter Cartwright, and Asahel Nettleton among others. Altar calls were being used then by people anxious about their souls. Finney used the term “Anxious Seat”. Sometimes the evangelist would not have an altar call, and people would be begging to be saved. They were concerned for their souls.

3. The Law Reveals the Way of God

VS 12-13 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. Romans 7:12-13

  1. The law is holy: set apart and full of purity, majesty, and glory—set apart in that it reveals God’s nature and will—set apart in that it exposes sin, all that is contrary to God’s nature and will.
  2. The law is righteous: just, fair, impartial, equitable, straight. The law treats a man exactly like he should be treated; it shows no partiality to anyone. It also reveals how a man should treat others. The law is just in that it reveals exactly how a man should live. It shows him how to live in relation to God and to his fellow man, and it judges him fairly and impartially.
  3. The law is good: it shows man how to live and tells him when he fails to live that way. It exposes his sin and demonstrates his desperate need for a Savior. The law tells man the truth about the nature of man in a most explicit way, and it points him toward the need for outside help in order to be saved.

The Law is a written expression of the Character of God: O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalms 119:97

The Law Does Not Mean Death, The Law Reveals the Sin!

Here in this dish lays Baking Soda (representing man in our natural state). It is still & quiet until another substance is added.

I will now pour Vinegar (representing the Law). It begins to smoke & burn up, but not from the fault of the vinegar, but from the nature of the Baking Soda which will not endure it. Illustrates that the Law is not at fault, but our evil & wicked nature is!

  • When you read “Wet Paint. Don’t touch” what do you immediately want to do? –
  • “No U-Turns”
  • “Keep off the Grass”.
  • In Maui as we snorkeled, “Don’t touch the Turtles”, but I just had to touch one!

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).

No Excuses

There can be no finger pointing at God. You can’t say to God that “You made me do it, your Law made me rebel” You can’t say the Devil made me do it either. There are no excuses:

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Romans 3:19

III. Paul’s Personal Testimony

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:14-20 (NASB)

1.  Paul’s Struggle

Here Paul confesses his personal struggle with sin that dwells in him. Paul is a Christian, and has been for several years now. He knows the truth of HIs new life in Jesus Christ. He knows that his old man was crucified with Jesus, freeing him from the power of sin. He has reckoned this truth so in his life. He counts on Jesus to deliver him from sin. He has presented his body to God.

But what has happened? Instead of the truth of God becoming REALITY in his life, he finds that sin still dwells in him. He does what he doesn’t want to do, and he doesn’t do what he should do.

Does this sound familiar? Anyone else identify with his struggles?

Paul reveals a truth here, while we are spiritual (born again, alive to God) we are still flesh. And this flesh loves to sin. The means to freedom has been secured on the cross, our old man is dead. We don’t have to sin, but there is something about this flesh that makes it powerless when it comes to the power of sin.

2. Paul’s Personal Discovery

a. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;

When it comes to serving God, when it comes to following Jesus, there is nothing good in us. Any effort we make in this flesh is tainted, is spoiled. There is nothing good in me.

On the one hand, this is good because when we are aware of the struggle, it reveals we are spiritually alive, that we are born again.

  • If you don’t have a struggle, if you don’t feel guilt, that probably indicates Christ does not live in you.
  • Inward conflicts show us we are spiritually alive!

b. There is a Law of Sin that Dominates his flesh

Just as there is a Law of Gravity dominating our flesh, there is also a Law of Sin that dominates our flesh. The choice we as Christians have is whether we accept this law and live with it, struggling against sin the best we can, or do we desire something more!

3. Paul’s Desperate Desire!

Paul is Desperate for MORE!

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:24-25

IV. The Power of the New Law

Paul has realized that there is a way of deliverance. There is a Law that we can live under that dominates the Law of Sin. This Law is greater than the Law of Sin. And this Law is available to us through Jesus Christ!

This Law will be explored in Romans 8.

Our eyes must be opened to see that sin is not just conduct. When you lose your temper, it is not just you failing to control your temper. When you lose your temper it is the law of sin at work in you. The victory of sin is a law, just as our defeat is a law. If you view sin as simply a matter of conduct then your focus will be entirely on your own self-effort to resist or overcome that sin.

Do you have a problem with smoking? Do you want to quit? Then don’t see it as a habit to be resisted. Don’t see it as an urge to be controlled. See it as a law. A law that governs your life. And then see that you must live by a new Law that is greater than the Law of Sin.

We Need a New Law!

The Law of Sin is powerful. We cannot overcome it in our flesh. Our flesh is subject to its power. Anytime we struggle against sin with our flesh, we are doomed to fail. Just as you cannot escape the pull of gravity by flapping your arms, you cannot escape the law of sin by doing anything in your flesh.

Even mighty Paul made this discovery.

Paul discovered even though he tried, even though he willed it, he could not overcome sin’s power. He tried to be perfect, to not sin, but he failed. Paul discovered that the Law of Sin was mightier than his willpower. He willed and willed, but lost.

Paul came to the conclusion sin was a law that he could not overcome in his own strength.

He needed something else, he needed to learn to walk in a new Law, a Law which had authority over sin, a Law which could govern his life and deliver him from this constant feeling of defeat and failure.

Romans 7 is the revelation of a man who gives up trying in his own strength and realizes he needs JESUS CHRIST!

If you never come to this realization, that sin is a law that you cannot struggle against in with your flesh or your will, then you will always be a Romans 7 Christian. You will live your life in Romans 7.

You will be like the Laodicean’s, who thought they had no need.

Wretched man that I am – Just like John’s picture of the Laodicea church.

Rev.3:17 “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’; and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked;”

Do you want to be a Romans 8 Christian? Then have your eyes opened to the truth that sin is a Law. Then plead with God to reveal to you the Law he wants you to live by, the law that has greater power than the law of sin. Plead with Him to open your eyes to the truth of the Law of the Holy Spirit in your life!

If you do not live your daily life by the Law of the Holy Spirit, we shall see in Rom 8, then you are doomed to a wretched Christian Life, a Romans 7 life-one of ups and downs, defeats and despairs, one of fleshly struggles, one of constant bouts of guilt, one of being tossed to and fro. That is the plight of Christians who walk in the flesh and struggle against the Law of Sin with their flesh.

Thanks be to God there is a Better Way!

Have you come to the place of wretchedness in your life? You’ve come to the place of realizing you have no power to overcome sin.

Then you are ready to live your life by the Law that will deliver you from sin, from fleshly struggles and defeats.

By walking in the New Law, You will experience the Righteousness of Jesus Christ and THROW OFF YOUR WRETCHEDNESS!

Speaking to a large audience, D.L. Moody held up a glass and asked, “How can I get the air out of this glass?” One man shouted, “Suck it out with a pump!” Moody replied, “That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass.” After numerous other suggestions Moody smiled, picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. “There,” he said, “all the air is now removed.” He then went on to explain that victory in the Christian life is not accomplished by “sucking out a sin here and there,” but by being filled with the Holy Spirit.