The Book of Romans : Chapter Seven
A verse-by-verse commentary by Max Klein
Romans Chapter 7
1-6. The key to the interpretation is the two marriages
7-14. The function of the Law as a marriage counselor
15-21. The attacks of the first husband, namely the sin nature
22-25. The great inner conflict
Or are you ignorant, brethren [Jewish believers and the gentile believers influenced by them], for I communicate to those who know the Law [the Jewish believers in Rome] that the Mosaic Law lords it over mankind [the unbeliever] for as long a time as he lives [As long as the unbeliever lives, he is under the old sin nature, the first husband and as long as he lives, his marriage counsellor is the Law].
Ἢ ἀγνοεῖτε, ἀδελφοί, γινώσκουσιν γὰρ νόµον λαλῶ, ὅτι ὁ νόµος κυριεύει τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐφí ὅσον χρόνον ζῇ;
The purpose of Romans 7 is to take your ignorance about the inner conflict namely to take away all of the philosophical, psychological and human viewpoint and to replace it with the real reason for the inner conflict between the two husbands. As long as you cherish any psychological human viewpoint with regard to this inner conflict after salvation you cherish irrational arrogant notions. All of these things are to be dispelled.
A few points of clarification:
1. The information of this chapter is related to the information of the previous chapter but with a different emphasis. In Romans 6 the emphasis is placed on positional truth, while in this chapter the emphasis lies with the battle between the two husbands. As believers we all have an ex-husband, the old sin nature. As believers we also have a new husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Anticipating the key illustration of Romans 7:2-4, the woman, the believer, has died to her first husband through divorce though he is still very much alive.
3. At salvation the believer through the Baptism of the Spirit is no longer under the sovereignty of the old sin nature. Retroactive positional truth constitutes a divorce. Identification with Christ in His spiritual death is rejection of the first husband; identification with Christ in His physical death and burial is separation and divorce from the first husband. Identification and union with Christ via Current Positional Truth is marriage to our second husband.
4. Though these Jewish believers understand what the Mosaic Law states, they do not understand the role of the Law as it relates to the Christian.
For the wife under the authority of her husband has been bound to her husband by law while he is living, but if the husband had died [divorced] she has been released by the law from her husband.
ἡ γὰρ ὕπανδρος γυνὴ τῷ ζῶντι ἀνδρὶ δέδεται νόµῳ· ἐὰν δὲ ἀποθάνῃ ὁ ἀνήρ, κατήργηται ἀπὸ τοῦ νόµου τοῦ ἀνδρός.
Marriage is used to understand both Retroactive Positional Truth and Current Positional Truth.
1. Marriage has a system of authority in which the husband is the ruler over the woman.
2. If a woman is not willing to submit to the authority of a man, she should not marry him.
3. No woman can achieve femininity or attractiveness when she has rejected the authority of her husband.
4. A woman who rejects such authority becomes a monster, but a woman under such authority is the most attractive of all of God’s creatures.
5. A woman has a greater influence under authority than when she exercises authority.
6. Therefore, the difference between beauty and ugliness in a woman is found in that one word, “authority,” and how she handles it.
7. As responders, women were never designed to be independent of authority.
8. No woman’s beauty is complete until she has accepted the authority of the man she loves.
Therefore, if while her husband is living, she has become intimate with another man, she shall be classified as an adulteress; but if her husband has died [divorced], she is free from the Law so that she is not an adulteress though she has become married to another man.
ἄρα οὖν ζῶντος τοῦ ἀνδρὸς µοιχαλὶς χρηµατίσει ἐὰν γένηται ἀνδρὶ ἑτέρῳ· ἐὰν δὲ ἀποθάνῃ ὁ ἀνήρ, ἐλευθέρα ἐστὶν ἀπὸ τοῦ νόµου, τοῦ µὴ εἶναι αὐτὴν µοιχαλίδα γενοµένην ἀνδρὶ ἑτέρῳ.
A few points for clarification:
1. Positionally, the divorce is final, that is the divorce between the old sin nature and the new believer. Both the ex-husband, namely the sin nature is dead to the wife [the believer] and the ex-wife is dead to the husband.
2. The death or divorce of the first marriage is comparable to retroactive positional truth, while the new marriage to Christ is comparable to current positional truth.
3. Salvation adjustment to the integrity of God not only divorces the believer from the first husband, the old sin nature, but unites the believer to the new husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. At salvation the believer is positionally delivered from the power and sovereignty of the old sin nature through retroactive positional truth.
5. At salvation the believer becomes subject to the power and sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ through current positional truth. Therefore, at least theoretically, we are living to please our new husband. But our new husband has policies which must be understood.
6. The analogy of the context, then, is obvious. The believer is analogous to a married woman who prior to salvation has been under the authority of the first husband, the old sin nature, but now, after salvation, the believer is placed under the authority of the second husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.
7. Retroactive and Positional Truth do not become a realty in the soul of the Christian until he advances to spiritual adulthood and beyond.
Therefore, my brethren, you [the Christian analogous to the wife of Christ] also were made to die with reference to the Law [the Law is no longer our marriage counselor through Retroactive Positional Truth] by the human body of Christ [hanging on the cross], with the result that you might belong to another, to the One who has been raised up [His resurrection] from deaths [a reference to Christ’s substitutionary spiritual death and subsequent physical death] in order that we [as Christians] might bear fruit [to produce children analogous to spiritual production through our second marriage] to the God.
ὥστε, ἀδελφοί µου, καὶ ὑµεῖς ἐθανατώθητε τῷ νόµῳ διὰ τοῦ σώµατος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι ὑµᾶς ἑτέρῳ, τῷ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐγερθέντι, ἵνα καρποφορήσωµεν τῷ θεῷ.
A few Points for Clarification:
1. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit at salvation provides the analogy of divorce from the first husband and marriage to the second husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. This explains the phrase “by the human body of the Christ” in our translation.
2. This verse implies that divorce is death to the former mate in marriage namely the sin nature and therefore there is also no need for the Law as one’s marriage counsellor.
3. Therefore, to die with reference to the law means that the Mosaic Law, as the marriage counsellor in the first marriage, is no longer functional or operational. We go to a higher marriage counsellor. Thus, we do not go to the Mosaic Law for precedence in our spiritual life. Precedence for our spiritual life is found in the prototype spiritual life of Christ, the power experiment of the Hypostatic Union.
4. For example, even our priesthood does not come from the Mosaic Law.
Old Testament Versus New Testament Priesthoods.
a. There never has been a priesthood in the history of the world that required the priest to be a believer. Every priesthood prior to the Church Age was based on physical birth or position in the family, not on spiritual regeneration though most undoubtedly were believers. Genesis 4:3, 5 “So, it came about in the course of time that Cain [as a priest] brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. (5) but for Cain and his offering, He [the Lord] had no regard. So, Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.” The requirements of the Levitical priesthood are stated in Leviticus 21:17-23. Not once does it state that the Levitical priest had to be a believer for you see even an unbeliever could have carried out the rituals required by a Levitical priest.
b. On the other hand, the priesthood of the Church is formed from our position in Christ as a result of the Baptism of the Spirit. So, our priesthood is composed of every member of the Royal Family of God.
c. No high priest in Israel ever functioned in resurrection body as does our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. Only the royal family of God has a High Priest in resurrection body.
d. Jesus Christ was never a high priest to Israel for He was not qualified to function in a priestly role since He was not from the tribe of Levi.
e. The Church has one High Priest, the resurrected humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ at the right hand of the Father with indestructible life. So, our high priest will live forever; Israel had to constantly replace their dying high priests.
f. The royal priesthood of the Church Age believer which is based on Current Positional Truth with one High Priest in resurrection body is better than the Levitical priesthood, which was based on many high priests and physical birth.
g. Hebrews 7:22, “to a greater degree Jesus [as our high priest] has become the guarantee of a better covenant [as found in the New Testament epistles]. The spiritual life must match the priesthood. Whereas the Levitical priesthood functioned under the ritual of the Mosaic Law, our royal priesthood functions under the spiritual life as found in the New Testament epistles.
h. Hebrews 7:23-25, “(23) On the one hand therefore, the former priests existed in greater numbers, because they were prevented by death from continuing, (24) but Jesus on the other hand, because He abides forever, He holds His priesthood permanently. (25) Therefore, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God [by faith in Jesus Christ we enter into the royal priesthood] through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
i. Our priesthood prays to God the Father through the person of Jesus Christ, our high priest.
5. The Mosaic Law is for our instruction and so we can learn many principles and concepts from it, but our spiritual life is not found in the Old Testament, Abraham’s Tent or in the Covenants of Israel.
6. The power experiment of the Hypostatic Union separated Israel and the Old Testament from the Church Age.
7. Jesus Christ established the precedence for the Christian way of life as found in Isaiah 11:2. The seven spirits are titles related to the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit first to the humanity of Christ and then to the Church Age believers. These 7 titles are found in Isaiah 11:2 and are as follows:
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him (The Holy Spirit’s power)
The Spirit of wisdom (wisdom extrapolated from truth and applied to people, circumstances, sufferings etc.)
The Spirit of perception (the means of learning doctrine)
The Spirit of counsel (the Spirit counsels through metabolized doctrine)
The Spirit of strength (the Spirit produces strength in the soul)
The Spirit of knowledge (the Spirit, the teacher of divine knowledge)
The Spirit who provides respect for the Lord
8. Each priesthood had its own spiritual life. The Levitical Priesthood learned its function from the Mosaic Law. The Royal Priesthood of the Church Age believer in the post-canon period of the Church Age finds its spiritual life in the New Testament Epistles.
9.The purpose is stated at the end of the verse: “in order that we might bear fruit to the God.” No one bears fruit to God in status quo unbeliever in spiritual death. We have to be alive to God before we can bear fruit to God. After salvation, this is accomplished through maximum doctrine resident in the soul resulting in maturity adjustment to the integrity of God.
For while we were in the flesh [as unbelievers married to the sin nature], the sinful passions [lusts] which through the Law were operative [the Law revealed the lusts and trends of the sin nature] in our members [of our body], resulted in the production associated with our spiritual death.
ὅτε γὰρ ἦµεν ἐν τῇ σαρκί, τὰ παθήµατα τῶν ἁµαρτιῶν τὰ διὰ τοῦ νόµου ἐνηργεῖτο ἐν τοῖς µέλεσιν ἡµῶν εἰς τὸ καρποφορῆσαι τῷ θανάτῳ·
A short brief on the Sin Nature:
This is taken from the booklet, “Old Sin Nature VS. Holy Spirit” pages 1- 3 by R. B. Thieme Jr.
“THE OLD SIN NATURE FOR AS LONG AS YOU LIVE the old sin nature and God the Holy Spirit will coexist as permanent residents in your mortal body and will battle continually for control of your soul. When the Holy Spirit controls your soul, you are spiritual. When the old sin nature controls your soul, you are carnal. When you chose to sin, the old sin nature wins the conflict. You do not lose your salvation or your eternal relationship with God, but you do temporarily lose fellowship with Him.
The sin nature is the center of man’s rebellion toward God and is variously designated in Scripture as “sin” (a singular noun—Rom. 7:13), “flesh” (Gal. 5:16), and “old man” (Eph. 4:22). The old sin nature was acquired by Adam at his fall and is subsequently transmitted genetically by the male through procreation (Gen. 5:3). With the exception of the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ, it is an integral part of every human being that resides in the cell structure of the body (Rom. 6:6; 7:5, 18). At the moment of physical birth when God imputes soul life, He also imputes Adam’s original sin to the genetically formed old sin nature (Rom. 5:12). Therefore, every person is born physically alive but spiritually dead. The sin nature is sovereign over human life (Rom. 6:12).
The old sin nature is composed of an area of weakness, the source of temptation for personal sins (Heb. 12:1); an area of strength, which generates human good (Isa. 64:6; Heb. 6:1); a trend toward legalism, which is self-righteousness (Rom. 7:7), or antinomianism, which is licentiousness (Gal. 5:19–21); and a lust pattern, which is the motivation toward either trend (Eph. 2:3).
Your old sin nature is the source of temptation to sin, but your volition is the source of sin. The sin nature cannot make you sin, it can only tempt you to sin. When you choose to succumb to the sin nature, you are in carnality and you cannot live the Christian life or glorify God. However, God has placed at your command the means to insure the victory of the Holy Spirit in your life.”
Below is a diagram of the Sin Nature also taken from R. B. Thieme Jr. Bible Ministries.
Galatians 5 gives us a partial list of the production of the sin nature associated with spiritual death. Galatians 5:19-21, “Now, the works [actions] of the flesh [sin nature] are plainly seen such as [a representative list of sinful passions leading to sins] fornication [pornea: including adultery], mental and moral defilement from wrong doing [akatharsia] and sexual sins related to abnormality and criminality [the Greek word aselgeia: extreme indulgence in sensual pleasure related to alcohol, drugs and sexual perversions including sexual sins related to idolatry and human sacrifice]. (20) Idolatry, sorcery [witchcraft; drug users], antagonisms [hostile feelings and actions toward others related to pettiness], strife [discord, contention for superiority], jealousy, outburst of anger, selfish ambition [rivalry, competition], dissensions [trouble makers such as the Judaizers], religious factions [self-seeking, contentious groups; heresies], (21) envies, drunkenness, carousing [orgies], and similar things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you, that those who keep practicing [throughout their lives] similar things as these shall not inherit [the rewards in] the kingdom of God [the eternal state].”
Romans 7:6 But now [at salvation] we have been released from the Law [as the marriage counselor of first marriage] through having died to that by which we were bound [divorced from sin nature], that we might serve in a new marriage [to Christ] by the Spirit and not in the old marriage by the letter [of the Mosaic Law].
νυνὶ δὲ κατηργήθηµεν ἀπὸ τοῦ νόµου, ἀποθανόντες ἐν ᾧ κατειχόµεθα, ὥστε δουλεύειν ἡµᾶς ἐν καινότητι πνεύµατος καὶ οὐ παλαιότητι γράµµατος.
A few points for clarification:
1. The Law counselled that mankind has a bad marriage in relationship to the old sin nature. The Mosaic Law counselled that as unbelievers, we
needed to divorce that bastard.
2. The Law also points to the solution by revealing salvation through the Levitical offerings, the various articles of furniture in the tabernacle, the holy days, the modus operandi of the Levitical priesthood.
3. Once mankind has believed in Christ the Law can do nothing further as a marriage counsellor since the believer is married to Christ through Current Positional Truth and the new marriage counsellor is God the Holy Spirit.
4. Therefore, the believer has been released from the Law as the marriage counsellor of the first marriage as per Romans10:4, “For Christ is the termination of the Law [The Christian is under a higher law namely the spiritual life as found in New Testament epistles taught through the Filling of the Spirit] with reference to righteousness to that one because he believes.”
Therefore, to what conclusion are we forced? Is the Law sin [Is there anything wrong with the marriage counselor]? Definitely not! On the contrary, I was not cognizant of the sin nature except through the Law; for instance, I did not understand the lust pattern except the Law kept on saying, "You will not lust."
Τί οὖν ἐροῦµεν; ὁ νόµος ἁµαρτία; µὴ γένοιτο· ἀλλὰ τὴν ἁµαρτίαν οὐκ ἔγνων εἰ µὴ διὰ νόµου, τήν τε γὰρ ἐπιθυµίαν οὐκ ᾔδειν εἰ µὴ ὁ νόµος ἔλεγεν, Οὐκ ἐπιθυµήσεις.
Literally, the phrase of the first three words is translated, “Therefore what shall we say?” But this is an idiom and you do not translate idioms literally. The idiom actually means, “Therefore to what conclusion are we forced?” Doctrinal teaching leads to a correct inference, but there is always the danger of coming to a false conclusion through poor workmanship namely that the Mosaic Law is no good. Paul uses the rhetorical debater’s idiom in asking the question “is the Law sin?” to refute a distortion that there is something wrong with the Law. The rhetorical question in the Greek is used to introduce a false assumption in order to set it up as a straw man and then knock it down. In asking this question Paul recognizes the believer’s failure to rightly divide the Word of truth, and it also indicates a certain prejudice against the Law as having no value of any kind when in fact it is a gift from God; an instrument created by God.
A few points for clarification:
1. In Romans chapter 6 the writer, the apostle Paul states that the believer is dead to the old sin nature and death is tantamount to divorce. When a divorce occurs between two people, they are dead to each other. In Romans 7:1-6, Paul emphasized the believer’s death to the Mosaic Law. Once the advice of the Mosaic Law is followed, namely to believe in Jesus Christ, then the divorce of the sin nature has occurred and also death to the marriage counsellor.
2. Since both the Mosaic Law and the old sin nature are placed in the same category of being dead to the believer a misconception on the part of some has arisen. Paul, in dealing with this misconception that the Mosaic Law is no good.
3. Many of the believers in Rome to whom this was originally addressed erroneously assumed that the Mosaic Law is evil since it is associated with the old sin nature. However, they failed to remember that it is the Mosaic Law which exposes the old sin nature. So, it is not evil, but necessary for our instruction.
4. Therefore, Paul demonstrated that the Law is not evil and not in any way related to the sin nature. That which exposes or reveals sin, human good and evil is not evil. As the marriage counsellor, it revealed that our marriage to the sin nature was hopeless.
But the sin nature, having grasped the opportunity through the 10th commandment [you will not lust], produced in me every category of lust [Paul understood that he functioned under many lusts after studying the Mosaic Law]. For apart from the Law, the sin nature is dead [unknown].
ἀφορµὴν δὲ λαβοῦσα ἡ ἁµαρτία διὰ τῆς ἐντολῆς κατειργάσατο ἐν ἐµοὶ πᾶσαν ἐπιθυµίαν· χωρὶς γὰρ νόµου ἁµαρτία νεκρά.
Verses 7, 8, the function of the Law in exposing the old sin nature: All of the genius of the unbeliever cannot discover the old sin nature with its trends toward sin, good, and evil. Only the revelation from God provides this information. And revelation from God in God’s Word, specifically the Mosaic Law, reveals the old sin nature as the sovereign of human life ruling through spiritual death. Satan is the sovereign of this world but the old sin nature is the sovereign of human life. Mankind is blind to the status quo of the first marriage apart from the function of and ministry of the Mosaic Law. Specifically, then, the Mosaic Law is the marriage counsellor indicating a bad first marriage and presenting the solution related to the Lord Jesus Christ in Codex 2.
The tenth commandment as literally translated from Exodus 20:17. “You shall not lust for your neighbour’s house; you shall not lust for your neighbour’s wife, or his male servant, or his female slave, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbour.” The tenth commandment not only deals with the subject of lust but it emphasizes the importance of human freedom in terms of property, privacy, and modus vivendi. In other words, you have a right to your privacy, your property, to a way of life that suits you.
1. Lust implies an origin or source and that source is the sin nature.
2. Since lust is prohibited by the 10th commandment the obvious conclusion is that lusts which bring about the trends of the old sin nature are to be restrained or inhibited.
3. Of the Ten Commandments only the 10th commandment mentions lust and obviously is the missing link between the source, the sin nature and the actual sin or function of sin, good, evil.
4. The genetically formed old sin nature constantly has desires which are inordinate. The old sin nature throws out impulses. Some of them are directed toward good, some toward evil, some toward sin.
5. The old sin nature desires or lusts what belongs to others, whether people, property, possessions, authority, power, recognition, or approbation.
6. Having discovered lust through the Law, the marriage counsellor, Paul became cognizant of the first marriage to the old sin nature which marriage took place at birth.
Now at one time, I lived apart from the Law; but when the 10th commandment came [into my consciousness] the sin nature was activated, [became known to me] and I realized that I was spiritually dead. [The Greek is found at the beginning of the next verse.]
ἐγὼ δὲ ἔζων χωρὶς νόµου ποτέ· ἐλθούσης δὲ τῆς ἐντολῆς ἡ ἁµαρτία ἀνέζησεν,
A few points for clarification:
1. The old sin nature used the prohibition of the 10th commandment to assert its authority over mankind through sponsoring disobedience to the 10th commandment.
2. The Law as a marriage counsellor says to mankind, ‘Do not lust,’ but the first husband, the old sin nature says, ‘Lust in every category.’
3. The Law, by prohibiting lust, was a good marriage counsellor.
4. The husband, the old sin nature, by demanding lust was an evil husband ruling through spiritual death.
5. Every category of lust refers to the trends of the first husband, the old sin nature.
6. The old sin nature indwells the body, being genetically formed in the cell structure of the human body, including the brain.
7. The old sin nature is aggressive and belligerent. Using the 10th commandment as an opportunity to flaunt its sovereignty over life, the old sin nature produces in the human being every category of lust.
8. You cannot solve a problem until you are aware that there is a problem. The sin nature was dead in the sense of being unknown as a problem until the Mosaic Law came along.
9. The Mosaic Law and the 10th commandment caused mankind to become cognizant of the problem of the old sin nature and spiritual death.
A few points regarding Paul:
1. Paul, like all of us, acquired the old sin nature at birth.
2. Paul, however, was ignorant of the marriage or the presence of the old sin nature until the Law revealed it.
3. When Paul’s ignorance was dispelled by the Law, he became aware of the residence of the old sin nature and the resultant problem of spiritual death. He could not solve the problem of spiritual death and the function of the sin nature until he became aware of that problem.
4. Ignorance must be replaced with cognizance. This can only occur through the communication of the Mosaic Law to the unbeliever and the communication of pertinent Bible doctrine to the believer via the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
5. This is why the Mosaic Law is the marriage counsellor of the first marriage and the Holy Spirit is the marriage counsellor of the second marriage. Both marriage counsellors are perfect. One marriage counsellor is from God, the other is God.
And that commandment [the Mosaic Law], which points to life [as found in the Christology and Soteriology of Codex 2 of the Mosaic Law], the same was discovered by me pointing to spiritual death [as found in Codex 1 namely the decalogue].
ἐγὼ δὲ ἀπέθανον, καὶ εὑρέθη µοι ἡ ἐντολὴ ἡ εἰς ζωὴν αὕτη εἰς θάνατον·
For the sin nature, having seized the opportunity through the 10th commandment, deceived me and through the same [10th commandment] killed me [made me realize that I was spiritually dead].
ἡ γὰρ ἁµαρτία ἀφορµὴν λαβοῦσα διὰ τῆς ἐντολῆς ἐξηπάτησέν µε καὶ διí αὐτῆς ἀπέκτεινεν.
A few points of clarification:
1. The deception includes the fact that marriage to the sin nature from physical birth means spiritual death to God.
2. Before man can be alive to God, he must be dead or divorced from the old sin nature.
3. This is accomplished at salvation through the Holy Spirit identifying the Christian with Christ on the cross in Retroactive Positional Truth.
4. Man is deceived by the old sin nature’s trends toward good and evil into the delusion that the old sin nature can actually produce what is pleasing to God.
5. Hence, the old sin nature whose function is good and evil deludes the human race into thinking that lust and gratification of that lust is justifiable.
6. This is the foundation for every system of good and evil, including socialism, the welfare state, communism, plus all of the Marxist theories.
7. While man thinks that he is accomplishing the greater good for the greater number he is in reality creating evil to satisfy his lust pattern and to serve Satan as the ruler of this world.
8. This religious rationalism is the basis for the terrible evils which have come into existence in contemporary history.
9. Human good is a deception, a delusion, a rationalization, the function of the lust pattern of the old sin nature.
As a matter of fact, therefore, the Law is holy, also the 10th commandment is holy, righteous, and absolute good.
ὥστε ὁ µὲν νόµος ἅγιος, καὶ ἡ ἐντολὴ ἁγία καὶ δικαία καὶ ἀγαθή.
1. This verse concludes that the Law is not the culprit. It did a perfect job as the marriage counsellor of our first marriage. In fact, it not only states the problem of our first marriage to the sin nature, but also points out the solution as found in Codex 2.
2. Because the Law as a marriage counsellor points out the problem of spiritual death, it does not follow that the Law sponsors spiritual death nor condones it. Regarding condemnation, God does the condemning through the Law His instrument of condemnation.
3. Because the Law as a marriage counsellor points out that the first husband is sinful it does not follow that the Law is sinful.
4. In fact, man is sinful because he possesses the sin nature from birth. Man is spiritually dead because Adam’s Original Sin was imputed to his sin nature at birth.
5. Man is sinful because he possesses the old sin nature and commits personal sin, not because the Law says he is sinful.
Therefore, did that which is good [the Mosaic Law] become a cause of death to me [spiritual death]? Definitely not! But the sin nature, in order that it might be revealed through the good [the Mosaic Law], made spiritual death a reality to me, in order that the sin nature might become utterly sinful by the commandment [the 10th].
Τὸ οὖν ἀγαθὸν ἐµοὶ ἐγένετο θάνατος; µὴ γένοιτο· ἀλλὰ ἡ ἁµαρτία, ἵνα φανῇ ἁµαρτία, διὰ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ µοι κατεργαζοµένη θάνατον· ἵνα γένηται καθí ὑπερβολὴν ἁµαρτωλὸς ἡ ἁµαρτία διὰ τῆς ἐντολῆς.
The Mosaic Law is good to us because it reveals to us that we have a problem as an unbeliever in the status quo of spiritual death. The rhetorical question, “Therefore, did that which is good become a cause of spiritual death to me?” is designed to reflect the thinking of those who distort the teaching of the apostle Paul. The rhetorical question is a debater’s technique for anticipating and refuting the erroneous conclusions made by those listening to Paul’s teaching. Obviously then, the intrinsic good in the Mosaic Law did not produce spiritual death in mankind. Something that is intrinsically good cannot suddenly become something that is evil. Good can be turned into evil but not intrinsic good. The function of the Mosaic Law is to reveal the problem and to reveal the solution. Furthermore, the utter sinfulness of the old sin nature is revealed by the Mosaic Law.
A few further points for clarification:
1. Personal sin is not the basis for condemnation of the human race.
2. Only one sin is the basis for the condemnation of the human race namely Adam’s original transgression in the garden. This original sin of Adam is imputed to each one of us at birth resulting in spiritual death and subsequent condemnation from the integrity of God.
3. Here a contrast begins. God creates soul-life at birth which he then imputes to biological life resulting in man having a soul possessing human life as per Genesis 2:7. Simultaneously, Adam’s original sin is imputed to its genetically-prepared home, the old sin nature resulting in spiritual death.
4. Therefore, personal sin is a manifestation of the old sin nature’s sovereignty over human life, but not the means of condemnation from the justice of God.
5. Therefore, the true ministry of the Mosaic Law is to reveal the existence of the old sin nature through the perfect norms and standards of God stated in the Mosaic Law.
6. These standards reveal both the lust pattern of the old sin nature and the status produced by the old sin nature namely spiritual death.
Certainly, we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am fleshly [the sin nature residing in the cell structure of Paul’s body] when I have been led astray under the authority of the sin nature.
οἴδαµεν γὰρ ὅτι ὁ νόµος πνευµατικός ἐστιν· ἐγὼ δὲ σάρκινός εἰµι, πεπραµένος ὑπὸ τὴν ἁµαρτίαν.
1. The Law is spiritual because it comes from God and fulfils the divine purpose in human history related to the angelic conflict.
2. The Law is a counsellor of the first marriage to the old sin nature which it exposes as tyrannical and evil.
3. At this point comes a great shift of emphasis. Up to this point the emphasis has been on the culprit, the old sin nature. Because of the transition from the first marriage to the second marriage, a new emphasis is placed on the wife. Will the wife in her second marriage to Christ be faithful to Christ her new husband or will she go back to her Ex?
4. Since the former husband, the sin nature has tremendous influence over the Christian who is now in his second marriage, the only power strong enough to deal with this influence is the spiritual life. Only when the Christian functions under the two power options will he ever be able to resist the influence of the sin nature on a consistent basis. ***
For what I accomplish, I do not understand, because what I desire to do, these things I am not accomplishing; but what I detest, these things I keep doing.
ὃ γὰρ κατεργάζοµαι οὐ γινώσκω· οὐ γὰρ ὃ θέλω τοῦτο πράσσω, ἀλλí ὃ µισῶ τοῦτο ποιῶ.
When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he was either in spiritual maturity or very close to it. However, for our benefit, he writes in retrospection regarding his difficulty as a new believer. Paul represents himself as resolving to advance spiritually, desiring to please Christ and wishing to take in doctrine in order to achieve the objective, but all these good intentions were neutralised by the machinations of the first husband, the old sin nature, with its trends toward sin, good and evil.
The new believer has very little power in his soul to resist the sin nature. The only power more powerful than the sin nature is metabolized doctrine in the soul and this takes time to accomplish. The more the Christian advances in the spiritual life, the more power he has available to him to defeat the sin nature.
1. This verse indicates the successful attack of the first husband in the realm of volition.
2. The Sin Nature has overcome the determination of the believer by leading him into a modus operandi which he does not understand, which he often despises, but nevertheless continues in it.
3. Therefore, the attack of the first husband succeeds apart from the believer’s use of the Recovery Procedure and advancing spiritually.
4. To do things you do not desire to do and to keep on doing them is an obvious warning of the inner conflict between the two husbands.
5. The first husband is the old sin nature, and though divorced through retroactive positional truth, he desperately continues his activity inside of every believer. He is trying to seduce the believer by bringing him under his authority and under the trends of sin, good, and evil.
6. To experientially place yourself under orders to the second husband requires spiritual growth and patience.
7. There is no way for the believer to break out of this dilemma apart from the Filling of the Holy Spirit and the daily perception of the Word of God.
8. Only the Filling of the Spirit and Bible doctrine resident in the soul can break the power and the influence of the old sin nature in life.
Let’s briefly review the Spiritual Life which alone is able to defeat the sin nature.
The use of the Recovery Procedure to enter the spiritual life.
The Filling of the Spirit.
The Faith-rest Drill.
Personal Sense of Destiny/Spiritual Self-Esteem
Personal love for God the Father
Sharing the happiness of God
10. Occupation with Christ
Now, if I keep on doing this thing which I do not desire to do, and I do, I agree with the Law that it [the Law] is noble.
εἰ δὲ ὃ οὐ θέλω τοῦτο ποιῶ, σύµφηµι τῷ νόµῳ ὅτι καλός.
1. There must be a standard to break through the gloomy enigma of contradiction in the life of the believer namely the old sin nature versus our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Once the solution has been accepted namely faith in Christ, then the battle between the two husbands begins namely between the Christian serving the new husband or the ex.
3. In this battle we have a new marriage counsellor in God the Holy Spirit, but we never disagree with the content of the old marriage counsellor, the Mosaic Law. We still recognize the Mosaic Law for what it is: from God, perfect, having a perfect design, a limited design in its function but nevertheless a perfect design.
4. Therefore, we do not reject the standard of the Law under the ministry of the Holy Spirit, but we use these standards to define sin for recovery to fellowship and to alert us with regard to good and evil as a part of the assault on the Christian life.
5. So, when the believer keeps sinning or succumbs to good and evil, he recognizes the nobility and the advantage of the Mosaic Law in defining what he does not desire to do.
6. Hence, the Holy Spirit as the new marriage counsellor uses the standards of the Law to define sinfulness for the purpose of rebound and to define good and evil for the purpose of avoiding through separation.
7. In Codex 3 the Mosaic Law defines divine principles of establishment which oppose sin, good and evil. With this knowledge, the trends of the old sin nature can be avoided in the power and the Filling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Law is advantageous to the believer even though the Mosaic Law is no longer the marriage counsellor.
But as the case really stands, I am no longer performing the same [lust and trends], but the sin nature [the strong pull of the sin nature] which resides in me.
νυνὶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγὼ κατεργάζοµαι αὐτὸ ἀλλὰ ἡ οἰκοῦσα ἐν ἐµοὶ ἁµαρτία.
1. This does not imply lack of cooperation or failure to use one’s own personal volition in the matter of sin, good, and evil. We never perform these acts without the volition being involved.
2. Paul is dramatizing the conflict between the ex-husband, the old sin nature and the present husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. This emphasizes how a believer with maximum doctrine resident in his soul understands the problem, and so, on the one hand honours doctrine and on the other hand renounces and rejects the ex-husband, the sin nature.
4. No one ever commits a sin, known or unknown, without the involvement of his own volition. Two things are involved in committing sin namely lust and volition.
5. Paul is not denying the involvement of his volition but is emphasizing the strong influence of the old sin nature as the ex-husband.
6. The believer is weak and not the master of his inner life, therefore the need for the thinking of the new husband, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as the new marriage counsellor.
7. The Holy Spirit enables the believer’s volition to make decisions which please the Lord Jesus Christ rather than the old sin nature.
8. Only the Filling of the Spirit and Bible doctrine resident in the soul can offset the gravitational pull of the old sin nature soliciting sin, good, and evil.
For, I know that there does not reside in me that is in my human body any intrinsic good, and the honorable accomplishment of my purpose is negative. [More literal: For the desire for intrinsic good is present within me, but the accomplishment is not good.]
οἶδα γὰρ ὅτι οὐκ οἰκεῖ ἐν ἐµοί, τοῦτ’ ἔστιν ἐν τῇ σαρκί µου, ἀγαθόν· τὸ γὰρ θέλειν παράκειταί µοι, τὸ δὲ κατεργάζεσθαι τὸ καλὸν οὔ·
A few points for clarification:
1. Since the sin nature resides in the human body, the solution must reside outside of that body, leaving only the human soul for the area of solution.
2. The solution always deals with Bible doctrine which must become resident in the soul. Spiritual growth and glorification of Christ cannot occur in the physical body without spiritual advance in the soul.
3. It is the soul, not the body, which is saved at eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
4. The believer receives an interim body after death and a resurrection body at the Rapture which body will function in our eternal state, and both are minus the sin nature.
5. Furthermore, the solution to the problems in time while on this earth resides inevitably in the soul. Therefore, Bible doctrine must resident in the soul through the daily perception and application under the authority of the Filling of the Holy Spirit.
6. The divine energy of metabolized doctrine resident in the Christian and the Filling of the Spirit must replace human energy since the solution is located in the soul and not the body. Human energy does not glorify Jesus Christ.
7. The human body is the place where physical food is converted into human energy, but the soul is the place where spiritual energy must reside.
8. What human energy is to the body the spiritual energy of metabolized truth and the Filling of the Spirit is to the soul.
9. Food is the nourishment and sustenance of the body, whereas Bible doctrine is the nourishment and sustenance of the soul.
10. So, Paul describes the believer who is willing to make right decisions but is frustrated by ignorance of doctrine.
11. Volition must have direction. Furthermore, volition must have grace direction. Without doctrinal facts and information, the volition is frustrated in fulfilling the divine policy and executing the objectives of the spiritual life.
12. Volition is useless without direction, without information, without cognizance of doctrine. The resolve is present in the positive believer, but the execution of the resolve demands cognizance of doctrine. You can’t please God until you know how to please God.
The failure of sincere Christians:
1. Sincerity is related to volition, but volition without doctrine is helpless in both the execution of the will of God and the attainment of the objective namely maturity adjustment to the integrity of God. Sincerity is related to volition by way of emotion. Emotion is the connecting link between sincerity and the decisions made from sincerity. Sincerity is filled with good intentions but sincerity is merely emotion trying to take the objective.
2. So, while human volition is sincere in desiring to glorify God, this is not the answer. The best intentions of the sincere believer are destroyed on the shoals of ignorance.
3. How can you fulfil the purpose of God and resolve to glorify Christ if you do not know how to do it, if you do not know the policy?
4. Ignorance of doctrine interdicts between good intentions and motivations and the fulfilment of the will of God. Good intentions are not the will of God necessarily. Sincere decisions are not necessarily the will of God.
5. Sincerity plus ignorance of doctrine is a guarantee of failure. Sincerity is not a virtue but a sign of ignorance and sometimes stupidity.
6. Sincerity without doctrine is the road to reversionism under the influence of evil. It is the road of apostasy. The second attack of the ex-husband, the old sin nature, places emphasis on sincerity and emotional motivation. This is the quickest road to reversionism and the sin unto death.
But I see a different principle in the members of my body campaigning against the principle of my mind, and so making me a prisoner to the principle of the sin nature, the same sin nature being in the members of my body.
βλέπω δὲ ἕτερον νόµον ἐν τοῖς µέλεσίν µου ἀντιστρατευόµενον τῷ νόµῳ τοῦ νοός µου καὶ αἰχµαλωτίζοντά µε ἐν τῷ νόµῳ τῆς ἁµαρτίας τῷ ὄντι ἐν τοῖς µέλεσίν µου.
1. Power corrupts. The volition of the soul is a basic power which is corrupted by the old sin nature with its trends toward good and evil, as well as sinfulness.
2. There is a constant pressure on the volition from the old sin nature whose headquarters is located in the human body, and Bible doctrine resident in the right lobe is the only deterrent.
3. When there is no Bible doctrine in the right lobe of the soul, the old sin nature is the inevitable winner and makes the believer, a prisoner.
4. The two conflicting principles within the believer co-exist as long as we live on this earth. By analogy, the only way to have peace in human history is to be prepared for war. An unprepared nation becomes vulnerable and is subject to attack. So, it is on the battleground of our souls. To be prepared we must have doctrine in the right lobe via the Filling of the Spirit.
O wretched believer that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? [How can I get out of this predicament of perpetual carnality leading to the sin unto death?]
ταλαίπωρος ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος· τίς µε ῥύσεται ἐκ τοῦ σώµατος τοῦ θανάτου τούτου;
We must understand immediately that Paul is not wretched. As the writer of this passage, he is either at spiritual maturity or very close to it and very happy. However, in order to personify the difficulties of reversionism, he is led by the Holy Spirit to take the position of a believer in total failure in order to express the disaster of warning discipline, intensive discipline, and eventually dying discipline. (Possibly, also he experienced this as a new believer.)
A Christian can be rescued from this dilemma, but it has to be done a day at a time, there is no instant rescue here. Doctrine today, doctrine tomorrow, etc. That is the only way to be dragged out of the mire of spiritual failure, to be rescued from reversionism.
A few points for consideration:
1. God gives us one day at a time for the purpose of perception of doctrine.
2. The “body of death” is the residence of the old sin nature in the human body.
3. Three things occur at salvation which begin the rescue or deliverance: the imputation of divine righteousness to the believer resulting in justification or the construction of the grace pipeline; the real imputation of eternal life to the divinely prepared home or target namely regeneration; the baptism of the Holy Spirit through which divorce of the old sin nature as the first husband occurs, and marriage to the Lord Jesus Christ who is the second husband.
4. Newness of life is the grace environment provided through the baptism of the Spirit. Romans 6:4: Therefore, we have been buried together with Him through the identification [Baptism of the Spirit] into His death [physical], in order that just as Christ has been raised up from the dead [on Resurrection Sunday], through the glory of the Father [through the Father’s power], [So also we, the dead in Christ, will be raised from the dead by the power of the Father, and those alive at the Rapture, by the power of the Holy Spirit.] in this manner we also might walk in newness of life. [Experiential sanctification should reflect our future ultimate sanctification.]
Grace belongs to the God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, on the one hand, with my mind I myself [referring to Paul who is representing himself as the believer with the dilemma of options] serve the Law of God [ via experiential sanctification], but on the other hand, with my flesh [the pull to serve Satan through his agent, the sin nature] I myself [with my volition] serve the principle of the sin nature.
χάρις δὲ τῷ θεῷ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡµῶν. ἄρα οὖν αὐτὸς ἐγὼ τῷ µὲν νοῒ δουλεύω νόµῳ θεοῦ, τῇ δὲ σαρκὶ νόµῳ ἁµαρτίας.
The source of the solution is found in the first sentence and the recognition of the options is stated in the second sentence.
A few points of clarification:
1. Two mutually exclusive principles carry on a continual battle inside of the believer.
2. The new husband is represented by the Holy Spirit as the marriage counsellor, and by Bible doctrine resident in the soul. The Holy Spirit must control the soul for the believer to serve with the mind the “law of God” which is experiential sanctification.
3. While carnality and reversionism is the law of sin resulting in severe divine discipline, and ultimately the sin unto death. Even so, the sin unto death does not connote loss of salvation, merely the last intensive punishment of the reversionistic believer in time.