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We are going to do something radically different this morning. I want so badly to communicate with you these precious truths. I want so badly to do it in a way that is not only accurate but specially edifying to you–God’s blood-bought children. {Audio starts from this point:} This concept we have been working on the last three sessions that points out and underscores the fact that weighed in the balance of God’s law, we by nature are found wanting. Weighed in the balance and found wanting by nature. That’s an important concept for us to understand, to grasp; because it’s only as we understand that concept, my brother, my sister, that we can be protected from the most subtle form of legalism. You know what the most subtle form of legalism is? The most subtle form of legalism is not, of course, presuming to be righteous on the basis of your own efforts to keep God’s law. That’s a very blatant form of legalism that almost nobody is troubled with. The most subtle form of legalism, however, is coming to the conclusion that one is righteous on the basis of what the Holy Spirit does in him. Are we righteous or justified on the basis of what the Holy Spirit does in us? We are never righteous on the basis of what the Holy Spirit does in us. That which justifies us is what Jesus Christ has done for us. By the obedience of one, through many shall be made righteous. Is that clear? How could Paul state it more clearly than that. Does he say by the obedience of each spirit-filled Christian they will be made righteous? He says by the obedience of one. For only one has a righteousness that is sufficient to meet the infinite standard. All the rest of us, even empowered by the Holy Spirit are weighed in the balance and found wanting. That’s why we have to have an intercessor before our obedience is even acceptable. That statement that we were studying yesterday. Selected Messages vol. 1, 344, she cries out after she has told us that the religious services, the prayer, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend as incense from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood they can never be of value with God. Just after she has established that truth, and these are things inspired by the Holy Spirit in true believers. After she establishes the passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled. That unless purified by blood, she sums up that discussion by saying, “Oh that all may see that everything in obedience must be placed upon the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ.” Everything in what? Obedience. Has to be place where? On the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ. Why? What does fire do? It purges and purifies. Do you see how we must recognize that we can never be justified on the basis of our spirit-inspired obedience. Because even that has to be purified by the fire of Christ’s righteousness. Even that has to have His blood to cleanse it and His righteousness added to it before it is acceptable. And then, mind you, it is not acceptable as merit. It is not as acceptable as something that we offer towards earning our salvation. It’s acceptable even then only as a gift of gratitude for the salvation that has already been purchased for us by the One who is not weighed in the balance and found wanting, Jesus Christ. But the subtle form of legalism that has just plagued us as a people, and my heart breaks when I see how many of us are rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing because the Holy Spirit is doing it all in us. Praise God for the Holy Spirit. Enabling grace is absolutely essential. But what the Holy Spirit does in us will never earn our right standing with God. It is what Jesus Christ has done for us. That’s our title. What the Holy Spirit does in us is our fitness. Praise God. We’ve got to have a fitness. But legalism is when we turn our fitness into a title. Do you hear me. Legalism is when we come to the conclusion that our fitness entitles us to heaven. That’s the most subtle form of legalism. And we have got to be protected from that.

This particular presentation will probably not be in the series. This is a supplementary study that I am sharing with you because I long with all of my heart to communicate this truth. What we have been preaching from the last three sessions, and one of you came up to me after one of the sessions and perceived it and thrilled me that you did perceive it, what we have been preaching from the last three sessions is Romans 7. Romans 7 is probably the most controversial passage in all of Scripture. It has been the passage that has caused controversy for centuries in the church and has been wrestled with and hassled with and argued over for hundreds of years. Do you know why it has been so controversial? Because it is one of the most profound truths in all of Scripture. And the devil knows that if this truth is grasped, his power is broken to get into either ditch–the ditch of antinomianism or the ditch of legalism. Because Romans 7 is the final word that keeps us out of both ditches if we will hear what that word has to say. It is such a profound and precious truth. And it is my prayer that the next series that we tackle will be on Romans 5-8, but particularly focused on Romans 7. The truth in Romans 7 is absolutely essential to rightly understand. And because it is so essential to rightly understand, the devil has worked harder to keep this obscure than other passage. And one of the things that has kept that passage obscure is the translation. Let me give you just one example. In this passage in the King James, you see the predominance and prevalence of the verb “to do” don’t you? It comes over and over again. It seems a little redundant there in the middle. Do you realize that in the Greek, that verb that is rendered consistently in the King James “I do” is actually three distinct Greek verbs: katergazomai {G2716}, prassō {G4238}, and poieō {G4160} (???) These are all translated “I do” in the English. Do you begin to see how some of the nuances in subtle truths that Paul is trying to communicate are completely obscured from our vision. Do you see that? Because those verbs have been completely ignored. And you cannot see the relationships between those verbs. And he uses them in relationship to each other. Now we cannot possibly do an in-depth study in this. It will take many deep studies to really get down to the heart and core of what Romans 7 has to say. But please. Let me consider with you just quickly in passing some of the high points and help you see that we must come to the conclusions that we have been seeking to come to by other means than Romans 7 in the last three studies. Before we can do that, spiritual things are only spiritually discerned. And I dare not open God’s Word and even try to share it without pleading first for God’s spirit to take over and own us and possess us in a very special way. Would you join me pleading with the Lord with that on your knees. (Prayer)

Romans 7:1, “Or do you not know, brethren, for I speak to those who know the law that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives. For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So, then, if while her husband lives she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law so that she is no adulteress though she has married another man. Therefore my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ that you may be married to another, even to Him, who was raised from the dead that we should bear fruit to God.” What fruit we bear in our lives is determined directly by what our will conceives. How is temptation yielded to? When lust hath conceived, it gives birth to sin. There is an old man in each one of us that we are born with, and the will is its wife. Now the two of them are lawfully married by natural birth. The will is totally by natural birth committed to the desires of the flesh. And she can do nothing but consent to the desires of the old man, conceive them. Therefore we bear fruit unto death by nature. The law of the husband is the law in Genesis 3:16, “To the woman I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception. In pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. By nature the will is married to this old man. So the law says that she submits, and they are married until death do them part. By law she is bound to consent to conceive the desires of the old man until death. Now please hear me. If she tries to consent to have a relationship with anyone else while the old man is still living, what’s that condemned as? Adultery. That is spiritual hypocrisy. That is the Christian trying to commit his will to Jesus Christ while the old man is still alive. And all that he can do in that condition is hypocrisy. And it’s condemned. It’s repulsive to God. He may be, or she may be, able with sufficient ego-motivation to be as Saul was by the deeds of the law blameless. He or she might be able to keep that will so apparently committed that as far as outward behavior is concerned, we are law-abiding, good, upright, moral people. Wasn’t that precisely what the Jews were? And in contrast to the nations about them, they were righteous, judged by behavior. They could look down their self-righteous noses and look at all of that terrible behavior, brush their robes, and thank God that they weren’t like all the rest of them when inside it was consenting to the lusts of the flesh. The carnal mind is enmity against God. It does not subject itself to the law of God. It is not even able to do so. With a carnal mind, though we may be able to subject our behavior to the law of God, can we subject our own thoughts and feelings to the law of God, our character? Absolutely not. It is an impossibility. But watch out! You can go a long ways in subjecting your behavior, and you can deceive others and you can even deceive yourself. But you may not be what you think you are. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” You are not a Christian on the basis of your behavior. You’re a Christian on the basis of having the mind of Christ. You’re a Christian because you think and feel like Jesus does. Therefore, your behavior is a genuine expression. It’s not hypocrisy. But as long as you are in your natural state, and it is the natural state to be carnally minded. Ellen White says the carnal mind is the natural mind. Why? Because the woman is naturally married to the flesh. That’s our natural condition. And because of that our mind can only be carnal by nature. And she will by nature be married to the flesh until death do them part. What is the only way she can cease to concede the lust of the flesh, even if only the private recesses of the thought life? By the death of the husband. Precisely. Then and only then is she free to be married to another. Romans 7:4, “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law,” what law is this–the law of the husband, the law that says you’ve got to be submitted to your husband. The will has got to be submitted to the one it’s married to, to the one it’s committed to. In this case, an unholy deadlock. By natural birth this poor wife (or will) is absolutely locked in. “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ that you may be married to another,” who is that, “even to him who is raised from the dead that we should bear fruit to God.” And what fruit is that? The fruit of the Spirit. Precisely. Look at verse 5, “For when we were in the flesh [when we were married to the old man, when our will was subject to the tyranny of his perverted appetites and passions] the passions of sin which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. You see this old man hates the law. He is in that sense completely in harmony with Satan. At the fall, our lower, corrupt nature was not at enmity with Satan. It was at enmity with God, and this hatred drives the old man to demand that the will yield to its desires and bear fruit to death. And when the old man is told not to do it, his hatred for God and the law only drive him to do it all the more. He is rebellious by nature. For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. Do you see the truth there? Verse 6, “But now we have been delivered from the law.” Which law is this? The law of the husband, the law that says you have got to be submitted, wife, to whoever you are married to. But now we have been delivered from the law having died to what we were held by. What were we held by? The old man. That’s what held us. Having died to what we were held by so that we should serve in newness of spirit and not in oldness of letter. In other words, no longer in hypocrisy but in genuine heart-felt obedience. Verse 7, “What shall we say then. Is the law sin? Certainly not. On the contrary. I would not have known sin except through the law for I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said you shall not covet. What sin is he discovering by means of this law? Inbred sin. The sin of nature. That old man which is his as a natural inheritance from his fallen parents. This what he discovers by the law. Which law is it? You shall not covet. It’s unique among the ten. Why? we pointed this out in our study. It’s the only one that deals exclusively in the realm of the mind. And you see it is only an understanding of this law that can protect us from hypocrisy. Saul had come to the place where he was so ego-motivated that by the deeds of the law he was blameless. But suddenly by means of this tenth commandment, he discovered that the law was spiritual, that it had to do with more than just his behavior. It reeks down to the inner recesses of his private thought life, and it required perfect obedience there. And he discovered by means of this law that rather than being blameless he was what? He was a sinner. Look what happened. Verse 8, “But sin taking opportunity by the commandment produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law.” He perceived himself as being God’s elect and thereby entitled to life. “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came sin revived and I died.” Paul is converted. Romans 7:9–please note this with me. Ellen White brings this out very clearly. Paul himself died. He was converted at this point. He became a converted man. R & H, March 8 (1870) is one. “And the commandment which was to bring life I found to bring death. For sin taking occasion by the commandment deceived me and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy and the commandment is holy and just and good. Please note this word good “agathos.” {G18} (??) It occurs in the future in our study here. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! “But sin that it might appear sin” now what does your King James say at this point? “Working death in me.” Good. In the New King James, it says, “was producing death in me.” It is in the present tense, the present reflexive. “Sin is of itself producing death in me.” Present reflexive is the Greek verb there. “Sin is of itself producing death in me through what is good so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.”

Now what conclusion does he come to? Even after conversion–what does he discover–sin is producing death in him. What does he conclude then. This producing is “katergazomai.” {G2716} This is one of the verbs that is translated “to do” in the following passage. Work out, bring about, produce. Sin is producing death in me through what is good. Why is the reason for this? Verse 14, “For we know that the law is spiritual but I am carnal sold under sin.” But in the Greek that’s sold under “the sin.” That’s in reference to Adam’s sin. And again Ellen White makes this absolutely crystal clear. She has a statement that confirms that completely. Try Manuscript 122 (1901). You can’t look that up anyway. I wish I had this material here. But you’ll have to put a little bit of confidence in my assurance that this is precisely how Ellen White translate this. “Sold under the sin” is in reference to Adam’s sin.

{As a result of Adam’s disobedience, every human being is a transgressor of the law, and is sold under sin. Unless man repents and is converted, he is under bondage of the law, serving Satan, falling into the deceptions of the enemy, bearing witness against the precepts of Jehovah. Only by perfect obedience to the requirements of God’s holy law can man be justified. Let those whose natures have been perverted by sin, ever keep their eyes fixed on Christ, the author and the finisher of their faith. 8MR 98.1}

When did the human race become carnal? In Eden. When Adam sinned, we become carnal, sold under sin by Adam. Here is a most fascinating study that proceeds. The microcosm or the outline of this study is found in Galatians 5. Paul is saying the same truth in Galatians 5 as he’s saying in what proceeds now in Romans 7. But he is saying it much more in-depth in Romans 7. He is developing this truth that he states succinctly and simply in Galatians 5:16-17. “I say then walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The law is spiritual but we are carnal.” You see parallels here. ” Walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Note what he says following: “For the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary to one another.” What is the consequence of this contrariness, this opposition of the lusts of the flesh and the lusts of the spirit? It is not only war, but there is a hindrance, there is a limitation that is the consequence. What is the limitation? So that you do not do the things that you would. Who is it that does the willing in us? It’s our will. In the born-again Christian, what happens? What has happened to the old man? When we go to the foot of the cross and we look up there and see Christ and him crucified for us, we have the privilege of counting ourselves, reckoning ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin. Let me jump back with you to Romans 6. Baptism is what allows us (actually our faith in Christ’s death for us is what allows us) to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto this old man. Baptism symbolizes what our faith has accepted. This is why we baptize by immersion. The old man is buried, dead and buried, by a faith acceptance of Christ’s death and burial as our own. The baptismal font is a tomb for the old man. But it is a womb for the new. We come out to be born again, born of the water and born of the spirit, to walk in newness of life. We have a new nature. This is the spiritual nature. This becomes the new husband of the will. She is now in a position to be married to another. Why? Because death has done her part from the old man. Now her will is united to the spiritual nature which is, of course, the counterpart in our being of Jesus Christ. It is through our conscience, that’s the spiritual nature, that Christ communicates with us. And as the will is submitted to the conscience now, the highest faculty in man, she is able to bear fruit until life, unto righteousness. What about the old man. Does he disappear from the scene? Is he eradicated at the moment of conversion? No. We are to reckon him dead. Why does it say reckon him dead? Because it is by faith. And faith is evidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things hoped, the evidence of things not seen. Do we see the death of that old man as we look within. I don’t know about you, but I don’t. I see a very _____ old man that’s constantly trying to get me to yield to his desires. Is that your experience. The flesh lusts against the spirit. And in the Greek that’s the present, active indicative. The flesh in continually lusting against the spirit. And whose experience is this? The born again Christian’s experience. So the old man is not eradicated, but he is rendered powerless to get his way in our lives; because we have the privilege of reckoning him dead and thereby refusing to be bound by the law that says that we must submit to our husband. Note how Paul says this in Romans 6:5, “For if we have been united together in the likeness of his death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of his resurrection.” That’s in reference to baptism, the symbolism there. And what’s our privilege of knowing? Romans 6:6, knowing this that our old man was what? Crucified with him that the body of sin might be (now watch out here–the King James says “destroyed,” the New King James says “done away with”) that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Now neither of those renderings is accurate to the Greek verb. In the margin of the New King James it has “that the body of sin might be rendered in operative.” The New International Version puts it this way, “rendered powerless.” That is the Greek verb. It is not eradicated at the point of conversion. But its power is taken away. Its reigning power is removed, not its remaining presence. When does God remove the remaining presence of sin? At glorification. But from the cross to the crown, there is earnest work to be done. There is wrestling with inbred sin. God does not deal with the remaining presence at conversion. He deals with the reigning power at conversion, and he takes away that power by giving us the privilege of reckoning ourselves dead so that we are no longer slaves of sin. Verse 7, “For he who has died has been freed from sin.” Free from the tyrannies of bondage–the utter, hopeless, helpless subjection of that poor wife to the dictates of that old man. And the world is the governing power in the nature of man. So if the will is set free from the tyranny of that set nature, we are set free. Verse 8, “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over him.” Verse 10, “For the death that he died, he died to sin once for all. But the life he lives, he lives to God.” Likewise, you also reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.

Ellen White says, “Though we are carnal, we are to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.” Do you see why we must reckon it. Because it is not at this point an empirical reality. It won’t become such until when? Glorification. It is now only a spiritual reality. But by the way, a spiritual reality transcends an empirical experiential reality. And when our experience contradicts spiritual truths, which truth are we to believe and operate on the basis of? Spiritual truth. That’s the fight of faith. We are, in spite of ourselves being carnal, to reckon ourselves dead to sin. On the basis of what we see? No. On the basis of what we hear. Faith cometh by hearing. And Jesus said, “you’re dead.” Jesus, I believe it in spite of what all of my senses tell me, I believe it. ____ dead in you and I am going to act accordingly. That’s faith. On the basis of that faith reckoning, what can we do? Verse 12, “Therefore,” in conclusion ______from what we have just established, “Therefore, let not sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey in its lusts. Do you see that? He doesn’t say don’t let it remain in your mortal body. He knows it remains until this mortal puts on immortality. But it doesn’t have to reign. Praise God. We don’t have to obey it in its lusts. But here’s the point. Though it doesn’t reign, even its remaining presence is a constant opposition factor that will hinder us in our quest to be like Christ. Now, turn back with me to Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Now what’s that in reference to? That’s in reference to both the desires of the flesh because of the opposition of the spirit and that is also in reference to the desires of the spiritual man because of the opposition of the flesh. The flesh hinders, the flesh limits because of its constant opposition the kind of obedience that we long to give God. And what does God require of us? That we love the Lord with all our heart. But there is a problem. There is a dimension of our being that does not love God, that is enmity against God, that lower corrupt nature that until the day we die or are glorified, whichever comes first, remains in rebellion against God. And so our desire to love God with all our strength, with all our soul, and with all our mind is hindered, thwarted, because of this opposition factor. Am I talking here about willful disobedience. No. Please don’t mistake me. I am not talking about willful disobedience. The Christian must not be willfully disobeying. I am talking about an obedience that is rendered faulty imperfect because we are not obeying with our whole being. There is still this dimension that resists. This spiritual man wants to obey God. His prayer is the prayer Jesus gave him, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” He wants to obey like the sinless beings there do. But what does he find? He finds this constant opposition, this dimension of his nature that hinders him. And so the desires of his heart place in there by God’s spirit are not fulfilled. Sanctified Life 81, “But he who is truly seeking for holiness of heart and life delights in the law of God and mourns only that he fall so far short of meeting its requirements.” What is the cause of this shortfall? It’s the opposition of the flesh. It hinders him. It trembles him. Remember the word Ellen White uses. Only in heaven will we be untrembled by sin–this lower corrupt nature. So its remaining presence, not its reigning power, hinders and limits and causes to be imperfect our obedience. Turn back to Romans 7. Note how Paul develops these two truths. These two truths are so clearly developed. First of all, he deals with the fact that the desires of the flesh are not fulfilled because of the opposition of the spirit. Then he deals with the fact that the desires of the spirit are not fulfilled because of the opposition of the flesh. Verse 15, “For what I am doing,” Now this “am doing,” what do you suppose that is in the Greek verb? That is Katergazomai. When did he last use the word “Katergazomai?” In reference to lusts of every kind. What are we talking about? Are we talking about the realm of behavior here? We’re talking about the realm of the mind. Precisely. Please don’t forget that Paul is zeroing in here almost exclusively on the realm, the intimate private recesses of his thought life. He has told us that he is telling us about the law that says thou shalt not cover. He is saying to us he discovered by that law coveting of every kind. And the last time that verb was used, not only in reference to coveting of every kind, but it was used in verse 13–sin was producing. Katergazomai again. Producing death. And remember, that was the present reflective. Sin is of itself producing death in me, continually. For what I am doing–this is a challenge, brothers and sister, I will do my best. You do your best to follow me. What I am doing–what is he talking about? He’s talking about using that verb–he’s telling us that he is talking about coveting and producing death. So what “I” is he talking about here? The carnal “I” or the spiritual “I?” The carnal “I.” What I as a carnal man sold under sin, “For what I am doing, I do not allow.” Do you see what he is telling us. That verb in the Greek is ginōskō {G1097}. Do you know what ginōskō is?–“to know.” What I am doing as a carnal man–these lusts I as a spiritual man–do not conceive. To know is to conceive. He is stating categorically that he refuses to consent with the will to the lusts of the flesh. Why? Because his will is no longer married to the old man. By death, it has been separated; and now his will is married to whom? Jesus Christ. So this wife is a faithful wife, and she refuses to indulge what that lower corrupt nature, which he has to acknowledge is himself, he has to call it “I” because it is, what that lower corrupt nature is trying to do, his spirit-energized will is consistently refusing to indulge. What condition is that. He can state without qualification that which I, the lower corrupt nature, am producing–covetousness in the realm of my mind I, the spiritual man, refuse to acknowledge. That’s not only conversion, not only sanctification, but Christian character perfection. What is character perfection. Character perfection is coming to the place where even in the private recesses of our thought life we would rather die than knowingly transgress God’s law. Do you realize what Paul is saying here? He is saying that by God’s grace his will is so totally and habitually and continually submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ that he consistently, constantly refuses to know the lust of that old man–to conceive them. Now keep this in mind. We are talking here not about just a born-again Christian. We are talking here about one who is attained to Christian character perfection. Now that may be such a radical thought for you that you might not be able to swallow it. But follow me. For what I am doing, I, the carnal man, am doing (gardegedzomi in reference to coveting) I, the spiritual man, do not allow, do not know–conceive; for what I, the carnal man, will to do, that I, the spiritual man, do not practice. Now that’s another verb, “prassō .” For what I will to do, that I do not practice. But what I hate, which man is that? No, that’s the carnal–you see the parallel? He goes back and forth–each phrase–first what I am doing, I do not know. That’s the first parallel. Carnal spiritual. He goes right back and forth. Then second phrase–for what I will to do that I do not practice. The second parallel–but what I hate as a carnal man, that I do. Ministry of Healing 542, “The life of the Apostle Paul was a constant conflict with self.” He said, ‘I die daily.’ His will and his desires everyday conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did God’s will, however, crucifying to his nature.” What did he do? He did what he hated as a carnal man. Do you see it? He did precisely what his carnal man hated. Everyday his will and his desires, the will and desires of this carnal man, conflicted with duty and the will of God. But did he get it in to it? No. He did precisely what the old man hated to do. He crucified self. Do you see that? I don’t ask you to believe it or accept it, but I just to know that you are at least understanding this interpretation. Praise God, my brother, my sister, we can come to that experience. Do you believe it? We can come to the place where our will is consistently submitted to the new husband, and we are consistently refusing to cheat on Christ and have an affair with that old man, even in the private recesses of our thought life. We can. We can consistently come to the place where what we do is what he hates. Do you believe it? Oh, praise God for the new husband. Praise God for a spirit-energized will that will allow us to come to such an experience.

Verse 16, “If then”–now, here is its conclusion, “If then I”–this is the spiritual man–“If then I do”–you see we know that because the verbs are parallel. In the last–I wish you could see the Greek here. “What I hate that I do”–do there is poieō. He uses that same verb to tell us which “I” he’s talking about. We know he’s talking about the spiritual “I” the end of verse 15 “That I do.” Then verse 16, “If then I do (poieō–same verb, that therefore is the spiritual “I” that he’s talking about. “If then I do what I, carnal “I,” will not to do–what is this conclusion? I agree with the law that it is good. Do you see it? In the Greek that’s symphēmi* {G4852}. He is in harmony with the law, my brother, my sister. Why? Because he is refusing to do what he hates which is the desires of the old man which are in rebellion against the law. But he is doing, rather, what his spiritual man desires which are in harmony with the law. Therefore, he can conclude that I am symphēmi with the law. I am in harmony with the law. This is a born again Christian. This is one who is not only born again. This is one who has reached Christian character perfection. I am symphēmi. I am in agreement with the law that it is good. Now what can he conclude? What does he have the privilege of concluding. Because his will is totally committed to God, because he is in harmony with the law of God, he can disown responsibility for that rebellious dimension of his being. Verse 17, “Now then it is no longer I (spiritual Paul) who do”–what verb do you suppose that is? Katergazomai. This is the lusting. Bear in mind we are talking about the lusting here. We are talking about the realm of the mind. For it is no longer I who do it. It is no longer the spiritual “I” that is doing the lusting, but “sin that dwells in me.” It is this inbred sin that’s responsible for it. But he can disown responsibility for it, why? Because he does not indulge it. If we indulge it, can we disown it? No we cannot not. But when we refuse to indulge it, we have the privilege of disowning it, saying, “that’s not me. That’s my old man. That’s indwelling sin. It’s dead.” Do you see that? Verse 18, “For I (the spiritual Paul) that in me that is in my flesh dwells no good thing.” How does he know that? “For to will is present with me.” This is the desire of his spiritual nature which is to keep the law of God as it is kept in heaven. “For to will is present with me but how to perform what is good I do not find.” We are moving to the second part of this study. Remember in Galatians we said that because of the opposition of the spiritual nature to the carnal nature, the carnal doesn’t get its way. We have just studied that. But now Paul moves to consider that because of indwelling sin, the spiritual nature doesn’t get its way either in the fullest complete sense of the word. What is that? Nothing good dwells in me for to will is present with me. But how to perform what is good is not. In other words, he wills to do good but he recognizes because of indwelling sin he doesn’t have the faculties to perform the good that he desires. He delights in the law of God, in other words, but he morns only that he falls so far short of meeting its requirements. It is a problem with his will though? No. Where is the problem? It’s the resistance, the limitations due to the indwelling sin. Verse 19, “For the good that I will,” this is the spiritual “I” only the spiritual “I” wills to do good–and by the way this good is the same word, agathos, which is in reference to the law which is holy, just, and good. In others words, he desires to do what the law requires. “For the good that I will to do, I do not do. But the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now, what is this evil? Is this willful transgression of God’s law? This is not willful transgression of God’s law. This is imperfect obedience. But Paul’s conscience is so sensitive that even his obedience he recognizes as in a very real sense–evil. Please, consider with me these definitions. “Sin is the conscience knowing and deliberate transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will. “Sin is the measure of unwillingness to be divinely led and spiritually directed.” “Sin is in the realm of the will.” Now, that is not the word that Paul uses here. He uses the word evil. Here is a definition I want to share with you. “Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfections of obedience to the Father’s will.” Oh, I wish we had time to develop this and support it more thoroughly. But we don’t. Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfections of obedience to the Father’s will.” Evil then is in the realm of unknown sin, it’s in the realm of imperfect obedience, but it is not in the realm of willful transgression. What Paul is acknowledging here is what he sees within himself is so far short of what God’s law requires that he calls it evil. But what is his privilege of doing? Verse 20, “Now if I (spiritual Paul) do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it but sin that dwells in me.” What is responsible for this short fall? Is it Paul? No. It is indwelling sin. Verse 21, “I find in a law that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.” Verse 22, “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. Now, brothers and sisters, what does sound like? Sanctified Life 81, “He who is truly seeking for holiness of heart and life delights in the law of God but mourns only that he fall so far short of meeting its requirements. In other words–can produce only that which is really in contrast to the infinite standard, evil. Why? Because of indwelling sin. There are deficiencies that cause it not to meet the infinite standard. Oh, this is a humbling truth. Do you see how this truth absolutely, finally puts to death legalism? It is a most humbling truth. Now is Paul saying here that he cannot obey? Absolutely and most emphatically not. He does obey. He is in symphēmi with the law. He refuses to indulge the lust of the flesh. What is he here lamenting? Not his willful disobedience but the quality of his obedience. It is faulty, it is defective. Remember Selected Messages vol. 1, 344, the religious services, the pray, the praise, the penitent confession of sin. A sin from true believers, true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled–evil. In that sense, so defiled that unless purified by blood they can never be of value with God. That’s what he’s lamenting when he says it’s evil. It’s not willful transgression. It’s a miserable short fall in his obedience due to indwelling sin. So defiled. That which is so defiled is evil. But do we despair? No. Why? because there is an intercessor who can do what with that evil? Cleanse it with his blood and add his righteousness to it and thereby make it acceptable to God.” Let’s read on, “The religious services, the prayer, the praise, the penitent confession of sin, a sin from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood they can never be of value with God.” They ascend not in spotless purity. And that’s our desire isn’t it that we offer God something that is spotlessly pure. But, brothers and sister, I don’t know about you. But I’ve never done anything that that’s spotless and pure. And the more I look at my Lord and his spotless righteousness, the more I see that all of my righteousness is as filthy rags. In contrast my very best efforts to obey my Lord and Saviour are really so defiled that I have to call them evil. But do I despair? No. Because I am justified on the basis of who righteousness? His righteousness. And I don’t despair either because I know I have an intercessor. And I know his blood is there to cleanse my obedience and I know his righteousness is there to be added to it so it’s acceptable. Listen, “They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the intercessor who is at God’s right hand presents and purifies all by his righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. Why is it not acceptable to God in itself? because in itself it’s defiled. In itself it’s evil. Is this coming through? All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. Why does our obedience have to be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ? Because there is an element in that obedience that is evil. That’s defiled. Do you see it? All our obedience must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censor of his own merits in which there is no taint of earthy corruption. Praise God for such a righteousness. Oh, we would be without hope, But you see, brothers and sisters, I get so distressed when I hear us in our efforts to make Christ a sympathetic elder brother–give him the same corrupt channel we have. If he had that same corrupt channel, what’s the condition of his obedience? So defiled that unless purified by blood, it can never be of value to God. Whose blood purified his obedience, pray tell? Whose righteousness made up for its short fall, pray tell? Do you see how if we make him one who is altogether like us we destroy his substitutionary capacity because he ceases us to be absolutely sinless, and he ceases to have an infinite righteousness, both of which we need if we are going to have any hope in Christ. What does he do? He holds before the Father the censor of his own merits which there is no taint of earthly corruption. She says he born without the taint of sin. It that a sinfulness that’s due to willful sin? Of course not. He was born without it. He was not a corrupt channel by birth. He couldn’t be. If we make him a corrupt channel by birth, we destroy his substitutionary capacity. We can’t. He was born without the taint of sin. He gathers into this censor the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of his people; and with these he puts his own spotless righteousness. Oh, praise God that there is a spotless righteousness. Mine is spotty. I don’t know about yours. And, brothers and sisters, if you don’t recognize that yours is spotty, I have news for you. You haven’t yet got a look at Jesus Christ. I have to come to that conclusion. If you think for one moment that you have an obedience even done by the power of the Holy Spirit that meets the infinite standard, I have got news for you. You are terribly deceived. You are in the most Laodicean condition. You are rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are poor and blind and miserable and naked. And I challenge you, take one look at Jesus Christ. What will be your experience? Sanctified Life 7, “Those who are really seeking to perfect Christian character will never indulge the thought that they are sinless. Never! Their lives may be irreproachable. Are we talking about willful sin here at the level of behavior that keeps us from claiming that we are sinless? No. Their lives may be irreproachable. They may be living representative of the truth which they have accepted, but the more they discipline their minds to dwell upon the character of Christ and the nearer they approach to his divine image, the more clearly will they discern its spotless perfection and the more deeply will they feel their own defects. And if that isn’t your experience, I beg of you, for the sake of your own soul and for the sake of Jesus that he might not have died for you in vain, look to Jesus quick. Take just one glimpse of his glory, and you will never more say by the deeds of the law blameless. You will say, rather, “Chief of sinners.” He gathers into this censor the prayers, the praise, the confessions of his people. And with these he puts his own spotless righteous. When it’s been purified by blood and had righteousness added to it, our prayers, our religious services, our obedience inspired by the Holy Spirit, then perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation the incense comes up before God holy and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned. Oh, that all may see that everything in obedience must be placed upon the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ. Why? Because there is an evil element in it in our obedience. And that fire has to purge it. That’s the evil that Paul is talking about. Verse 23, “But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Now please note with me that there is a vast difference between being brought captive and being a slave. Is Paul a slave to this old man. Absolutely, most emphatically, he is not. He used to be, but now he is just a captive. There is a difference. He was an abject slave before, now he is simply a prisoner. There is a difference. Note what he longs for. He moves on in Romans 8:20, “For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly but because of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. And not only they but we also who have the first fruits of the spirit. Even we ourselves groan within eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. But in the meantime, we are in bondage to corruption. We are prisoners, not slaves. How does he groan within himself? Verse 24, “Oh wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from the body of this death. That’s why he goes on to long for the redemption of his body. His will has been redeemed. He has come to the place where that will is so totally redeemed that he is not even in a thought yielding to the desires of the flesh. But he is not fully redeemed. His redemption still draweth nigh. What dimension of the redemption does he await and eagerly hope for? The redemption of his body. And in the meantime, he is a prisoner though. Do you see it? I don’t ask you to believe it, but I just want to know whether we are communicating. Verse 25, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, what’s his conclusion? “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God but the flesh the law of sin.” Whose experience is that alone? The flesh sets its desire against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. This side of glorification–will our bodies ever serve the law of God–that lower corrupt nature? No. We have within us a dimension that continually serves the law of sin. But what does God hold us responsible for? The mind. That’s where our character is. And we can have Christian character perfection. Why? Because we can come to the place where our will is so committed to the lordship of Jesus Christ that it refuses consistently to yield to the lust of the flesh. It consistently puts to death the deeds of the body and consistently yields to the desires of the spirit. It consistently chooses to conceive them and bear the fruit of the spirit unto the glory of God. But what is the condition of that fruit? It is so defiled passing through the corrupt channels that unless purified by blood it can never be of value with God. We have in the physical realm a very tangible illustration of this. When a woman is in labor. What happens to that precious little baby. It’s all distorted. Because of what? The opposition of the flesh. It’s head is all malformed. And it comes out with a bad odor I want you to know, a very foul odor. I’ve been through it three times. But, brothers and sister, is that an avoidable deficiency? It is not. It is an unavoidable deficiency. Let the object lessons that God has given us teach us something. In labor shall you bring forth children–the fruit of the spirit unto the glory of God. It takes labor, why? Because of the opposition of the flesh–that lower corrupt nature. And that opposition distorts, hinders, and defiles what we are seeking to bring forth. Therefore, that little baby can only be acceptable as it’s washed and rubbed with salt. That’s the Old Testament. That’s teaching a profound truth. Do you see what it’s teaching? This is so important. Do you see now what the conclusion is though in verse 8. Let me at least go this far with Paul. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.” With his mind he serves the law of God, and with the flesh he serves the law of sin. And that is condemnable. There is a dimension in him that causes his obedience to be evil. But what can he conclude because his mind serves God, because he’s doing the very best he can given his sin-damaged resources–what can he conclude? “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Do you see it? Why is there no condemnation? Because it is not that which is condemnable is not in the realm of that which he can do something about. And God doesn’t hold us under condemnation for something that we can’t do anything about. He doesn’t condemn a dear mother for producing a distorted baby that smells bad. No. He accepts that and he loves her for all of her labor to bring it into the world. And he has provision to make that baby totally acceptable to him. And that’s the blood and righteousness of the intercessor. Do you see it? But please note why there is no condemnation. Because it is unavoidable deficiencies. That’s why. It’s unavoidable. Verse 2, “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” We are no longer in slavery. We are free from that law of the husband. By the way, this is one in the same law. And whether it’s the law of the spirit and life or the law of sin and death. Whether the law of God to us is the law of spirit of life or the law of sin and death depends entirely upon whom we are married. If our will is married to the old man, what is God’s law? The law of sin and death. If our will is married to Jesus Christ, what is the law of God? The law of spirit and life. It makes all the difference, then, who’s got our will, doesn’t it. Now please note verse 3, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh.” Why does he have to say likeness? Because he’s just told us what sinful flesh causes, and he’s got to say likeness; because if he came in sinful flesh, he’s got the same problem we do. He’s in the likeness of sinful flesh, brothers and sisters. If he wanted us to think that he was in sinful flesh, he would have said sinful flesh. But he put an essential word in there, “likeness.” It’s like us enough to be our sympathetic elder brother and valid example. But praise God it’s different enough to be our sinless substitute. And where we get in trouble if we try to make it so like us that we destroy his substitutionary capacity. He was like us, I assure you. He was like us enough to be a valid example for us. He was like us enough to know what it’s like to be tempted in all things as like as we are, and we will study this together. But let’s don’t make him so like us that he becomes that same corrupt channel we are so that his religious services, his prayer, his praise is so defiled that it has to be purified by blood. If we make him that like us, we are without hope. Do you see it? “In the likeness of sinful flesh, God did, sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin.” You know what that Greek phrase is? That is the expression used for the sin offering. And what is the sin offering? That is the continual offering that was a provision for the unavoidable deficiency of the children of Israel. The sin offering. With this he condemned sin in the flesh. Now he condemned sin in the flesh both as our example and as our substitute. He condemned sin in the flesh because he was in the likeness of sinful flesh. And he showed us that by his grace we can overcome sin in the flesh. And if we don’t, we are under condemnation for it. That’s how he condemned sin in the flesh as our example. But he also condemned sin in the flesh as our substitute in that he became the sin offering for it. And he took the condemnation for it in himself. And now the sin issue for which we are held responsible is precisely defined. What are we held responsible for? Walking by the spirit and not by the flesh. Look how precisely defined our responsibility is. In Romans 8:13, “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” What realm of the sin problem has been because of the atonement delineated for us to deal with in his strength? Only the consent of the will. That is all that we are responsible for. If our will through the energy and the power of the Hold Spirit puts to death the deeds of the body by reckoning that old man dead and consents to the desires of the spirit, we are assured of acceptance and eternal life in Christ Jesus because he makes up for all the rest in the deficiencies. Praise God. If God is for us, who can be against us? Do you see how all that we have been preaching these last three sessions is right out of this passage. It’s right here. Let’s pray.

…………

*Dictionary: symphony

an elaborate musical composition for full orchestra, typically in four movements, at least one of which is traditionally in sonata form.

• chiefly historical an orchestral interlude in a large-scale vocal work.

• something regarded, typically favorably, as a composition of different elements: autumn is a symphony of texture and pattern.

• (esp. in names of orchestras) short for symphony orchestra: the Boston Symphony.

• a concert performed by a symphony orchestra: tickets to the symphony.

ORIGIN Middle English (denoting any of various instruments such as the dulcimer or the virginal): from Old French symphonie, via Latin from Greek sumphōnia, from sumphōnos ‘harmonious,’ from sun- ‘together’ + phōnē ‘sound.’

Quotes from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as used in this lesson for your reference 😉

1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

😉

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