I just took sometime out this morning to do a study on Romans 7. I implore you to do the same. I came to this passage because many of us quote this chapter to explain our struggles with sin as legitimate experience under grace. In fact, some of us think that the thorn in the flesh which Paul talked about in 2Cors 12 vs 7 is this issue of human nature in Roms 7. But I want us to look at the issues in this chapter deeply. Paul started this chapter in continuation of the thoughts expressed in Romans 6. It’s interesting to note that Paul, while advancing the blessing in grace, had elaborately talked about the fact that we are dead to sin (Roms 6:2, 8-11) For him, those who know the power of the cross (Roms 6:6) and consider themselves dead to sin (Roms 6:11) do not get to be slaves to the works of the flesh (Roms 6: 15-22). So in chapter 7, Paul starts by dismissing the theology that still wants to hold on to the law. Now, please read Romans 7:1- 6 carefully. Paul did not discredit the law. In fact, he said that we’d not have known what sin is if not for the law (Roms 7: 7). It is therefore important for us not to take Romans 7: 15-23 in isolation. It’s predicated upon premises built on earlier verses. So Paul began to talk of the struggles he had with sin while the human nature was still reigning in him in contradiction with what the law says. It is what he didn’t want to do that he did (Roms 7:15) What he wanted to do, he couldn’t. This was a wretched living, a defeated spiritual experience. It was clear Paul wanted something better. He yearned for something better. Now, go to the last verses of Chapter 7 and see his deliverance. He says in verses 24 and 25 that: What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? ThANKS BE TO GOD – THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!…..
Isn’t that beautiful?
Paul found salvation in Jesus. Jesus has saved us. Oh, thank you Jesus! You can find deliverance in Jesus too. And until we understand the tremendous power giving to us for life and godliness (2peter 1:3-10), we’d never learn to live a life above sin. We’d not know that those under grace are not under the control of the human nature anymore. Rather, those under grace have received the power to say NO to ungodliness (Titus 2:11-12).
Some people also claim Jesus had the flesh. No. I disagree. Jesus had human blood and flesh because he came as a man to destroy death (Hebs 2:14). But he didn’t have flesh in the sense of human or Adamic nature. So, if u read Roman 8: 3 you see something like, …made in the LIKENESS of sinful flesh…That is, he had our form but he didn’t have our nature. That was why his birth was supernatural. If he had come as a seed of man, and not inborn by the Holy Spirit, then he would have had the human nature too. And remember, sin is not first about WHAT WE DO but WHO WE ARE. So, Jesus would not have been a fitting lamb for our sacrifice. How can we then say he was without sin when he had the sinful nature already? For he had no sin but became sin so that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2cors 5:21). Now some of you might say: Well, that’s why he didn’t sin. No, sir. No, ma’am. Adam didn’t have the human nature too at first. He had God’s life. But when he was tempted he couldn’t say NO. But Jesus was tempted like him but he said NO. So having God’s nature doesn’t mean you won’t sin. Although God’s nature CANNOT sin (1John 3:9). But Jesus, like Adam, had the choice and free will to say YES or NO. Unlike the human nature, God’s nature(represented in grace) empowers you to say NO. It’s left for you to allow it or deny it.
What that means is that why those who have the human nature cannot say NO to sin, those who have experienced the power and deliverance the cross brings can say NO to sin. Now, this is the difference between Christians and every other people. Jesus came to return us to that initial image Adam had. That inner life that is not human nature but God’s nature. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can equally live daily without fulfilling the desires of the flesh.
So, why this long treatise this morning? So many of us are short-changing the power of the cross. We are listening to narratives that do not stir up faith in us. All these things start with what you hear, and invariably, what you believe. So, you see Paul saying in Roms 6:6…KNOW you not… Friends, you must know. You must know what Christ did for you on the cross. You must appreciate the stretch of His love on Calvary. Have you been misbehaving? Have you been struggling with sin? Have you been crying out for deliverance from the human nature, flesh? Don’t sulk for too long. The good news is that that’s why Christ came (Mathew 1:21). Look at the Son of Man on the cross. That’s where your deliverance is.
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