Friday, January 2, 2009
Sin, Satan, The Law, Our Bodies, and The Battle Within
Paul used marriage as an example for people to understand how the law rules over us while we are alive. Yet as we learned yesterday, the old person that lived under the law died with Christ on the cross. So if that person died, they are no longer under the law?
1 Brothers and sisters, all of you understand the law of Moses. So surely you know that the law rules over people only while they are alive. 2 For example, a woman must stay married to her husband as long as he is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law of marriage. 3 But if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, the law says she is guilty of adultery. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law of marriage. Then if she marries another man, she is not guilty of adultery.
Are we really not under the law anymore? Paul explains this in the next paragraph.
4 In the same way, my brothers and sisters, your old selves died, and you became free from the law through the body of Christ. This happened so that you might belong to someone else-the One who was raised from the dead-and so that we might be used in service to God. 5 In the past, we were ruled by our sinful selves. The law made us want to do sinful things that controlled our bodies, so the things we did were bringing us death. 6 In the past, the law held us like prisoners, but our old selves died, and we were made free from the law. So now we serve God in a new way with the Spirit, and not in the old way with written rules.
Our old selves died and we became free from the law. I ask myself, what does this mean? The next section is titled, "Our Fight Against Sin." Let's read on.
7 You might think I am saying that sin and the law are the same thing. That is not true. But the law was the only way I could learn what sin meant. I would never have known what it means to want to take something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, "You must not want to take your neighbor's things." 8 And sin found a way to use that command and cause me to want all kinds of things I should not want. But without the law, sin has no power. 9 I was alive before I knew the law. But when the law's command came to me, then sin began to live, 10 and I died. The command was meant to bring life, but for me it brought death. 11 Sin found a way to fool me by using the command to make me die.
So the law shows us what sin is. If we didn't have speed limit signs, how would we know if we were breaking the law? That is what the law does, we read it and we know what is right and what is wrong. Now we have a choice to follow the law or break it. We know when we sin. If we did not know, we would go on sinning without knowing that we are sinning. Sin, Satan, is very tricky and fools us. Satan used God's law to kill us. Yet God loved us so much that he gave His one and only Son to take our place and die for us and release us from the enemies hands.
Romans 7:12 & 13
12 So the law is holy, and the command is holy and right and good. 13 Does this mean that something that is good brought death to me? No! Sin used something that is good to bring death to me. This happened so that I could see what sin is really like; the command was used to show that sin is very evil.
Sin, Satan! Get the connection?
14 We know that the law is spiritual, but I am not spiritual since sin rules me as if I were its slave. 15 I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate. 16 And if I do not want to do the hated things I do, that means I agree that the law is good. 17 But I am not really the one who is doing these hated things; it is sin living in me that does them. 18 Yes, I know that nothing good lives in me-I mean nothing good lives in the part of me that is earthly and sinful. I want to do the things that are good, but I do not do them. 19 I do not do the good things I want to do, but I do the bad things I do not want to do. 20 So if I do things I do not want to do, then I am not the one doing them. It is sin living in me that does those things.
Ever felt like Paul? "I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate." I have. Yet read Romans 7:17 over. Paul tells us twice that it is the sin living in us that does the hated things we do not want to do. So how do I get rid of that sin in me?
21 So I have learned this rule: When I want to do good, evil is there with me. 22 In my mind, I am happy with God's law. 23 But I see another law working in my body, which makes war against the law that my mind accepts. That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and it makes me its prisoner. 24 What a miserable man I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death? 25 I thank God for saving me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So in my mind I am a slave to God's law, but in my sinful self I am a slave to the law of sin.
Paul teaches us the rule he learned. In our minds, spirit, we want to serve God and follow His laws. Yet we still have this body which is a prisoner of sin. I've said the very same words Paul did in Romans 7:24, how about you? "What a miserable man I am!" Yet I thank God for His grace and saving me from the death I should have received. I thank Him for His grace and mercy I'm so undeserving of.
When we leave this world we will be separated from our sinful bodies. We will get a heavenly body that is not a prisoner of sin. Can I hear a BIG Amen and Hallelujah?
In the mean time, I'm afraid we will have to war against our sinful flesh every day until we are called home and receive our new bodies.
I pray this helps some see why they sin and how they can serve God in spite of our sinful bodies.
In God's Love,