Sermons

Summary: Paul describes 1) The confusion (Romans 7:14–16), 2) The corruption (Romans 7:17–20) and 3) The conclusion (Romans 7:21–25). in seeing Christ as the ultimate deliverer of our inner conflict.

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The totality of flooding this week in Texas from tropical storm Harvey has been devastating. 75 000 people called 911 seeking help. Calling out for help, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency deployed 900 personnel in search-and-rescue teams. A million liters of water, a million meals, 20, 520 tarps and 70 generators. In total, FEMA has 1800 personnel deployed in an effort to deliver people from the horrific flooding. Although the flooding in Texas is devastating, the storm is continuing to Louisiana. (http://nationalpost.com/news/world/please-dont-give-up-on-us-houston-police-chief-says-to-stranded-residents)

Of course we know that natural disasters occur all throughout the globe, displacing people. War, famine, disease and an endless list of events drive people to call out for deliverance. But of all the catastrophes, one has the most devastating consequences: sin. Even for the redeemed, we seem to be plagued with sin. We want to honor God, but we do the things we try to avoid and fail to do the things we know we should do. In one of the most personal accounts of inner conflict, in Romans 7, the apostle Paul describes a profound conflict with himself, where one part of him is pulling one direction while another part is pulling the opposite. The conflict is real and it is intense, and it is one that any redeemed person can relate to.

The more we honestly measure themselves against God’s standards of righteousness the more we realize how much we fall short. The closer we get to God, the more we see our own sin. Thus it is the immature, fleshly, and legalistic persons who tend to live under the illusion that they are spiritual and that they measure up well by God’s standards. The level of spiritual insight, brokenness, contrition, and humility that characterize the person depicted in Romans 7 are marks of a spiritual and mature believer, who before God has no trust in their own goodness and achievements. When God called us to be Christian people he called us to lifetime struggles against sin. ( Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, p. 766). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.)

In describing the work of the law in conflict with his personal desires, in Romans 7:14-25 Paul describes 1) The confusion (Romans 7:14–16), 2) The corruption (Romans 7:17–20) and 3) The conclusion (Romans 7:21–25). (Willmington, H. L. (1999). The Outline Bible (Ro 7:8–22). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.) in seeing Christ as the ultimate deliverer of our inner conflict.

In Understanding how the law is in conflict with our personal desires we see:

1) The confusion (Romans 7:14–16)

Romans 7:14–16 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. (ESV)

In understanding how the law is in conflict with personal desires, Paul’s frustration is twofold. First, He doesn’t do the things he wants to do (7:14–15a, 16a), and then He does the things he doesn’t want to do (7:15b, 16b). He begins the explanation with the conjunction for which carries the idea of because and indicates that Paul is not introducing a new subject but is giving a defense of what he has just said. He begins by again affirming that the Law is not the problem, because it is spiritual. Salvation by grace through faith does not replace or devalue the Law, because the law was never a means of salvation. Hebrews 11 and many other passages of Scripture make clear that the only means of salvation has always been the provision and power of God’s grace working through the channel of man’s faith. But since it has its origin in God, (the law) must of necessity give expression to the holiness of God’s character (Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 168). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.). It is right to look to the law for moral guidance, but wrong to look to it for saving power (Stott, J. R. W. (2001). The message of Romans: God’s good news for the world (p. 205). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.).


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