“I DO and I DON’T DO”
We have all heard the question, and probably asked it far too often: “Why did you do that? What were you thinking?” A lot of times the response is what: I DON’T KNOW. It sounds like a good answer, but it doesn’t really ANSWER the question at all; It AVOIDS the question. In a minute we’re going to see that the apostle Paul had the same issue.
Last week we looked at Romans 5, which told us that through Adam’s sin, we all die. He was the representative of the human race. I’ll put these two canisters up here as a reminder: Everyone ever born is in the ADAM can, dead in sin, no life. But God is merciful and gracious, and His love to sinners is displayed in Christ’s life and death and He places SOME in CHRIST.
We know that not that NOT EVERYONE is saved, because not everyone has the evidence of BEING SAVED, but we know that God works in such a way as to pick up dead sinners and He gives them life in Christ. (into the Christ canister) We can’t really fathom HOW God does that, but for those who have experienced it, they testify to the miracle of CHRIST’S NEW LIFE in them.
The teaching of Romans 5 is: Through one sin, we all die; through one Savior, many are “better than new”. God makes us clean, not because of our works, but by the work of Jesus.
NEW LIFE in Romans 6
Paul stresses what that means for us in Romans 6:9-14:
Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
(I not only identify with Christ’s death, but also His new life.)
9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. (If you are DEAD, then RESURRECTION is the proof of life.)
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
(The wages of sin is death, Jesus died to sin, and now is alive to live for God.)
11 In the same way, (THIS GOES FOR YOU TOO!) count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore DO NOT let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey ITS evil desires. (It even makes good sense to not allow sin to HAVE THE UPPER HAND in your life.)
13 Do NOT OFFER the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and OFFER the parts of your body to him as instruments of RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Not in Adam any more, not dead in sin, but instead alive in Christ: It’s a life and death difference!)
14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Sin IS NO LONGER YOUR master if you are IN CHRIST, because know you’re under grace.)
Romans 6 tells us that IN CHRIST, we identify, not only with forgiveness of sin at the cross, but newness of life at the empty tomb. We live our lives for Him now because He has given us LIFE!
We ended last week, with verse 22: “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” There couldn’t be ANTHING BETTER for a dead person than to come back from death to life, to be set free from sin, to reap holiness which isn’t even your own but which has been planted in you by Christ, and you reap the benefits that result in eternal life. In a sense we are “BETTER THAN NEW” because without the abundant work of Christ in us, we are worse than dead: we are doomed to eternal judgment.
Two “I’s in Conflict
Then Paul writes this in Romans 7:
14 We know that the law (God’s Law) is spiritual (Pneumatikos); but I am unspiritual (flesh-sarkinos), sold as a slave to sin.
(Wait a minute! I’m confused! Chapter 6:22 just said I was a slave to God. Could this be the same person? It definitely is the same person! He’s saying: I was born in the flesh, was sold in the same way as a slave to sin in my flesh, I continue to exist here in the flesh. Now, If I’ve accepted Christ, I do have His new Spirit within me, but I am not entirely new Spirit.)
15 I DO NOT understand what I DO. (Why did you do that? I don’t know!) For what I want to DO, I DO NOT DO, but what I hate, I DO.
(Within me there is a Split “I”; THERE ARE TWO I’s in CONFLICT: I’m split between my “willing” and my actually “doing”; I’m split between the man of the flesh and the man of the Spirit of God in me.)
16 And if I DO what I DO NOT want to DO, I agree that the law is good.
(All man-made laws aren’t good; but ALL of God’s laws are ONLY GOOD and PERFECT. God’s Law is as Holy as He IS, and now that I have God’s Born-Again Spirit IN CHRIST in me, I can see that about God’s Law!)
17 As it is, (or, NOW THEN) it is no longer I myself who DO it, but it is SIN living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature; For I have the desire to DO what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
(The Willing “I” agrees with the law and God’s desires for me, but the Flesh “I” wars against the law and the Spirit. We spoke about how we downgrade the potency of sin; Here is a good example of how powerful and deadly SIN really is. I’m not done with it NOW!
In my example of the large canister of Adam and the smaller of Christ, the big sign of SIN is still in the picture, isn’t it. I belong to Christ, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I am in the flesh, in this WORLD, in this age. In Christ, SIN doesn’t touch me or move me because Christ IS my Rock. When I am living too close to the world and “in the WORLD”, then sin rocks me, sways me, and many times, has a hold on me. As much as I hate to admit it, the sin outside of me and the sin inside of me still has a tremendous influence on me.
We totally underestimate the power of sin and the world in our lives. The law, which is HOLY and PERFECT can’t bring holiness or righteousness to our hearts, but praying and studying God’s Law and His Word will certainly bring us closer to Him. When we stay away from His Word and from fellowship and prayer, individually AND collectively, we are setting ourselves up for FAITH- FAILURE, in the same way that if you didn’t provide physical food for your body, you would have physical OR mental FAILURE.
The sin within and without is enormously powerful and deceptive. In John 15, it says: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away ; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot * bear fruit of itself unless * it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless * you abide in Me. (Abide means to Stay, Remain close, to be held and kept continually)
5 "I am the vine, you are the branches ; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” (John the Baptist warned of this wrath to come in Matt. #)
This is what Jesus says to his Disciples as he walks on His way to Gethsemane, to Christians, to His followers who are already CLEAN, purified, purged, because of His Words. Jesus warns them: “APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING”. What does is say to you? The deceiver says, “Does God really mean that? You can do loads of things without Him. You can fly pretty close to the fire and not get burned,” and many times “believers” take satan’s SUGGESTION rather than Jesus’ Words of WARNING and of LIFE.
Read vs. 15-18 again and then add 19-21) 19 For what I do, is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I find then a law,(a general principle, it just keeps happening:) that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. (NKJ)
(The so-called principle is that when I want to do GOOD, my evil wicked nature (my SINful nature) is right there with me. Sin is not only a verb, it is also a noun. Sin is not merely DOING WRONG, sin is also INDWELLING WRONG.
22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; (in the inner man or person, part of me is regenerated IN CHRIST, the part that lives in the room of God’s Grace and not in the room of my good intentions.)
23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
Only a regenerated person will be able to perceive this! There’s a warfare going on in the unseen, in the heavenly realms, and PART of that war is right here in my heart. My Spirit side is ready to obey and be faithful because I now see the value and character of God and His Word (the Law of God) and because I’m part of the Vine; but my fleshly side (the sin that is in my flesh) is constantly fighting against it (the law of sin is fighting the inner spirit man). Now listen to Paul’s declaration:
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me (set me free) from this body of death (or sin)? Here’s the answer:
25 Thanks (eucharisteô) be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature, a slave to the law of sin.
(There is not a complete ending or “rescue” from the flesh when the Spirit comes into our hearts. One of the signs of Life from the Spirit is the sign of the warfare that is on-going for a follower of Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ that in my mind/soul/spirit, I can be devoted to Him!
The Answer to OUR BIG problem has been answered in Christ: We are no longer dead IN sin, but dead TO sin.
I. Romans 5 teaches through one sin, we all die, through one SAVIOR,
many are “better than new”.
II. Romans 6 teaches that IN CHRIST, we identify, not only with forgiveness of sin at the cross, but with newness of life at the empty tomb.
III. Romans 7, teaches that although CHRIST PLACES me in a redemptive state:
1. Sin is still a force to be fought. (There is an ongoing warfare until we are glorified and COMPLETELY sanctified)
2. Sin is NOT an excuse to abuse grace. (Heb 10:26, Rom. 6:1) Grace does not give you a license to sin nor does it give you a right to be a complacent Christian.
These are question that you have to ask God as Christians who are never COMPLACENT
1. LORD, what SHOULD I DO for you? “Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. Ps. 37:5
2. LORD, what should I NOT do, because it hurts you and others, and my witness? “Search me O God, and know my heart try me and know my thoughts, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps. 139:23-24
3. LORD, is my LOYALTY (to You) showing? If I take a personal inventory, How and What am I doing to show my loyalty to you, or do I have to still die to self?
Lord, may I die to myself completely, so that I may be totally commited to you and your ways. Squash the sin that often attacks me!