Summary: Paul explains in Romans 7:7-13 that our real enemy is not the law, but is sin and our sinful flesh. We don't have to live with the consequences of our sin if we bring it under the grace of Jesus Christ.
A. One day, a mother explained to her five-year-old daughter that if she chose to disobey her, she would have to live with the consequences.
1. “Oh, Mommy!” the little girl said with a terrified look on her face. “Please don’t make me live with the Consequences. I want to live here with you!”
B. In some respects it is impossible to escape the consequences of our sin.
1. As we have learned in our series from Romans, Paul declares “For the wages of sin is death!” (Rom. 6:23).
2. But the good news of the gospel is that God has provided a way for the consequences of our sins to be done away with.
3. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (6:23)
4. Here’s how Paul explained it to the Corinthians in his second letter to them: “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them…” (2 Cor. 5:19).
C. But for our sin to be dealt with appropriately, it must be acknowledged and brought under the grace of Jesus Christ.
1. And that is part of the problem in our world today – people refuse to acknowledge that sin is sin.
2. Almost 50 years ago, back in 1973, the famous psychiatrist, Dr. Karl Menninger wrote a book titled “Whatever Became of Sin?”
a. In that book, he documents the disappearance of the notion of sin from American society.
b. He basically argues that in place of the historic concept of sin, we now speak of crime and symptoms.
c. I would add disease and mistakes to Menninger’s new ways of talking about sin.
D. So, whatever became of sin?
1. We may have stopped talking about sin and calling it sin, but we haven’t stopped sinning.
2. Ultimately, we have turned away from the concept of sin, because we have turned away from the concept of God and God’s moral law.
3. In order to talk about sin, you have to have two things:
a. First, you have to have an objective standard against which all human behavior can be measured, that is, you have to have an absolute standard of right and wrong.
b. Second, you have to have a person against whom sin is committed.
4. Because our society has taken both God and God’s Word out of societies’ consciousness, then we no longer have the absolute standard of right and wrong, and we no longer have the person against whom the sin is committed.
5. But neither of these actions on the part of our society – ignoring God and ignoring God’s standards, makes either of them disappear.
6. God is still God and God’s standards are still God’s standards.
7. Sin is still sin and the consequences of sin are still death.
E. This long introduction leads us right into our verses from Romans 7 that we want to explore today.
1. In our sermon last week, we examined Paul’s explanation and illustration of the fact that we are no longer under the law of Moses.
2. We are no longer under the law, or married to the law.
3. Paul explained that we died to all that so that we might enter into an exciting new relationship.
4. In today’s section, Paul wants us to understand that the real enemy isn’t the law, but is sin.
F. In today’s section from Romans 7, I want us to see how Paul explains that the real battle we face is with sin and is in the weakness of our flesh, and that it is a battle that will continue even after we come to Christ.
1. Paul began verse 7 with a question that he knew his readers would ask: What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” (Romans 7:7)
2. The Jews reading this letter would inevitably ask the questions: Since we died to sin and we died to the Law, is the Law then to be classified with sin? Since the law arouses our sinful passions, is it therefore inherently sinful?
3. Paul’s answer is, “Of course not.” - The law exposes my sin, and anything that exposes sin is not itself sinful.
G. Paul then chose one of the Ten Commandments (the last one) to illustrate his point – “Do not covet.”
1. To covet is to want something intensely that somebody else has, to long for it.
2. The law says that we are not supposed to covet our neighbor's house, his wife, his servants, his animals, or anything else that is his (Exodus 20:17).