A Higher Law

Text: Romans 7:15-8:1-2

“15) For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

16) If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

17) Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

 20) Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 

21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 

23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 

24) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 

Do you sense the awful struggle that is described in the passage before us in Chapter 7?

Here is the anguished cry of someone who is caught in this unending cycle of knowing what good things he should be doing, but constantly finding himself doing the very things that he hates.

He discovers that there is an evil principle working in him… an unwelcome, abhorrent presence in extreme conflict with who he really is in Christ.

In addition to this, he finds that there is no good thing in him to call upon in his striving to please God. Moreover, he finds himself powerless to perform that which is good.

In the raging conflict between what he knows is godly versus the sinful tendency inherent in his flesh, the man too often encounters the futility of trying to behave as he should, despite his best intentions.

Finally, we see the frantic appeal of desperation where the useless efforts of self-perseverance and the need for a deliverer from the power of sin are realized. “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

I used to view Romans 7:15-25 as a description of the “normal” Christian experience. One day, you’re walking in the Spirit, the next day, you’re succumbing to the desires of the “old man”. Up, then down, regardless of how hard I would “TRY” to live the Christian life. It was an exasperating, frustrating, discouraging experience when I would fail in my walk with the Lord.

However, as I studied this passage in the overall context of Romans chapters 6 through 8, I discovered that this is not a description of what should be “normal” for a mature believer, but is a description of a saved person who has not yet comprehended that he is powerless to deliver himself from the law (the principle) of sin in his members, nor his inability to rise above the law of sin and death by his own determinative will.

Which brings us to Chapter 8, where we discover the wondrous, victorious answer that provides the deliverance so desperately longed for.  Here we may see the wellspring of Grace that grants to the believer supreme victory over the law of sin and death. Here is the declaration that delineates the territory of what should be the “normal” Christian experience. Here we are introduced to a Higher Law… the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus! 

If you have ever watched an eagle fly, then you have observed two conflicting, physical laws in play. There is the law of gravity which tends to cause the eagle to plummet to earth.  However, as long as the eagle keeps its wings spread, the law of aerodynamics overcomes the law of gravity, and the great bird can fly high and free!

In the realm of the spirit, we are able to overcome the Law of Sin and Death when we spread the wings of faith and thereby engage the Law of the Spirit of Life!  We are delivered from the bondage of sin’s power by the revealed truth pertaining to our Position in Christ, our identity as holy ones, and the divine declaration that we are dead to sin but alive unto God! The Law of the Spirit of Life is the empowering principle that causes our Practice too match our glorious Position in Christ Jesus.

The key to being dead to sin but alive unto God (Romans 6:11) is not gained through a subjective analysis of one’s old nature or in attempting to improve it, but rather with an objective occupation with the risen Christ.

It is not “normal” for the saint to be involved in a struggle where he is trying hard or endeavoring to be a “good Christian” through personal resolve or commitment. Although, this is the all-too-common condition of most believers. We waste our time “trying” to become good Christians by endeavoring to follow, or live up to a set of rules, or prescribed steps for holy living, etc.

When I lived in Northern Wisconsin, I noticed that the leaves on red oak trees did not fall off but hung on through the Winter. They did not fall away until Spring came, when the sap began to rise in the tree bringing a season of New Life. The old leaves fell away because the new leaves were growing, now.

Similarly, as believers, it’s not about dealing with the old leaves of our nature, focusing on our sins, and trying to get them under control. Rather, we need to remember who we are in Christ and be preoccupied with that newness of life that works to cause those old sinful tendencies to fall away. The transformation that happens on the inside of us shows up on the outside, so that people then see the mighty power of God working by the Law of the Spirit of Life and overcoming the law of sin and death.

God’s idea of “normal” is that sin shall not have dominion over you (Romans 6:14). God’s idea of “normal” is for His children to be victorious over sin, in the Practical reality of their lives! How? By acknowledging the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit working in concert with our understanding of His Word. We are afforded the sweet rest of knowing that we may fully depend on indwelling Spirit to perform all that we cannot, to the praise and glory of God.

As we choose to yield ourselves to the Spirit and not the Flesh (Galatians 5:17-25) we end up living unto God and not ourselves. 

It’s not about TRYING!  Its all about TRUSTING! 

It’s trusting God to live His life IN and THROUGH us!

It’s about a Higher Law given to us compliments of the Love and Grace of God.

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