What a joy to be on the edge of my seat, as I hear God’s word expounded every Lord’s Day. Hopefully you are as enthralled, so as to go deeper with me as I note the main things of Romans 7. Wading through Paul’s struggle brings us to see the victory of the gospel in the life of the believer (chapter 8).
We believe that Paul is not speaking of the unregenerate man, but of himself and the experience of the gospel in his own life; “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:” Only the regenerate man can delight in the law of God. Some say that chapters six and seven are parenthetical, but it seems to us that it is simply a flowing of Paul’s teaching from the beginning of his letter. If we look back we see in chapter one the purpose of his letter; to bring nations of believers to obedience of faith.
Also, in chapter one we find two most important concepts. The power of the gospel is set up so as to override everything else that he will say, including the second thing, which is the extreme depravity of man. The purpose and power of the gospel, is to bring man out of his depravity and the condemnation that is ours through the written law of the old covenant. We will see in chapter eight the power of the gospel through the Holy Spirit working within man for his deliverance.
The law and the gospel are God’s tools, His means, to bring man to a knowledge of himself; to see first his depravity, and his need for Christ. But the gospel, in itself is a new commandment that the Holy Spirit brings to us; the gospel is different. It does not kill, but brings to life that which is dead.
Two Concepts in Accord
From the beginning Paul shows the two concepts; the gospel and our depravity, at two ends of the spectrum; and yet, as he presents them together we see how the gospel rules and overrules, and also, makes a cord of the two. In chapter seven he first expresses the freedom that the gospel brings; and then he presents the picture of the struggle that is still within him; the struggle between the former law of sin that brings death and the new law that is bringing him through and out to freedom. Sanctification is the part of salvation through which we continue until our life ceases on this earth. Paul expresses this war between the flesh and the Spirit in his letter to the Galations. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (5:17)
The gospel is powerful to deliver us from the power of sin, but it is not a one-shot inoculation that makes us perfect instantly; except as God, our Father sees us in Christ, the only perfect one. And this is what Paul is bringing us to see from chapter seven into chapter eight. (Later this week.)
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me
from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me
free from the law of sin and death.”
Roman 7:24, 25; 8:2
Dear Father, thank you for a powerful gospel, your word of power upholding all things in Christ, so that you no longer see our sins, but us in Christ, covered by His blood and righteousness. Bring your gospel to bear today upon us mightily, leading us in obedience of faith. Enable us, in Christ, to overcome the desires of the flesh. Let the authority of your word be commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.