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The Struggle Is Real.

Romans 7:1-6

Intro: Our favorite and least favorite Thanksgiving dishes.

We’re hearing God’s word from Romans for the purpose of reinforcing the fundamentals of our faith.

I’ve organized the series into four sections.

The first four chapters covered the core of our full redemption in Christ which centers on our right standing with God grounded in Christ’s finished work. Through Christ’s person and work, we have His perfect permanent right standing along with the full forgiveness of sin.

Consequently, in Christ, we now exist in a permanent state of God’s grace such that we are now and will forever be the object of God’s affectionate love and joyous delight.

Chapters five through eight fleshes out some important aspects of our relationship with God now that we’re firmly grounded in Christ’s security.

Chapters 9 through 11 emphasize the security of our salvation from the viewpoint of God’s faithfulness to His ancient people the Hebrews.

Chapters 12-16 highlight the way our full redemption in Christ binds us together as Christ’s new family and witnesses of His new society.

Chapter 7 continues Paul’s argument regarding why those in Christ refuse to follow the desires of sin to meet our needs, satisfy our desires, heal our pain and find meaning in this life.

To summarize the first part of Romans 6

We refuse a lifestyle of sin because of what we are.

We refuse a lifestyle of sin because of who we are.

We refuse a lifestyle of sin because of whose we are.

Whereas chapter 6 answers why we don’t sin, chapter 7 focuses on why it’s such a struggle to refuse to sin. Our ongoing struggle has to do with our appetites.

We can compare our physical appetites to our spiritual appetites. Apart from Christ, our appetites were dominated by our sinful nature which moved us to seek a lifestyle of sin to meet our needs, satisfy our desires, heal our pain and seek an overall satisfied sense of well-being.

But now, in Christ through faith in His sinless life, sacrificial death and bodily resurrection we have a new nature, a new appetite for the things of God and therefore a new struggle.

Our new struggle is why like Paul we live with the theme of thanksgiving to our redeemer Jesus Christ.

Chapter 7 spells out for us why like Paul we’re so thankful for Christ and His perfect work for our full redemption.

There are two details to note before we get into how Romans 7 moves us to constant gratitude for our Savior.

First, I believe Paul wrote of his present experience in Christ, not his experience before coming to Christ.

His experience matches ours in our present walk which is why we have a silent confession of sin and assurance of forgiveness before we enter into God’s presence.

It’s also how Paul described our present experience to the Galatians.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Gal. 5:17.

Second, Paul refers to God’s moral law, summed up in the Ten Commandments.

He’s not referring to the religious ceremonial aspects of the law or the civil aspects of God’s law.

That’s why he wrote For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,

So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind.

With that in mind, how does Romans 7 lead us to thank Christ and help flesh out our relationship with the living God through faith in Jesus Christ?

We thank God through Jesus Christ because He’s freed us from the law.

Vs. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.[c]

The law was God’s moral code that governed how you connected with Him and avoided His judgment throughout your life.

However, it’s helpful for us to see some of the main purposes of God’s law for His people as it was just a list of strict rules of morality.

One purpose was to have God’s people cultivate a holy culture in which they displayed God’s character to themselves, their children, and the nations around them. An aspect of this holy culture was on display in the book of Ruth.

God’s law was also to be the pathway through which His people enjoyed and flourished in the land of promise. And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules[a] that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. Deut. 4:1.

In this way, God’s law to the ancient Hebrews was just like the law He gave to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Keep God’s law and we flourish, disobey God’s law and we fall under His judgment.

Our problem however is that we have what I call a regular human nature which is sinful at its core. So rather than follow God’s law to find and enjoy His abundant life, the law actually activates or arouses our sinful nature.

Vss, 5. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.

Left to ourselves, we’d never follow God’s law perfectly, in fact, the law would simply arouse our sin and lead us to God’s judgment. The law didn’t actually bring us closer to God, let alone empower us to establish a perfect permanent right standing before Him.

Rather it did the opposite since the law couldn’t change our regular human nature. In that way, the law held us captive. Look at it this way, the law provided the blueprint and directions for building a beautiful home but without any of the necessary supplies such as concrete, lumber, steel, roof shingles, or sheetrock to actually build the house.

Beyond that, we didn’t even have a desire to build a house.

Thank God that we’re connected to the living God through faith in Christ and not our ability to keep the law.

Thank God through Jesus Christ for our struggle with sin. Vss. 14-15.

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.

Our struggle confirms the work of the Spirit in giving us new life.

God’s word is still right and true. Thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not commit murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness and thou shalt not covet are still in the book and in force.

Living the abundant life is still a matter of following Christ by observing God’s moral law.

Only we do so now due to a change in our appetites, not because we’re trying to establish our own right standing before God.

And that’s why we do and should struggle.

Finally, we thank God through Jesus Christ who kept the law fully for us. wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.

Christ fulfilled the law completely by keeping it perfectly and then suffering the penalty for all those who didn’t.