Four Laws Rom. 7:14-25 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In the latter part of Rom 7 and the first part of Rom 8 we find four laws. These laws are the law in my members, the law of God, the law of sin and the law of the Spirit. By studying these four laws we get a clearer picture of why we cannot be justified by the deeds of the law even though the law is holy, just and good [Rom 7:12].
The law in my members is “when I would do good, evil is present with me [Rom 7:21, 23, 14].” The law of God is the commandments and ordinances as found in the Old Testament, particularly the ten commandments [Rom 7:22]. The law of sin is the law of sin and death [Rom 7:23, 8:2]; sin eventually kills us all. The law of the Spirit is the law of life in Christ Jesus [Rom 8:2]; in Christ Jesus we live forever [1 Jn 5:12].
There is a great contrast between the law of God and the law in my members. The law of God is spiritual [Rom 7:14]. The law in my members is that we are carnal, sold under sin. Likewise, there is a great contrast between the law of sin and the law of the Spirit. The law of sin is that all in whom sin is die. The law of the Spirit is that all in whom Christ Jesus is live forever.
The law in my members – Rom 7:14-21 – the law in my members is that I am carnal and nothing in the law can change that. The law can point out my sin but it cannot change me, because “sin dwelleth in me,” [Rom 7:17]. This law is a universal law fixed like the law of gravity.
After we are saved, we have the Spirit of God dwelling in us but we still have sin dwelling in our flesh, too. Therefore, we don’t do the things that we would and we do those things that we hate [Rom 7:15]. For instance, we would pray without ceasing [1 Thes 5:17] but somedays pass with only a moment of prayer. We would rejoice evermore [1 Thes 5:16] but somedays we just fret and frown. We would give thanks in everything [1 Thes 5:18] but we often just murmur and complain. We hate lying [Eph 4:25] but sometimes we lie. We hate pride [Prov 6:17] but sometimes we are very proud. We hate lust [Jas 1:14-15] but often we are drawn away by lust and covetousness.
According to Rom 7:16-17, the fault of these sins is not with the law. I “consent unto the law that it is good” when I agree that what I am doing is something that I shouldn’t be doing or that what I should be doing is not what I’m doing [Jas 4:17]. The fault is with “sin that dwelleth in me.” The new creature [2 Cor 5:17] who is born of God [1 Jn 3:9] doesn’t sin, but sin dwelling in his flesh does.
Like Paul said in Rom 7:18, “in my flesh dwelleth no good thing.” You might be able to make the flesh behave in some things; but you will never get that flesh to straighten up in all things. “To will is present with” you because the Lord resides in you [2 Cor 6:16], but your flesh has no idea “how to perform that which is good.” Only the Lord can do that which is good and we must yield to his righteousness within us to do it [Rom 6:16-18].
In Rom 7:19-20, Paul repeats what he has already said. “The good that I would I do not… the evil which I would not, that I do.” And since he’s not the one that wants to do it, the problem is with the sin that dwells in him. In other words, if it were just up to him, he would never sin again. But because sin dwells in him, he sins even though he doesn’t want to.
He concludes this thought in Rom 7:21 by stating it as a “law.” And the law is this, “when I would do good, evil is present with me.” Just recall how many times in prayer wicked thoughts have presented themselves to compete with you knowledge of God [2 Cor 10:5]. Or consider how many times you have been among brothers and sisters in Christ whom you love and critical thoughts have come into your mind and heart [Gal 5:14-15]. This law is in your members [Rom 7:23].
The law of God – Rom 7:22-25 – Paul said, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” We have within us what Paul calls the inward man [2 Cor 4:16] or the inner man [Eph 3:16]. He is also called the “new man” [Eph 4:24]. He is the one within you who is born again [1 Jn 3:9]. And this man does not delight in sin; he delights in the law of God.
With our minds we serve the law of God [Rom 7:25]. The inward man delights in the law of God and with our minds we are to serve the law of God. Whatever was a sin before we were saved is still a sin even after we are saved. As a matter of fact, after a person gets saved, he is often more aware of his sin than he was before he got saved. That’s part of the evidence of your salvation.
The fact that you commit sin as a saved man doesn’t it make it right. So, these Christians who think that after they get saved they have the liberty to do anything they want because their sins have been forgiven in Jesus Christ are wrong. When they get entangled in sin after they are saved because they think they have the liberty to do it, they are harder to be won than a lost man [2 Pet 2:19-22]. You cannot quit serving the law of God with your mind [Rom 7:23] just because you are no longer “under the law,” [Rom 6:15].
The law of sin – Rom 7:23-25 – the law of sin is “in my members.” Our flesh serves the law of sin [Rom 7:25] while our minds serve the law of God. You cannot perfect the flesh. The flesh is vile and must be changed [1 Cor 15:51] and be fashioned like unto the glorious body of Jesus [Phil 3:21]. This will happen at the rapture.
The law in my members wars against the law of God in my mind and brings me into captivity to the law of sin. That is no matter how much we yield to God in the inner man, we will not be sinless and we will not escape the need to be changed. If the Lord tarries, we will die according to the law of sin because we live in “the body of this death,” [Rom 7:24]. That’s why Paul refers to himself as a “wretched man.” The only one who can deliver us from this body of death is “Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The law of the Spirit – Rom 8:2 – we will study this law in greater detail in the next lesson. However, suffice it to say that this law is the law of “life in Christ Jesus.” That is, in spite of sin dwelling in our members, Jesus Christ lives inside of us because we are born again by the Spirit. He is more powerful than sin because he defeated sin by his righteousness and he died for sin on Calvary. Therefore, with him living inside of us, we can have victory over sin in the war taking place in our members [Rom 7:23]. Sin doesn’t have to reign [Rom 6:12] and sin, in the end, will not win! Jesus Christ will deliver us from the body of this death!!