This battle between our old nature and the new nature that we now have, having been reborn in Christ, is a constant battle for every Christian…
And Paul describes this battle in Romans seven:
Thank God that through Christ and His propitious sacrifice and shed blood on Calvary’s Cross, after our having been born-again, we have all won this battle!
(Also look at the video below, with Rabbi Schneider, as he describes how all of this, our deliverance from the Law of Sin and Death, also gives us access to Divine Health, in Christ)
Romans 7:21-24; 8:1-11
The Law of Sin and Death
7:21-23 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.
I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.
Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
The Solution Is Life on God’s Terms
8:1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved.
Those who enter into Christ’s — being-here-for-us — no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.
A new POWER is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
3-4 God went for the jugular when He sent His own Son.
He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant.
In His Son, Jesus, He personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.
The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin, instead of a deep healing of it.
And now what the law code asked for, but we couldn’t deliver, is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle, but never get around to exercising it in real life.
Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God!
Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.
Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.
Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God.
That person ignores who God is and what He is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
9-11 But if God Himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of Him.
Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ (in us), won’t know what we’re talking about.
But for you who welcome Him, in whom He dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms.
It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God, who raised Jesus from the dead, moves into your life, He’ll do the same thing in you that He did in Jesus, bringing you alive to Himself?
When God lives and breathes in you (and He does, as surely as He did in Jesus), then you are delivered from that dead life.
With His Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
Selah (let’s pause and calmly think about these things)
Starting in Romans 7:1-20, Paul shows that the law is powerless to save a sinner (7:7-14), and that is true both of someone who diligently keeps the law (7:15-22), or even of the person with a new nature, who has begun to follow Christ (7:23-25).
The Flesh is always at enmity against the Spirit!
The sinner stands condemned by the law; the lawkeeper ultimately can’t live up to it; and the person with the new nature finds his or her obedience to the law sabotaged by the effects of the old nature.
Once again, Paul declares that salvation cannot be found by obeying the law.
No matter who we are, ONLY Jesus Christ can set us free!
Paul uses marriage to illustrate our relationship to the law.
When a spouse dies, the law of marriage no longer applies.
Because we have died with Christ, the law can no longer condemn us.
Since we are united with Christ, His Spirit enables us to produce good fruit for God.
We now serve God, not by obeying a set of rules, but out of renewed hearts and minds that overflow with love for Him.
When a person dies to the old life and now belongs to Christ, a new life begins.
Those who don’t follow Christ have only their own self-determination as their source of power.
By contrast, God becomes the center of a Christian’s life.
God supplies the power for the Christian’s daily living.
Believers find that their whole way of looking at the world changes when they come to know and depend on Jesus.
Some people try to earn their way to God by keeping a set of rules (obeying the Ten Commandments, attending church faithfully, or doing good deeds), but all they earn for their efforts is frustration and discouragement, because they can NEVER do any of those things perfectly.
However, Christ’s sacrifice has opened the way to God, and we can become His children simply by putting our faith in Him.
No longer trying to reach God by keeping rules through our own efforts, we can become more and more like Jesus as we live for Him day by day.
Let the Holy Spirit turn your eyes away from your own performance and toward Jesus.
He will free you to serve Him out of love and gratitude.
This is “living in the Spirit.”
Keeping the rules, laws, and customs of Christianity doesn’t save us.
Even if we could keep our actions pure, we would still be doomed because our flesh is perverse and rebellious.
Like Paul, we can find no relief in the synagogue or church until we look to Jesus Christ Himself for our salvation—which He gives us freely.
When we do come to Jesus, we are flooded with relief and gratitude.
Will we keep the rules any better?
Most likely, but we will be motivated by love and gratitude, not by the desire to get God’s approval.
We will not be merely submitting to an external code, but we will willingly and lovingly seek to do God’s will from within.
God’s law makes people realize that they are sinners doomed to die, yet it offers no long-term remedy.
Sin is real, and it is dangerous.
Imagine a sunny day at the beach. You plunge into the surf; then you notice a sign on the pier: No swimming. Sharks in water.
Your day is ruined. Is it the sign’s fault?
Are you angry with the people who put it up?
The law is like the sign. It is essential, and we are grateful for it—but it doesn’t get rid of the sharks.
Sin deceives people by misusing the law.
The law is holy, expressing God’s nature and will for people and showing them how to love God and treat each other.
In the Garden of Eden, the serpent deceived Adam and Eve by taking their focus off the freedom God had given them and putting it on the one restriction God had made (Genesis 3).
Ever since then, we have all been rebels.
Sin looks good to us precisely because God has said it is wrong.
When we are tempted to rebel, we need to look at the law from a wider perspective—in the light of God’s grace and mercy.
If we focus on His great love for us, we will understand that He only restricts us from actions and attitudes that ultimately will harm us.
Paul shares three lessons that he learned in struggling with his sinful desires:
(1) Knowledge of the rules does not make it easier to obey them (7:9).
(2) Self-determination and self-improvement cannot change our hearts (7:15).
(3) Becoming a Christian does not stamp out all sin and temptation from a person’s life (7:22-25).
Being born again happens in a moment of faith, but becoming like Christ is a lifelong process.
Paul compares Christian growth to a strenuous race or fight (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 4:7).
Thus, as Paul has been emphasizing since the beginning of this letter, no one in the world is innocent; no one deserves to be saved—not the pagan who doesn’t know God’s laws, nor the person who knows them and tries to keep them.
All of us must depend totally on what Jesus Christ has done for our salvation.
We cannot earn it by our good behavior.
This is more than the cry of one desperate man—it describes the experience of anyone struggling against sin or trying to please God by keeping rules and laws without the Spirit’s help.
We must never underestimate the power of sin.
We must never attempt to fight it in our own strength.
Instead of trying to overcome sin with human willpower, we must take hold of the tremendous power of Christ that is available to us.
Satan manipulates and deceives.
As a crafty tempter, he arrogantly tried to tempt Jesus. He succeeded with Adam and Eve, and he tries with us.
We have an amazing ability to make excuses, so be alert to temptation.
This is God’s provision for victory over sin: He sends the Holy Spirit to live in us and give us power.
And when we fall, he lovingly reaches out to help us up.
“The devil made me do it!”
It sounds like a lame excuse, but there is some truth in it.
Without Jesus’ help, sin is stronger than we are, and sometimes we are unable to defend ourselves against its attacks.
That is why we should never try to stand up against sin on our own.
Jesus Christ, who has conquered sin once and for all, promises to fight by our side.
If we look to Him for help, we do not have to give in to sin.
Here the “power within me” means the sin deep within us and our vulnerability to the power of sin.
It refers to everything within us that keeps us more loyal to our old way of selfish living than to God.
We feel great tension in our daily Christian experience.
We face conflict because we agree that God’s commands are right and good, but we cannot carry them out fully on our own.
As a result, we are painfully aware of our sin.
This inward struggle with sin was as real for Paul as it is for us.
From Paul we learn what to do about it.
Whenever he felt overwhelmed by the spiritual battle, he would return to the beginnings of his spiritual life, remembering how he had been freed from sin by Jesus Christ.
When we feel confused and overwhelmed by sin’s appeal, let us claim the freedom Christ has given us.
His power can lift us to victory.
Romans 8 starts out by declaring us “Not guilty.
Let this person go free.”
What would those words mean to you if you were on death row?
In reality, the whole human race is on death row, justly condemned for repeatedly breaking God’s holy law.
Without Jesus we would have no hope at all.
But thank God! He has declared us NOT GUILTY and has offered us freedom from sin and supernatural power to do His will.
This life-giving Spirit is the Holy Spirit.
As the third person of the Trinity, He was present at the creation of the world (Genesis 1:2), and He is the POWER behind the rebirth of every Christian.
He gives us the power we need to live the Christian life.
Jesus gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
In Old Testament times, animal sacrifices were continually offered at the Temple.
The sacrifices showed the Israelites the seriousness of sin:
Blood had to be shed before sins could be pardoned (see Leviticus 17:11).
But the blood of animals could not really remove sins (Hebrews 10:4).
The sacrifices could only point to Jesus’ sacrifice, which would pay the penalty for all sins.
Paul divides people into two categories:
Those who are dominated by their sinful nature and
Those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit.
All of us would be in the first category if Jesus hadn’t offered us a way out.
Once we have said yes to Jesus, we will want to continue following Him because His way brings life and peace.
Daily we must consciously choose to center our lives on God.
Use the Bible to discover God’s guidelines, and then follow them.
In every perplexing situation, ask yourself, What does Jesus want me to do?
When the Holy Spirit points out what God wants you to do, do it eagerly.
Have you ever worried about whether you really are a Christian?
If you have sincerely trusted Jesus Christ for your salvation and acknowledged Him as Lord, then the Holy Spirit lives within you and you are a Christian.
You can be assured that you have the Holy Spirit because Jesus promised that He would send Him.
Since you now believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and that eternal life comes through Him ALONE (1 John 4:9), you will begin to act as Christ directs (Romans 8:5; Galatians 5:22-23); you will find help in your daily problems and in your praying (Romans 8:26-27); you will be empowered to serve God and do His will (Acts 1:8; Romans 12:6-21); and you will become part of God’s plan to build up His church (Ephesians 4:12-13).
The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee of eternal life for those who believe in Him.
The Spirit resides within us now by faith, and by faith we are certain to live with Christ forever (see 8:23; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:14).
When we turn away from sin’s appeal in the Holy Spirit’s power, regarding sin as dead, we can ignore temptation when it comes (see 6:11; Galatians 5:24).
And finally in 1 John 5:13, in the NT, God tells us that,
“These things I have written (in the Bible) to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God!
And secondly in that saying chapter, He tells us and verses 14 and 15,
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask ANYTHING according to His will, He hears us.
And if we know that He hears us, WHATEVER we ask, then we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
We can know from the above scriptures that God has definitely delivered us from The Law of Sin and Death, and so how does that translate into other areas of our lives, such as our health?
The following video by Rabbi Schneider will look at Romans 8:11 and answer the question, “What is Divine Health?”, and why Divine health is available to each of us in Christ:
Come join the Adventure!