Romans 7: 7-13

Aug 9, 2020 // By:Dave // No Comment

Paul has been talking about our old relationship to sin and to the law.

He even states in vs 5 that the law aroused our desire to sin.

He is now going to move into our new relationship to the law (as opposed to the old one)

we’re going to be running around this morning, like a rabbit on rabbit trails looking as this bush called
“our new relationship to the law” seeing it from different angles.

Angle 1 “is the law bad since it caused me to sin?”

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 

why does Paul ask “is the law sin?”

in verse 5 “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”

replying to anticipated interpretation “if the law triggers my sin, then you are saying the law is sinful, evil.

calling something wrong does not make a person do wrong

(Freud believed that people has emotional issues because of laws, things being labeled wrong)

hmmm  does a speed limit sign make me speed ?

  1. driving down road with no speed limit sign, might mean the your driving without thinking about how fast you are going
  2. put up a speed limit sign brings your attention to your speed
  3. now you are faced with the decision to slow down or do what your flesh wants to do and enjoy breaking the speed limit (maybe even speed up to enjoy the law breaking even more)

Pauls answer is in verse 8

Angle  2 “the law helps me to see my sin”

But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 

our flesh wants what it is told it cannot have. IT wants to do what it is told to not do.

when we see a rule, the old nature wants to break the rule … that is not the rule’s fault

(nor is it the fault of the rule maker)

Apart from law, we have no awareness of sin (as if the concept of wrongdoing is non-existent or dead)

I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 

I functioned before knowing the law, but once I knew the rules, I wanted to break them (and became guilty under the law, and sin results in death

“sin became alive and I died.” = 

  1. I became aware of my law breaking
  2. something in my heart awakened and said “no  i won’t obey.”

what death ?  (separation from God)

Another way to look at this is:

Without the law I live and sin is dead

With the law sin is alive and I die

Angle 3 “the law if obeyed brings life, but once broken in any way brings death”

10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 

he is likely referring to Lev. 18:5

‘So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD.

(Lev 19:37, 20:8, 


If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out

then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.

‘Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land.

I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land.

‘But you will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword;

five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.

So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you.

‘You will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new.

‘Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you.

‘I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.

lets compare this adherence to law in Leviticus to that of Ezek 36:26-28

Ezek. 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a anew heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the bheart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezek. 36:27 “I will aput My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

Ezek. 36:28 “You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be aMy people, and I will be your God.

This comes from a passage in Ezekiel where God is telling Israel that he is going to let them be scattered for His namesake (not theirs)

and that he will regather them into their promised land (again for His namesake, not theirs)

but how and why does He does it

the “why” is because they broke the commandments

the “how” is by putting His Spirit inside them to cause them to walk in His laws (empower them)

the commandments are good and meant to guide a man in a pleasing life to God (but once a single law is broken, results in separation  from God = death)

James 2:10 breaking one law is the same as breaking all of them

why ? 

how can coveting be as bad as murder ?

     (sin pays the same wage for all sins  = same penalty =  death)

11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 

Angle 4 “the law is good, there is nothing wrong with it”

12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

God is good and just. His laws are good and just because they reflect Him.

13 Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.

in order that it might be shown to be sin

through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.

Angle 5 “the law reveals my degree of lawlessness”

law reveals our sin

and reveals the degree of our sin.

The Law is not a thermostat

it is simply a thermometer

add quotes from Christ amplifying the law to level of thoughts and heart.

in the Sermon on the Mount: Jesus is explaining an entirely different world view

“you have heard it said … but I say to you”

“you have seen this done … but I say do this instead”

beatitudes, law and the heart, God’s provision, responding to persecution and cruelty, Lords Prayer, then ends with “he who hears these words of mine and acts upon them is like a man who built his house on the rock (compared to the man who heard them, did not act on them, and built his house on the sand)

the fact that this comparison is contained in the same context of all these others comparative statements allows for cross application

  • trying to live by the law is like
  • insisting that your thoughts are not counted as actions
  • that you do not need to trust in God as long as you live by the law under your own power
  • that our ability to provide for ourselves is more important that trusting God to provide for us
  • that we don’t need to see or do things God’s ways as long as our way looks good and seems to be working

Matt 5 all the way into 7

Matt 5:

21-22  Jesus explains that hating a brother is equal to murder

27-28 lust is equal to adultery

There is a paradigm presented in the sermon on the mount that Jesus is not merely 

giving us a window into the future

He is telling us this is how we should be seeing things now and how we should be living now.

(brings me to this last angle or view of the law)

Angle 6 “the law compliments my new nature because it reflects God’s holiness”

As in Ezek 26, He has put His Spirit in us to cause us, to empower us to live rightly within the safety of His law.

Not because we have to  … but because we want to.

The old nature wants to live by sin, it wants to, craves it

the new nature wants to live in Christ, which results in living not by the law, but in alignment to it

since our new nature wants to reflect our Savior, and be close to God

(it also recognizes the law is good, because it also reflects God)

This all centers around “the law reveals our imperfection compared to God”

old nature is completely imperfect = corrupt

new nature is attempting a take over but fighting the dead old nature.

We, our souls, are stuck in the middle of this takeover, 

looking at the law

looking at the cross

constantly feeling a combination of:

  1. Godly conviction
  2. sinful condemnation

I dont understand why this is so hard

Let’s look at the heart of the sermon:

Matt. 5:48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect

perfect (45x)  G5046 (20x)

[NIV Greek]

5455   [5046]   τέλειος, teleios, a.  [5465]. perfect, mature, finished, complete

OT — 1. The Hebrew words.  Two Hebrew words are most often found in the few settings where “perfect” is found in the English versions of the OT: kalil  and  tamim  or tam. Kalil  speaks of completeness or wholeness. Where it is translated “perfect” it expresses a quality that completely or wholly fills its subject (beauty, 4 times; a color, 3 times). But this term is definitely not associated with sinlessness. 

  • It is Israel’s perfection that led her to trust her own beauty and turn to spiritual idolatry (Eze 16:14). 
  • Satan’s original perfection did not protect him from choosing sin and from suffering a spectacular fall (Eze 28:12).

The word tamim  or tam  comes from a root that means “complete.” As a moral concept, it speaks of uprightness or blamelessness, which, in a limited sense, humans can possess. God himself is completely perfect (Dt 32:4). His way, unveiled in his Word, is perfect (2 Sa 22:31), and by arming the believer with strength, God completely equips him for a righteous walk (“God arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” [2 Sa 22:33]). But human beings are “perfect” only in the sense that David and Job were. Each loved and responded to God as he knew him, yet each was flawed. David’s passions swept him from the path of holiness. And despite Job’s exemplary life (Job 1:1), Job was aware of his own sins and imperfection (Job 9:28; 14:16-17; 42:6). The blameless man or woman, according to the OT, turned from evil to follow the Lord honestly and wholeheartedly. But even the  tamim  might fall, and sometimes did.

NT — 2. The Greek words.  The Greek word group translated “perfect” in some English versions includes teleioo, teleios, and teleotes. These words emphasize wholeness and completeness. In the biological sense they mean “mature,” or “full grown”: the person, animal, or plant achieved the potential inherent in its nature. The perfect is the thing or person that is complete, in which nothing that belongs to its essence has been left out. It is perfect because every potential it possesses has been realized.

This basic sense of the word group as it is used in the NT helps us put many passages in exciting perspective. 

  • A “perfect love”—one that drives out fear—is a complete one (1 Jn 4:18). 
  • God’s power “made perfect in weakness” (1 Co 12:9) reminds us that his power is fully released in us when we do not hinder him by relying on our own supposed strengths.

The use of this word group in Hebrews is slightly different from its use in other NT passages. The law “made nothing perfect” (Heb 7:19), but in his sacrifice Jesus has made believers “perfect forever” (Heb 7:28; 10:14; cf. 10:1). The point is that the law was never able to bring to completion the task set for its sacrifices: to make it possible for a person to stand in God’s presence. But Jesus’ one sacrifice has accomplished that task, and now we who are perfected are completely cleansed and thus are able to stand before the Lord.

As for Jesus himself, he was “made perfect” 

Heb. 5:9 And having been made aperfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

 in the sense of being fully equipped for his saving ministry. Suffering added nothing to his essential character or nature. The OT high priest had to be drawn from humanity and had to be able to sympathize with mankind because he shared the human condition. So also Jesus had to become a man and suffer the common lot of humanity if he was to serve as our high priest.

3. Becoming perfect.  

The perfect human being is not a sinless paragon, for the NT makes it clear that “we all stumble in many ways” (Jas 3:2). Yet “if anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man” (Jas 3:2). 

How do we reconcile the apparent contradiction in these statements?

First, we realize that saints remain sinners. John says bluntly, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8). God deals with our failures by extending forgiveness and cleansing as we come to him (1 Jn 1:9). So “perfection” is not sinlessness.

Second, we realize that God holds out an exciting prospect for us. We can be “perfect” in the biblical sense of achieving our potential as Christian persons!

Matthew records Jesus’ words to all those who yearn to experience God’s kingdom. We are to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors, as God the Father sends rain and sunshine on both the evil and the good. “Be perfect,” Jesus concluded, “as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). God fulfills his divine potential and the potential of his love in his treatment of the wicked. As his children now, we are to fulfill our potential as Christian persons by loving even our enemies.

James says the same thing. The person who controls his tongue has reached maturity: he achieves his potential as a Christian and so in that sense is a perfect person.

So there is an exciting life ahead for us who believe! We will never reach here the state we will achieve in the resurrection. But we can stretch out to achieve our full potential as Christian persons. There is a future for us. And that future is one of fulfillment and joy.

We are not under the law. .but we live along side it and now agree with it.

We are fully equipped to live in Christ (according to His character)

choosing to express His holiness, his love, his forgiveness

He has made us perfect in this sense that we are complete for our purpose.


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