There have been many great struggles down through history but none greater than the one we want to consider today.
I think of King Solomon’s classic struggle with the two women claiming to be the baby’s mother. Solomon had to decide and you know the story of how he determined which was the babies real mother.
“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” Romans 7:4
Review – Recovering Your Stolen Identity
We are addressing the stolen identity of the born again believer
Your identity may be stolen but not your citizenship
If you are still an alien you don’t have an identity to be stolen
Romans 6 – 2 weeks ago
The penalty for your sins was paid for by Christ’s blood on the cross
The power over your sin nature was broken by your death with Christ
The latter was something to know and believe.
Your response was to daily hand yourself over to God as His alone
Not only recognized but applied
Not only your position but your condition
Not a hyphenated Christian
But living under the power and control of the Lord
A Basic Question
How do I know in reality if my identity has been recovered?
Remember Candida from part 1
How would she know if her identity had been recovered?
By going to the bank and trying to borrow money!
What about you?
How will you know if you have recovered your stolen spiritual identity?
That’s what we want to look at today.
I REASON FOR THE STRUGGLE
Romans 7:15 to 23
The famous struggle that men have struggled with for ages!
The good I want to do I don’t do, and the evil I don’t want to do I do.
Is this struggle something that characterizes your life as a Christian?
I do not do the thing I would like to do (verse 15)
I do the thing I don’t want to do! (verse 16a)
This is like borrowing money from the bank!
If you find yourself in this struggle then you have failed the test
You didn’t get the loan
Contrary to popular opinion, this is not intended to be the Normal Christian experience
Interpretations of Romans 7:15 to 23
Is this an unregenerate person’s experience or that of a Christian?
Paul uses the first person throughout
So is he referring to himself before or after meeting Christ on the road
Paul (Saul) as an unbeliever at the stoning of Stephen before he met Christ on the road to Damascus
Paul after meeting Christ on the road to Damascus
Up north we sometimes have itinerant evangelists/Bible teachers come for a Sunday. They have the freedom to speak on anything they choose. A very interesting thing happened about 25 years ago. Laurence came on a Sunday and chose to speak on the struggle of Romans 7 taking the position that this was Paul’s struggle due to his sensitivity to sin. The very next Sunday Jim came and chose to speak on the same passage and his interpretation was that this was Paul before he was saved. These men were from different cities and had no idea that the other was going to be there and what he was going to speak on. This illustrates the confusion on this passage.
Interpretations of Romans 7:15 to 23:
1. This was Paul’s experience as a Jew before meeting Christ [false]
2. Paul was so sensitive to sin that this is himself as a Christian [false]
This has been the dominant interpretation for the past 50 years.
For example the New Bible Commentary from Dallas takes this view.
Also my Ryrie study Bible takes this view.
I suspect that most modern commentaries take this view.
However, I believe a literal interpretation of the Bible does not support this view.
The dominant view for the previous 150 years was that this was not the case.
There have been many reasons for the change which could be looked at later.
In fact, modern teaching has ‘stolen’ the Christian’s identity.
We are seeking to recover this true identity in this series.
3. Paul in the 3 days after meeting Christ in Acts 9:9 (Kelly ~1890) [maybe]
4. An illustration of failure to believe Romans 6 & 7:1-6
This is not the “Normal Christian Life” (Nee ~1939)
This is an indication of spiritual immaturity!
This indicates that you haven’t got it!
Nee “Grace means that God does something for me; law means that I do something for God. The trouble in Romans 7 is that man in the flesh tried to do something for God. As soon as you try to please God in that way, then you place yourself under law, and the experience of Romans 7 begins to be yours.”
Kelly “It is evident that the state described (Romans 7:15-23) is not that of deliverance; it is not therefore the normal state of the Christian, but one of transition.”
Darby “…lest any should comfort themselves with the thought that you are content they should stay in the state of in Romans 7, a supposition I should earnestly oppose. I do not think it is a Christian state at all: it is a man born again, but under the law, the state under the first husband (Adam).”
The struggle is in reality the struggle of a believer under law:
Notice it is a struggle between the mind and the flesh (7:23, 25)
Between what we know to be true and how we react to situations
It is the old train of Facts – Faith – Feelings
Our feelings must be based on the facts by faith not the reverse
Law of any type
The Old Testament law
Moral, Civil, Sacrificial, Ceremonial OT laws
The expectations of others
Acting as a hypocrite under the expectations of others
Expectations of yourself
I should do this or should not do that
The Moral law
The 10 commandments (Exodus 20).
This was given to show us our sin (Romans 3:20).
This ended when Christ came (Galatians 3:19, 23).
The Civil law
This includes all the regulations for life in Israel (Exodus 21 to 23).
They have no relevance to us today.
We have a different civil law here today.
The Sacrificial law
This included all the sacrifices in Leviticus.
All of these sacrifices were only temporary pointing to Christ.
Christ’s one sacrifice ended all of these and they are no longer applicable.
The Ceremonial law
This consisted of 7 major feasts that the Israelite was to attend.
The spring feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First fruits were all fulfilled by Christ at Calvary.
The 4th feast, Pentecost was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came at the birth of the church.
The fall or harvest feasts, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles will be fulfilled by Christ at His second coming.
II RELEASED FROM THE STRUGGLE
How are we released from this struggle?
The Illustration: Romans 7:1 to 6
You were married to a very demanding husband, one whom you could never satisfy.
You wanted to be free from him but knew you were in this marriage until death parted you.
You knew that if your demanding husband were to die, you would be released from your marriage and be free to marry another.
But in reality this husband, the law, can never die.
The only solution to get out of this marriage was for you to die and that is what happened.
However you were raised from the dead and were married to Christ.
Instead of being a demanding husband He desires to do everything for you – to live in and through you.
Who can set us free?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (7:25)
By knowing you have been crucified with Christ, been raised with Christ to a New life
And by handing yourself over daily to Him as the one who owns you.
While you are alive you are still bound to this law principle
It is not the law that has died but you have died
Your co-crucifixion with Christ has placed you under a new husband as it were – Christ Himself
The rule of your new life is now Christ not law
This is why God has placed His Holy spirit within you.
This is far superior to Israel past or future
III RESTING FROM THE STRUGGLE
Resting from the Struggle and Resting in Christ (In your true Identity in Christ)
I’m resting in You Lord
Resting in Your love
You captivate my life Lord
Body soul and spirit
I’ve died with You Lord
Been raised anew Lord
I’m seated with You Lord
Hidden in You Lord
Live Your life Lord
Through my life Lord
I give you my heart Lord
Every fabric of my being
Take my life Lord
My new creation life Lord
May it be Yours Lord
I’m resting in You Lord
Resting in Your love