Consequences for our Salvation by Faith – Our Sin Nature is to Oppose God ROMANS 7 – Part 4
But now Paul moves us to the second consequence for the body. Before he does that, Paul stops to address an obvious question. What he is going to do in the transition is he is going to is address an obvious question that emerges from the first part of this teaching. And the way he addresses it he will move us directly into that second consequence. Back in verse 5, Paul said that while we were in the flesh (meaning still unbelieving) the sinful passions in our flesh led us into sin.
Romans 7:5 (NKJV)
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.
Those passions were already at work in the members of our body, meaning they were a part of how we lived, they were a part of who we were. Our body’s lust just drove us from one sin to the next. That was the life of the unbeliever. When the Lord gave the Law to men in Israel, that is, when He came to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai, he said here are the things I want you to do and here are the things you cannot do. Paul said all it served to do was to focus on those passions. oppose God
Remember, the sinful nature of humanity is set against God. So as God defined for humanity exactly what was holy to Him, it gave an opportunity for the sin nature in our flesh to focus our opposition against Him in those areas. And that starts to raise questions for the Jew as they begin to understand this dynamic. They will say things like: is the Law a cause for sin? Is it the source of our sin? Because it prompts that desire in the nature of man to oppose God? Paul answers starting in verse 7:
Romans 7:7-12 (NKJV)
Sin’s Advantage in the Law
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
As expected, Paul is going to refute the fact that the Law is not the cause of sin but is actually the opposite. The Law is the definition of holiness, not a recipe to sin. Paul says he came to know what sin was in him because the Law gave it a name. For example, that urge to covet, it was always a part of man’s sin nature. Because it is in everybody’s nature. But only after the Lord defined coveting in the Law, only then did
men understand that sin within them. Notice that Paul uses here one of the Ten Commandments as his example. That’s a pretty interesting example. Think about it. In the same context, Paul refers to coveting as part of the Law. Which tells us that Paul looks at the Ten Commandments as part of that Law that we have died too. This would argue against anybody trying to carve out an exception somehow and say the Ten Commandments are different from the rest of the Law. No, they are not, they are all the Law. Like James says, if you break one you’ve broken them all. The way the Bible views the Law is in one inseparable group of things, not categories of things
We are not bound to the Law of Moses, therefore we are not bound to the Ten Commandments. Those things are part of the old Law. We have a better law on our heart that is even greater in its scope. Now, having a definition of what was a sin, that is once the Law came and gave men insight concerning what is a sin as far as God is concern. Then Paul says the fallen nature of humanity now had a target and with that target, they took the opportunity to violate every one of those rules as often as they possibly could. That is the pervasive nature of sin working in our flesh. Our sin is a force of nature, literally speaking. It has its own drive, its own goals, its own master. That force used to define the nature of us in our spirit. Now our spirit is made new and that has been taken away. oppose God
Our spirit is no longer driven by our sin nature. But it still lives in us in the members of our physical body. It’s not a mental process, but it influences our thinking; it’s not a physical force, but it influences our feelings and actions. It’s a spiritual force that lives in the members of our body, independent of our spirit. You can see the moment this force came into existence in chapter 3 of Genesis.
Genesis 3:6-7 (NKJV)
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
When Adam and Woman sinned, they put into effect the word of God promising spiritual death in the day you eat of it. They both immediately changed in their spirits, becoming fallen creatures in their spirit. And that change produced a new, evil spiritual force in their bodies as a part of who they were. That spiritual force recognizes God as an enemy and knows that it is under the under the penalty of death. That it is under judgment. That God has a judgment awaiting it. And so the effect of this spiritual force or this spiritual awareness comes out in the physical. You see it in the physical reactions of these two people. It immediately begins to influence the thinking and actions of the Man and the Woman. First, both their eyes were opened, which is a way of describing the arrival of evil into their spirits. They are no longer innocent and unfamiliar with sin and evil. Now they know it intimately, and in that sense, their eyes were opened.
Next, they sensed they were naked. They had always been without clothing but that reality was of no concern before this moment. But now they were experiencing a sub-conscience change. That fallen spirit was now an enemy of God and under judgment. That spiritual vulnerability to God manifested itself as a physical vulnerability, as shame, as causing them to seek the need for covering. Now, this is not a matter of culture. This happened instantaneously …it is instinctive. Of course, the need for physical cover is itself a reflection of their need for spiritual cover, the covering of Christ’s blood. So you see the physical being a manifestation of what’s going on spiritually inside them. Later, when God entered the Garden you remember what they did, they hid from Him because they know He is now their adversary. Who told them that? No one had to tell them that. That is why God said, who told you that you were naked. That’s God’s way of saying this came from a spiritual change inside you. Nobody had to tell you this. Did you notice that you are different? Can you see and feel you think differently? That’s the effect of sin taking root inside the human person and the effect on the person is to create a new force working within them. They have no control over it per se. It’s not something they consciously control.
From that point forward, humanity shared this sense of God as our enemy and we collectively are vulnerable to His judgment. We see men in the Bible falling in fear every time they are in the presence of God or His holiness or His Angels. That again is an example of our innate, instinctive reaction, knowing we are vulnerable to the Holy God because of our sin. Man is always set against the things of God. And yet even as we remain ignorant of God, my flesh knows to oppose God when it is informed. So my ignorance of God is the only thing holding back my flesh’s desire to oppose Him. That’s what Paul means in verse 8 when he says that apart from the Law, sin was “dead.” Now he doesn’t mean sin was gone. He means it was dormant. It was just not aware yet of what to oppose. It was not aroused. But on the day God said do not do ‘X’ or do not do ‘Y’ then that arouses, awakens the sin nature in me to know now what to oppose. That is, you don’t want me to covet… I’m going to go coveting. Because You told me not to. It’s a force, like two sides of a magnet that aren’t meant to go with each other. You try to push them together and they push each other away. You can’t see it. Some people can’t really explain it. We just know it’s a force of nature. That’s how the sin nature of humanity works.
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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