Romans Review Pt 3 The Two Natures Within.
Review of 1-6
- The Ruin of Secular Man
- The Self Condemnation of ALL Mankind
- The Laws condemnation of the Jew
- The Gospel of Faith
- The Justified
- The Answer against Antinomianism
- The End of the Law and the Two Natures Within.
Dead To The Law and Betrothed to Christ (Rom 7:4-13)
After all we have witnessed till now we can see with certainty that we were once dead in trespasses and sins, but now are we reckoned righteous by God. The Law having no more dominion over us, that we may now live to Christ.
We saw the natural questions being both asked and answered by Paul teaching with all assurance that the life that we now live is to resemble the transformation of the life within, and NOW Paul goes on to explain with both logical and legal precision that which has ACCTUALLY occurred to make this true.
1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, whileher husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
The simplicity of the passage above is not lost on those who know the law, for which this passage is written.
When the wife is married to a husband, she is bound to her husband for as long as he lives, so too the man to his wife (Paul uses the woman here only in relation to the consistency that we may remember the Church are called “The Bride of Christ”).
But if the wife, though bound to her husband, joins herself to another man, she is an adulterer from the law of her husband.
Those who are under the law, that is, all who are lost in the world and are either bound to the law they have made for themselves (Which we read of in Romans 2:12-16), or those who are given the oracles of God (as seen in Romans 3), these all are bound only to the law that is governed by the flesh.
They proved to themselves they know the law written both in their hearts and that given by God is good, and condemn themselves by judging in others what they also do.
This shows that they cannot ever escape this law until they are dead to it (IE: Born again).
This is what is here represented as “adultery”, that is, they try to turn away from the law they are bound by flesh, to another they cannot keep. This is represented in them following other religions, doing good works, being sure they are diligent in ticking boxes.
But they can never be freed from the law of the flesh until they are dead to it. Therefore they are pictured as adulterers.
In other words, you cannot escape the nature of the flesh by simply changing your mind about sin and doing good works. Your very nature is to serve sin and it cannot be changed no matter how hard you try to change it.
There is an old story that speaks of a King who had identical twin sons. It was lost as to which came out first for the sake of the inheritance, and he loved them both but knew that the kingdom could only go to one of them.
He set a challenge for them when they came of age that, whosoever of them could impress him the most after sixty days, he should inherit the kingdom.
The sons set themselves busily away, both thinking to devise ways and means to impress their father for the sake of the glory of the kingdom.
The first son set off immediately to conquer more territory for his father and to build a monument in his honour. The other son wondered off in a pensive state, wondering what it would be that might impress his father the most.
While the first set off on his conquest of land, the other sat in the garden until he spotted his fathers cat toying with a mouse. Immediately the thought struck him and he began to take the cat and to train it.
Day after day went by and one act after another was trained into the cat. It wasn’t tricks the son was teaching the cat, but how it could be more human.
He taught the Cat first to walk upright, then to sit at the table. He taught the cat how to eat with knife and fork and many other things.
All the while the first son was winning battle after battle and conquering more land.
On the first sons return from the fields of war, word returned to the second son of his achievements. Fearing his brother would gain the kingdom, this son determined he would train the cat to now SERVE the King.
On the 60th day, both the sons had learned of the success of the other on their efforts to impress their father. The 61st day came and the first son opened a map and showed his father the new lands he had conquered and presented to him the crowns of the kings of those lands and the Monument he built to his father’s honour. The father was mightily impressed and waved to the second son to reveal his gift.
With much pomp the second son ushered in the Kings cat, dressed fully in a suit of apparel and began to serve the King. The King was astonished, he had to look twice to see that it was indeed the cat. Never had the King even conceived of such a thing.
His first son conquered lands and this is gained by might, but who can conquer nature as this his second son seemed to do???
The first son could see the impression such a sight was made upon his father and could feel the kingdom of his father slipping away from him to be given to his brother. But he had an idea!
On the last minute of the day, as the cat walked in wearing the suit of a servent and carrying a tray of refreshments toward the King, just before he placed the goods on the table beside the King, the first son revealed and released the mouse he had in his hands.
The Cat returned to his nature and the Kingdom was awarded to the son who conquered the land.
You were “Married” to the law of the flesh before you were born again. Your old self HAD TO FIRST DIE, before you could be raised in newness of life. You are a “new creature, old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17)
Until that occurred, no matter how hard you tried to be a different man or woman, you would only be considered an adulterer to your true nature.
Romans continues in verse 7 to speak of the nature and purpose of the Law, Paul explains that the Law itself is NOT SIN, but that he …
…had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet
Paul here again reaffirming that which was written in Romans 3:20, “by the Law is the knowledge of sin”
Two Nations, One Body
We are now going to be giving some consideration to this portion of Romans 7 that applies to us all, for all who know the Lord, or rather, are known by the Lord, are born again, we are changed, the old man is legally dead, we have a new nature but it is one that wrestles within, a struggling nature.
But for us to understand this better, it is perhaps a good idea to see a fascinating illustration within the Bible that might help give to each of us some clarity as to what occurs to you after you are born again.
Turn in your Bibles to;
19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac: 20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. 21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; andthe one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. 24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold,there were twins in her womb. 25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. 26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. 27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
The struggle between Jacob and Esau continues on to this very day. It is made evident in the relationships between Israel and Arab nations.
Though it is certain that none of the Arabs have the ability to trace their linage through history back to Abraham, yet we know that the history of the Semitic peoples are well turned back to Abraham.
Abraham’s first son was Ishmael, who also became a great people, but a warring people, his hand would be against every man, and every mans hand against him(Gen 16:12). 12 princes also came from Ishmael (Gen 17:20), and he founded many nations.
The firstborn son of Isaac was Esau, and he too would be a wild man, he would marry from the daughters of Ishmael and they too became of the linage of the Arab nations, though, again, none can truly trace their families back with any degree of accuracy.
Yet the Lord made clear to Abraham that his seed shall be as the stars of heaven for multitude (Gen 22:17).
Now, back to their conception and an attempt at understanding our own state.
22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus?
It is of interest to us that when we were born again it was the Spirit of the living God that came and made residence within us. We witnessed this when we gave consideration to it directly in our recent study series titled “The Gift”.
God the Holy Spirit indwells every believer. Not only so, but also God the Son and God the Father; indeed, the entirety of the Godhead indwells each and every own who is born of God.
But there is something else going on within, some sort of a struggle. We know this because while the very God indwells each believer, there comes a time in our walk with the Lord that we sin. We do the very acts that are completely contrary to the nature of God, an so a struggle ensues.
So, we turn to the Lord, to whom the Bible says is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins” and we pray the Lord forgives our sin, we are then forgiven and then, sin again.
We try to do good.
We try to refrain from sin, but we struggle, truly struggle.
- We make a “Covenant with our eyes that we will not look upon a maid” as Job did in Job 31:1
But we brake that too.
- We set bounds about this tree of sin and say “neither will we touch it lest we die” as Eve did in the garden.
But we taste of the forbidden fruit yet again.
How evident is it that we have a struggle going on within ourselves?
We don’t understand it, we can’t comprehend how it can be true.
Immediately our very salvation is brought into question.
We reason but can’t find the answer.
We see that it is true that we have been given a new heart, the old ‘Heart of stone” has made way for the ‘heart of flesh’, the old man is dead; we were dead in trespass and sins, but now the new man lives, we are converted, we are changed, we are transformed from death to life and if that were not enough, it is the entire Godhead that indwells us…..
How can we do the things we do?
How can a man or a woman do such dreadful things?
Our hearts are burdened, we sorrow and are at a loss and then finally we come to the Lord, And so we cry out with all the confusion that surrounds us….. “IF IT BE SO, WHY AM I THUS?”.
What else is there to ask?
How many times are we perplexed by this problem?
How much is there an evident struggle within?
We desire to do good, but evil is present with us, why the Struggle?
So, we do, yes, we ask the question to the Lord, the same question Rebekah asked of him, IF IT BE SO, WHY AM I THUS?”.
Interestingly, how we might hear the returned answer;
“Two natures are within thee, and two manner of desire shall be separated from thy heart; and the one shall be stronger than the other; and the elder shall serve the younger.”
With Rebekah, it was Two nations, one Body; but with every person who is born again it is…
Two Natures, One Body.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Paul here writes of the struggle.
His desire is to do good, this is his will, for to will is present with me he says. But those things that he is willing to do, those things that are his new desires to attend to, he finds himself unable to do to the extent he desires to do them;
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not… 18b for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not
But it is as if there is another man within that has him do the very things he hates;
15b for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I…19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
And so Paul gives a summary of the struggle that is within him while his desire to do his will is countered by doing that which is against his will;
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Now beloved, before you run foul of the risk of telling yourself a version of “the devil made me do it”, know and see that Paul does not give ANY excuse for doing that which is contrary to his will, his utmost desire is to do the will of God, and he says so;
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Just in case we missed it, he says it again.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Paul here speaks to a residual nature within that turns a man away from doing that which is good, to that which is evil, but this evil is not accounted to the performer of it;
20…it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.\
“now pastor….your almost teaching some dangerous stuff here, are you sure you want to do this? I mean isn’t this bordering on Gnostisism, you know, ‘you can do what you want with your body, but the spiritual man is holy’?”
You know, I am really glad you brought that up, the key is the contradiction with what you said in that last bit. ‘you can do what you want with your body,”.
Paul is saying the exact opposite, he is telling you that ‘you cant do what you want with your body”.
If you are born again, you DO NOT WANT TO SIN WITH YOUR BODY, you want to do that which is good. This is NOT Gnosticism. That, together with antinomianism (living without law) are both evil ideas that will confirm the damnation of all those who hold and teach it.
Paul explains it well in verse
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Turn to Galatians 5:16–17
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
We are changed beloved, we have a knew nature, but the older is still there, both natures reside in one body.
But just as the elder of Rebekah’s children was to serve the younger, so too is the charge that the elder nature is to serve the younger. The Old man IS literally dead, but practically to be made subordinate to the New Man.
The elder shall serve the younger…
This is why we are charged to “mortify the deeds of the body”, that is, kill it. Kill those temptations that arise before they have their end against you; because the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:15).
Paul will explain this again in the next chapter in detail, but just one verse there;
8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
1 Corinthians 6:12
12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
We see the charge, we know the struggle.
Those who have not this same struggle also have not the spirit of God in them. Please understand, it is NOT the recognition of the struggle, but the struggle itself.
Those content to excuse sin in them are themselves servants of sin and have no knowledge of salvation, “ye are yet in your sins”. You will need to repent and turn to the Lord and seek his face that you might be saved.
Do so, do so earnestly before he comes to “judge the quick and the dead”.
Though I hate the struggle, though it grieves me to the bones, yet I would not exchange my salvation and conscience of sin, FOR my lost soul AND the pleasure of the ignorance of sin, no not for all the wealth found in the world;
“for what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
Does this struggle then make me happy?
No it does not, nor did it Paul;
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
There is a grief to this state that is seen in the Old and in the New testaments. Paul reflects his heart and hatred against the wretchedness of his temporal state, “O wretched man that I am”
Note the present tense.
He does not say “O wretched man that I was”
Easy enough to have done so if it were a state that was past. Many teach that this speaks of the way he once was, trying against hope to give the impression that Paul no longer struggled with sin but was perfect and lived without the struggle.
This idea contradicts his own words elsewhere, turn with me to the wonderful passage of ;
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them butdung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Here, and in one wonderful passage Paul testifies to his imperfection and tells of his focus.
So too we see at the end of Romans 7
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul mourns his sin, so too did David of old time;
136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.
David questions the value even of man before God;
3 LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! 4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
Job understood how quickly man drinks up sin;
16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
David knew also that if God counted all our sin, we all would fall;
3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
In the deepest of David’s sorrow toward the Lord, in the deepness of our own grief for the sins we commit before the Lord, we too run risk of thinking the Lord has departed from us;
3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
So great is such sorrow for the Christian who loves the Lord but runs afoul and so often; he too will yet cry with David in;
Psalm 51:11, saying;
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
BUT, the question beings asked and the answer being given that leads us to the highest peak in the Bible of Romans chapter 8, is found there at the end of 7;
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
And so we attest to the truth also of what David wrote in Psalm 32.
Turn there with me as we conclude;
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessedis the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spiritthere is no guile.
You who to this day experience this struggle, you of all the people of the world are to count yourself blessed. Your transgressions are forgiven, your sins are covered and there must be a people who are the subject of this Psalm;
It is you whom the LORD will not impute iniquity, it is YOU in whose spirit there is no guile…why?
Because we thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Two Natures are Within, this is our present reality until the Lord comes for us, or we go to him.
And so, until that day comes we say….