PAULS CONFLICT [13b]

Knowledge of good and evil  =  wretched man               [romans7]

What has happened to this man Paul, that he discovers his own will is worthless and inoperable? Why is it that the performing of good is impossible for him to do?

What is inside him that is sabotaging his ability to provide a good outcome?

I wish someone else would explain it because I am likely to be stumbling around a bit with this. (so what’s new you say?).[2005]

Is it that because the more he knows, the more he realises that the good his will proposes to do, is the very opposite of that mental pathway that is set up because he knows he is inherently “not good”?

That he is himself, by his own judgement, guilty of producing sin, and so therefore is condemned to a poor outcome, because the input thought to his mental process is already in conflict with the proposed outcome?

It is as if, being self-condemned, he must not allow a clear passage of this thought streaming to go unchallenged, and in fact, brings it to a premature death, just as he believes he himself deserves. It is certainly a psychological process, which may well be understood in medical terms already.

In other words, the knowledge of good, having made him aware of the knowledge of bad, has brought judgement down on his integrity, thus destroying his inherent integral thought processes, in order to maintain the truth of the judgement he perceives that has been brought down on him, by himself, and God..

Adam only knew the good, until he brought in the opposite which was bad. And it was by the knowledge of the “new player” that he became conscious of the bad, because it was in contrast to his previous good..

Is it (and it has to be) related to “the fall” of Adam, where he was “in the clear” so to speak, “until the commandment came”, following which he was conflicted, guilty, and disenfranchised from his former position, removed from the place of truth and therefore true rationality, and so became irrational.

And from within this irrationality, he was unable to return to a rational place. (his lost innocence was irretrievable). And, in this state, he was unfit to retain the status of “eternal life”, and having lost it, could not “of himself” regain it. (The strength of this irrationality may be seen in the subsequent behaviour of his son Cain).

It is as if it were some spiritual law* that cannot be circumvented, is unavoidable, because it is TRUTH. Now, we might say, there are two truths. The one is the real truth, the truth of life, while the other is the imposter, the “truth” of the LIE.

When the truth comes into contact with the lie, that clash causes CONFLICT.

Paul, who is a seeker of truth, of righteousness, even though it is a “poor man’s righteousness”, being that of the law, (which nonetheless came with “glory”, being of God, and being “spiritual”), has his conscience engaged regarding truth and justice, and it is this which comes into conflict with the inherent LIE which has become an entity “in his flesh”, to the extent of being said to “be his flesh”. [italics not meant as scriptural quotes but for literary explanatory purposes].

It is this overwhelming conflict, which is driven by guilt and judgement and its inherent fear of death, which “disengages his moral drive” and leaves him floundering in no man’s land. And no man’s land provides the opportunity for the inhabitation of evil.

So there can be no good outcome, since the production of good comes from “….a sound mind….” [Timothy?]

And since there is no good outcome, there can only be a bad one. Given that there is something still left of his will that has not been completely frozen into submission, though unable to produce good, still has enough “inertia” to promote strife and trouble once it enters the conflict zone. * And this “law” that is in operation may be “the law of sin and death”.

So Paul, “of himself” is a dead man. WRETCHED. It is only when he is no longer “of himself”, being “of Christ”, that  power returns to his moral drive. He is released from judgement and condemnation, and his conscience is free to proceed with moral judgement that is in line with the gift he now has internally, the Spirit of God.   [Paul’s conflict here is mind law flesh, whereas Galatians is Spirit flesh]

This position of Paul results in the typical defensive position of people forced to hide behind their sin, because of their sin.[later edit. Paul is under wrath][2020 edit – “Law brings wrath”]

THE LAW [8d]

What a great subject. “The law is temporary”. “He has abolished the law”. “Until Christ has come” “Now that Christ has come, we are no longer under the law” “Those who are led by the Spirit are not under law”. “We are not under law”. There are many such quotes, but still people refer to the law as though they were its disciples.

If God’s Spirit is working on man, then the law is one of those agents he uses. “For we know the law is spiritual..” But it is a matter of context and relativity and understanding. ” The law is good if a man uses it lawfully…” “The law was not made for good men but for bad”. The law is called “The ministry of death”. Paul said “The law killed me”. So the purpose of the law “It was added because of transgressions UNTIL..” and Paul said “I would not have known sin if the law had not said …do not covet..” So the law was a teacher.

So the purpose of law, which in itself is a standard of right and wrong, is to bring forth a consciousness of sin, since all have sinned. The bringing forth and setting up this consciousness of sin was to prepare men to accept liberation from the law, which was to men, like a hard taskmaster, a slave driver.  Law brings wrath, the fear of judgement. But law alone was unable to produce righteousness, because, of himself, man was hopeless and helpless with regard to righteousness.

We are set free from the law because of death. The death that Jesus had, and the death that we assign ourselves to, in recognition of our own death-worthiness, and recognition that he achieved that for us. So we don’t have to “put ourselves, or our old self, to death”, because that is what Christ did for us. Sin was judged in him, in his body. One man died for all, therefore ALL DIED. The old covenant of law is dissolved by death. The new covenant of the Spirit is here. The Spirit of life.

The “Wretched man” is set free by death, Christ’s death. This death, as a necessary redemptive act, was in reality the painful absorbing of sin by the Son and the Father, as love confronted non-love, or sin. Law was enacted in this operation, and it acted on behalf of man, doing something that he himself could never do, and that is remove his own sin by the action of love..

So Christians are “dead to the law”, because they are “dead in the law” and dead in Christ, just as they are alive in him. And the law no longer has jurisdiction over them. Those who wish to perpetuate the law inside Christianity, are those who wish to keep men in slavery to sin.

law is the residual of the commandment. the commandment is personal, law is detached.

WHAT IS THE VIEW THAT MAKES PAUL A SINNER? [1458]

“Through the commandment sin becomes utterly sinful” verse 13 of Romans 7. So then Paul launches into how his flesh is utterly sinful. Why would he be doing that? Only to show that sin comes from being “in” the flesh, which is the normal situation for those “of” the flesh, which is ALL OF US. So why is he explaining that sin comes from out of his flesh, he left this problem years before when he and Jesus met and Paul became a believer.

This “sin in the flesh” is what Jesus died for, to remedy this problem, by removing people from being “in the flesh” to being “in the Spirit”. All people of the flesh, unless they cease to be “in” the flesh, will remain “in” the flesh. As such, they are those killed by the law, they are in spiritual death, because they are of flesh and not of the Spirit.

Only by rising to life with Jesus can people gain life, by gaining His Spirit, otherwise they are in death.

So why would Paul be talking about being under the law, of sinning, of flesh and death? Because he is conveying to us the relevance of these matters. He is explaining that this is how it works, that we of flesh are born into sin and death, that we are carnal, fleshly, unspiritual, dead.

That this is the state we leave to enter into another state. Just as Abraham left that which he knew to go to a place he didn’t know, but which was to be his eternal inheritance.

So if Paul is explaining the place he came from, what is the problem?

The problem is that people are saying that this is Paul the apostle, believer, Christian, doing all this bad stuff: That he has no control over not being able to do the good that he would like to do. That he only does bad things that he doesn’t want to do. That sin dwells in him. That he is indeed a prisoner and a slave to the sin nature that indwells him.

So they are saying that Paul the believer, the apostle, the Spirit filled Christian: is doing all this stuff out of his flesh, over which he has no control.

Now if the reality is that Paul is simply identifying with our flesh by explaining his own flesh, then no problem, as Paul isn’t actually saying he is DOING anything, he is simply running through his thought processes about it all. He is not actually confessing to sinning, he is, at the worst, confessing to having sinned in the past, and to being of the same sin nature as the rest of us. And has explained how, if provoked by law, that it produces sin. So what? Paul long ago left the control of his flesh by escaping into Jesus and gaining His Spirit.

But they are trying to say that Paul, Spirit filled, of the Holy Spirit is producing all this ‘stuff’ which amounts to “the works of the flesh”. That for some reason Paul is responsible to the law for who he is, he whom they claim is a Spirit filled believer, when he is only responsible to Christ, his saviour. They have him exclaiming at the end of it all “who will deliver me from this death…” But just a minute, you said he was already a Christian? CHRISTian/ There’s a clue as to who it is, surely.

Paul is saying this – that if/when placed under law, sin is provoked in the flesh. The answer is to replace law with grace. This is done by having Jesus take the lawful result of sin and then gifting us the benefit of the result.

This is his explanation of the transition from law to grace, from the old to the new covenant. From death to life. ‘When I was under law, this happened to me.’ And these are the reasons why this happened to me. Because I was “in” the flesh.

Originally the law was able to kill him because he was “of” flesh, yes. But it was able to keep him in death because he remained “in” his flesh UNTIL he left it to be “in” Jesus, in the Spirit. His old identity was cast aside, he took on his new identity in Jesus. There was no going back.

[Bondage is of the law, so if dealing with law, you will be in bondage..]

 

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT PAUL SAID “WHO WILL RESCUE ME” [1457a]

If Paul always knew his deliverer, that it was Jesus, why did he say “who will deliver me”? Obviously it is a literary “device” and not a real genuine enquiry. He knew who it was because he was already delivered, and had been for many years. He was a believer, an apostle, of course he knew the name of who it was, because he personally knew Jesus, the person who it was.

So what was the intention of saying it? It was simply the logical end of his explanation about how law sin and death worked, it was the answer to the problem of it. So Paul was not working through his own problem, [again] he was doing it on behalf of everybody else. Paul had the Holy Spirit, so he was not talking about himself in these kind of spiritual terms, he was representing humankind, that his humanity (flesh) was in common with everybody else’s “flesh”. “Flesh” is not spiritual. Though Paul was “of” flesh, he was not “in” the flesh, other than as a way of describing what happens in this condition. Yes Paul’s flesh was the same as us all, even Jesus had this flesh, he also was “of” flesh, there is nothing new there. And “in” flesh, there is no spiritual control, that control is taken by the flesh because it is given it by law. [Jesus never went “in” the flesh until the cross].

If the enquiry had been genuine, it would have meant that he was looking for salvation again, to be rescued from the predicament of law sin and death because of the flesh, being the situation he had just described, and would be a repeat of 7-5, “For while we were in the flesh..” But this would be a denial of 7-6 “But now…”.

Since he had already been saved, had already “died” to the law, there was no point in him being “saved” again. And there was no point to him being back under law again, the place he had left years ago. And why would a believer place himself back under law? Of course if he did that he would then be back in all sorts of trouble, fully akin to the description that occurs in Romans 7, and fully akin to the accompanying condemnation which would be there because of the denial of Christ. It would be a denial of the death of Jesus for “sin in the flesh”.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT PAUL SAID “WHO WILL RESCUE ME” [1457]

If Paul always knew his deliverer, that it was Jesus, why did he say “who will deliver me”? Obviously it is a literary “device” and not a real genuine enquiry. He knew who it was because he was already delivered, and had been for many years. He was a believer, an apostle, of course he knew the name of who it was, because he personally knew Jesus, the person who it was.

So what was the intention of saying it? It was simply the logical end of his explanation about how law sin and death worked, it was the answer to the problem of it. So Paul was not working through his own problem, [again] he was doing it on behalf of everybody else. Paul had the Holy Spirit, so he was not talking about himself in these kind of spiritual terms, he was representing humankind, that his humanity (flesh) was in common with everybody else’s “flesh”. “Flesh” is not spiritual. Though Paul was “of” flesh, he was not “in” the flesh, other than as a way of describing what happens in this condition. Yes Paul’s flesh was the same as us all, even Jesus had this flesh, he also was “of” flesh, there is nothing new there. And “in” flesh, there is no spiritual control, that control is taken by the flesh because it is given it by law. [Jesus never went “in” the flesh until the cross].

If the enquiry had been genuine, it would have meant that he was looking for salvation again, to be rescued from the predicament of law sin and death because of the flesh, being the situation he had just described, and would be a repeat of 7-5, “For while we were in the flesh..” But this would be a denial of 7-6 “But now…”.

Since he had already been saved, had already “died” to the law, there was no point in him being “saved” again. And there was no point to him being back under law again, the place he had left years ago. And why would a believer place himself back under law? Of course if he did that he would then be back in all sorts of trouble, fully akin to the description that occurs in Romans 7, and fully akin to the accompanying condemnation which would be there because of the denial of Christ. It would be a denial of the death of Jesus for “sin in the flesh”.

WHAT IF PAUL WAS ‘OF HIMSELF’, ON HIS OWN? [1455]

VERY EXPLORATORY THEOLOGY

A long time ago a wise man said to me, the thing is, not to be ‘of yourself’. Jesus said, “without me you can do nothing”. [One of the bible versions said Rom.7-25 “I, of myself.”]

So if Paul was without the Spirit (in Romans 7) because he was following through his argument of what happens under law; if he considers himself to be ‘in the flesh’ for the purpose of argument, then perhaps not only is he “alone” as far as Jesus and the Spirit goes, perhaps he is also “alone” as far as the law goes.

That is to say, has he reduced his presence to just that of a natural man, even not under law. He has gone through his law scenario of the past and how sin killed him. Perhaps he now goes even further back, before he was under law. I mean it is one thing to present a man as being under law, but another again to treat him in his “natural” form as simply  representing the human race.

From verse 14 onwards, that could be what he is doing, exposing his natural condition and then comparing it, himself, to the law. Knowing the law, he could be comparing himself simply as being himself and not even as under the law in this passage. In 7-1 he said “I write to those of you who know the law”, he didn’t say to those under the law, [they shouldn’t have been anyway] so perhaps we have here a similar thing, being that of course, the reality was that he himself was not under law at all, he was in and of the Spirit. But for the purpose needed, he was explaining what happens to a man in the environment of law, not just Mosaic law, but natural law as well. He does however, draw back to the subject of Mosaic law, although he calls it “the law of God”.

After all, “When the gentiles who don’t have the law, do by nature what the law contains, they show they are a law unto themselves…”

[this is out of sequence – I should have posted 1454 before this one] 

PAUL’S SPIRITUAL CREDENTIALS [1450b]

Paul, along with all the other believers in Romans chapter 6, are firmly joined with Jesus, and have been, according to Paul’s own words elsewhere,  risen with Him into the heavenlies, where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. The matter is settled, they are all now spiritual people, freed from sin and law, no longer in the flesh, and enslaved to God.

PROGRESSION.

So Paul enters chapter 7 in a progressive exploratory explanation of why the law covenant had to be replaced with the grace covenant. So he starts with the marriage analogy to explain our divorce from the law, or law, and the resultant legitimacy of our being free to join with Christ. [to whom we are now ‘betrothed’, ‘engaged to be married’.]

He states this in R7-4. “Therefore my brethren, you also were made to die to the law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.”

Then he comes up with what had been the former condition, or state of past being, 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”.

Then he concludes this with verse 6 “BUT NOW, we have been released from the law, having died to that by which we were bound, (law), so that we serve in newness of the Spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.

So both his and their credentials spiritually have been firmly established, they are where they are supposed to be, they in Jesus and Jesus (who is the Spirit) in them. They are spiritual men, they have died with Christ and been raised with Him “into the heavenlies”. They have spiritually taken part in “The First Resurrection” and will not be harmed by the Second Death. There is no going back. The matter is ‘finished’.

Having explained his SALVATION, (verse 6), he now explains his DAMNATION which was his situation when under the law, (verse 5), why the new covenant had to come, and what he was freed from.

(Supposed) REGRESSION.

Now, straightaway, in verse 14, the wrong view of it says that Paul was a Christian, a believer in this. That he was ‘spiritual’ [that he had the Spirit](which he was/did), but this is contradicted by Paul who says he was UNSPIRITUAL, (version dependent, it may say “of flesh”) of flesh, SOLD INTO BONDAGE TO SIN (law). So he is saying his origin was ‘of flesh‘. Which was bonded to sin.

So you see, we are no longer in verse 6, (salvation) we are right back to being under the LAW in verse 5 again (damnation). Sold into slavery to sin. [the opposite of our freedom having been “bought with His blood”]

Paul is explaining our origins, using himself as an example. We have to understand that his purpose here is to explain why the law had to go, why grace had to come. He goes on to explain captivity to law flesh sin and the internalised conflict (“law brings wrath”) that results from it, (and also causes it) being as how he was already in spiritual death (the law killed me) and this death was outworking as works of the flesh. It results in death, being that he was in an unredeemed “body of death”.

Paul who was “of flesh” as we all are, being of this basic creation and following in Adam’s footsteps of corruption; Paul who was now taking the position of one who is IN the flesh, which was ALL of us, we had no say in it (futility), but who was himself NOT ‘in’ flesh, never said he was, only that he was OF flesh.

But ONCE (Verse 5) he had been in the flesh like us all, before redemption. So he knew all about sin and sinning in the flesh, (he was “the chief of sinners”) and was able to draw on his total experience, even while at the present time he himself was in the Spirit, had the Spirit of Christ; to represent the position of one who was “in” the flesh.

And his statement had come after the enquiry about the nature of law itself. V13, and was in direct response to it. His subject matter is law. (the law of sin and death). V9 “And I was once alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died”. Just like Adam. And it is as one of Adam’s unredeemed race that he speaks.

But he has told us this in verse 14. “I am OF FLESH”. And in verse 18, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, THAT IS, IN MY FLESH”. What I am through Adam. And verse 25. I, MYSELF. (on my own) Am serving sin’s law, WITH MY FLESH.

So we all may be OF flesh (we are), but we certainly don’t have to be IN (the) flesh. We are to be IN the Spirit, betrothed to Christ, awaiting marriage to the Lamb.

Paul has explained how the covenant of law was unable to bring life to the spiritually dead, and why it needed to be replaced with the spiritual solution that was Christ. When law came to my natural human nature, although my rational mind can agree with it, without the moral strength that comes from the Spirit, from Jesus and His redemption of us by the death of His own flesh, my mind is overpowered by the demands of the “flesh”, my sinful nature rejected the ‘good’ law so it could enact its own desires. That is why law had to go. And by HIS death, and faith in that death, it did, and does.

[“Law brings wrath”][Spirit brings peace][In R7 under law there is unresolvable conflict between our mind (conscience) and our flesh. In Galatians, In the Spirit, there is resolvable confliction between the Spirit and our flesh][‘of flesh’ = of Adam]

 

PAUL’S SPIRITUAL CREDENTIALS [1450a]

Paul, along with all the other believers in Romans chapter 6, are firmly joined with Jesus, and have been, according to Paul’s own words elsewhere,  risen with Him into the heavenlies, where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. The matter is settled, they are all now spiritual people, freed from sin and law, no longer in the flesh, and enslaved to God.

PROGRESSION.

So Paul enters chapter 7 in a progressive exploratory explanation of why the law covenant had to be replaced with the grace covenant. So he starts with the marriage analogy to explain our divorce from the law, or law, and the resultant legitimacy of our being free to join with Christ. [to whom we are now ‘betrothed’, ‘engaged to be married’.]

He states this in R7-4. “Therefore my brethren, you also were made to die to the law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.”

Then he comes up with what had been the former condition, or state of past being, 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”.

Then he concludes this with verse 6 “BUT NOW, we have been released from the law, having died to that by which we were bound, (law), so that we serve in newness of the Spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.

So both his and their credentials spiritually have been firmly established, they are where they are supposed to be, they in Jesus and Jesus (who is the Spirit) in them. They are spiritual men, they have died with Christ and been raised with Him “into the heavenlies”. They have spiritually taken part in “The First Resurrection” and will not be harmed by the Second Death. There is no going back. The matter is ‘finished’.

Having explained his SALVATION, (verse 6), he now explains his DAMNATION which was his situation when under the law, (verse 5), why the new covenant had to come, and what he was freed from.

(Supposed) REGRESSION.

Now, straightaway, in verse 14, the wrong view of it says that Paul was a Christian, a believer in this. That he was ‘spiritual’ [that he had the Spirit](which he was/did), but this is contradicted by Paul who says he was UNSPIRITUAL, (version dependent, it may say “of flesh”)(“carnal”) of flesh, SOLD INTO BONDAGE TO SIN (law). So he is saying his origin was ‘of flesh‘. Which was bonded to sin.

So you see, we are no longer in verse 6, (salvation) we are right back to being under the LAW in verse 5 again (damnation). Sold into slavery to sin. [the opposite of our freedom having been “bought with His blood”]

Paul is explaining our origins, using himself as an example. We have to understand that his purpose here is to explain why the law had to go, why grace had to come. He goes on to explain captivity to law flesh sin and the internalised conflict (“law brings wrath”) that results from it, (and also causes it) being as how he was already in spiritual death (the law killed me) and this death was outworking as works of the flesh. It results in death, being that he was in an unredeemed “body of death”.

Paul who was “of flesh” as we all are, being of this basic creation and following in Adam’s footsteps of corruption; Paul who was now taking the position of one who is IN the flesh, which was ALL of us, we had no say in it (futility), but who was himself NOT ‘in’ flesh, never said he was, only that he was OF flesh.

But ONCE (Verse 5) he had been in the flesh like us all, before redemption. So he knew all about sin and sinning in the flesh, (he was “the chief of sinners”) and was able to draw on his total experience, even while at the present time he himself was in the Spirit, had the Spirit of Christ; to represent the position of one who was “in” the flesh.

And his statement had come after the enquiry about the nature of law itself. V13, and was in direct response to it. His subject matter is law. (the law of sin and death). V9 “And I was once alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died”. Just like Adam. And it is as one of Adam’s unredeemed race that he speaks.

But he has told us this in verse 14. “I am OF FLESH”. And in verse 18, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, THAT IS, IN MY FLESH”. What I am through Adam. And verse 25. I, MYSELF. (on my own) Am serving sin’s law, WITH MY FLESH.

So we all may be OF flesh (we are), but we certainly don’t have to be IN (the) flesh. We are to be IN the Spirit, betrothed to Christ, awaiting marriage to the Lamb.

Paul has explained how the covenant of law was unable to bring life to the spiritually dead, and why it needed to be replaced with the spiritual solution that was Christ. When law came to my natural human nature, although my rational mind can agree with it, without the moral strength that comes from the Spirit, from Jesus and His redemption of us by the death of His own flesh, my mind is overpowered by the demands of the “flesh”, my sinful nature rejected the ‘good’ law so it could enact its own desires. That is why law had to go. And by HIS death, and faith in that death, it did, and does.

[“Law brings wrath”][Spirit brings peace][In R7 under law there is unresolvable conflict between our mind (conscience) and our flesh. In Galatians, In the Spirit, there is resolvable confliction between the Spirit and our flesh][‘of flesh’ = of Adam]

 

PAUL’S SPIRITUAL CREDENTIALS [1450]

Paul, along with all the other believers in Romans chapter 6, are firmly joined with Jesus, and have been, according to Paul’s own words elsewhere,  risen with Him into the heavenlies, where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. The matter is settled, they are all now spiritual people, freed from sin and law, no longer in the flesh, and enslaved to God.

PROGRESSION.

So Paul enters chapter 7 in a progressive exploratory explanation of why the law covenant had to be replaced with the grace covenant. So he starts with the marriage analogy to explain our divorce from the law, or law, and the resultant legitimacy of our being free to join with Christ. [to whom we are now ‘betrothed’, ‘engaged to be married’.]

He states this in R7-4. “Therefore my brethren, you also were made to die to the law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.”

Then he comes up with what had been the former condition, or state of past being, 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”.

Then he concludes this with V6 “BUT NOW, we have been released from the law, having died to that by which we were bound, (law), so that we serve in newness of the Spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.

So both his and their credentials spiritually have been firmly established, they are where they are supposed to be, they in Jesus and Jesus (who is the Spirit) in them. They are spiritual men, they have died with Christ and been raised with Him “into the heavenlies”. They have taken part in “The First Resurrection” and will not be harmed by the Second Death. There is no going back. The matter is ‘finished’.

Having explained his SALVATION, (verse 6), he now explains his DAMNATION which was his situation when under the law, (verse 5), why the new covenant had to come, and what he was freed from.

(Supposed) REGRESSION.

Now, straightaway, in verse 14, the wrong view of it says that Paul was a Christian, a believer in this. That he was ‘spiritual’ [that he had the Spirit](which he was/did), but this is contradicted by Paul who says he was UNSPIRITUAL, (version dependent, it may say “of flesh”) of flesh, SOLD INTO BONDAGE TO SIN (law). So he is saying his origin was ‘of flesh‘. Which was bonded to sin.

So you see, we are no longer in verse 6, (salvation) we are right back to being under the LAW in verse 5 again (damnation). Sold into slavery to sin. [the opposite of our freedom having been “bought with His blood”]

Paul is explaining our origins, using himself as an example. We have to understand that his purpose here is to explain why the law had to go, why grace had to come. He goes on to explain captivity to law flesh sin and the internalised conflict (“law brings wrath”) that results from it, (and also causes it) being as how he was already in spiritual death (the law killed me) and this death was outworking as works of the flesh. It results in death, being that he was in an unredeemed “body of death”.

Paul who was “of flesh” as we all are, being of this basic creation and following in Adam’s footsteps of corruption; Paul who was now taking the position of one who is IN the flesh, which was ALL of us, we had no say in it (futility), but who was himself NOT ‘in’ flesh, never said he was, only that he was OF flesh.

But ONCE (Verse 5) he had been in the flesh like us all, before redemption. So he knew all about sin and sinning in the flesh, (he was “the chief of sinners”) and was able to draw on his total experience, even while at the present time he himself was in the Spirit, had the Spirit of Christ; to represent the position of one who was “in” the flesh.

And his statement had come after the enquiry about the nature of law itself. V13, and was in direct response to it. His subject matter is law. (the law of sin and death). V9 “And I was once alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died”. Just like Adam. And it is as one of Adam’s unredeemed race that he speaks.

But he has told us this in verse 14. “I am OF FLESH”. And in verse 18, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, THAT IS, IN MY FLESH”. What I am through Adam. And verse 25. I, MYSELF. (on my own) Am serving sin’s law, WITH MY FLESH.

So we all may be OF flesh (we are), but we certainly don’t have to be IN (the) flesh. We are to be IN the Spirit, betrothed to Christ, awaiting marriage to the Lamb.

Paul has explained how the covenant of law was unable to bring life to the spiritually dead, and why it needed to be replaced with the spiritual solution that was Christ. When law came to my natural human nature, although my rational mind can agree with it, without the moral strength that comes from the Spirit, from Jesus and His redemption of us by the death of His own flesh, my mind is overpowered by the demands of the “flesh”, my sinful nature rejected the ‘good’ law so it could enact its own desires. That is why law had to go. And by HIS death, and faith in that death, it did, and does.

[“Law brings wrath”][Spirit brings peace][In R7 under law there is unresolvable conflict between our mind (conscience) and our flesh. In Galatians, In the Spirit, there is resolvable confliction between the Spirit and our flesh][‘of flesh’ = of Adam]

 

ADDRESSING THE MAIN PROBLEMS OF ROMANS 7 [1447a]

Verse 18. No good in my flesh. Verse 19. I practise evil. Verse 21. It is a principle that evil is present in me.

So now for a casual look at what appears to be the main problems in this debate.

Firstly, it has to be stated that verses 5 and 6 clearly state the boundaries of the matter, 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.” So this clearly appears to say that the problem is that we were “IN THE FLESH”, and it was WHILE we were there, that sin in the form of SINFUL PASSIONS were AROUSED BY THE LAW.

That appears clear cut, that “being in the flesh” was the condition from which Jesus saved us. [removed us] And in a discussion about law, which this appears to be, one has to conclude that ‘this’ person was your typical “under law” person, who was not a believer, not a Christian, and not saved. In other words, at the time, probably a Jew in many cases. (Paul was a Jew).

Now verse 6 says “BUT NOW, we have been released from the law, having died to that by which we were bound, (presumably talking about dying with Jesus) so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter”. (Paul uses the “us”/”we” at this time, not “I”).

So all the elements are there which speak about release from the law, which releases us from the problem situation of sin induced in us because of sinful passions aroused by the law.

And this HAS to be taken as the point of salvation, as the new birth. Clearly, operating in the law was the whole issue here, which caused us to be confined to being IN THE FLESH. And henceforth operating from out of “the flesh”. And clearly, this is what was being described in chapter 5 and 6, they had experienced this transition from verse 5 to verse 6.

So it would appear that the matter is resolved – released from the law, believers are now freely operating in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Fruit of the Spirit is there, instead of works of the flesh.

Now, as someone has said, why would a believer then go messing around in or with the law? We know as per the Galatians, that to re-enter into law is death all over again.

No one that I know of, has answered this question of why a believer, a Christian, released from slavery to sin under the law, would then again enter into any arrangement whatsoever, with the law? As Spock would say, it is illogical.

And yet that is what one side is saying, that Paul is now submitting himself again to the captivity of sin, which was the whole problem in the first place. “Law brings wrath”. Where there is law, there is the empowerment of sin.

Surely NO ONE is going to deny that the whole context of 7 is LAW? That Paul is not submitting himself to the demands and conditions imposed by LAW? And yet they propose that Paul again enters into the very same potential manifestation of sin that he had before chapter 6, and which is clearly stated in 7-5.

If we look at verses 5 and 6, we will see that Paul is now apparently conforming again to that which is stated in verse 5. We will observe that NOTHING of verse 6 is implemented, mentioned, or involved; there is no Spirit, no success, certainly no joy, and no apparent Christian contribution at all to righteousness. To say this Paul is the Paul transformed from being initially on the Damascus road persecuting Christians, to the Paul who met Jesus and then largely went on to instigate the Christian church in the power of the Spirit, is surely “drawing a long bow”.

It hardly seems worthwhile going any further – As I said before, no one has successfully explained why Paul would be in the power of the Spirit one minute, and in the power of the flesh the next. More to the point, being IN THE FLESH, a complete denial of Jesus and the faith itself. AND ALL COMING ABOUT BY REFERENCING THE LAW. THE WHOLE POINT OF EVERYTHING WAS TO LEAVE THE LAW IN FAVOUR OF THE SPIRIT.

A lot of the initial problem was because people could not let go of the law. All sorts of people for one reason or the other. Differing theology, being connected to sects or semi-Judaistic groups, modern day Pharisees of many different persuasions, clinging to some set of particular laws or other, seemingly little different from the Pharisees of old. 630 commandments or whatever, brought back to whatever quantity their particular group may find advisable in order to  shore up their belief system. We have enough trouble with 10.

So while we wait for an answer as to why Paul would be playing around with the law again, proving that it can’t be kept, especially without Jesus the Spirit on hand, people keep talking about particular points of failure in R7 that are obviously going to be there because we are talking about law, about the origin of failure and the situation from which we are extracted by the grace of God. Not the situation we continue to remain in because of that grace, NO, the situation from which we are extracted, die to, leave in favour of the Spirit and His power to overcome the things talked about in terms of Paul’s FAILURE? Under LAW?

Oh well, verse 18. Paul finds no good in himself. But not just himself as himself, it is himself as his flesh that is spoken of. Just as he spoke of himself in terms of his mind, here he talks of himself in terms of his flesh. This is because he is in accordance with 7-5, he is, to all appearances, IN the flesh. In verse 14 he said that he was OF flesh (like everybody is) and the things he describes are those which arise from being (his identity) IN flesh. (although they never at the time arose from HIS flesh, his reference in this regard was to his past).

So there is no good in his flesh. This is no surprise, this is what has been said time and time again, that the natural birth leads to death, is in fact already in death, we need to be “born again”. This is nothing new, under law or without law all flesh is dead, so it is little wonder he speaks AS a dead person (The law killed me).

Verse 19. I practise evil. Well again, the whole question is moot until the original question of just why Paul would reference law in any way at all is answered. (There is only one reason, which is to inform us how law flesh sin death works, which necessitated him taking the position of one under law, (because he is referencing flesh) in order to show what happens).

So evil comes out of the flesh, out of natural born nature, which is why Jesus came along to CHANGE this situation, that people stop living this way, that they “go and sin no more” as Jesus said.

Verse 21. It is a principle that evil is present in me. This principle is mentioned  verse 17, sin indwells him, IN HIS FLESH. Verse 20 it is sin that does it, not himself of his rational mind, he is a slave to it. Verse 23, he is a prisoner of it. 24 WHO will free him? (as if he didn’t know). And so the same picture is presented again, but this time, unlike chapter 5 and chapter 6, he goes into all the detail concerning this failure of man under law so as to make it quite clear just how that works.

This principle is stated in the conclusion of verse 25. That in the natural man, especially one familiar with the properties of law, there is both the admission of the recognition of righteousness and the desire to perform it, and the recognition of the failure to perform it because of greater overriding desires of the natural self.

The overall situation is the detailed explanation of why reform is necessary.

Perhaps the two views are that one group are looking to the change of environment from flesh to Spirit in which freedom of condemnation is given for the pursuit of that righteousness; and the other is expressing that it is necessary to provide freedom from condemnation in order to supply that environment of freedom.

Of course, both are sort of true, because it is freedom from condemnation that releases us into whatever form of righteous spiritual expression we visualise and attempt to make our goal. But there still remains the suspicion that freedom in failure will not encourage success as much as freedom in victory.

Although the argument seems to centre more around providing latitude for people to sin, based on the reality that they do sin. I prefer to accept that the victory is complete so I can pursue it in that fashion, rather than have “the flesh” hanging over me as some yet to be vanquished “boogy man” or “Damocles sword”.

We would surely have to accept that 7-6 was inferring that this person was now no longer “in the flesh”. R8 verse 9 says that you are NOT in the flesh if the Spirit is in you. The conditions of R7 clearly match those of the unbeliever in 7-5, as one “in the flesh” and therefore not as one “in the Spirit”. And of course, as being under law.

V14. “I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin”. This is of course, a distinct ‘giveaway’ because it combines the three elements of “flesh” and “bondage” and “sin” together. ANY of these three elements taken individually would be enough to prove that this person was a representation of someone in bondage to sin by the power of law over the flesh, because, being OF flesh, they were by nature, IN the flesh.

Still looking for an admission that the context of R7 is LAW, and an answer as to what Paul is doing there.

[This is not Paul the apostle speaking of weaknesses because of his flesh, but of weaknesses because of the law, which experience he is reliving.][we do not see Spirit until R8 which then becomes the solution to R7, the problem][which is fundamentally hypothetical][Paul uses “I” where before he used “us” because he was speaking of his personal (past) sin and the lessons which that taught him]

[The question now arises, could Paul be speaking of his ‘natural’ experience BEFORE and APART FROM law?][Is he, in verses 14 and 22, comparing his natural life before the Mosaic law yet still under ‘natural’ law in the flesh?][law ‘killed him’ yes, but we were dead before Mosaic law, we all have a conscience by whatever means. “When the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature what the law contains..”][Is he using verses 14 and 22 as a “touch stone” between his natural flesh self and “the” law?][Is he explaining that sin was always there and the law just brought it out? Interesting…][but he still is not a believer].