General idea: One of the Big Christian questions is answered in this verse; does the law and the O.T. still apply to me? The answer is a yes and no: No to the rules and yes to the Spirit and the virtue of it Paul is excited and is agonizing with the conflict of our sinful nature and what we are saved to do. In so much in the English we feel he is sounding more like Dr. Seuss than the Apostle of God. But in fact Paul's argument is logical and sound. That we can "delight in the law of God," even though we cannot keep it. Even though we will have conflicts with our sinful nature and His Holiness, in our faith and the ways of the world, nevertheless verse 25 lays to waste that conflict in the ultimate and final sense. We will prevail through our Lord Jesus Christ. That we can take our comfort and that through Christ the power of the Holy Spirit will give us the means to persevere and overcome all things: If not in this temporary life, then in the life to come. So our hope and trust is purely through our deliverance by Christ, (14-25)."
1.The law is perfect and not at fault, it is human nature and our depraved hearts that caused the divorce.
a.The law reflects God's character, His holiness. It shows us our sins and inadequacies. The law not only defines sin but provokes us to react to God by either running to or away from Him.
b.We must realize the veracity of this struggle and fight against in the power of Spirit and the Word (1 Cor. 4:4).
c.The law is spiritual, we are carnal. The law is perfect and we are corrupt. If we ignore the O.T. and the law we will not realize our sin! The Pharisees manipulated and misrepresented it (Matt. 5-7).
d.The law depended on our righteousness, grace depends on Christ's righteousness that covers us.
e.Vs. 7 "Lust" or "Covet", (Gr. epithumia), is desire, craving, longing, and desire for what is forbidden; the active side of a vice, this is a word comprehensive in meaning, not limited to sexual desire! "Young" gives it as, "over desire." "I had not known lust (to be sin) except the law had said..."
f.Paul even said the law can motivate us to sin, thus what offensive sinners we are. He realized that he could not live under law and be free from lust and the evil desires of the human heart. He knew he was breaking the law but could not stop it. Thus why people want to escape the law, but without Christ we escape only to find ourselves in Hell!
2.Sin is the great deceiver (Gen 3:13; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:4). People tend to like extremes, and to live as they please, but they cannot ignore the law. The law brings out the worst in us, while the love of Christ brings out the best (Lev. 18:5; Deut. 30:15-19).
a.The law cannot change us, only reveal what is already there.
b.Sin deceives, the law revels truth, and Christ brings us the hope.
c.The law cannot enable us to do good, because by nature we are bad.
d.The law is absurd to those who see their hope in themselves or in pleasure, and have closed themselves off from Christ's work.
e.The law cannot set us free from sin; it only shows the chains of our bondage.
f.The law does not take into account our failings or weaknesses, it is absolute. Once we realize who we are to the law, that we have no hope in ourselves, then the Spirit will convict us. I am a guilty sinner and have no right, is our start for hope (James 2:10).
g.What causes despair (vs. 18)? There is nothing we can do until we realize who Christ is and who we are!
3.We have no right to turn sin into a right (Ezek. 37:3-12)!
a.We cannot live with just common sense and our religion. Our struggle is complex, we are new creatures, yet we still have our fallen nature. Thus the struggle is between the dominance of the two, and God's purpose and our growth and maturity is found here (I Cor. 4:4; Gal 2:20; Phil.. 2:12-18; 3:20).
b.One aspect of our being is agony as Christ bore it; the other is triumph as Christ did after the cross, and we are in total identification from suffering to freedom in Christ. We are then to loath sin and embrace Christ.
c.One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to bring us to do what the Lord desires us to do, away from our desires (Gal. 5:22-23).
d.The Holy Spirit keeps our love relationship with Christ alive and exciting, that we desire Him and not our ambitions and sin.
e.His Spirit will continue to reveal our nature and His Holiness; we are to work it out (Phil. 2:1-18).
f.We are not to live a separated life (Rom. 6:15-23), we are to be true and surrendered to Christ, as a good marriage; where the spouses are in love and supportive and not there as an arrangement for convenience. Our role is being a fighter of sin and being the ones who embrace Christ.
g.When we are "ourselves", we are just planning our own funeral, thus, we need to carry it to the end so we are dead to ourselves, then we can let God be God!
We desire to have our cake and eat it too, to have sin and Christ. We struggle to compartmentalize and rationalize, but the key is "struggle". Christians have this "flesh" struggle only, the people of the world can live in comfort and harmony with sin, and rationalize it; just watch the day time talk shows! The only thing we can do is fall at His feet dead to ourselves (Duet. 33:27; John 3:30; Rev. 1:17). Righteousness cannot be achieved by any human effort; we can do nothing outside of Christ. God's will is in complete control, we must remove whatever is blocking us to realize this; pleasure and choices that are deliberately contrary to His character. Unless we see what is blocking us to see sin and what is blocking us to remove the sin, we will not be able to do so! Allow the Spirit and the law to show you! Then be obedient! Our relief and joy is in Christ; unspeakable gratitude for our deliverance must flow from within us. We cannot struggle in vain to ourselves for what Christ did for free.
1. Have you read Dr. Seuss as a child or read it to your children? If so how did you like his use of words? Did you feel like Dr. Seuss got his inspiration from this passage, as it seems Paul is so excited he cannot describe what the Lord is having him say?
2. Have you ever been so excited that your words came stumbling out like nonsense?
3. What has been the greatest conflict in your life?
4. What is your delight in? That is, what gives you the greatest pleasure in life?
5. Is there any doubt that Christ has control in your life? If not, what is in the way?
6. What will it take for your trust in our Lord be 110%?
7. What are some of the biggest causes of divorce in your opinion? How are they similar to our 'breakups' with our Lord?
8. What reflects by your character?
9. When coworkers and fellow students see you as a Christian, they may get their perceptions and ideas on God from you. Such as if a Christian is a jerk, then they may see God as uncaring. What do you think of this?
10. How do you think people see God through your character and interrelations with others?
11. What do you see as your inadequacy?
12. What ideas of God get manipulated and misrepresented today by misguided Christian's and/ or by the media?
13. Have you struggled with lust? If so what steps do you take to prevents its ugly head from affecting your relationships?
14. What brings out the worst in you?
15. What brings out the best in you?
16. How has sin deceived you?
17. What indicators do you use to determine right from wrong?
18. What are the ideas and things that the average person on the street uses to determine right from wrong?
19. What circumstances have revealed truth in your life? (personal and / or observed)
20. If you say, "Christ brings us the hope", and then someone said back to you "so what!" How would you respond?
21. What enables you to do good, vs. bad?
22. Have you or have you known someone who has closed themselves off from Christ's work (either letting Christ work in you or working for Christ)? If so what were the factors that caused it to fail and what would have or will rekindle that relationship?
23. When people put their hope in themselves or in pleasure, such as the MTV generation what do they expect to get out of it in the long run?
24. "The law does not take into account our failings or weakness, it is absolute." So what does?
25. If you or someone you know has not been convicted by the Holy Spirit, what needs to happen for the Spirit to convict?
26. What causes despair (vs. 18)?
27. There is nothing we can do until we realize who Christ is and who we are! So what did you, or do you need to do to make this happen?
28. We cannot turn a sin into a right, so why do so many people try?
29. What can happen if we just use 'common sense' and our 'religion' to make decisions?
30. We as Christians still struggle between the dominance of our fallen nature and new life. So how can this struggle help you know God, yourself and grow in maturity?
31. Think of your favorite sport. What would your spiritual life be like if it was converted into a score; you and God as your coach vs. Satan and the world, how is the game going?
32. What do you think of the daytime talk shows or news that show people (of the world) who live in comfort and harmony with their sin, who fight for it and even rationalize it?
33. What was the key that unlocked your will to loathe sin and embrace Christ?
34. What steps would a Christian need to do to live a separated life from Christ?
35. How can the church be a fighter of sin while being the ones who show the world how to embrace Christ?
36. What needs to be removed from you or someone you know whose faulty thinking is blocking you/ them from realizing that misplaced overabundance of pleasure and bad choices are deliberately contrary to His character and call for our life?
37. Read Duet. 33:27; Rev. 1:17, What do you need to do in your life and in the life of your church to fall at His feet dead to ourselves?
38. When we are "ourselves", we are just planning our own funeral, thus, we need to ____________________________?
39. Righteousness cannot be achieved by any human effort; we can do nothing outside of Christ. So why do we Christians worry so much?
40. God's will is in complete control, so what can you do to live your Christian life with complete trust and faith?
"The Law:" Does the law and the O.T. still apply to me? The answer is a yes and no: No to the rules and yes to the Spirit and the virtue of it. Basically the OT was fulfilled in the NT. We no longer have to follow the rules of the Law / OT. The Reformation and the Protestant church were founded on grace, and a lot of Christians think the law / OT has been voided. However this is not the teaching of Scripture (Psalm 19; 119: 9-16; Rom. 7:7-25; 8:3-4; I Cor. 7:19; Gal. 3:24). The law has three purposes according to Calvin.
1. To be a mirror to reveal what is sin, to show us our depravity and need for a Savior. While at the same to show us His holiness.
2. The law is the restraint to protect good people from evil by the "dread of punishment", "to be the schoolmaster", and show God's justice to people.
3. To show us what pleases God, and what is offensive. So we know how to worship and respond to Him.
We as Christians are to love, obey, and serve Him, and the law reveals the way (John 14:15). We need to realize what sins arouse us so we can form a defense and remain as pure and holy for God's glory as possible (Rom. 7). Our freedom is redemption, which means we do not have to fear the curse or God's wrath and punishment from our mistakes. So that through our justification we can obey Him, and His moral law (Duet. 5:1-22; 10:1214; 11:1).
Thus, we have no need to follow the Sabbath (Col 2:16-19). Although our worship is essential and is not dependent on what day and time we do it as it did in the OT (Rom. 12:2; Heb. 4:8-11). The same is how we groom ourselves (Lev. 14:9; 19:27), we should be well groomed but the particulars no longer matter. it is the heart after God that does (Duet. 6:5; Mark 12:29-33).And we should strive to do all we can do to remain virtuous and the OT gives us the standards for this (Duet. 7:6-16; 1 Kings 3:6; Psalm 119:1-f; Mal. 3:16; Col. 3:12-14)
(Condensed from "Walking by Faith: Impressions from the book of Romans," by Richard J. Krejcir ©1998, 2001, 2004) http://www.intothyword.com/