“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” Romans 7:19-20 NKJV
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 7 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
Freed from the Law
7 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law [a]has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 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. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
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.
Law Cannot Save from Sin
13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to 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 will deliver me from this body of 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.
- Romans 7:1 rules
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
Last week, we challenged each other to take a few actions daily to help get us some healthy roots and to root out any sins within us. I want to warn you about scheduling your walk with the Lord – there needs to be a balance. However, if you see in one area or another, or while you are studying a certain thing, you can schedule it in to get yourself into the practice of doing it – BUT if it is a scheduled activity, make sure you ALSO pure yourself out in the task and mean it with all your heart. It will never come natural if you don’t. (And if it already comes natural, but you are studying it and want to reinforce the study, like here, then the same applies.) I hope you, like I am, are serious about making more changes in our lives and becoming more Christ-like.
PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen
HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for an explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)
Now, staying humble and honest with ourselves I am learning is hard. I spend lot of time reminding you all to keep heavenly focused and eyes on Jesus. But we also need to look inward occasionally to root out bad habits and sinful ways and grow. I hate long hard examinations of self. I would rather say let’s do it today and be done. Some days I look inward and God doesn’t show me anything. Some days He shows me parts of me even I try not to look at. But He already sees it and knows it and so we might as well deal with it.
Most of the Bible is simple: If it is good it is God and if it is bad then it is the devil. Even consequence of the curse fall into the category of bad/devil. The kids in children’s church would understand this quickly – but adults tend to complicate things and make it all gray. A child would say sickness is bad/devil and an adult might say, but God leaves us in our afflictions for reasons we do not understand – shout out to my Friend Chris and his limited faith (yes, I am calling him out and told him so.) It feels to me like that is slowly bankrupting God – who is able and wants us blessed. And not in the prosperity teaching ways – he healed, therefore it is simple logic that proves he wants us healed. It seems to me we (church global and in general and not necessarily we as in you and me) are content without works and signs and wonders – BUT I DO NOT SERVE A DEAD GOD. He still heals.
(Side note – please pray for Chris’s friend who was healthy and planning his wedding, when suddenly he finds himself on life support and in desperate need to a new heart. Our God doesn’t need to wait for a donor heart, he is able to fix the one he has! I know we do not want to get our hopes up and get hurt, but God doesn’t want to hurt us, he wants our faith build up so we know Him and what He is able to do!)
Before I run off on a tangent of the things on my heart – let us look at chapter seven and get free – starting with the Law.
“1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.”
What law is Paul referring to? Since many of us were not raised Jewish, we do not understand the slight differences and nuances to the law (which is why he says he is speaking to those who do know these things) – and that there are a couple categories of law tied up in there. One is atonement law which Jesus fulfilled. Another is civil law which Paul is referring to here and we know because it is a civil example he uses. And so on.
“4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.”
Hold up! Dead to the civil law? So now we can lust and remarry and steal and break all the rules? No, because our marriage, our relationship, with Jesus and love for him will prevent us from becoming anarchy. But this doesn’t mean the civil laws governing the land go away, they still reign over Israel today and God, please bless Israel in our current situations there. Amen. Just like we have civil laws and runs in my nation and you do in your nations. Laws are needed for those not dead to sin.
“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.”
Aroused by the law. This isn’t too hard to understand. You ever see a wet paint sign on a public post or bench or something – the first thing you want to do is go touch it and see if it is still wet. The sign is telling you not to touch it but the first thing you want to do is touch it!!
You ever fast sugar or go on a diet? But then you see cookies in the cabinet. You may not even like cookies… but now they are all you can think of! Why? Because you are told you can’t. It is literally human nature – it is our flesh and how it I made. It is the curse of sin and death that gave that to us. It is what we are saying we need to die to. It needs to stop peeking out its ugly head!
“6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”
We needed to be delivered from the bondage of the law and freed to be obedient to Jesus. It is a shift in the spirit and a shift in the heart and mind. In the flesh and outward appearance we followed the law before this shift happens and we follow it after the shift happens. But before it was duty and after it was love for Jesus. Not to mention, sin gets an advantage in law and no advantage in love.
“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.”
Paul says that children are innocent and pure for a while and then we start teaching them the rules and with the rules they learn the evil with the good. I worked in the family court system for 10 years and I tell you, I have seen babies acting out in manners of evil I would never have thought possible. One psychologist says the baby is innocent and must have been taught. The other says all men are born bad but are taught to be good. I know wickedness is abounding in ways Paul never could have imagined. Let us put those special circumstances aside despite the fact that they are on the rise. The Bible says we were born under the curse, so sin is a temptation even for children and demonic possession is a real possibility in those cases. However in general, we see children wanting to make their parents happy by doing good.
“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.”
Let me give another example. Growing up in the 80’s my parents prohibited us from listening to secular music. So when we heard it on the bus, on a random radio, in a store, at school, etc. we really focused and ate it up. We were SO UNCOOL for not knowing all the tunes. If my sister discovered a song before me she would rub it in and if I found one, I would share it so we could be like the other kids. With my son, when he was little, we just didn’t listen to music. And when we did it was Christian. I draw no special attention to secular and prohibit it. It worked well. He still doesn’t follow pop culture music. Even though for his teen years I was not serving God and permitted it.
The point is, I was not permitted and it became death to me – I snuck around. I told my mom the band Genesis was the book of Genesis on tape. She thought I might memorize the book the way I listened to it in my walkman so much. Sin took advantage of the situation and lied to me and killed me. Opening a door for disobedience, rebellion, lying, sneaking, and such.
“12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.”
I know, this seems to contradict. How can something that brought death, be holy? Because in the spirit – the law is the outline of “being separate”, “coming out from among them”, and “being holy for I am holy”. We must understand the law is not evil or bad and dying from the law of flesh is freedom to do those very things in love. Now that I am an adult I have no desire to listen to secular music and I love to listen to worship music and bask in his glory music. In that area, I died to my flesh and live in the spirit and seemingly obey my parents – but now it is a compulsion to be filled with heavenly music and has nothing to do with what I was told not to do.
Side note: is listening to secular music wrong? For me it is – but it come from this history where it represented disobedience and sneaking and death to me. For you, you must figure it out on your own. If I tell you not to – I have handed you a law and put you into slavery. So here are the steps to figuring out the answer – or frankly, if anything is right or wrong: First, seek the answer prayerfully asking God and LISTENING for his answer. Then start back at that list of sins we are challenging each other to repent from. Does the music (or whatever else you are trying to figure out if it is wrong) associate at all to any of those categories of sins we are repenting of. (Remember, repentance means we are turning away from.) Then pop over to Philippians 4:8 – there is a list of things we can think of. Moreover, a list of things we should focus on and strive to fill our minds with more and more! And if you find you and your music are glorifying God – you are good!
“13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.”
I always say – we make the devil so much smaller than he is. He is so cunning and tricky – he turned the incorruptible Holiness of God and corrupted our path to it. In the path between our carnal, fleshly physical existence and the spirit, our hearts must stay humble and pure and our motivation must be a longing and hunger for God – anything else can pull us off course and into death.
“14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”
The language here is clear, so if you did not get it, read it again out loud or use a bible app to listen to it out loud. Hearing this makes it clearer. When I first returned to God I would pray while smoking a cigarette saying God, I do not want to, but I can’t help it. You may or may not have ever been there. But these kids these days saying they are born this way and can’t help it, they understand this (they do not understand it is wrong, they understand they cannot help it). It is true and biblical. You and I cannot help it, control it or even manage it. This is why we must kill it – die to sin.
“19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”
It is the sin that literally makes you do it. This sin must die – there is no other deliverance from sin. Now my smoking, I had to first be free from addiction, and then I had to die to sin. God broke the addiction in me, but I kept lighting up after a meal, as it was my custom. I needed more than deliverance I needed to lay down my sinful man.
“21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to 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.”
We all had to die to the sinful nature, and still do when we pick and choose what we want to lay down and what we don’t. We find we also pick things pack up during a weakness when faced with a temptation. We aren’t perfect until we get to heaven. God knows this. And God loves us so much he is showing us, we can’t do it without Him. We are helpless here in this cycle. We can easily get dragged into legalism and more law, while trying to wiggle free from the first law. We are a beautiful hot mess. And God loves you just as you are. And Jesus loves you right there in the confusion of sin and law and desiring to do what is good. And the Holy Spirit still fills you while you work out your salvation and how to escape this bondage to sin and death while striving for a perfection we cannot achieve. Give yourself the same grace God gives you. He is not here to condemn you or the process. He is here to partner with you. The Holy Spirit will fill you with life, Jesus will take your hand and lead us into the holiness of God. And it will happen NOT because it is the right thing and good – but because of God’s love for us. (and our loving obedience to the draw of love)
“24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of 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.”
Here Paul says with in his mind he serves the law of God – what I just described as love. Later writings of Paul he refers back to this but says “in spirit” instead of with the mind. But Paul learned to walk “In Him” and “In the Spirit” – and so he later teaches that when we are in the flesh we serve the flesh and when we are in spirit we serve God. I am unsure how to explain being in the spirit. Paul goes in circles trying to. I can tell you there are so many indescribable things about really believing all of this and serving God.
The biggest take away today is that we all have sin struggle. It may not be with one specific sin, but with sin in general – Paul did too. And even though it’s a never ending task we must continue to root out anything unrighteous. The exercise of dying to this fleshly, sinful, nature is a great metaphor for understanding it – but we aren’t really two beings. We are still just one being. It is just a way to try to explain an abstract concept.
These have been hard and demanding chapters that really make us feel pretty bad about our helplessness against sin. But it is bathed in grace and love. We are all here together, same as Paul. We are helpless by ourselves – so that when God helps us, He is glorified. Yes, we cannot even serve Him without Him. He gets the glory in every aspect of us.
I have asked before, would you die for Jesus if he asked you to? And we all thoughtfully prayed about it. Well, today He has asked us to. So think and pray about it today and when you go to sleep tonight take a moment in silent prayer to Him, and lay down the sinful nature. Look into getting baptized, if you have not yet been. But if you have been, recommit – lay it down again. My mom used to say nail it to the cross if it won’t stay down / won’t stay dead. Sin is not Jesus – it cannot resurrect itself. You can go get it and bring it back – but please do not. Salvation is a free gift – but serving God required this sacrifice. That we give up our sinful desires and lusts, and just hunger for God. So tonight, lay down your life for him in prayer and ask for His help with the process since we cannot do it without His help. And get up tomorrow as a new man, refreshed, and starting over. And be prepared – some of you will mean it and face quite a spiritual battle. Things die easily on TV and in movies. But in real life death is a struggle because the thing dying will fight for its life. Some will have an experience. Others of you will not feel anything at all. Just a void. You may even wonder if you are doing it right – and that doubt is the struggle it will give you for its life. Overcome doubt with belief. Some of you will spend the night being accused and condemned by the enemy and your own sinful man. Remember you have the authority to shut it down. Or if they want to point out everything I ever did I will repent all over again for each accusation just to show them, and myself, once and for all I am forgiven and set free. And when there is a death or loss – we as humans do need comforting. So finish the process with asking the Holy Spirit for a fresh overflowing in filling and ask Him to comfort you. Praise and thank God and glorify him.
Tomorrow morning come back a new man (or woman) and ready for chapter 8!
Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!