Intro. Chapter 7 seems to be Paul's account of his struggle of trying to attain a righteous standing before God by keeping the law, after his conversion on the Damascus road.
I. WHAT PAUL HAS TO SAY ABOUT THE LAW IN THIS CHAPTER.
A. By the law is the knowledge of sin.
1. Every man who is not in Christ is under the law.
2. The law shows to us God's righteous standards and brings the gavel down on us pronouncing us guilty before God.
a. Verse 7 the law brought to me the awareness of my sin.
b. I would not know that to desire something that belongs to someone else was sin unless the law said, "Thou shalt not covet."
3. In Galatians 3
Paul said that the law was our schoolmaster to to drive us to Christ.
4. When the commandment came, sin revived and I died. That is the law sentenced me to death.
5. The commandments that showed me the way God wanted me to live, actually condemned me to death.
B. The law is holy, and the commandments are holy, just and good.
1. But they revealed how exceedingly sinful I am.
2. The problem is not the law, it my sinful nature.
3. In verse 16 Paul says, "I consent to the law that it is good."
4. In verse 22 he says, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man."
a. I cannot really fault the law.
b. I agree with the commandments.
c. What a different world this would be if we all lived by these commandments.
C. It is important to understand that the law is spiritual. It was intended to govern the attitudes from which our actions spring.
1. This is a revelation that Paul received after his conversion.
2. Prior to his conversion he was a Pharisee, and spent his life seeking to keep the law, outwardly and actually thought he was doing a pretty good job.
3. As a Pharisee he was interpreting the law as rules that were laid down to govern the outward life and activities.
a. He could say of his life as a Pharisee, "Concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."
b. Jesus pointed out how the Pharisee's had been misinterpreting the law.
1. He said, "You have heard that it has been said, you shall not murder, and whoever murders is in danger of the judgment, but I say to you, whoever hates his brother without cause is in danger of judgment."
2. You have heard that it has been said, "You shall not commit adultery, but I say unto you, if you look at a woman and lust after her in your heart you have committed adultery."
c. They had been interpreting the law as regulating my physical activities, but the law is spiritual and was intended to govern the attitudes from which the actions spring.
4. This is what Paul meant when he said, "When the commandment came, sin revived and I died." That is, when I realized that the law was spiritual, it condemned the wrong attitudes.
a. I have hated people I never killed.
b. I have desired things that I never stole.
c. I have said, "Look at that fool." concerning crazy drivers on the freeway.
D. The law has power over a man as long as he lives.
1. However I am now dead, crucified with Christ, thus dead to the law, for the law does not speak to those who are dead.
2. vs. 6 We are now delivered from the law, and now serve God in the newness of spirit, not in the deadness of the letter of the law.
3. Does this mean that I am free to lie and steal and commit adultery and murder? To borrow a phrase from Paul, "God forbid."
a. I now live by higher standards than were required by the law.
b. A man who is truly born again is required to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves.
II. THE PROBLEM IS IN ME, MY OLD CARNAL NATURE OF THE FLESH.
A. Vs.7 Paul said, "What shall I say then? Is the law sin? God forbid, I would not know what sin was if it were not for the law.
1. The problem is not the law, the problem is me, I am a sinner.
2. vs.11 Sin deceived me and slew me.
B. The problem is not the law, it is holy, just and good vs. 12 the problem is sin.
C. The problem is I am carnal. vs.
1. I did things I knew were wrong.
2. I didn't do the things I knew I should.
3. I did the things I hate.
4. It was not the new me that was doing these things, but my old sinful nature, for in me, that is in my flesh, there dwells no good thing.
D. I desired to do the right things, but I couldn't find the way to perform the things I knew I should do.
1. For the good that I would, I did not.
2. The evil that I would not, that I did.
E. I delight after the law of God in my inward man, but there was another law in my flesh that rebelled against the law of my mind, and brought me into captivity to the law of sin in my flesh.
F. Until I finally cried, "Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?"
1. With this cry Paul was now coming to the answer.
2. The answer does not lie within my scope of power.
a. I cannot deliver myself.
b. As long as I think that I can do it, I am only postponing the true victory in my life.
3. The answer lies outside of myself. It is not how can I deliver myself, but who shall deliver me?
4. The answer is not in reformation, but in transformation.
G. I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord. He is the answer. How then does he answer the weakness of my flesh and my desperate desire to live a holy and pure life?
1. The answer comes in part two of this lesson as we move into chapter 8 and the life in the Spirit.