Category Archives: The Law

Romans 7.1-6

Title: Praise for Redemption

Text: Romans 7.1-6

Introduction: a few weeks ago Larry asked me in our Bible Study time on Wednesday night if he understood me correctly when I said that we no longer have to obey the law – which, by the way, I did say. In the same week, Andy Stanley was highly criticized for his comments about Christians today and their need to ‘unhitch’ themselves from the OT.

Ouch. That scared me a little. I would in no way suggest that. So, I listened to Andy’s message and I think I understand what he’s trying to say. He’s trying to say what Paul said: We’ve been set free from the Law. It can’t save us! We don’t have to obey it’s demands any longer because Christ has set us free from it’s bondage.

The writer of Hebrews brings this out in chapter 8: Heb 8.7, 13:

For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

And there are more evidence of this:

Eph 2.13-22: 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Col 2.13-14; 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

He crucified it. I think this is the direction Paul has been headed all along in Romans. Let me show you what I mean. In 1.16-18 he gave us his thesis statement for the book: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

How can he say v. 18 so confidently? How can he say anyone is unrighteous? Because of the Law. The Law shows us we’re sinners.

So, Paul says he loves the Gospel. This wonderful story begins with the wrath of God against sin. Sin is his first topic. You see that in chapters 1, 2 and 3. But, Salvation is revealed within this Good News. And, it comes by faith in Christ.

Look with me at chapter three as he arrives at this stage of the Salvation story: 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—

Paul says that the law shows us that we’re sinners, but it can’t make us righteous. He continues: 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

Note he says that it is apart from the Law and only through faith in Jesus Christ.

We continue our way through Romans and come to chapter 4. Rd 4.13-16a; 13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. What he is saying is that if the law could make one righteous, then all you’d have to do is obey it. But you can’t. All the law does is… continue in v 15. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. So, all the law really does is show us that we are sinners and that God is Holy.

16 That is why it depends on faith…

Then Paul makes his way through to Chapter 5 and declares in v 20-21, that through Christ, God has increased His Grace all the more where sin abounded. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now, to address this issue, Paul presents to the reader a fictitious “Judiaser”. This pretend man debates Paul and asks a very serious question for the Jew in 6.1: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? Paul says absolutely not, and then he expounds through chapter six and chapter seven.

We pick up in Chapter 7 this morning. I want you to see that Chapter six and seven, though different, are very similar. Paul constructed it in such a way as to draw attention to the sanctification process.

 

Note how Chapter six is about the Christian and his relationship to sin, and, Chapter seven is about the Christian and his relationship to the law. Let me demonstrate this for you. You’re in Romans 7; now look back to chap. 6.

 

 

6.1: sets the topic as Sin

6.2: We died to sin

6.4: we might walk in newness of life

6.7: he who has died is freed from sin

Compare w/:

7.1: Sets the topic as Law

7.4: You have died to the law

7.6: we might serve in newness of the spirit

7.6: we have died to that which held us captive; we are released

 

So, here’s what we’re seeing: Paul is dealing with the Law in the same manner he dealt with Sin in the previous chapter. He uses the very same words. He uses the same flow. He uses the same thought pattern and the same sort of logic. He’s declaring that we’ve been set free from them both, sin and the law.

 

In the 7th chapter of Romans we see a type of Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde presentation about the Law.

I say that because (and I want you to remember), The Law of God is precious to the Jews. It’s precious to Paul. Ps 1.2: Blessed is the man… his delight is in the Law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.

Ill.: Lisa, Jenn and I watched Fiddler on the Roof Friday night. Tavia said that he wished he could be a rich man.

If I were rich, I’d have the time that I lack
To sit in the synagogue and pray.
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I’d discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.

In the OT you find time and again, the love for God’s Word that his people had.

Psalm 19.7ff: it is perfect, reviving the soul; rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes, clean, righteous, sweeter than honey and drippings from the honeycomb. Think about that for a moment. The Jews felt the Law of God was sweeter than honey and drippings from the honeycomb.

Psalm 119 is replete with statements of the beauty and wonder of God’s Law and just how precious, how dear the Law is to the Psalmist and to the Jews. 4x’s in Psalm 119 the Psalmist says: Oh, how I love your law!

But, the Law was also cruel. The Law not only magnified the sin, the debt, the trespass, but it also increased the trespass. For all of it’s good, it brought shame. No one could ever live it out. Paul will press this point later on in 7 – that the Law is precious and cruel at the same time.

Read 7.1 with me. Well, what happens when a person is no longer living? They’re dead. In 6, he said we must die to sin. Just as Christ died, so we too die. That’s the picture of baptism. Back up in 6.Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

He is saying the same thing to us in 7.1: you are bound by this law, that is, until you die to the law.

My first goal today is to point out this principle.

Transition: If you’re taking notes, that would be point #1, for it is Paul’s first point. The Principle.

I.     The Principle (1)

exp.: And the Principle is this: You must die to the law, just as you die to sin. You have to fight this instinctive drive to set up standards as a way to earn your salvation.

t.s.: But just as he does in chapter 6, Paul then gives us an illustration to make his point in the next 2 verses.

II.    The Illustration (2-3)

exp.: In Chapter 6, he used an illustration and it was “Slaves and Masters”. In chapter 7, he’ll do the same, but this time it is “the husband and the wife.” Rd v 2-3;

Excurses: This passage isn’t about divorce. I know some folks like to use this passage to say people who get divorced and remarried are committing adultery. First, I want to caution you against establishing a doctrine on one verse. 2nd, I don’t think that is what this passage is teaching. Paul is teaching us about the Law and our need to die to the law. Let’s understand what he says within the context of the whole passage.

ill.: Remember the principle: you are bound to the Law until you die to the Law. Read v 2a: For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives… any problem so far? A woman makes a vow to her husband and she is bound to him while he is living. Pretty simple. Rd 2b; 2nd, if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So, if a woman is married to a man and he dies, she is no longer bound to the oath she made to him because he has died. Still pretty straight forward, correct. Let’s continue. Rd 2c; so, if she marries another man in this new situation she finds herself with her husband gone, she is NOT considered an adulteress. Verse 3: Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. So, without adding anything to Paul’s illustration, let’s look at the facts of his story. If a woman is married to a man, and she leaves him and lives with another man while he is still alive, then she is called an adulteress. That’s pretty straightforward. There is nothing in here about divorce. Paul doesn’t even mention divorce. Paul simply says, if this woman is married to this man and she goes and lives with another man, then she is an adulteress. She’s committing adultery. I’m pretty sure we would all agree with that. But, on the other hand, if her husband dies and then she marries another man, she is free to do so, because, she is no longer bound by the original contract. The bond between them has been severed because he died, freeing her up to marry another.

t.s.: For the application we must look at verse 4-6…

III.   The Application (4-6)

exp.: rd v 4; likewise. So, just as a woman is free from her marriage vows when her husband dies, likewise the believer… rd 4; we have been set free from that and are able to be bound to another – Christ. That isn’t the Body of Christ – the church, but rather the Body of Christ, physically speaking. rd v 5: For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. We were married to the Law, so we lived that way. But now, our circumstances have changed, as Paul says in Galatians 2: 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. His summary is found in v 6: But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Paul mentions now, really for a 2nd time, the purpose and the reason behind this new marriage to Christ. First he says in v 4, in order that we may bear fruit to God. What kind of fruit is this? Well, in keeping with the teaching in Galatians, it would be the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Doesn’t that sound just like Jesus? We die to the law to bear fruit in our lives in such a way that others see Jesus in us. In Galatians 4.19, Paul says he is in anguish of childbirth to see Christ formed in them.

He says down in v 6 that we’ve died to the law and are united to Christ so that we serve (slave) in the newness (same word as in Chapter 6 for walk in newness of life) we serve in the newness of the Spirit. Without even knowing it, we served the devil. Now we serve God in the newness of the Spirit.

ill.: I have an old pastor friend who used to say that when he became a believer his “want to” changed. He didn’t want to do the things he used to do and he now, wanted to do what Christ desired of him. He wanted to serve in a pleasing manner. He wanted to be faithful. He wanted to walk in newness of life.

Conclusion: I think that kind of sums up how a believer moves from one realm into another. No longer bound by a set of rules to be obeyed externally, God writes his law upon our hearts. Now, what manifests itself in the life of a believer is what comes from within. Our ‘want to’ changes.

A young lady was so moved at her salvation she wrote a song about it. The Title of this song (a hymn you would call it): Praise for Redemption. You don’t know it by that title. You almost didn’t know it all, because when it was written, no one really liked it and it faded into obscurity for some 80 years.

In 1954, Billy Graham was hosting a crusade in London. It is truly amazing the anguish he endured there in London. He wanted to preach, but many of the religious leaders were so hard on him. Robert Morgan writes: The British Press was critical of the young evangelist and an Anglican bishop predicted Graham would return to America with ‘his tail between his legs.’ Funds were short, forcing the Graham team to take pay cuts. A member of Parliament threatened a challenge in the House of Commons, accusing Graham of interfering in British politics under the guise of religion. Friends in high places were advising Graham to cancel or postpone the meetings. Graham, shaken, dropped to his knees repeatedly, beseeching help from Heaven.

As a part of these struggles and financial cutbacks, Cliff Barrows began compiling hymns for the Great London Crusade Song Book. Barrows received many hymns from different folks. One such person was Reverend Frank Colquhoun, a well-known British preacher and lover of hymns. There was this unknown hymn by this lady named Fanny Crosby, who had published that hymn some 79 years before. That hymn was Praise for Redemption, and it goes like this:

To God be the glory, great things He has done; 
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Refrain:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

Jesus had redeemed Ms. Crosby and she wanted to shout praises of Glory to God for the great salvation she had experienced. So she composed that song. Of course, the song was sung for 3 months there in London in 1954 and exploded onto the Christian Scene.

Fanny Crosby wrote many songs about her faith. If this one had never been found, we’d still know about her faith. But aren’t you glad it was found.

Praise for Redemption. Fanny Crosby had found a new life in Christ. She had been taken from life to death. Do you hear her plea in the chorus: O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son.

If you’ve never accepted Christ, I offer him to you today. If you’ve been living by the law – trying to be good and never haven been changed by the Spirit. Would you come today?

Here’s how we do things at Calvary. I want to invite you to come talk to me (or any one of the elders) this morning about anything on your mind. There will be other church members there, too, of whom I’m sure would love to visit with you. We’ll have some coffee and cookies back there, and maybe some doughnuts.

Maybe you want to talk about church membership or feeling a call to missions or ministry. Come visit with us.

Let’s have a moment of silence and reflect upon the day’s activity.

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Filed under Colossians, Ephesians, Faith, Galatians, Psalms, Romans, Salvation, Sanctification, Sermon, The Gospel, The Law

Fulfilling the Law

Text: Romans 2.25-29

Introduction: Good morning. We’ll be in Romans chapter 2 this morning – finishing up chapter 2. Later we’ll turn a couple of pages forward to Romans chapter 8. Romans 2 & 8.

I learned an outline of Romans from Bill Howery. This isn’t my outline. You don’t know Bill, but he was church planter in Italy for 40 years. He lost his wife to cancer in Italy, while serving there, planting churches. I love missionaries and the sacrifices they endure. So, this is a shout out to him…of sorts.

Sin (1-2)

Salvation (3-5)

Sanctification (6-8)

Sovereignty (9-11)

Service (12-16)

It might be a little over-simplified, but that fits me just fine. So, today we’ll finish out section 1 of Bill’s outline.

A preacher is taught in seminary to answer three questions when presenting a message. It works well for those who lead a Bible Study, as well. This was brought home to me in an interview I heard between Mark Dever and John MacArthur. Denver asked McArthur how he prepares his messages and his basic answer was answering these three questions:

  1. What does the Bible say?
  2. What does the Bible mean?
  3. What does it mean for me?

I’d like to outline my message around these three questions this morning. So, let’s begin with question #1.

 

What Does the Romans 2.25-29 say? Let’s read that together:

Romans 2.25-29: 25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps (fulfills) the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

(Prayer)

Well, we read the text, but what does it say? Paul is in the midst of his argument toward the Jews. His argument is simply this (this is what the Bible says): God will regard uncircumcised Gentiles who keep the law as circumcised Jews. Gentiles are regarded as Jews if they keep, and the better word is fulfill, the law. Rd v 26; the answer is yes, and I’ll show you later why that is.

Since Paul has been laying it on pretty hard about works and obedience, this would be a good time to review how we got here.

You probably remember from the last few weeks that Paul has been presenting his case against the Gentiles and the Jews who dishonor God by their behavior. Jews have no room to be judging the Gentiles when they behave in the same manner. Paul says: Your behavior dishonors God in the same way the behavior of the Gentiles dishonors God.

I shared this flow or outline with our Community Group Wednesday night as we sat down to dig in a little deeper and it went well. So if you guys don’t mind, I’d like to get the flow of the passage to pick up on what Paul is saying:

  • Romans 1.8-15: Paul tells the Romans that he longs to preach the Gospel there in Rome.
  • Romans 1.16: Is the thesis of his book: The Gospel is the power of God for Salvation!
    • V 17: the Righteousness of God is revealed.
    • V 18: the Wrath of God is revealed, also.
  • Romans 1.18-32: The Wrath of God is revealed against the sinful behavior of the Gentiles and thus, they need the Gospel. What is their sin? Immorality and Idolatry.
  • Romans 2.1-16: As the Jews are getting excited at Paul’s preaching against the Gentiles and their sinful behavior that dishonors God, Paul pulls the rug out from under them and turns the tables on them. You Jews are no different, he tells them. You dishonor God by doing the same things they do. And so, you justly deserve the wrath of God that is coming.
  • Romans 2.17-29: Paul continues with what makes this so bad: you have the law! Paul tells the Jews not to think for one second that they are exempt from God’s judgment because they have the law and (and, he’ll continue in our passage today) because they have the sign of circumcision that they are his people.
    • So last week we looked at the Law portion of this text: v17-24
    • This week we’ll finish up this little section with a look at circumcision in v 25-29

Transition: So this is what the Bible says: God will regard uncircumcised Gentiles who keep the law as circumcised Jews. Now, let’s answer the 2nd question:

 

What does the Romans 2.25-29 mean?

At this stage, Paul’s argument against the Jews can be summed up in two of these verses (26 & 29): 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And, 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

So, simply put: anyone can be a true Jew by being obedient to the Law, or fulfilling the law. Because, being a true Jew has nothing to do with external signs (circumcision), but rather, an internal commitment – it is a mater of the heart.

At this point there should be some confusion. Paul’s stuff can be weighty. I’m reminded of what Peter said in reference to Paul: 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. He almost sounds contradictory, but if you’ll follow his argument through to the end, I think you’ll begin to understand what he is doing.

Does this mean that we’re supposed to want to become Jews? Are we supposed to follow the dietary plans, enjoy the feasts and festivals, and practice the law as the Jews do?

If Chapter 1 is Paul’s declaration that he wants to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles because their behavior dishonors God and Chapter 2 is Paul’s declaration that Jews do the same and need Jesus, too. Then, why would he say such things like: He will render to each one according to their works and if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision. Why does Paul say they need the Gospel and then intimate that their salvation will be through works… by keeping the law?

I think it will help us if we’ll take the whole context into play. It looks like Paul’s argument is as follows:

  • Jews are sinners (just like the Gentiles they judge) and are in need of being saved from the wrath of God (just like the Gentiles they judge). Jews need his righteousness and that righteousness doesn’t come (and indeed it can’t come) through a bunch of do’s and don’ts.
  • Being Jewish isn’t a matter of external signs that show election, it is a matter of what one lives out (i.e.: obedience to the Law). So, Gentiles are truly Jews when they live out the spirit of the law. And, Jews who do not live out the spirit of the law are not really Jews. For having the law, and, as he says in these verses, having an external sign of God’s election upon them (namely, circumcision), doesn’t make them true Jews, either.

app.: So, here’s what I think Paul means and what he’s doing: Paul’s desire here is to get the Jews to see that they did not understand the Law and the prophets. By their actions, they think simple possession of the Law and circumcision is the key to their salvation. They miss… from their very own law… that salvation comes through faith in the grace of God. Faith is seen in the action of one’s life. A changed heart is detected by a changed life.

This was Jeremiah’s message. Allow me to read it: The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’

“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.

They’re still holding on to the law, their traditions and the temple!

But there really is more here: Paul wants to push the Jews off of their fence called tradition. Sure, they’ve accepted Jesus as the Messiah, but they also are still clinging to the Law and ceremony, circumcision and the Temple. Paul is teaching them that the Gospel isn’t Jesus plus anything (i.e.: Jesus plus circumcision; Jesus plus dietary laws; Jesus plus ritual; Jesus plus tradition; Jesus plus…)

Think about this – that is what I’m asking you to do and that is what Paul is trying to get them to do – think about this: if Gentiles can get saved without the Law and a record of dos and don’ts, and if they can get saved without circumcision, then it stands to reason that the Jews have totally misunderstood their Bible! Now that, is a slap in the face.

But that statement means even more than that! Paul is gonna really pile it on think: it implies that the Gentiles are getting into the kingdom ahead of, and even in place of the Jews! And here’s where you should respond: (Pause) No! That’s right! Natural born Gentiles who don’t become Jews by tradition, but rather through a life change are taking the place of Jews in the Kingdom of God.

What does this mean for me?

How would you feel if I said: You’re not getting into heaven. No, the Mormons will go in your place. Feel that? That is why he is pushing the Jews like this. He wants them to feel the weight of their sin and the incredible message of the Gospel. For, in it the righteousness of God is revealed and so is His Wrath!

Look back with me at v 27: 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. This is your yes to v 26. Now look at v 28; for…

28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. Jews, don’t miss this, no one is a Jew… a true Jew through rules and rituals (the law & circumcision). And it brings it home in v29:  29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

By the Spirit: this prepositional phrase brings it all together. Jews, this isn’t the work of your hands through ceremonial exercise. The Spirit of God does this on the heart, not by the letter (of the law) on the body. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes Gentiles Jews. Jews don’t make Gentiles into Jews by external practices to the letter of the law. No, The Holy Spirit circumcises the heart and changes Gentiles into Jews.

The former brings death: 2 Cor 3.6: Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you’re clinging to the hope of heaven through anything other than the Spirit’s life changing infilling, then you’re headed for a certain death … for the letter kills, but the Spirit brings life. The Spirit brings us into this wonderful new covenant. Where God promised in Ezekiel that he would replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh and give us a circumcision, not of the body, but of the heart. It is like there is this old, crusty hardened part of our hearts and God cuts that away, revealing the soft, healthy, fleshly tissue.

This new covenant is made available to you through the work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. His shed blood at Calvary washes away sin through the faith that is placed in Christ.

When Paul says in v 27: 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? He is saying that the Christian Gentile has had the Holy Spirit circumcise his heart and the Law has become to him low hanging fruit in his life as he lives by this new moral code.

Let me tell you what this is not:

  • This is not legalism.
  • This is not salvation through good works.
  • This is not ceremony which has to be observed.

This is a changed life by the work of the Holy Spirit.

I want to show you where Paul is headed here: Turn to chapter 8.1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. So there are two laws here: freedom and life or sin and death. For those who are in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death. Rd 3a: For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.

The Law doesn’t bring life. The Law is weakened because people can’t keep it. It is impossible! But God has done for us what the Law could never do. And what is that? rd 3b: By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, Jesus who God in the flesh, lived this perfection of the Law. In him no sin was ever found. Keep reading in v4: in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled (here is that word for us again) in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

I have to admit: at this point I was intrigued! What is it about this thing called the law, it’s fulfillment of it and how Jesus fulfilled it and how we fulfill it?

Listen to this repeated theme:

fulfills NEAR law

Rom 8:4

 

in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

 

Rom 13:8

 

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

 

Rom 13:10

 

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

 

Gal 5:14

 

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

Gal 6:2

 

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

 

James 2:8

 

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.

 

John 15.13

 

13 Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

 

   

 

To love is to fulfill the law. Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And, Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s Jesus. And that’s the fulfillment of the Law. And we fulfill the law when the Love of God changes us and we begin to love like him.

1 Jn 3.14:  14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.

What is the first fruit of the Spirit: love…. Gal 5.22: against such things there is no law.

1 Jn 3.20: 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; 1 Jn 4.8: he who does not love does not know God.

 

Application: Having answered these three questions, what will you do?

  1. We are born into this life lost. Lost is a good word. If you were raised in the church, then get on your knees and thank God for your heritage – but many of us wandered through this life early on without a sense of purpose or meaning. We were lost and headed nowhere.

I’m reminded of John 3.16 – probably the most popular verse in Scripture. Say it with me: For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. What we miss is the next part in v17-18: 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. We’re condemned already…we’re born that way…all of us! We’re born into this life lost. That is your starting point.

With this in mind, let me ask you: have you ever done anything about it? A good way to know is to see if you love others. Do you love others more than you love yourself? I’m not asking if you love some people. I’m sure you love some people – people who are close to you. What lengths would you go to in order to show others that you truly love them? An honest assessment of this concern will reveal your heart – either of stone or of flesh.

  1. If you’ve never confessed your sins to God and found the forgiveness, you stand condemned today. Don’t let this moment pass. If you’ve assessed your heart and found that you are not a loving person – toward other believers or the lost, don’t let this moment pass. Come to Christ!
  2. Maybe you’re sitting here this morning and you’d say: you have, but you’re not where you should be. If so, would you pray that God would take your unloving heart of stone and replace it with a loving heart of flesh.

To be honest, there are always decisions God leads us to as he convicts us. I remember being convicted of my sin of not surrendering to the ministry when he had clearly called me. Maybe that’s where you are today. Maybe God is leading you to join this church and join us in ministry.

Whatever it is, I’d like to invite you to come talk with me or one of the staff members or elders. In a moment we’ll have a moment of silence to contemplate these questions. After a moment of silence, reflecting upon whatever God is doing in your life, I’m going to ask Frank Burgess if he’ll lead us in our closing prayer. When he is finished, I’d like to invite you back to the cornerstone area for some coffee and cookies and fellowship. Come talk to one of us, we’d love to help with whatever is on your mind.

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Filed under Romans, Sermons, Sin, The Law