Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. More specifically today’s passage is found in the seventh chapter of this New Testament book. “Know ye not, brethren , (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from thee law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteresss: but if her husband be dead, she is free from the law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised form the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:1-6).
“What shall we say then?Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not c over. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, w high was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good: that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful” (Romans 7:7-13).
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, solely under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: ;for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 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. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 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 7:14-25).
When you come to the seventh chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome you will find what I would consider to be one of the most intriguing chapters of the entire epistle. In the previous chapters the apostle Paul concluded that all men—both jew and Gentile—have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In the previous chapters you found the apostle Paul declaring that all men are under sin and that all men were indeed born int sin. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for in order to understand the epistle as a whole you must recognize that at the very heart and center of it is indeed the current of sin, of iniquity, of wickedness, of transgression and of rebellion toward God. As early as the first chapter of this epistle we find the apostle Paul emphatically declaring that all men are without excuse before and in the sight of the living God and that all men have indeed and have in fact sinned before Him. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for in order to understand the epistle as a whole—and not only the epistle as a whole but also this particular chapter—you must needs understand the apostle’s view of sin. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the opening chapter of this epistle beginning to read with and from the eighteenth verse:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead: so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and forefoote beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:18-25).
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; ;being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despitefully, proud, boasts, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure sin in them that do them” (Romans 1:26-32).
We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we find the apostle Paul transitioning from the salvation of God that is found in Jesus the Christ to the wrath of God. It’s quite interesting the apostle Paul would indeed speak of not being ashamed of the gospel of Christ for He knew that it was the power of God unto salvation and then transitions to writing and speaking of the wrath of God which was revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the understanding of the apostle Paul concerning sin. The apostle Paul recognized and understood that all men were concluded under sin and that all men had indeed sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Within this passage of Scripture we find the apostle Paul writing of the wrath of God and how it was revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who held the truth in unrighteousness. What’s more is the apostle Paul also goes on to declare that what might be and what is known of God is manifest in them for God had showed it unto them. Not only this but the apostle Paul would also declare that the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made—even his eternal power and Godhead so they are without excuse.
Oh there is a great need for us to recognize and pay attention to the words which are found in the first and opening chapter of this New Testament book for not only did the apostle Paul conclude that all men were under sin but the apostle Paul concluded that the wrath of God was revealed from heaven against such unrighteousness and ungodliness. Just as the wrath of God was revealed from heaven against the unrighteousness and ungodliness that was so pervasive in the earth during the days of Noah so also would the wrath of God be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness at the time the apostle Paul wrote these words. What’s more is there was a clear demonstration that the wrath of God was revealed from heaven against ungodliness and unrighteousness during the days of Lot for the cities of the plain—including Sodom and Gomorrah—were all destroyed by the living and eternal God with fire and brimstone. If there is one thing I can’t help but wonder it’s what the apostle Paul would indeed think about the days in which we are living. What would the apostle Paul think if he were alive today and present within our culture and society? Having written the words which are found in passages such as the first chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome, what would the apostle think of how pervasive the wickedness is and has been upon the earth? Undoubtedly the wickedness and unrighteousness and ungodliness which was present during the days of the apostle were days filled with wickedness, unrighteousness and ungodliness, however, I would dare say that the wickedness which is present during these days is entirely and altogether different than that which was present during the days in which the apostle Paul lived. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fourth chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy his spiritual son in the faith as well as the words which are found in the third chapter of the second epistle written unto the same individual:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto dog lines. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach” (1 Timothy 4:1-11).
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetouensss, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, inctonnent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort tare they which creep into houses, and leap captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning,a nd never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yeah, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for Cirone, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:1-17).
It is absolutely necessary we recognize and pay attention to the words which are found in these two passages of Scripture for what we find here are powerful declarations and powerful descriptions of the ungodliness and unrighteousness which can and will be found in the midst of the earth. The apostle Paul clearly had an understanding of the ungodliness and unrighteousness that was pervasive and prevalent during the days in which he lived but he also had an understanding of the ungodliness and unrighteousness that would be manifested in the last days. I am convinced there is a great need for us to recognize and pay close attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the first chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were present in Rome for within it the apostle Paul declares and speaks of the wrath of God being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. What’s more is the apostle Paul would also declare that all men are without excuse since the invisible things which might be known of God since the creation of the world are made manifest and made known through that which is seen. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that the wrath of God God was indeed manifested and revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness which is something we must needs understand for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding that which he had written in the first and second epistles written unto his spiritual son Timothy. Within these epistles the apostle Paul clearly articulated and declared that in the last days men would indeed go from bad to worse and would indeed become more vile, more corrupt, more wicked and more evil than they had been in previous generations.
With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to ask you once more what you think and feel the apostle Paul would say concerning the days in which we are living. The apostle Paul clearly had a glimpse and picture of what the last days would indeed look like while writing the first and second epistles written unto Timothy who was his spiritual son in the faith. What’s more is the apostle Paul would also write of the last days in the second epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Thessalonica. I would dare say that we must needs also consider the words which are found in this particular epistle for it brings us face to face with the overwhelming wickedness, unrighteousness, ungodliness and iniquity that is present in the earth today and will be present in the days in which are to come. I am convinced that we must needs recognize and pay attention to these words for in order to truly understand sin we must not only understand it in the context of our own lives but we must needs understand it in terms of the culture and society in which we are living. The apostle Paul clearly had an understanding of the last days and the great evil and wickedness which would indeed be present during those days. Undoubtedly the apostle Paul was aware of the unrighteousness and wickedness that was present during the days in which he lived and walked upon the earth, however, I would dare say the apostle Paul realized and understand that the days and times would go from bad to worse in the last days. The apostle Paul recognized and understood that men and women would indeed continue in their sin in the sight and presence of the living God and would indeed continue to violate the command and word of the living God in their hearts, in their minds and in the generation in which they are living. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Thessalonica concerning the last days and the great evil which will be present in the midst of them:
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what whitholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying and wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
The apostle Paul clearly recognized and clearly understood that there were coming days when the whole world would be unified in their wickedness and their rebellion before, against and in the sight of the living God. The apostle Paul recognized and acknowledge that in the last men would grow from bad to worse and that men would indeed violate the covenant and command of the eternal and living God. This is something which we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for it calls and draws our attention to an understanding of the days in which we are living . It is absolutely unmistakable that we are indeed living during times of great wickedness and great evil present among us in this generation and culture and society. There is absolutely no denying the fact that we are indeed living during days of tremendous wickedness, ungodliness, unrighteousness and evil which is present all around us. What’s more is that sometimes the evil is not necessarily limited to what is present all around us within our culture and society but is present within our own hearts and minds. The apostle Paul concluded all men as being under sin and emphatically declared that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the living God. In fact there are others who have referred to themselves as sinners saved by grace and that they are indeed and are in fact far from perfect. This is truly something we must needs recognize for justification is indeed something that is instantaneous, however there is another work which must needs take place within our selves and within our beings—namely that of sanctification. It is sanctification which is something that takes place over a period of time and is something which is indeed a work of the Holy Spirit. Sanctification which is a work of the Spirit is not something that is done instantaneously nor immediate but is something that does in fact take place over a lifetime of walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ.
We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the great wickedness and rebellion of which we are indeed capable of. There is a great need for us to recognize and acknowledge that we are indeed born into sin and were conceived in sin within our mother’s womb. It was David the psalmist who emphatically declared in the fifty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms that he was shaped in iniquity and was conceived in sin. Clearly David recognized and understood that although he was fearfully and wonderfully made by the living God and although he was indeed knit together within his mother’s womb he was conceived through sin. In fact this is precisely what the apostle Paul would write in the fifth chapter of this epistle as he wrote and declared that sin and death worked side by side in the earth from the time of Adam until the time of Moses. What’s more is that as if sin was not strong enough during the days from Adam to Moses it would be increased exponentially when the Law was given by the Lord unto Moses atop Sinai in the wilderness. The Law would conclude all men and women under sin all the more for the law would be the standard of obedience, holiness, and righteousness in the sight of the living God. Thea pestle Paul recognized and understood that sin and death were present within each and every one of us and that sin must needs be eradicated. Although we were indeed born and conceived in sin we must needs destroy and put to death the sinful nature and the old man which is present within us.
Having said this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the fifty-first chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms as well as the words which are found in the one-hundred and thirty-ninth chapter of the same book. What’s more is I find it absolutely necessary to call your attention to the words which are found in both the third and fifth chapters of this epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth that we are indeed born unto sin and that both sin and death have been working within us to bring about destruction from the time in which we are born. Oh would it shock and surprise you that although life is celebrated when one is born into this world it is indeed possible for death to begin working from the time a newborn is born into this world. Despite the fact that they are indeed born with some degree and measure of limited accountability in the sight of God there is still the sinful nature that was conceived alongside them. As the infant grew within the womb of the mother there was something else that was growing within them—namely the sinful nature. It was the angel Gabriel who declared of John the Baptist that he would be filled with the Spirit from the womb of his mother and this is something which must needs be understood for although we know that John was not born perfect as Jesus was he would indeed have the Spirit of the sovereign LORD upon him from the time he was conceived within his mother’s womb. For the rest of us we were indeed conceived in iniquity and wickedness within our mother’s womb. Not only this but both sin and death worked themselves within us as we were being conceived within our mother’s womb and would continue to be manifested the more we grow and are present within this earth. Consider now if you will the aforementioned passages of Scripture beginning with the one-hundred and thirty-ninth chapter of the book of the Psalms:
“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising. Thou Understandest my thought afar off. Thou compasses my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high. I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth. Not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reigns, thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee: for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works: and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! IF I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awkward, I am still with thee. Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: Depart from me therefore, ye blood men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rose up against thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. Search me, O God, and know my hearty: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:1-24).
“To the chief musician, A Psaln of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-Sheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving Kinesis; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that you mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was sharpen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, o God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O LORD, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, tho wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shall thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar” (Psalm 51:1-19).
Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the third and fifth chapters of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome beginning to read with the third chapter:
“What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way; chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil that good may come? Whose damnation is just” (Romans 3:1-8).
“What then? Are we better than they? NO, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open e sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:9-20).
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:21-31).
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:1-11).
“Wherefore, as by on ‘em an sin entered into the world, and death by in; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto man. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one: much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness hall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteousness. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).
I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand these words for if we want to truly understand the days in which we are living we must needs recognize that all were conceived in sin within their mother’s womb. There is not a single one among us who have not been and was conceived in sin within our mother’s womb and the words of David still hold true of each and every one of us. We were all shaped in iniquity and we were all indeed born unto sin with the sinful nature being present and manifested within our beings. Each and every one of us who walks upon the face of the earth are such who were born into sin and who have a sinful nature within us. What’s more is that not only were we conceived with sin but we have also all sinned and come short of the glory of the living God. There is not a single one of us who has not sinned and come short of the glory of God and that one who says they have not sinned is a liar, makes God a liar and the truth is not in them. There is not a single soul present in this life that has not been conceived and born into sin and each and every one of us contends with and struggles with the sin nature. There is not a single one of us that does not wrestle with not contend and struggle with the sin nature within ourselves nor is there any among us who are innocent in the sight of the living God having never sinned and fallen short of the glory of the living God. In fact in the Old Testament—once the Law was introduced in the wilderness and given unto Moses at Sinai—men would become even more guilty in the sight and presence of the living God. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for in order to understand the wickedness of the days in which we are living we must recognize that sin, iniquity, wickedness and transgression is indeed present and manifested within our hearts, within our minds, within our souls and within our beings.
The more you read the words which are found in the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome the more you are and will become aware of the fact that there is indeed a struggle and conflict that is present within us. From the time in which we are born into this world there is this struggle and conflict that beings to grow within us and not only grows within us but grows alongside us. I am absolutely convinced that just as we grow physically in this natural life so also does the sin nature grow within us from the time we are born. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that just as we grow physically in this life and get older so also the sin nature and our old man grows and gains strength within us. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the need for grace, the need for salvation, the need for justification and the need for sanctification. Oh there is an immediate and instantaneous work which takes place within our lives when we make the decision to call upon the name of the Lord and believe with our heart that God raised Him from the dead and confess the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a great need within our hearts and minds to acknowledge and understand that we have indeed been born into sin and that the older we grow the stronger and greater the sin nature grows within us. The older we become in this life the more the sin nature grows stronger within us and must needs be eradicated and completely and utterly destroyed. In fact this is precisely what the apostle Paul wrote about in chapters six, seven and eight.
If you read the words which are found in these chapters you will find that in the sixth chapter the apostle Paul writes and speaks of the need to put to death the members of our sin nature and cause the old man and old nature within us to be crucified and put to death. The apostle Paul made it perfectly clear that the only way to truly deal with sin and the only way to truly deal with the sin nature within our lives is indeed through death. There is absolutely no mistaking this particular truth within us for Scripture makes it perfectly clear that he who is dead to sin is indeed alive unto Christ. The apostle Paul made it abundantly clear that we must needs crucify and put to death the members of our body and that our sin nature must needs be completely and utterly destroyed within us. This is something which needs to be recognized and understood for within the seventh chapter the apostle Paul writes and speaks of the tremendous conflict that exists within ourselves—a conflict between the good we would do and the evil we would not do. The apostle Paul would indeed describe the great tension, the great conflict and the great struggle that exists within us as our lower nature fights to dominate and control every area and part of our being. Each and every day is a continual struggle as we are forced to choose between the life of the Spirit or the death of the flesh. What’s more is that we cannot have it both ways for we cannot choose the death of the flesh and the life of the Spirit and expect both to be in operation within us. There is no grey area and there is no middle ground when it comes to such realities within our hearts, within our minds and within our souls for we have been called to kill, to destroy and put to death the sin nature and its members within our beings. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the sixth, seventh and eighth chapters of this epistle written by the apostle Paul beginning with the sixth chapter:
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been landed together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death. Hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:1-14).
“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of the obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your member servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:15-23).
It is within this chapter we find the apostle Paul providing us with the key and the only true way to deal with sin—and not only sin but also the sin nature within ourselves. The apostle Paul didn’t merely conclude men and women under sin nor did the apostle Paul simply conclude that all men had sinned and fallen short of the glory of the living God but the apostle Paul also concluded that the only way for men to truly deal and contend with the sin nature that fights for domination and control within us is to completely and utterly destroy it. The only way to truly destroy it is through death as we are called to mortify the members of our flesh and completely and utterly put them to death. The only way for us to truly destroy the sin nature and our old man is to allow it to be buried with Christ in baptism unto death. Oh please understand that the only true way to deal with sin and the sinful nature within us is through death—and not only through death but death on a continual and daily basis. Although Jesus who is both Christ and Lord died once and there is no need for Him to die anymore we on the other hand must needs die daily. It was Jesus who emphatically declared that any man who does not deny themselves and take up their cross is not worthy of Him. It was the apostle Paul who admonished and besought the saints which were at Rome to present their bodies as living sacrifices which were holy and acceptable in the sight and presence of the living God. Although we present our bodies as living sacrifices in the sight and presence of the living God our flesh is destroyed and put to death while our spirit is alive and remains. There is indeed a death which takes place when we are baptized, however, there is a continued work of sanctification which exists within our physical body so long as we are in this outer tabernacle before putting it off at the resurrection. With this in mind I invite you to now consider the following words which are found in the seventh chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome beginning with the first verse:
“Know ye not, brethren, (For I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loose from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised form the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:1-6).
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful” (Romans 7:7-13).
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do not I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 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. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 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 7:14-25).
There is a great need to recognize and pay close attention to the words presented here in this passage for it confronts the tremendous conflict that is present within us—a conflict that exists between the good we would do and the evil we would not do. The apostle Paul recognized and understood this conflict which was present within his physical being and recognized that there was a civil war that was taking place within his members. The apostle Paul was aware of the sin nature which was present within his being and that there was indeed a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. What’s more is this conflict was increased and heightened because of the Law for it was the Law that gave strength unto sin. The apostle Paul declared that he would not know lust if it weren’t for the law commanding that one ought not to covet. The apostle Paul recognized that the law was a schoolmaster and worked and produced death within one’s physical being for it was the law that gave strength to sin and sin when it is left unchecked that gives strength to death. Sin and death are intrinsically linked and connected to each other and this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible need that either our sin nature will produce death within us or we will put to death our sin nature. Oh we can be rest assured there will be death within us, however, the question we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not the death which is wrought in us is the death of our sin nature and of our old man or whether our old man and sin nature can and will produce and work death within us. Having said this I now invite you to consider the following words which are found in the eighth chapter of this New Testament epistle beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, bu t after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:1-17).
It is quite clear from reading these words that there is not only a great need for us to be delivered from the bondage and slavery of the law but we are also called to be delivered and set free from the bondage and slavery of sin. What’s more is both the Law and sin work and produce death within us and we must needs yield yourselves as members unto righteousness that we might fulfill the Royal Law that is found in Jesus—namely, love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. If there is one thing we must needs recognize it’s that both the Law and sin itself seek to bring us into slavery and bondage—the law through the slavery and bondage of religion, legalism, hypocrisy, condemnation and judgment and sin through the slavery of rebellion against the one true and living God. This is something we dare not and must not miss for the second chapter of this epistle highlights and underscores the tremendous danger of allowing ourselves to be ensnared and in bondage to the Law and commit ourselves to being in bondage to it. The scribes, the Pharisees and the other religious leaders which were present during Jesus’ day were men who were entirely and altogether slaves to the Law—and not only to the Law but also unto religion, unto legalism and hypocrisy. This is what is at the very heart and center of the words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew when Jesus indicted the scribes and the Pharisees for their blatant hypocrisy. What’s more is that if we aren’t careful when it comes to this bondage unto the Law we can allow ourselves to sit in the seat of judgment against others. The scribes and the Pharisees loved Moses’ seat of judgment and they love passing judgment against others while they themselves refused to look at the sin, the hypocrisy that was present within them. With this in mind I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle beginning to read with and from the first verse:
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemn east thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thickest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that tho shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despiseth thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2:1-16).
“Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preach east a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:17-29).
The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that there are two major forms of bondage and slavery which we who profess the name of Jesus must contend with. The first is the bondage and slavery to the Law itself as we must eradicate all manner of legalism, judgment, hypocrisy, religion and the like while the second is bondage to sin which works and produces within us death. From the time of Adam until Moses both sin and death worked in tandem with each other as they would wreak havoc upon the race of men. The days of Noah would be the first time since Adam was sinned in the garden of Eden when sin and iniquity was so pervasive that it covered the face of the earth. Leading up to the time of Moses we find “in the book of beginnings” two distinct accounts of the destruction that would come upon the sin, the lawlessness, the iniquity, the unrighteousness and the ungodliness that was present during those days. In fact it was Jesus Himself who declared of the last days that they would indeed be very much like the days of Noah and Lot—days when sin and lawlessness was so widespread and rampant that God had to destroy everything that lived and moved upon the earth in a flood and had to destroy five cities of the plain through a judgment of fire and brimstone. When the apostle Paul wrote of the wrath of God being revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness we must needs recognize that which the living and eternal God did during the days of Noah as well as the days of Lot. What’s more is that if you want to truly understand the words which are found in the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome you must recognize that in the days in which we are living we not only need to contend with the sin and lawlessness that is and can be present within us but also that which is present in the midst of the culture and society all around us.
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention—and leave you with the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle Matthew. The words which we find here are [almost] entirely all those of Jesus with the exception of the disciples asking Jesus a question about the stones and buildings of the Temple. What’s more is the disciples would go on to ask Jesus what would be the sign of His coming and what would be the sign of the end of the age. It would be that question asked by the disciples that would indeed lead Jesus to emphatically declare the words which we read in this particular chapter. I am convinced that one of the greatest discussions we can have about sin is not only the need to eradicate sin within our own lives but also the need to recognize and understand that our culture and society is saturated with sin, iniquity, lawlessness and transgression. There is a great need for us as the saints of God and the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ to recognize and pay close attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture for they can and will provide us with a powerful picture of how to conduct ourselves and how to live our lives in the midst of the days and generation in which we are living. Here now are Jesus’ words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor evert shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should not flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the great tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall. From heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise, ye when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler overt all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he lookers not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:4-51).