Sin is rebelliousness that comes from hatred of God. That is why it is provoked by the Word of God. When the Word of God says, “do not covet,” this rebelliousness looks for ways to covet. This rebelliousness is so fundamental to our existence that is instinctive. This rebelliousness is embedded in our flesh so much so that the flesh can not be cured of it. The flesh needs to die. We know that we are saved when we live at war with our flesh. When our sinful actions are against our deepest desires. When we delight in the Word of God.
The flesh will always be lawless and so any service to God that we attempt in the flesh will always be inadequate. Our service to God can only be acceptable if it is through the Spirit.
On the other hand, hypocrisy comes from trying to please God in the flesh. Since it is impossible, we end up bending the law to suit ourselves and adopting a self-righteous attitude.
Sharing in the death of Christ Jesus released us from the law (Rom 7:1-6)
Christ Jesus released us from condemnation by His death.
The law is binding on a person only as long as he lives. Take the example of marriage. A married woman is bound by the law of marriage to her husband as long as he is alive and if she marries another man she will be called an adulteress. If her husband has died, though, she is released from the law of marriage and she can marry another man without committing adultery.
In the same way, through sharing in the death of Christ Jesus, we have been released from the law and now belong to Christ so that we may bear the fruits of the Spirit to God. These fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)
Before we belonged to Christ and while we were still governed by our flesh, our sinful desires, which were at war with the Word of God, were at work in us to bear the fruits of the flesh that lead to death. These fruits are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. (Gal 5:19-21)
Now that we have died to our flesh through sharing in the death of Christ Jesus, we are no longer subject to the condemnation that we deserved under the law and so we now serve God by the power of and in the realm of the Spirit and not by our own power or in the realm of the flesh.
The law defines what sin is and provokes my sinful nature to be revealed (Rom 7:7-13)
The law rather than save us but condemns us.
Even though the law provoked sin in us it is not sin in itself. The law defines what sin is. Take the example of covetousness. If the law had not said, “You shall not covet”, we would not have known what it means to covet. However, sinful nature, the innate rebelliousness of the flesh, which was laying dormant, took this definition of sin and produced all kinds of covetousness.I once felt innocent but when I heard the law, sin was activated in me and I was condemned to death.
I once felt innocent but when I heard the law, sin was activated in me and I was condemned to death. The laws that promised life if I kept them, were death to me. This is because my sinful nature, taking advantage of the law, devised deceptions that led to me sharing in the condemnation of death.
The word of God is holy and the commandments in it, holy, righteous and good. It did not bring death to me. It was my sinful nature reacting to the Word that did. God gave His law so that our sinful nature might be revealed and its depths too.
Our spirit seek to obey the law, but our flesh seeks to remain a slave to sin (Rom 7:14-25)
We can only be righteous through Christ Jesus.
The law is spiritual, but I am carnal and a slave to sin and because of this I find that I don’t understand my actions. I desire to obey the word of God but I end up doing the things I hate: Pride, arrogance, the way of evil and perverted speech. (Pro 8:13)The fact that I hate my actions means that I agree with that law and delight in its goodness.
The fact that I hate my actions means that I agree with that law and delight in its goodness. Therefore I am separated from the sin and can say that it is not I who does it but the sinful nature that is within me.
There is nothing good in the flesh and although I desire to obey God’s word, I do not have the ability such that the righteous things I want to do, don’t do and the evil things I don’t want to do, I keep doing. And because I no longer want to do the evil that I do, I can say that it is no longer I but the sin that dwells in me that does it.
It seems to be a rule that whenever I want to do what is right, there is also a threat to do what is evil because even though, in my spirit, I delight in God’s word, I see in my flesh sinful nature waging war against God’s word and seeking to make me captive to sin.
All this leads me to plead for deliverance from my fleshly body. I hunger for righteousness. Thanks to God through the work of Jesus Christ our Lord on the cross who has given me the ability to obey His Word with my mind, even though my flesh’s desire is to sin.
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.