“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.
— Romans 7:19-21
Here’s a scripture that seems to be a bit on the confusion side for some (or many) of us in the Church world. But, if we allow time for it sink deep enough into our mind, and submit to the Holy Ghost, He may help and open our understanding to what He conveyed through the writer Paul. With that said, we will venture into one ‘segment’ of the focal verse, “…sin that dwelleth in me….”
The central idea of this ‘segment’ is the relentless inner warfare between the principles of sin in the flesh AND the word of God in the mind….
I’m tellin’ you, folks! This is a real and constant war between:
- the law (principles) of sin—our own internal sweet talker; it illogically and incessantly exerts itself to force us to return to that old corruptive nature, and
- the law (word) of God—we have both learned to delight in, meditate upon day and night, and to serve the Lord with gladness.
You see, the word of God is able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus; His word is able to make us stand having our loins gird about with truth; His word is able to teach us how to fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life (daily), as part of our new nature and renewed mind in the Lord Jesus; His word is able to teach us to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
The Danger of the Law of Immorality—
We have learned about the evil (immorality) present when we would do good. Simply put, to yield to the law of immorality is to do the evil that is agreeable with the strong natural well thought out desires and passions to do (for the geniuses of our times); or the not at all thought out desires and passions to do (for the reactionary, traditionally old-fashion, or ignorant buffoons of today). Those who lack truth AND good morals are both wise to do evil, and fools to do good in this world.
We know many of them because we see them daily; they are:
- college professors,
- corporate geniuses,
- false pastors/bishops,
- false ministers/brethren,
- stupid intelligent morons,
- Dagwood Bumstead dumb,
- haters of God and the brethren,
- greedy, merciless and high minded,
- proud, presumptuous head in the clouds,
…and this is only to name a few of the many more who live dangerously from day-to-day with hatred and murder in their hearts. Hopefully, if they repent, they may escape eternal judgment.
The word ‘evil’ in our focal verse refers to the worthless, pernicious, and destructive nature present in our mortal body. That’s why Paul wrote “…in my flesh dwelleth no good thing…” (Romans 7:18). And, even though the nature of sin remains in the flesh after our salvation, we are still exhorted and commanded not to take the sin that remains in our flesh for granted, and not to let it (sin) reign in our mortal body, that we should obey it in the lusts thereof.
We, the born again, are new creatures with a renewed heart:
- we are transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2);
- we are renewed in knowledge after the image of Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:10);
- we are renewed in the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4:23)…
“…And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
— Ephesians 4:24
Serve the Law of God—
In our new lifestyle is discipleship. We are enabled to serve the law of God with our renewed mind AND to do the good we ‘desire’ to do because of our new nature. At the same time, we are exhorted and authorized to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God; and to bring every thought into captivity (solitary confinement) to the obedience of Christ. And to top it off, we are built up to be in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when our obedience is fulfilled (2 Corinthians 10:5-6).
Special Note: The concept of ‘solitary confinement’ is an illustrated example for us to strive to arrest every thought and imagination, and to keep them locked away (that is, not spoken) until each one (thought or imagination) lines up (and is in full agreement) with the word of God unto obedience. Then it/they will be free to speak … that’s the plan and idea.
Please know that, this requires we take heed to ourselves and to the word of God, continually. For the matured Christian, we strive for no slip up of words. What do I mean? Well, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. God’s matured people HATE ALL LIES AND CUSSING!!! Therefore, whatever thought or imagination is/are an abundance in the heart, the mouth will speak those words.
So, we have learned to think on things which are excellent and glorify God:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
— Philippians 4:8-9
We can accomplish much as Paul and so many others who delight(-ed) in the law of God after the inward man if we walk by faith, not by sight; if we fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life; if we live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; and, if we think on things of virtue (moral excellence) and praise (worthy).
Because remember friends, Jesus said, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
— Matthew 12:37
It is a Matter of Life or Death—
It is a matter of life for those who delight in the law of God after the inward man to endure temptations and not yield any longer to the dominants of the law (illogical principles) of sin in our members (fleshly desires and passions) to control the way we live in this life. For we know that, those of us who suffer in the flesh have ceased from the practice of sin, so that we should no longer live the rest of our time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2). Amen?!
It is also a matter of death for those who live in sin with much pleasure, and spend what is known as their best (or favorite) time at war against those with the mind of Christ. The old pleasures of sin always attempts to force us to fall back into the very thing we escaped—that old sinful lifestyle!
Truth be told, those who hate truth (no pun), hate God, His word and His people. Why do you think the saints of God suffer maltreatments from the ungodly, sinners in the congregation of the righteous, and false brethren, just to name a few? It is sin that dwelleth in the flesh!
“But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
— Mark 6:4
The word ‘prophet’ refers to an inspired speaker, and does not always denote a pulpit minister. Where do you think the attacks come from? The word of God we declare is the truth we speak in love, and it causes the conscience to be convicted. Those who hate correction will attack the speaker as the Pharisees and scribes set themselves out to defame and kill Jesus for His words.
That is one reason why the attacks in our times comes directly from family folks, and not always from strangers. They are close or closest to us but not willing to submit to the truth. Yet, the reason many are ever learning and never able to come into the knowledge of truth is their heart is not in the right condition to receive truth …and… they are not willing to receive the love of the truth that they might be saved.
As long as we walk obediently and suffer the light affliction (which is but for a short period of time), we will learn that it (the light affliction) worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
As long as we endureth temptation, the Lord is faithful to strengthen us with might by His Spirit in the inner man to stay submitted to Him while under the pressures of life unto the end (…as Jesus endured His cross, despising the shame…); so that we may walk in newness of life, be made more than conquerors, live victoriously, and receive a crown of life. (2 Corinthians 4:17; James 1:12; Ephesians 3:16; Hebrews 12:2).
In addition to this, John wrote, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous…”
— 1 John 2:1
The word ‘sin’ mentioned in 1 John 2:1, refers to sin that is not unto death. The guilty can be forgiven and cleansed by the faithfulness of the Lord from their error (both morally or ethically) as well as from all unrighteousness if they come clean, i.e., if they confess or fully agree with God they sinned or erred, from His perspective.
Here is a lesson to remember. Do not take the Consoler, that is, the ‘Advocate with the Father’ for granted or attempt to misuse the intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ as a license to sin, as it was (and is) the mindset of so many in Christendom with audacity to say sarcastically, ‘the Lord knows my heart’ … Well, He does! But, He also knows if the person is able to be accountable for their own actions.
And, even though there was a time when God winked at the ignorance of mankind, now … today … He commands all men every where to repent (Acts 17:30).
Yep, no excuses, folks! God said, “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”
— Ezekiel 18:4
We must agree with God before He will forgive and cleanse us from sin, error, and unrighteousness. Unless it is the case as with Jesus on the cross—He prayed to the Father to forgive the people “…for they know not what they do….” (Luke 23:34). We may have the same opportunity to ask the Father to forgive the ignorance of others.
Please, do not take God’s faithfulness lightly—it is great both in how He forgives and cleanses …also… in His wrath against the children of disobedience (1 John 1:9; Ephesians 5:6).
“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
— Romans 11:22
In our flesh dwelleth no good thing. It is our number one enemy and opposed force. That’s right, the devil is not our number one enemy. He is, however, the number one reason sin was committed. He appealed to the illogical mind of Eve to believe a lie through the serpent; he (the serpent) beguiled her to consider his offer to defy the command of the Lord. The result—she committed the first transgression.
Afterward, she used her persuasive ability to entice her husband to hearken to her voice, and to eat of the tree in the midst of the garden of Eden. It was a direct act of disobedience on Adam’s part, and the ripple effect of it continues to spread, even unto this day.
The Law of Sin—
As it was then so it is today, the law of sin in our members (fleshly desires and passions) is continually at war against the law of our mind to try its best to make us prisoners of war in our own body, once more and again.
The sin that dwelleth in our flesh fights relentlessly to bring our renewed mind back into the captivity of our old carnal nature—and to reap the ripple effect (i.e., just recompense of reward for every transgression and disobedience, Hebrews 2:2) of the deadly and corruptible principles of sin in our human nature.
The ripples represents the recompense of reward (i.e., just penalty) for every transgression and disobedience. This is commonly related to the wages of sin, which is death. The most basic definition of ‘death’ is separation, and here refers to sin in its completed stage.
Furthermore, the law of sin is partly empowered by the high thing (our own intellect) that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. It (the high thing) endeavors to out-smart, and out-think God’s knowledge to reasonably commit sin, illogically. The high thing is self-righteous in thought, reason, motive, etc.
Here are a few examples of the high things’ illogics:
- It looks good for food … but commanded not to eat of it.
- It is pleasant to the eyes … but it was pleasant the whole time.
- It is a delight to consider, intellectually … the danger of disobedience.
- It makes one have an itch to hear fascinations … the lusts to be deceived.
- It makes one desire to hear something more pleasant … to hear smooth words.
Our first line of defense against our own human nature and the high thing (as they strive together to retake absolute control of our mind, faith, actions, etc.) is the word of God both heard, received, believed, and lived by with a renewed mind and spirit.
The concept of the retake of our ‘faith’ refers to the fall back from our current true faith status to the former dead faith status many of us lived by before we came into the knowledge of the truth … that faith worketh by love, not by sight; and it is active.
- How many do you know declare they have faith in God, but hate the brethren? Faith fakers, they are.
- How many do you know say they step out on faith, but God never said a word to them about their endeavor? Faith fakers, they are.
Folks, the Good Fight of Faith is On!
Obedience is the Key—
The first line of attack against the law of sin in our members is obedience. Someone might ask, obedience to who? Glad you asked. Obedience to truth as written in the scriptures, even the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). Also, those whom the Lord gave to have rule over us, and watch for our souls. They preach, and teach us in all wisdom, so that they may present us perfect in Christ Jesus (Hebrews 13:7, 17; Colossians 1:28).
Another group are children—obey their parents in the Lord for this is right, and well pleasing unto Him (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20).
We learn of many things needed to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. One aspect of our growth is through mortification, which means, to deaden, or put an end to the deeds (practices, i.e., trickery) in our body though the Spirit (Romans 8:13).
This is one strenuous area of warfare in our body. But, in order to accomplish this process of growth we must be dead to sin, but alive unto God through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:11).
Jeremiah 31:28 says, “And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.”
Our discipleship starts with the determination to deny self. Then, we learn to take up our cross (daily), and literally follow Jesus. We begin to mature toward the position to resemble Him through the process of death, which is baptism. We are exhorted and commanded to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. We are promised (by God) to receive the gift (or, the baptism) of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).
Remember, Jesus was baptized in water to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). Therefore, we resemble Him more and more as we walk in newness of life.
“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.”
— Romans 6:3-4
The backbone of our success in baptism is obedience in discipleship. Again, we are determined to deny ourselves, take up our cross (daily), and literally follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). We receive such a determination through the pastor/bishop God gave to feed us with knowledge and understanding.
The Consideration of Disobedience—
The serpent appealed to Eve to consider what he said, “…Ye shall not surely die…” (Genesis 3:4). He conned her to see the tree differently, and to desire to eat of it ‘anyway’ without regard to what God said to Adam before she was formed and brought to him, “…for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17). We know from her talk with the serpent, Adam communicated to her what God commanded.
“And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
— Genesis 3:2-3
The command seemed to have disappeared from her memory … REALLY?! Or, was it something she wanted to do for some time? We don’t know. But if it is true, it will be noted because of how the devil operates. He cannot read our minds, but he reads our actions and responses … he has a file on all of us. That’s another reason to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and renewed in the spirit of our mind.
For those of us with the Holy Ghost—we go to God in secret because again, the devil cannot read our minds, so when we go to the Lord in secret it is truly SECRET! Our private prayers to the Father are all classified, and should be handled with a top-secret sensibility mindset. Hypocrites pray secret prayers in public, as Jesus said, “…they have their reward.” (Matthew 6:5).
Ever wonder why some of your prayers gets ambushed? Hmmm … I wonder whhhhyyyyy! Escape the stereotypical jargon, KEEP ALL SECRET PRAYERS, PRIVATE!
This reminds me of another word from the Lord, every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed (James 1:14). It started with Adam and Eve. Now remember too, this scripture was enforced when God spoke the word, even before He had it written and published by His inspired writer.
It was written for our benefit as declared in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
Please know and understand, the devil is not the first line of attack against our minds on a regular basis … it is the law of sin in our human nature, and the high thing (our own intellect). They war against our mind to bring us into the captivity of a fallen back sinful state.
The mind is attacked daily and Sunday (like the newspaper, Ha-Ha!) to force us to hate God by way of disobedience (i.e., to love to please our own propensity, but not God); to fail to comply with His word; to disobey His appointed leadership; to hate the brethren. The flesh loves sin, but it hates God and the brethren.
The Carnal Mind—
Paul wrote in one of his masterpieces a most critical warning from the Lord, “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.”
— Romans 8:6-9
The word ‘carnal’ refers to the human nature with all the trimmings. The flesh which denotes the human earthly nature of man apart from the divine influence (grace of God), is prone to sin and opposed to God. The carnal nature feeds on its mental habits and motives; it is activated by what it has in the mind, the thoughts, its own self-righteousness, and its own justification.
Romans 8:6-7, teaches that the will of the carnally minded person follows or obeys the dominant interests of their own mind. In addition to this, those whose outlook is formed by their human nature, death is the result.
~References: Strong’s, Lexicon, Zodhiates, Louw-Nida
~Modified by: D. Rudolph Gibson
Paul breaks it down to plain and simple language, “…when I would do good, evil is present with me.” There’s no escape from the attacks in this life, but there is an escape from the control—obedience is the escape!
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
— Romans 6:12
God has made it possible for us to endure the war of sin in our members while in the flesh. He baptized us into Christ to rise and walk in newness of life; we have put on Christ so that we will make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof; He gave us the mind of Christ so that with it (His mind) we can serve the law of God with delight. But, to yield to the proclivity of our human nature is to serve the law of sin (Romans 7:25; Galatians 3:27; 1 Corinthians 2:16). And, when sin is finished….
We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So, let us live like it!
God Dwelleth in the Heart by Faith—
Though sin dwelleth in our flesh by nature (born in sin and sharpen in iniquity), God dwelleth in the heart by faith. It is by faith through obedience—fulfilled by love. We know that, God is faithful at all times with absolutely no possible chance of change on His part. He gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud … ALWAYS!
We also know that, sin fights against our trust in, belief in, and love for, the Lord. Sin also fights against our love for the brethren, and our desire to do good. And what’s similar to this is, if we endure our cross for a season (i.e., the light affliction), we will resemble Jesus in His season nailed to His cross, despising the shame. What’s more is, He suffered the most intense pressures and pains no other man has ever (nor will ever) bear for the sins of many. Friends, if we endure unto the end, we will also reign with Him in glory, and in His kingdom, forever!
Oh yes, sin dwelleth in the flesh but make no mistake—never allow yourself to use sin in the flesh as a license, or an excuse to transgress. As it was from the beginning in the garden of Eden, so it is and will be unto the rapture. Sin is a deadly force not to be reckoned with …and… it is easy to let sin reign again, but it is easier to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom … if His word is in you!
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed (word) remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
— 1 John 3:9-10
The Lord has equipped us with His word so that we can say no to sin, and do not practice it any longer; say yes to obedience and live by it with confidence, and peace; and not let sin reign in our mortal body, to obey it in the lusts thereof. Why? We ‘delight’ in the law of God in the inward man, and we strive to ‘serve’ the law of God with a godly, transformed, righteous, and renewed mind.
- (Romans 8:9-11) 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.
- (1 John 4:13-16) Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Who controls the warfare in your flesh?
The word of God, or the law of sin?
Think about it….
In Christ We Do Remain
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