For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
Paul begins to describe the battle within the believer’s soul between the sin nature and the spiritual nature. The Law is spiritual because it comes from God. In Paul’s analogy, the Law is the counsellor of the first marriage to the sin nature. The Law is perfect because it perfectly exposes the sin nature. The Law functions in revealing the salvation solution to sin through Jesus Christ. The Law is perfect because everything in it is perfect and fulfils this objective within the framework of Israel and those who understand Israel.
But I am of flesh emphasizes a transition from the sin nature as the culprit to the believer as the culprit. Paul is speaking about the problem for all believers. Paul, as the human author, represented the common experience of believers after salvation. It is a reference to the believer’s return to the first husband, the sin nature. Now the conflict begins between the sin nature and the believer.
The issue is not the fact that we sin; the issue is the fact that do not utilize the grace system for getting back into fellowship immediately. Carnality is the failure to use the Rebound Technique. The sin nature is always there and always says, “Come Back.” This is what Paul meant when he said that he was sold into bandage to sin. Paul, as the analogy, had allowed the sin nature to once again control his life as a believer.
For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I like to, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
This is a description of a carnal believer who had compromised the second marriage to the Lord Jesus Christ by going back under the control of the ex-husband, the sin nature. It is a reference to the believer’s achievement of the second marriage, the Christian Way of Life, but it was an accomplishment which was frustrated because of the successful function of the sin nature. In carnality or reversionism the believer is not achieving spiritual growth through the daily intake and application of Bible doctrine.
Sinning is being out of fellowship with God, but it does not become carnality unless you stay out of fellowship. In other words, confessing personal sins in a reasonable amount of time resolves the problem of carnality before it gets a foothold. The trend of the sin nature is not checked by self-will, but by the filling of the Holy Spirit, which is recovered by confessing your sins to God. So carnality is staying out of fellowship. Reversionism is the next stage in which the believer gets into human good and evil, the other two trends of the sin nature.
Paul goes back to those moments after salvation when he wanted to glorify God. Paul represented himself as resolving to advance spiritually, desiring to please Christ and wishing to take in doctrine in order to achieve spiritual maturity. But all these good intentions were neutralized by the sin nature, with its trends toward sin, human good and evil. The sin nature can do nothing apart from the volition of the believer. The trend toward sin is quickly solved through the function of the Rebound Technique. Rebound, when practiced, insulates against carnality. The trend toward human good and evil can be solved only by consistent positive volition toward Bible doctrine.
To do things you do not desire to do and to keep on doing them is an obvious warning of the inner conflict between the two natures. On the other hand, to experientially place yourself under orders to the Lord Jesus Christ is to turn away from temporary stimulation and pseudo happiness of Satan’s world system into a perfect, temporal and eternal happiness provided by God. Only the filling of the Spirit and Bible doctrine resident in the soul can break the power and the influence of the sin nature in your life.
But if I do the very thing I do not wish, I agree with the Law that it is good.
When the believer sins from his own volition he is doing something incompatible with his new marriage to Christ. Therefore he is doing something he does not desire to do. Therefore, he agrees with the Law in defining his sin and he agrees also with the Law’s establishment principles, which teach God’s principles for the human race. Understanding the trends of the sin nature and applying God’s solution is the only way these trends can be avoided. Therefore, the Law is advantageous to the believer even though the Mosaic Law is no longer the marriage counsellor.
So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me.
Paul is dramatizing the conflict between the ex-husband, the sin nature and the present husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. No one ever commits a sin, known or unknown, without involvement of his own free will. Paul is not denying the involvement of his volition but he is renouncing the function of the sin nature as the ex-husband. The believer struggles with the mastery of his inner life, therefore the need of a marriage counsellor for the second marriage, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables the believer’s volition to make decisions which please the Lord Jesus Christ rather than the sin nature.
Only the filling of the Spirit and Bible doctrine resident in the soul can offset the sin nature solicitation of sin, human good, and evil. This is why the believer must have, and does have, the indwelling presence of God the Holy Spirit as the marriage counsellor.
The inner conflict of the believer and the pressure on volition of the royal family then becomes obvious. We have the pressure of inner conflict, the pressure of desiring to please the Lord, and yet not pleasing Him because of what we are doing. And we have the pressure of knowing what we are doing and knowing we are not pleasing to Him.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
Paul is saying in effect that he understands the problem in himself and in so doing he indicates that he has great objectivity. Objectivity becomes the way of learning the problem and therefore finding the solution. So we have understanding of the problem, which is the inner conflict between the sin nature and the Holy Spirit. The problem is hopeless in the human body, leaving only the human soul for the area of solution. The solution always deals with the fact that Bible doctrine must become resident in the soul. Spiritual growth and glorification of Christ must first occur in the soul before it can occur in the physical body (the soul controls the physical body). This is why Divine Viewpoint Thinking must be the normal operating procedure if a believer desires to advance spiritually and glorify God. (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.
This is the resolve of the will; the desire to please God and to do the will of God. The desire to please God, the desire to solve the problem comes from human volition. But human volition cannot solve any problem or make a right decision without divine support. Man’s volition has been involved from the very beginning when Adam took the fruit from out of the hand of Eve. In the Garden, Adam and Eve made decisions every day with regard to staying away from “the Tree.” Then one day they both made a decision to eat of the fruit of “the Tree.” The first sin in the human race, then, was an act of free will.
After salvation the volition of the believer must make daily decisions toward the execution of the Christian Way of Life by utilizing Divine Viewpoint Thinking. When sin has occurred there must be a decision to Rebound, but the believer must understand the mechanics of Rebound. To reach the objective of the Christian Way of Life daily decisions must be made in favor of perception of Bible doctrine and in favor of Rebound when necessary. So Paul described the believer who was willing to make right decisions but was frustrated by ignorance of doctrine (how to do the will of God). Without doctrinal facts and information the volition is frustrated in fulfilling God’s policies. The resolve was present in Paul but the execution of the resolve demanded understanding of Bible doctrine. You can’t please God until you know how to please God.
But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
Paul, now with understanding of Bible doctrine, did not desire to follow the trends of the sin nature. However, there was an inner conflict between what he desired to do and what he actually did. In other words, Paul was saying that the sin nature had reared its head and taken control of his soul. This dilemma revealed the fact that there is a strong conflict in every believer. In fact, the life of the believer is a major battleground between the forces of Satan and the forces of God. The volition of the believer’s soul is subject to tremendous pressures from the sin nature and the Holy Spirit. Only through the filling of the Spirit and knowledge of Bible doctrine can the believer be empowered to make decisions which are pleasing and honoring to God.