Lesson 58 - Chapter 7 verses 21-25

Lesson 58 - Chapter 7 verses 21-25

Verse 21

I find then the principle that evil is present with me, the one who wishes to do good.

In verses 21-25 Paul summarized the principles that he learned with regard to the sin nature and spiritual death.  What Paul discovered was that evil was always present, even when he desired to do good.  Paul discovered the conflict that was waging war within him between the sin nature and the Holy Spirit.  Paul was surprised to find out that when he wanted to please God by means of divine production that his sin nature always stood in the way.         

Verse 22

For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man.

Paul representing the believer who is positive toward doctrine produces the action of being delighted with God’s Law in his inner man.  Law from God means Bible doctrine here.  The inner man refers to the soul which is the battleground for the great conflict.  Everything is decided in the soul.

Without Bible doctrine resident in the soul there is no real inner conflict, for there is no divine viewpoint to challenge the trends of the sin nature.   Bible doctrine resident in the soul is not only the means of attaining spiritual maturity, which glorifies Christ, but the means for combating the attacks from the sin nature in the inner conflict.   

God the Holy Spirit Who provides the perception of doctrine also provides the application of doctrine.  Bible doctrine not only defines sin but reveals the true nature of human good and evil.   Most believers are ambushed by human good and evil.   In this battle, you first have to understand the opposition, the sin nature before you can combat it.

Verse 23

But I see a different law, in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

The different law is the principle of opposition, the various functions of the sin nature.  And this different law resides in Paul’s body.   Paul is referring to a specific time when the attack of the sin nature occurred.  The war goes on until we depart from this life by physical death.  The principle is warring against Bible doctrine which has been stored in the soul.   Bible doctrine in this particular verse is fighting a defensive action to wear out the enemy and then counterattack.  The antagonistic principle is the operation of the sin nature constantly attacking the principles of Bible doctrine resident in the soul.  Notice that the attack is on the mind of the believer where doctrine resides. 

There is a constant pressure on the believer’s volition from the sin nature whose headquarters is located in the human body, and Bible doctrine resident in the soul is the only deterrent.  When there is no Bible doctrine in the soul the sin nature is the inevitable winner and makes a prisoner of the believer.  Being a prisoner to the sin nature results in a life of great misery and divine discipline, and can eventually lead to the sin unto death.  It also means no possibility of fulfilling the plan of God for your life.

Verse 24

Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death?

This is the despair that comes to the believer in reversionism.  The word wretched has changed its meaning drastically since the King James Version of the Bible was translated.   We need to understand that Paul is not wretched.  As the writer of this passage he was extremely happy and a mature believer, and under the filling of the Holy Spirit as he was writing this passage.  But in order to personify the difficulties of reversionism he was led by the Holy Spirit to take the position of a reversionist in order to express the disaster of warning discipline, intensive discipline, and eventually dying discipline.   Wretched means to be totally miserable, which is the condition of every reversionist.   This verse describes the believer whose suffering comes from divine discipline as a result of reversionism.  It is dealing with the believer who has rejected doctrine and who is not familiar with how to execute the Christian Way of Life.

There is a way to be rescued from a life of misery, but it has to be done a day at a time, there is no instant rescue here.  Doctrine today, doctrine tomorrow, etc. is the only way you’ll be rescued.   God the Holy Spirit plus Bible doctrine resident in the soul are the rescue team. There is no substitute for this.

The mechanics of rescue include the filling of the Spirit and the constant daily utilization of Bible doctrine, eventuating in maturity advancement.  God gives us one day at a time for the purpose of perception and application of Bible doctrine.  This is the only means of spiritual growth.

Verse 25

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

There are two sentences.  The source of the solution is the first sentence and the recognition of the options is the second sentence.  The Greek noun is “charis,” which means grace.   Literally, the first sentence should read, “Grace belongs to the God.”  So the solution is God’s solution, not ours.   The source of the solution is Jesus Christ our Lord. Grace is the decisive factor in the inner conflict between the sin nature and the Lord Jesus Christ.  The believer can be disappointed when friends and loved ones fail, but the grace of God never fails.  Our stand does not depend upon other people; our stand depends upon the grace of God.

The second sentence is the recognition of the options.  Bible doctrine has to be resident in the mind and the believer must be filled with the Spirit for this alternative to be true. So we are talking about an option which puts us on the right track.  The law of God is the principle of grace function, including Rebound for the filling of the Spirit and the daily intake and application of Bible doctrine for the maturity adjustment to the justice of God.  The law of God is the principle of Experiential Sanctification.

Experiential Sanctification

Even though we possess the righteousness of God, we will not realize the full aspect of this until we receive a glorified body at the Rapture. (I Corinthians 15:50-53)  In the meantime, we still possess a sin nature, which tempts us to commit personal sins.  It is our responsibility as Christians to learn and apply the Word of God and to control our sin nature.  We can do this only through the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is a war being waged within every believer.  It is a battle to see who will control your soul.  Each of us holds the key - it is called volition or free will.  God did not make us robots.  He gave us the freedom of choice. 

Let’s take a look at the scripture that relates to this war in our souls in Galatians 5:16-26.

In Greek the word for walk is “stoicheo,” which means to walk in a straight line or row.  If we are “walking in the Spirit,” our steps will align with His.  In other words, we will allow the Holy Spirit to guide “our steps.”  Please remember that God is not an ogre waiting for us to fail so He can zap us.  God loves us and wants only the best for us.  Therefore, we should learn to love ourselves, which entails self-worth and self-respect.  God in His grace is always there for us, even in times of our failure.  Since God has compassion on us, we should have compassion on ourselves.  Evaluate yourself, make the necessary corrections and move forward, one step at a time.  But don’t spend time beating yourself up or condemning yourself because of some failure. (I John 1:6-10)

The law of the sin nature is the principle of the impulses or trends found in the sin nature which produces personal sin, human good and evil.  Carnality and reversionism are the laws of sin resulting in severe divine discipline and ultimately the sin unto death.  However, the sin unto death does not connote loss of salvation, merely the last intensive punishment of the reversionistic believer in time.

Two mutually exclusive principles carry on a continual battle inside of the believer.   The sin nature resides in the body and attacks the soul.  The Holy Spirit resides in the human spirit and protects the soul.  Both, of course, are based on a believer’s volition.  Who controls your soul as a believer depends on your attitude toward God and His principles.

What do you think is the biggest hindrance to the execution of God’s purpose, plan and will for your life as a believer in Christ?  Most Christians think it is Satan.  Well they are partially correct and partially wrong.  The biggest hindrance to your executing the Christian Way of Life is you!

Every believer has the freedom of choice.  Satan is the ruler of the world system and has an army of demons to do his bidding.  Satan is neither omnipresent nor is he omniscient.  Contrary to popular belief, Satan can be only one place at any given time and most of his time is spent in Heaven before the throne of God accusing believers of wrongdoing.  However, we cannot ignore him, because he is powerful and brilliant (much smarter than any human being).  He uses his knowledge of mankind through years of observation to influence them to do both human good and evil.  Satan’s demon army is at work continually leading unbelievers and believers astray.  Though demons (including Satan) cannot indwell a believer, they can influence him through this corrupt world system and his sin nature.  So every believer has a three-fold enemy that must be recognized and dealt with effectively: Satan, the world system and his sin nature.  How you deal with each will determine your success as a Christian.