Romans 7:24

“Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

The inner struggle is real.  Paul experiences the desire to obey God’s law but fails to do so.  As the struggle intensifies, he realizes his depravity.  He calls himself “wretched.”  He knows that nothing righteous dwells within him.  He desperately cries out, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Notice his question involves a person: “Who?”  Paul knows it’s only the living, personal presence of Jesus who can give the answer to sin in a person’s life.  Only Jesus has the power to crucify the selfish flesh and give his resurrection power that allows a person to desire to delight in and obey God’s law.

Do you know Jesus personally today?  If not, I’d guess you’re continually trapped in your desire to sin.

I pray you’ll receive Jesus today and be set free from the power of sin and death.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:23

“…but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of in that dwells in my members.”

In verse 22, Paul had spoken how he delighted in God’s law.  Now, in this verse he honestly tells how he feels another war going on in his members, his body.  It feels like another law pulling at his heart—one beckoning him to disobey the law in which he delights.  It especially seems to occur in his mind.  There’s a lust in his thought life that makes him want to use his members for sin, not godliness.

Any breathing human knows Paul’s struggle.  Even if we want to do what is right, we don’t.  There is a lustful sin nature warring with every desire to delight in God’s good law.

Tomorrow we will see Paul’s anguished cry to this struggle.  He will be seeking an answer to this inner conflict.  But here’s the sneak preview: there is an answer.  It’s found in a person.  His name is Jesus.  He can and will give you victory over this inward struggle.

I promise.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:22

“For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being...”

Paul loved the law of God.  He knew God wrote it.  He knew it was the way to God’s best life now.  He delighted in every aspect of God’s law in his inner being.

There was just one problem.  Though he delighted in God’s law, he couldn’t obey it.  There was a war within that made him not want to obey it (see the next verse tomorrow!).  This inner struggle was what helped Paul come to realize that he was a great sinner who needed a great Savior.

Have you come to this reality yet?  If not, think about the law of God.  Is it your delight?  Yet do you really obey it, all the time, in every situation?

Your honest answer will reveal to you why you desperately need a Savior.

Please, be honest with your answer!  Your eternity depends on it.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:21

“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.”

By the word “law” here, Paul probably means two ideas.  First, he’s referring to the Mosaic law—more specifically to the Ten Commandments.  Second, he’s referring to right life principles by which to live.  They are universal and eternal.  All cultures know these right principles.

Therefore, Paul is saying that the eternal, immutable, right principles by which he knows he should live are within him, he also knows that “evil lies close at hand.”  In other words, the desire NOT to obey them is as close as his desire to obey them.

It’s the struggle every human being recognizes.  We want to do what is right.  We know what we should do.  Yet there is something within us all that either doesn’t obey or want to obey God’s truth.

It’s called sin.  It courses through the veins of every human being.  We all fall short of what God intended because of it.

It’s why all need a Savior.

In case you don’t know, this Savior’s name is Jesus.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:20

“Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”

Chronic sin proves how in-depth sin dwells in us.  That’s Paul’s point in this verse.  He doesn’t want to sin.  Yet he continues to do it.  No matter how hard he tries to stop, he can’t.  It simply doesn’t happen.

Which proves sin is deeply dwelling in him.  It’s not surface level.  It’s deeply embedded within the fleshly nature.  It can’t be scratched off.  It can’t be rubbed off.  It can’t be disciplined off.

It must be eradicated and eliminated.  It must be completely cleansed away.  It must be crucified.

That’s what Jesus came to do.  It’s what he accomplished on the cross.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:19

“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”

Paul keeps saying the same thing over and over again to make his point.  There is something selfish and evil in his body.  His flesh does not want to obey God’s moral law.  He doesn’t consistently do so.

Even the good that he wants to do, he doesn’t do.  In fact, it’s a chronic problem.  He keeps on disobeying what he knows is good.  It never seems to get better.  It cannot get better!

Paul continues to vividly paint the picture of our sinful condition.  He wants all to come to grips, as he did, with our need for a Savior.  Without this recognition of our utter sinfulness, we will never be set free by the power of love.

This love has a name.  It's is Jesus.  He alone can set you free from the power of indwelling sin.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:18

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.  For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

All human flesh, these bodies in which we live, have nothing good in them.  There is a desire to obey God’s law, a desire to do what is right.  That’s because the image of God is still stamped on each human being.  Even the most selfish person will still express love—most often to friends or loved ones.  But there is no long-term ability to carry it out.  We are selfish beyond words.  We want the world to revolve around us.

Our puny flesh is quickly insulted.  Our selfish pride hates it when we are offended.  This sinful condition dwells in our body’s flesh.  Our constant disobedience proves our sinfulness.

We need a Savior to save us from our sin.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:17

“So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”

Paul is not abdicating personal responsibility.  He knew that every individual is ultimately responsible for his own actions.  No one receives a free pass from the choices he makes.

However, Paul is trying to emphasize the power of sin that indwells all of us.  Though personally responsible, all of us have a bent toward self.  We all make choices based on a power within us that moves away from God.

The choices you have made because of your sinful, selfish desires shows how you have broken the perfect, pure, moral law of God.  It proves you need a Savior.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of indwelling sin.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of Jesus’ grace to deliver you from it.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:16

“Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that is good.”

When someone does the right thing, even if he doesn’t want to do it, it proves the law is good.  It proves the entire point Paul is trying to make it this section.

Good can be measured.  Trust is consistent.  It comes from the heart of God.  So does God’s moral law, which is also good.

But there is nothing good within us to make us consistently quest for good.  No one consistently obeys God’s moral law.  That’s why we need God first to pursue us.  We need him first to love us.

He did in Jesus.  When we receive him, his goodness is planted within us.  And we quest after his goodness for the rest of our lives.

Do you know the good and risen Savior?

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:15

“For I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

Since I am sold to sin, there is nothing within me that desires to obey the law of God.  Even if we have a desire to do the right thing, we end up doing that which we know we shouldn’t.  We don’t do what we know we should.  We even do that which we hate, what we know we shouldn’t do.

Anyone who has lived knows the power of Paul’s words.  It’s because of sin that indwells us.  It overpowers us.  It consumes and controls us.

We will only be free from sin when we hate it.  We can’t be set free from our friends.  We can’t coddle it.  We must know and hate its destructive power to be free from it.

That’s the first step from being set free from the power of sin.  It’s the first step in moving toward Jesus.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

How do we make sense of it? Was it blatant racism that caused someone to shoot nine African Americans while studying the bible? Was mental illness involved? Or some combination of both?

Regardless, the incident causes all of us inwardly to reflect about the condition of our own hearts. Is there any racism? Any hatred of any kind?

If so, especially for those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus, take spiritual hatchets and aggressively uproot any racism or hatred. Even a tiny, small root is unacceptable. Don't allow any vestige of any kind of racism to remain. Eliminate it all!

Then choose to plant seeds of love to bloom where hatred once rested. Be certain love conquers all hate. Know that forgiveness overwhelms bitterness.

Do this heart examination today. Give your heart the great gift of hope of eliminating all hatred and racism through Jesus' profound love and forgiveness. When done, you're giving the world the expectant hope that a tragedy like this will never happen again.

In my opinion, it's the best way for us all to respond to the Charleston tragedy. 

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:14

“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.”

Paul had said that the law is spiritual.  It is good, righteous and holy.  It expresses the moral, pure heart of God.  

But that is not the case with any of us, including Paul.  We are all burdened with the bondage of sin in our flesh.  Within every human being rests a desire to resist God’s moral law.  Because of sin, we are owned by another power than God.  We’ve been sold to the power of sin and death.  Therefore, we are not good, unrighteous and unholy.  We are impure.

Someone must come and purchase our redemption.  We need to be bought by another who will place us under grace, not sin.

He did come.  His name is Jesus.

Do you know him as the one who saved you from your sin?  Do you know that when you accept him as Lord and Savior you are not your own, but you are bought with a price?

You are now owned by him, a slave by choice, to his will.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:13

"Did that which is good, then, bring death to me?  By no means!  It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sin beyond measure."

Paul anticipates an objection from his readers regarding what he'd been teaching.  Someone might ask, "Are you teaching that the law itself, which is good, bring you spiritual, eternal death?"  Paul shouts back, "Of course not!  By no means!"  The law, within itself, is holy, righteous and good (see verse 12).  The law didn't produce death in our hearts.  It only proves death in our hearts.  It reveals all the evil that lurks within.  It shows sin to be sin.  Through all the commandments, we see the boundless measure of sin within.  We do disobey not only the 10th Commandment (the one that pricked Paul's heart), but ALL of them.  Our hearts are wicked, evil and selfish beyond words.  We are condemned by the law.

In this helpless, hopeless condition, how can we be saved?  That's the question Paul is raising for all his readers.  It's the most important question any of us can ask?  By our works unto the law?  But none of us can ever do enough before God to please him.  Therefore, we are desperately lost.  The only other option is grace, the grace of Jesus given to us to forgive us of our sins, not based on works but a gift.

What other option can there be?  How else can we be saved except for God's grace through Jesus Christ?

That's the argument Paul is making in these verses.

It's a very powerful argument.  And it's eternally important that we too enter this debate.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:12

"So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good."

Paul makes it clear how God views his moral law and commandments.  It is holy, righteous and good.  It is holy in that it defines who God is.  He is different from the world.  The moral law proves it.  It is righteous.  It shows the perfect righteousness of God.  It's not a human righteousness, but one that expresses the very reality of heaven.  And it's good.  It's the right way to live.  It's God's perfect guardrails to protect our lives.  It's the right way to live.  It's how God wants all his children to live.

The problem is we don't follow it.  There is a sinful condition within all our hearts that shows how far short we come in obeying and following God's holy, righteous and good moral law.

Make no mistake about it: God's law is good in every possible way.  But people just can’t follow it.  We don't obey it.  We have an inward, spiritual heart condition that prevents it from happening.

Therefore, we need forgiveness from God through a Savior.  His name is Jesus.

And once we receive this forgiveness through Jesus, our desire is to obey God's holy, righteous and good law like never before.  Our hearts yearn to do so.  The difference between now than before is we desire to do so in response to forgivingness.  We want to do so.  We don't have to do so to earn favor with God.

And that difference makes all the difference in the world.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:11

"For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment deceived me and through it killed me."

When Paul contemplated the 10th Commandment, "You shall not covet," he realized he did indeed covet.  He realized he didn't perfectly desire to obey all of God's moral law.  He realized he didn't obey all of God's moral law.  He was convicted of his sin through the 10th Commandment.  Sin seized an opportunity to be convicted of its reality through the 10th Commandment.

Previously sin had deceived Paul.  He wrongly thought he perfectly obeyed all aspects of the moral lay.  Through the conviction of his sin through the 10th Commandment, Paul realized he was actually dead to God.  Sin "killed" him.  He knew sin existed in his heart.  He needed a Savior.

Paul discovered this Savior's name is Jesus.  

Have you made this discovery today?  When you do, you will never be the same.  

Your sins are forgiven.  You live in hope.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:10

"The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me."

In this and the previous several verses, Paul is stating and restating the point he is trying to make.  Paul loved the commandments of God.  He tried his entire life to obey every one of them.  At one point in his life, the commandments were his reason for living---his attempt to obey all of them to prove himself righteous to God.

But when he stopped and seriously contemplated whether he obeyed them all or not, he came to a startling conclusion.  The very commandments he tried to obey to give him life, he didn't obey.  They were indeed "death to me."  They showed how wicked and sinful his heart really was.  It showed he needed a Savior.

Everyone who lives needs to come to grips with this reality.  Do you really think your righteousness before God is because of your works?  Do you honestly think God is pleased with your perfect obedience to the law?  Or do you know you can't obey all aspects of the law and that you desperately need a Savior?

Your answer, as Paul discovered, determines your eternal salvation.

It's an extremely important question to ask.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:9

"I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died."

There was a time when Paul thought he was spiritually alive apart from the law.  He thought himself to be perfectly righteous unto God.  But when he seriously contemplated the commandments, especially # 10: "You shall not covet," the sin that existed in his heart "came alive."  It proved to Paul he was not righteous unto the law.  It proved he was a great sinner.  It showed he needed to die to self and become alive to Christ.

And that's what happened.  He died to his own righteousness.  He died to his sense that he can work to please God.  He died to any hopes of working his way to heaven.  He came to grips with the spiritual reality that he needed a Savior to save him from his sins.

Have you come to this reality today?  It is the most important question you'll ever answer: Do I believe I'm a sinner and need God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ?

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:8

"But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.  For apart from the law, sin lies dead."

When Paul contemplated the 10th commandment, "You shall not covet," he realized the true condition of his heart.  The more he contemplated his covetousness, the more he realized how much he coveted!  That produced within him the terrible conviction that he was a sinner.

Paul argues that if he didn't have the law, sin would live hidden within him.  The same is true with us.  Without the law, we all would think we are righteous before God because of our good works.  We'd think it's not there and we'd continue to live under the lie that we are all righteous under the law.  We are all justified by our supposed good works.

But the law, especially the Ten Commandments, when properly contemplated, reveal the true condition of our hearts.  We are all sinners.  We desperately need a Savior.

Have you come to the realization today?

If so, let me tell you this Savior's name: Jesus.  And he is ready to forgive your sins today.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:7

"What shall we say?  That the law is sin?  By no means!  Yet it had not been for the law I would not have known sin.  For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, 'You shall not covet.'"

For the Christian, what is the major purpose of the law?  It is to convict us of sin.  At one point, Paul thought himself to be perfectly righteous under the law (see Philippians 3:6).  Can you imagine?  There was a time when Paul thought he perfectly obeyed every one of the Ten Commandments---every day of his life!

Then he carefully contemplated the last one: "You shall not covet."  Number 10 pierced his heart.  He knew he coveted (we all do, if we're honest!).  He knew he compared himself to others.  He knew he wanted what others had.  And he knew his heart was wicked.  If he had broken #10, he knew he broke the others, too.  Therefore he knew he needed a Savior.

Today, go through each one of the Ten Commandments.  Check out the reality of your heart against all ten.  What should happen is a realization that your heart is wicked and deceitful.  You have fallen way short of what God desires.

You need a Savior.

Then, hopefully, you will discover that his name is Jesus.

Has that happened in your life?

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick

Romans 7:6

“But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.”

The “now” here represents the new era of life in the Holy Spirit that God inaugurated and launched after Jesus’ ascension into heaven.  

Christians are “released from the law.”  It is no longer our authority to define eternal life.  No longer does it hold us captive to a standard we cannot keep.  The “new way” is through the Holy Spirit who now dwells in those who believe in Jesus.  He guides us in the new way of grace, not the “written code” of the law.

Through the inward dwelling of the Holy Spirit, grace now motivates the heart to purity, holiness and obedience.  We now have the ability to obey the law, not because we have to but because we want to.  It’s an inward desire.  It flows naturally from a heart that is totally devoted to Jesus.

And it accomplishes in and outside us something the law could never have done.

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AuthorDavid_Chadwick