In-depth Study On Romans Chapters 6-8

Lesson 12

The Results of Service

(Romans 6:20) For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. (v21) What fruit had ye in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. (v22) But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (v23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

In verses 20 and 21, Paul describes the results of our being a slave to sin. Verse 20 refers to the principal stated in verse 16: the result of being a slave of sin is that we are free from the influence of righteousness. Righteousness and sin are mutually exclusive, so we cannot simultaneously be a slave to both.

In verse 21, Paul asks another question. In an effort to focus our attention on the results of our slavery to sin, he asks, "What fruit had ye..." His point is obvious. Service to sin is empty and meaningless. The behavior that comes from slavery to sin results in nothing but shame and ultimately, death. Self-centered behavior, prompted by the false philosophies of slavery to sin, always leads to social, personal, and spiritual death (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

Verse 22 contrasts the empty results of service to sin, with the fruit produced by service to God. Again, Paul emphasizes that we have been made free from the power of sin to become servants of God. He assures us that our fruit sets us apart from the world and leads us into a life of holiness. The outcome is eternal life, rather than eternal death.

Faith in our position in Christ generates within us a behavior and a committment to service that does not leave us empty or dissatisfied. Instead, it produces fruit which is characterized by holiness (Galatians 5:22,23: the fruit of the Spirit). Such behavior inevitably leads us to a truly personal, spiritual, and eternal life.Finally, the results of our service, whether to sin or to God, are summarized by the word, death. This means more than just a physical death. It includes the idea of a personal death while still living, a death in the form of neurosis or psychosis. Also, it means ultimate death, in eternal separation from God.

In sharp contrast, Paul tells us that the gift of God is eternal life. This life is not just the physical life and death we can now enjoy, but also the abundant life which comes from personal satisfaction and completeness. In addition, the ultimate result of service to the Lord is eternal, and all the blessings shall be enjoyed eternally.

It is important that we note the difference in terms used for the results of each type of service. Paul identifies the results of service to sin as "wages." This is interesting because it implies that the results of service to sin are exactly what we have coming. We have "earned" them.

In contrast, the results of service to the Lord are referred to as a gift of God. This suggests that both the service itself (verses 17 and 18), and the results of that service are by God. It is important for us to understand we do not "earn" eternal life as a result of serving God. We receive it only because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith frees us from our natural slavery to sin so we may serve God. The results are that we receive the blessings of that service both now and forever.

Answer these questions:
  1. Why was it impossible for me to maintain righteousness with God while sinning?
  2. How would I describe the type of fruit I am presently producing?
  3. In what way am I apart from the world?
  4. What are the different kinds of death generated by the sin of unbelief?
  5. How would I describe abundant life and eternal life to an unbeliever?
  6. Why can't we earn eternal life?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 15-23?
 
Lesson 13

Overview

In the closing verses of Chapter 6, Paul has addressed the tendency of believers to pervert the grace of God because they don't understand who God has really made them to be. He explains that when we yielded ourselves to God at the time of our salvation, we became servants of righteousness rather than servants of sin. Therefore, we must persist in yielding our members as "servants of righteousness unto holiness," to be consistent with our new identity.

As soon as we proclaimed our faith in the Gospel message, God's grace took over, and He declared us to be justified. We are, therefore, made to be servants of righteousness rather than servants of sin. When we accept this new position and yield ourselves to God by faith, our condition in this world becomes progressively conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

Although we may suffer temporary setbacks because of our failure to grasp completely our true position in faith, we never again have to be the slave of sin,nor shall we experience eternal death! For these reasons, it is absurd for us to pervert the grace of God, which will continue to work in us until it conforms us to the image of Christ.

We have received Jesus Christ and His gift of eternal life. This has separated us from sin and has placed us in the kingdom of God. We would have to deliberately rebel against God and abuse His grace in order to continue indefinitely in sin.

In this next section, Paul elaborates upon what he means by his statement in Romans 6:14. The promise that sin shall no longer have dominion over us is based upon the fact that we are no longer "under the law, but under grace." After having digressed for a moment to declare the results of our perversion of this great truth, Paul goes on to explain that we are dead to the law. In so doing, he not only reveals our true position under God's grace, he also reveals more glorious results of that position.

Lesson 13

The Dominion Of The Law

(Romans 7:1) Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? (v2) For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. (v3) So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adultress; but if her husband be dead, she is free from the law; so that she is no adultress, though she be married to another man. (v4) Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

The dominion of the law over the natural man is in force so long as that man continues to live according to his old nature, rather than accept the new life available through God's grace. Any man who refuses God's grace must rely solely upon his own perfect behavior to fulfill the law in every respect. This is his only alternative method to get into heaven. Of course, no man has that capability, therefore, every man needs a Savior. Paul has already explained this in the earlier chapters of this letter to the Romans.

To the pagan, the moralist, and the religious Jew, God's law or righteous demands have been and will continue to be revealed (Romans 2:14 ff). Furthermore, it has been proven beyond all doubt that the law of God has dominion over all the natural world, "that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Romans 3:19). This includes any Christian who deliberately abuses the grace of God.

Paul illustrates the dominion of the law over the natural man by an analogy taken from marriage. The law binds a married woman to her husband for life. Also, the natural man is under the bondage and condemnation of the law so long as he insists upon living his life according to his old nature.

This means he has turned his back on God's grace, which is available to him through faith in what Jesus Christ has accomplished. Instead, he has elected to rely upon his own good works to get him into heaven, or even to gain blessings from God. In so doing, he has made himself subject to the standards of behavior required by the law.

But just as a married woman is freed from the bondage of the law by the death of her husband, the natural man is also freed from the bondage of the law by the death of his "old man," his old spirit being. Upon the death of his "old man," the natural man immediately becomes a new creation. A new spirit-being is resurrected within him and he steps out of the shackles of the law, into the grace of God.

So long as her husband remains alive, the married woman is under the law, so any other marriage is prohibited and results in condemnation. Likewise, so long as the natural man insists upon living according to his old nature he is forcing himself to remain under the law; therefore, any conduct less than perfection is prohibited. Such conduct automatically places him under condemnation (Galatians 3:10).

In verse 4, we are assured that all believers have been made dead to the law through our union with the body of Christ. The way this is accomplished is described in Chapter 6 as the death of the "old man" (Romans 6:6). That is, our old spirit-being has been put to death so our new spirit-being may live free from the bondage of either sin or the law.

Because of the believer's union with Christ in His death (an enactment which has taken place in the heavenlies under the direction of God, the Father), the old spirit-person has been put to death. The old spirit-person was the one which contained the Adamic nature, that nature which continually fed our tendency to sin. But that relationship has been severed, so we no longer have to serve sin.

The death of our "old man" is similar to the death of the married woman's husband. That death separated her from her husband and freed her from the law. Likewise, our separation from our "old man," and from the law which was designed to dominate that "old man," was accomplished in reality through the death of the body of Jesus Christ on the cross. In God's eyes, and by His grace, we were united with Christ in that death the moment we accepted it as the means of our salvation.

The reason God put the "old man" to death and, therefore, freed us from the bondage of the law, is so our "new man" might be joined to Christ in His resurrection, and e free to bring forth fruit unto God. In order for us to be "married," or joined to the resurrected Christ, we had to be rid of the "old man" along with the bondage of the law upon that "old man."

This was accomplished at the moment we first trusted in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, and were immersed into Him by the miraculous operation of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12,13).

The result of our being set free from the bondage of sin and the law is that we, through our union with Christ, might bring forth much fruit unto God (John 15:1-8) (Galatians 5:22,23).

Our marriage to Christ is supernatural. It involves the impartation of the Holy Spirit. In John 14:20, Jesus tells us, "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me, and I in you."

As our new spirit-being is embodied and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, we are not only in union with Christ, we become identical with Christ. As the married woman lays aside her maiden name and picks up her new identity with her husband, likewise, we lay aside our individuality and become identified with Christ. Through identification with our Lord's death, we are delivered from the presence and the power of sin.

Our marriage to Christ means we have broken the restrictive bonds of individuality, and have stepped forth in joy under the leadership of our Bridegroom.

Answer these questions:
  1. As a believer living my new life through God's grace, what has happened to the dominion of the law over my life?
  2. Before I became a believer, what was my status concerning the dominion of the law?
  3. If I should decide to earn my way into heaven by performing good works, how would that affect my relationship to the law?
  4. What do I mean when I say I am "dead" to the law?
  5. In what way am I "married" to the resurrected Christ?
  6. How is it possible for me to bring forth much fruit unto God?
 
Lesson 14

The Effects Of Death To The Law

(Romans 7:5) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sin, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (v6) But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held: that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

In these verses, Paul contrasts our position as believers with our position as unbelievers. As an unbeliever, we are found guilty and we are condemned to death, because we are subject to the law and unable to keep it. In contrast, the believer is dead, so far as the law is concerned; therefore, he is no longer under its bondage.

The law was added to magnify sin so everyone could see it (Romans 5:20). This served to drive us to faith in Christ in order to receive our salvation (Galatians 3:22,23). It is absolutely impossible for the natural man with his Adamic nature toward sin to conform to the law. When the full realization of this fact strikes him, he sees that Christ is the only alternative open for him to escape eternal death.

Paul refers to this function of the law when he states that while we were under its dominion, the sinful motions, or passions, energized our bodies to "bring forth fruit unto death." This simply means that the bondage, which rises out of the law, actually serves to increase our awareness of sin, and the sins, themselves.

Another result is that the bondage of the law increases our focus upon sin and our service to sin. All of this serves to generate a frustration within us, as our flesh wrestles with itself, desire versus conscience, sin versus attempt not to sin.

In contrast to the bondage of the law and sin, Paul next describes the effects of our death to the law. Since we have died with Christ, we have died to the bondage of sin. Therefore, we have died to the law which seeks to magnify sin. Of course, where there is no longer any sin, there is consequently no need for a law which serves to reveal sin.

Because we are dead to both sin and the law, we now are free to serve God "in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." Paul means by this statement that our death to the law enables us to yield our members as servants to righteousness, under the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Instead of having to look at an external set of rules to govern our behavior, we may now rely fully upon the internal motivation generated by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

An example of the purpose of the believer's death to the law may be useful here. Under the Mosaic law,we have been commanded not to murder. In His Sermon on the Mount, however, our Lord intensified this law by commanding that we should not hate.

Being dead to the law does not mean we may hate or murder. Instead, because of our union (marriage) with Christ, and because of His influence in our lives, we are now inclined to love others unconditionally, rather than simply not hate nor murder them.

Thus, the life that is characterized here by the terms, "dead to the law" and "married to Christ", becomes one which is truly free to serve God under the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit.

Answer these questions:
  1. Why was I, as an unbeliever, condemned to eternal separation from God, which is death?
  2. Instead of being condemned to death, I am now dead to the law. What is the difference?
  3. Why is Christ the only alternative open for me to escape eternal death?
  4. Why does the bondage of the law make everyone sin-conscious?
  5. Why do I no longer need the law?
  6. How has my release from the bondage of the law made me free to be a servant of righteousness?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 1-6?
 
Lesson 15

The Nature and Function of the Law

(Romans 7:7) What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not covet. (v8) But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. (v9) For I alive alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (v10) And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. (v11) For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. (v12) Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. (v13) Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

In his determination to explain the believer's union with Christ, Paul seeks to impress upon our minds two main facts. First, he wants us to understand that the person we were in Adam no longer exists. The "old man" (our original spirit-being) has been crucified and buried with Christ, and a "new man" (new spirit-being) is now risen within us, so that we might walk in newness of life. We are now free to present ourselves unto God and our members as instruments of righteousness.

Secondly, Paul reveals that in connection with the death of the "old man," we have also become dead to the law through our union with Christ. The purpose of our death to the law and our union with Christ, is that we might be free to flow with the Holy Spirit, so we may bring forth fruit unto God.

In this next section, Paul reveals the deadly interplay between the law and sin. His intention is to demonstrate the function of the law, and the reaction of sin to the law. He brings out the tremendous conflict between the desires and the power of indwelling sin, struggling against the new person we are in Christ.

The principals to be learned in this section reveal not only the necessity of our being delivered from the power of sin and the law. In addition, we will begin to understand the futility of attempting to utilize the law in our struggle with sin.

Paul begins and closes this section with rhetorical questions meant to call attention to the true nature of the law. Since believers, by virtue of their union with Christ, are dead to the law, it may appear that the law itself was sinful.

Because of the close association of law with sin, plus Paul's emphatic statements in verses 6:14 and 7:4-6 concerning our deliverance from sin and the law, one might get the idea that the law, itself, was evil, or bad.

But Paul rejects this notion in his usual manner, then proceeds to describe the law as a useful tool which is actually "holy and just and good." His purpose is to convey the message that the law was originally intended by God, not only to reveal man's need for a Savior, but also to manifest His own standard for holiness, justice and goodness.

Paul shows us in these verses that the function of the law is to be the instrument which reveals sin as sin, and to make man aware of the consequences of sin. Paul states he would not have recognized sin as sin, if it were not that the law prohibited sin. Likewise, he would not have recognized covetousness as sinful, if it were not for the command, "Thou shalt not covet" (Exodus 20:17). He has indicated also, that he would have continued in lust, never recognizing it as sinful, nor would he have been aware of the terrible consequences, if it were not for the law.

The statements in verse 7 are in harmony with what Paul already declared in Romans 3:19,20, concerning the function of the law.There he stated the law was given to prove the whole world guilty, and because of the law, people became aware of sin. That same basic thought is repeated in Romans 5:20, when he said the law entered that the offense, or transgression, might abound.

Sin not only becomes apparent when the law is applied, it is revealed as excessively sinful. For example, when Paul recognized his sins of lust and covetousness, he saw how those sins affected every area of his life. Not only did he recognize his sin at that point, he began to understand what a great and terrible force it was in his life.

Answer these questions:
  1. If someone asked me to describe the true nature of the law, what would I tell them?
  2. Why can I agree with Paul that the law is actually, "holy and just and good?"
  3. What would I say are the two reasons God gave the law?
  4. How does the law reveal sin as sin?
  5. In what way is the whole world guilty of sin?
  6. Why can sin be a great and terrible force in my life?
 
Lesson 16

The Nature and Function of Sin

Paul's selection of the sin of covetousness for an example in this passage illustrates several important facts about the nature of sin. To covet, or to lust, is sin which is not easily discernible, either by the sinner or by anyone else. When we covet or lust after something or someone, it indicates we believe we need that thing or person more than we need God and who or what God has given us.

Because it is not obvious, and is easily hidden from others, we can rationalize covetousness or lust to the point that it is even suppressed from our own awareness. Such a sin serves as an excellent example, because it reveals the deceptive nature of sin.

The sin of lust also serves as a good example of the true nature of sin, because it illustrates the inherent power residing in sin. Some of the most hideous crimes known to man have been committed by those driven by their lust for money, fame, power, etc. It has been suggested that every outward expression of sin has at its base, covetousness, fed by lust.

As Paul uses it in this passage, sin is to be viewed as the very nature of the "old man," which was crucified (Romans 6). The sin of unbelief of who we are in Christ is the basis for the countless lies and false attitudes programmed into us by the "old man," and hidden deeply within our subconscious mind, which the Bible calls our heart.

The sin of unbelief of what Christ has done for us is also the basis for our emotions, such as hatred, depression and worry, which come from our false attitudes. In addition, the sin of unbelief is the basis of our self-centered behavioral patterns and habits, so deeply ingrained in our lives by the dominion of that "oldman."

According to Paul, the operation of sin, which springs from unbelief, is intensified by the law, and it quickly leads the sinner to a place apart from God, which is death.

Apart from the illumination of the law, sin is represented as lying dormant, hidden deep within the subconscious mind. But when the law is applied, the sin of unbelief is brought to the surface, reacting like an unleashed beast, exercising its power to produce all its various forms in its victims.

While the law is not applied, the awareness of sin is dormant in the conscious mind and we are alive. But, when sin is aroused by the law "...sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:15).

In verse 10, Paul speaks of a commandment which was to result in life. He is referring to Leviticus 18:5, which states, "So you shall keep my statutes and my judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD." This commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for Paul, because he could see that the power of sin within him was greater than his ability to keep the law. Inability to keep the law meant separation from God, which is death.

It is as if sin had a mind of its own and used the occasion of the commandment to magnify itself, deceiving Paul to the point of killing him. Paul could see very clearly that if he had only the law to look to for eternal life, there was not the slightest possibility that he would make it to heaven. Due to the deadly interplay between sin and the law, it becomes obvious that eternal life cannot be obtained through the application of the law.

The moment the unbeliever determines to earn his salvation by keeping the law, sin is aroused and its full power is unleashed in his thoughts, his feelings and his actions. The more determined he is to keep the law, the less able he is to do so. He finds that his concentration is totally taken up with his sins and his inability to bring them in line with the law. Finally, he is brought to realize he is guilty before God and he is "dead in trespasses and sins."

This only means by which eternal life may be obtained is by God's grace, through our faith. The law, by enhancing and revealing the true nature of sin, serves the useful purpose of causing the unbeliever to recognize his need to trust in Christ rather than himself. Therefore, the law can never be seen as anything but holy, just and good.

That same principal holds true for the believer. Although the "old man" has been crucified with Christ, the programming which the "old man" has instilled in us (unbelief, sinful emotions and habits, etc.) is still present. And that old programming continues to be energized by the application of the law.

It is for this reason that Paul emphasizes the need for the believer to live by faith, under grace, rather than by works under the law. The application of the law to the believer's life will always reactivate the old programming, not remove it.

As will be seen in the next chapter, the deadly interplay between sin and the law produces an intense conflict within all who seek to live by the law. For this reason, Paul insists believers are no longer "under the law, but under grace."

Answer these questions:
  1. If I was asked to explain the deceptive nature of sin, what would I say?
  2. How does unbelief have an adverse effect upon my life?
  3. Why is the sin within me aroused by the law?
  4. Why is it the more determined I am to keep the law, the less able I am to do it?
  5. When I am concentrating upon my sin nature, why is my focus in the wrong direction?
  6. What should I do about the programming which the "old man" has instilled within me, and which still abides within me?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 7-13?
Lesson 17

The Believer's Contradiction

(Romans 7:14) For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. (v15) For that which I do I allow not; for what I would, that I do not, but what I hate, that I do. (v16) If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

In verses 7-13 the Apostle reveals the deadly interplay between the law and sin. While the law reveals God's holy and perfect character, it also reveals the sinfulness of the natural man. In the process, we can see that the whole human race, in Adam, is condemned. In short, the law serves as a catalyst to help us recognize sin and its consequences.

As it is used in this context, sin should be recognized as the nature of the "old man" in Adam. It is the total of all the programming imposed by the "old man" which still resides in the individual's mind and heart. This condition exists in spite of the fact that the "old man" has been crucified with Christ.

Unfortunately, when the law is applied, the old nature responds with surprising power. It seeks to deceive, and ultimately to destroy the believer. It is to this inner conflict that Paul now directs our attention.

In verse 13, he raised and answered a rhetorical question about the function of the law. He asked if the law was intended to kill the individual. In his answer, he made it clear that sin is the cause of death, and that the purpose of the law is not to initiate sin, but rather to reveal it. He then went on to state that sin, when revealed by the law, becomes exceedingly sinful. The law may discover sin, and convince of sin, but it cannot conquer and subdue sin.

In verse 14, Paul continues to reiterate that the law is spiritual, or holy. He is emphasizing that the problem of sin cannot be blamed upon the law. But, he adds, he is carnal, having been sold under sin. He then traces his own fleshly nature to the fact that he was sold into bondage to sin (Romans 6:16-23).

This is the problem facing all believers. Our carnal nature results from who we were in Adam before our salvation. We were sold by Adam when he sinned, sold as a slave to do our master's will against our own will. We were sold under sin because we were conceived in iniquity and born in sin.

The main theme of this section is presented in verse 15. It is the conflict between what the believer desires to do, as opposed to what he actually does. Paul states he does not understand his actions. It is a mystery to him that there is such a conflict between how he wants to behave and how he actually does behave. Actually, this is a common experience among believers; they are shocked by the same inner conflict which Paul is about to describe.

Why indeed should there be such a conflict between what a believer really desires to do and what he actually does? Paul states it is impossible for him to do what he wants to do. In addition, what he does not want to do, he does.

In other words, he simply cannot control his actions to bring them in line with his real desires. We can see in this that we are like Paul. While we press forward towards perfection, yet we must acknowledge that we have not attained, neither are we already perfect (Philippians 3:12).

In verse 16, Paul indicates that in his heart he agrees with the law, and it is his desire to conform himself to do it, regardless of his actions. He explains that since he does not really want to do what he is doing, he is actually consenting to the goodness of the law, even though he cannot fulfill it. He knows what is right and what he should do and, deep down inside, he wants to do what is right. But the problem remains. Even though it is God's law, he is unable to do what he knows to be right.

Praise God, we can take comfort from the covenant of grace, which accepts the willingness of the spirit, and has provided pardon for the weakness of the flesh.

Paul's conflict is not unique to him. Every believer who is serious about the Christian life is faced with a similar problem. As soon as we commit to live the supernatural life of Christ, we immediately become aware of an inner conflict

But to our amazement, in spite of our strong desire to live this life to the fullest, we often find that:
  • We are capable of hating others
  • We may go weeks without really praying
  • We can become bone tired of serving
  • We often ignore the needs of others because of our own problems
  • We sometimes worry about even the smallest things.
If we are honest with ourselves, we have no choice but to admit with Paul that we are indeed carnal. We are still subject to the carryover from our previous bondage to sin.

Actually, the more we recognize and understand the righteous demands of God, the more able we are to see our own ability to live up to them, even though we have a strong desire to do so.

Answer these questions:
  1. Why is it proper for me to say that I was sold under sin?
  2. Why is there such a conflict between how I want to behave and how I actually do behave?
  3. What is the only way in which I can control my actions in order to bring them into line with my real desires?
  4. Why does my committment to live the supernatural life of Christ bring an immediate inner conflict?
  5. Why am I still carnal, even though I am "in Christ?"
  6. Why is it impossible for me to live up to the righteous demands of God without utilizing His grace?
Lesson 18

The distinction In Identity

(Romans 7:17) Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (v18) For I know that in me(that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how tp perform that which is good I find not. (v19) For the good thing that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. (v20)Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

In verses 17 through 20, Paul makes a very important distinction. He separates his true identity as a believer in Jesus Christfrom the indwelling sin with which he is doing battle.

First, he declares it is not really his true self, his true spirit being, that behaves inappropriately in violating the law. The real Paul is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). His new spirit being is created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). His new spirit being does not commit sin (1 John 3:9).

Therefore, it is not the real Paul who violates God's law. The culprit is sin, carried over from the old nature. Even though the "old man" is dead., the remains of that nature still dwell within the flesh.

The man Paul who was in Adam was put to death. That "old man" was declared by God to have been crucified with Christ. But the conditioning influences of the "old man," that sinful nature, remains rooted and embedded deep within Paul's subconscious mind.

The sinful thoughts and sinful emotions and sinful habits which have been such a part of Paul's life, are still there, and they work to keep the real Paul, the new spirit being, from doing what is right.

In verse 18, Paul states he realizes there is nothing good in his flesh, that is, in his old nature in Adam. He recognizes this as fact because he has a real desire as a new man in Christ to do good. But, in his own natural power, he does not know how to accomplish it. He finds it frustrating that he is unable to do the good he wants to do and, at the same time, unable to avoid doing the evil he doesn't want to do.

This contradiction between Paul's will and his behavior, shows the distinction between his true identity in Christ and the old nature which still exists. It is a distinction in keeping with the facts presented in Romans 6:6 and 6:17, concerning the believer's true identity.

It is obvious that Paul is wrestling as he writes. Although he knows the difference, he still has trouble is connecting his "old man" from his new identity in Christ.

The cleansing of all sin by the blood of Jesus is deeper than our consciousness can comprehend. We have a tendency to return to our old identity, because it is so difficult for us to grasp the reality of God's grace. Even though Paul understood hat God had done for him, it was hard for him to accept.

Answer these questions:
  1. How would I explain that my true identity is someone apart from the old person with its sin nature?
  2. In what way did I become a new creation when I accepted Christ?
  3. What do I mean when I say my new spirit being is incapable of committing sin?
  4. Why should I not concentrate upon the fact that there is nothing good in my flesh?
  5. Why should I not come under condemnation for the conflict between my new person in Christ and my old man in Adam?
  6. If some one was to ask me who I am in Christ, what would I tell them?
 
Lesson 19

The Need For Deliverance

(Romans 7:21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (v22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; (v23) But I see another law in my members. (v24) O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (v25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I my self serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Based on upon his awareness of the sin dwelling within him, and of the power it exerts against his reformed will, Paul proclaims a desperate need for deliverance. He understands there is a principle at work within him. We can see it is not exclusively his, for we are also subject to the same dilemma; namely, when we would intend to do good, evil is right there with us. Though the new Paul in Christ (the new spirit-being) delights in the law of God, he sees there is also another law at work. This law affects the members of his body. It is continually at war against the law his mind wants to obey. It is the conflict between the law of God and the law of sin.

While the real Paul (the new spirit-being) desires and delights in the law of God, the carryover of the "old man" in Paul still influences the members of his body, inducing them to sin. The law of sin is such a strong force, it is as if Paul is a captive, being held by his own body!

The result is that Paul's regenerated will is not strong enough to take control over the body in order to demand obedience to the law of God. The lesson for us is that no matter how much we desire to obey God's law, we cannot accomplish it simply by exercising our will.

The frustration involved in admitting his weakness, prompts Paul to cry out for deliverance. "O wretched man that I am!" Not being able to do what he wants so desperately to do is like being a captive in need of rescue. It is as if the real Paul in Christ (the new spirit-being) is held prisoner by his old nature. He despairs of not being able to walk in the fulness of his true identity.

The question in verse 24, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?," is a clear statement from Paul that he recognizes his inability to deliver himself. Paul realizes he was not saved from the guilt and the penalty of sin by his own efforts. Therefore, he cries out for the grace of God to save him from his captivity to the law of sin in his members.

At this point, Paul is leading the way and giving us direction toward the grace of God. He is showing us it is only through our faith in Jesus Christ that we may experience true deliverance from the power of indwelling sin.

In the last verse, Paul summarizes the conflict revealed in this section. He states that he serves the law of God with his mind; however, his flesh is still influenced by the law of sin. He obviously views the problem as monumental. He knows what is right as a new man in Christ, but his old nature continues to influence his conduct.

Although the "old man" was put to death in Christ, the carryover of the "old man" still resides within us. It seeks to dominate and control our bodies so that we will serve the law of sin. Even though Paul served the law of God with his new mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), he also served the law of sin by his old nature. For this reason, he recognized a desperate need For deliverance from That old nature, and he viewed Christ as the only hope for that deliverance. If it was not for Christ, the iniquity that dwells in us would destroy us, eternally.

The following table illustrates the difference in the conflict of the regenerate will of the believer with the flesh, and the indwelling Holy Spirit with the flesh. It should be noted that only through the power of the indwelling Spirit may we gain a victory in our conflict with the flesh and indwelling sin.

ROMANS 7:15 ff GALATIANS 5:16 ff
Human will vs flesh (Conflict) Holy Spirit vs flesh
Under law (Realm) Under grace
Rely on self will (Results) Fruit of the Spirit
Defeat-bondage (Outcome) Victory-freedom


Answer these questions:

  1. What are the two laws which are in conflict with me?
  2. Why cannot I obey God's law simply by exercising my will?
  3. In what way am I a captive in need of rescue?
  4. How does the grace of God come to my rescue?
  5. Why is Christ my only hope for deliverance from my old nature of sin?
  6. Why is it that I always lose when I try to deal with my flesh, but the Holy Spirit always wins when I release my problems to Him?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 14-25?
 
In the preceding chapter, Paul has described the agonizing struggle going on within him. His new spirit-being is engaged in an all out war against the carnal characteristics which still reside in his flesh. He has a renewed will which wants to proceed with the Christian life, but it is being restrained by the habit patterns which have been programmed into his Adamic "old nature."

Although Paul earnestly desires to lead the kind of life demanded by the law, he has found it impossible to overcome the tendency toward sin which remains within him. Try as he may, he is still unable to deliver himself from the power which sin has over the members of his body.

From the depths of his impotence, Paul cries out for deliverance. He feels wretched for living such a contradiction. As we observe Paul, we find that his quandary over his condition is typical of other believers who also have lost the joy of their salvation.

Although Paul realizes he is saved from the penalty of sin, what he pleads for now is salvation from the power of sin. Ho knows his initial salvation from the penalty of sin was by God's grace, initiated by his own faith. He understands that the power of sin must also be dealt with in the same fashion: By grace, through faith.

It is this deliverance from the power of sin that Paul addresses in Chapter 8. He introduces the Holy Spirit as the miracle worker in each believer, and he reveals some profound and glorious facts about the Christian life. In this Chapter, we are presented with information which, if appropriated, will give us an opportunity to experience true freedom through the supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit.




Lesson 20

The Freedom Of The Spirit

(Romans 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (v2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (v3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; (v4) that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Verse 1 gives us the message loud and clear! When we accepted Christ, we came into union with Him. This not only delivered us from the condemnation of sin, it also delivered us from the power of sin in our lives. To be in Christ Jesus, is to be outside of condemnation.

Because of our new relationship with Christ, we are no longer subject to the penalty of sin. Therefore, the condemnation we were in as sons of Adam, is now history!

As Paul explained to us in the sixth chapter, God has sovereignly joined every believer to Christ. This was a spiritual event which mandated the death of the "old man" (the old spirit-being) in each believer. In the eyes of God, we have been united with Christ in His death, His burial, and His resurrection.

The resurrection brought in a "new man" (a new spirit-being), incapable of sin, and ready to walk in newness of life. We now have Christ within us; therefore, we have the faith of Christ within us.


The faith of Christ leaves no room for unbelief, which is the root of all sin. Through Christ, we have the ability to believe and to accept what the Word says about our new position.

The reason our "old man" was crucified with Christ was so our body of sin (the body of this death Romans 7:24) might be destroyed. Obviously, dead men do not sin; therefore, this means we no longer have to serve sin. Our days of slavery to sin are over! We have been emancipated! Now, by faith in the Gospel, we are "made free from sin (Romans 6:18).

God, the Father, through our union with Christ, supernaturally crucified and buried our "old man" (our old spirit-being). He also raised up a "new man" (our new spirit-being), which shall never be under the dominion of sin or the law. Therefore, our "new man" is not under condemnation.

Our ability to confess the present condition of our natural man and to begin to appropriate our deliverance from the power of indwelling sin, is dependent entirely upon our decision to accept our new position in Christ Jesus. To get us started along this path, Paul assures us that we are "in Christ" we are not under condemnation.

Answer these questions:

  1. Only those who are in union with Christ are not under condemnation of death. How do I come into union with Christ?
  2. What has happened to my Adamic relationship?
  3. What do I mean when I say I have the faith of Christ within me?
  4. What is my first step in appropriating my deliverance from the power of indwelling sin?
  5. Why is it important for me to accept the statement in verse 1, in order to receive healing for my woundedness?
  6. What should I do with my guilt feelings?
Lesson 21

The Spirit Has Set Us Free

In Romans 8:2, Paul explains that we have escaped from condemnation because the Spirit has set us free. The law, or principal, of the Spirit of life (in Christ Jesus, has set us free from the law, or principal, of sin and death. Therefore, we are out from under condemnation.

Every action, however, brings a reaction, and our new freedom in the Spirit has prompted a reaction from our flesh. As Paul described in Chapter 7, a conflict has begun between our new man in Christ and our flesh. The enemy would use this as an opportunity to bring us under the guilt and accuse us of hypocrisy. But the truth is the presence of conflict actually assures us we are no longer under condemnation.

If we bring this into proper perspective we see that our unregenerate state placed us under condemnation because we were walking in sin. There was no conflict within us between God's way and our own fleshly way, we were simply headed along a smooth road to hell.

Now, we have a regenerate spirit, one with the Spirit of Christ. That spirit is capable of sin, and is quick to enter into conflict with our flesh, which still retains its tendency toward sin.

Our regeneration, therefore, has saved us from condemnation, but it has brought us into conflict with our fleshly nature. We can rejoice in this with the knowledge that so long as there is conflict within us, we are assured our regenerated spirit, which is free from condemnation, is alive and well.

In Chapter 5, verse 12, Paul has explained that the principal of sin and death entered the world through the disobedient act of Adam. That principal, or law, brought death to the human race. Sin and death are inseparable, because sin separates us from God. In Chapter 6, verse 23, the principle is summarized concisely: "the wages of sin is death."

Paul refers to that same principle in Chapter 7, verse 23, when he speaks of "another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin.." (NIV).

This is where the Spirit of life in Christ comes in. It is only the Holy Spirit who can set us free from the captivity of the law of sin. The Holy Spirit is the miracle worker who lives in every believer.

We can see it is the Holy Spirit who communicates to us the life in Christ and, in the process, sets us free from the principle of sin and death. We will really begin to move into victory when we have had our final despair over our own weakness, and have come to see clearly by the Holy Spirit illumination that it is no longer I, but Christ.

Answer these questions:

  1. How can I know the Holy Spirit is at work in my life?
  2. Why sin and death are inseparable?
  3. How does the Holy Spirit set me free from the captivity of the law?
  4. How can I place my life in the hands of the Holy Spirit?
  5. What should I do about my weaknesses?
  6. Why should I rejoice because of the conflict between my flesh and my new man in Christ?

Lesson 22

By His Grace

In Romans 8, verses 3 and 4, Paul shows us that the grace of God is behind our new freedom in the Spirit. Again, he tells us the law is powerless to free us from the principle of sin and death. It can only make unattainable demands upon us, then condemn us when we fall short of its requirements. The law can never give life because it depends upon the works of the flesh to fulfill it.

But God, by His grace, solved our problem. He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to fulfill the requirements of the law and, in the process, condemn sin in the flesh. When Christ was made sin for us on the cross, He bore, in His own flesh, the wrath and punishment for all sin.

Because of this act of Jesus, God sees our flesh as having been crucified along with Jesus. The condemnation of our sinful flesh was taken care of at that point (Romans 6:6). Once the condemnation of our sinful flesh was eliminated, we were set free from the power as well as the penalty of sin.

Jesus Christ was the only one who could fulfill the righteous demands of the law. When He did so, He set us free from the law of sin and death. Not only did he suffer and die the death which we were facing, He also lived a completely righteous life in obedience to the will of the Father.

When we receive Jesus Christ into our hearts, we receive the fullness of His supernatural life, the life which met every demand of the law. In the Process of receiving His righteousness, which is imputed to us as part of the package, we also receive freedom from the power of sin.

The last part of verse 4states, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit." This indicates that every believer has received the ability to walk a supernatural life. A supernatural life has been referred to earlier as:

Answer these questions:

  1. Why is the law unable to free me from the principle of sin and death?
  2. How does God's grace solve my problem with sin and death?
  3. What does it mean to me that I am set free from the power of sin in my life?
  4. How can I walk a supernatural life?
  5. As I begin to walk in newness of life, what will happen to my old habit patterns?
  6. How can the Holt Spirit give me freedom from the influence of my past life?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 1-4?
 
Lesson 23

The Mind Of The Spirit

(Romans 8:5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (v6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (v7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (v8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

In these verses, Paul begins to reveal the advantages of walking by the leading of the Spirit, rather than according to our fleshly desires. Notice that Paul does not refer to our behavior, nor does he give any indication that our feelings should enter into it.

Primarily, the distinction between life according to the Spirit and life according to the flesh depends entirely upon the thoughts we entertain. The key word is entertain. Thoughts can be brought into our minds in many ways. We are constantly exposed to provocative thoughts from television, magazines, newspapers, other people, the list goes on.

How we identify ourselves determines how we handle the thoughts which attempt to penetrate and establish a foothold. If we see ourselves as new spirit beings, regenerated by the Spirit of Christ, we will recognize the power within us to cast all ungodly thoughts aside.

It has been said that temptation usually comes through a door which has been deliberately left open. That would be a work of the flesh. As new spirit beings, we are no longer under bondage to the flesh. Ungodly thoughts have no legal right of entry; we are under no obligation to entertain them.

Carnal pleasure, worldly profit and honor, the things of sense and time, are the things of the flesh which unregenerate our minds. They fill us with false assumptions, such as, "I will be worthwhile if I have enough money to buy the things I need"...or..."If I have a good paying job"...or..."If I have a loving spouse/parent/friend"...or..."If I have a better body/prettier face, etc."

The favor of God, the welfare of our soul, sensitivity to the presence of Christ, are the things of the Spirit. They fill us with true, biblical assumptions, such as, "I am worthwhile because I am loved unconditionally by God through Christ"...and..."I am completely accepted by God in Christ"...and..."I share in the eternal purposes of God in Christ"...and..."I am fully able to be and to do all that God wants for me, through Christ."

Paul tells us that those who are unsaved live according to the sinful nature of the flesh and have their minds set on what that fleshy nature desires. But those who are saved live in accordance to the leading of the Spirit and have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

This boils down to the basic truth that our lives are conditioned by our thoughts. Our thoughts spring from our beliefs and form our attitudes. Because we are new spirit beings, our thoughts are centered on Christ, our beliefs are in His Word, and our attitudes reflect His nature. "After the flesh" is synonymous with "walking in the flesh". It refers to a life characterized by the sinful nature. Paul addresses this kind of life several times in scripture:



In the verses we are studying, he makes it clear that the cause of this kind of carnal life is false thinking, produced by a carnal mindset.

"After the Spirit" refers to a different kind of mindset. It is synonymous with "walking in the Spirit," and characterizes the new nature which is being fed by our new spirit-being. Paul identifies this new life as the righteous life of Christ, which has been imputed to all believers (Romans 3:21-24; 5:1-11)

Our new life in Christ is in total opposition to our old fleshly nature. It is a life that begins to bring forth the kind of fruit which does not have to concern itself with the law (Galatians 5:16; 22,23). It is maintained by continually submitting our thoughts to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:9-14; Philippians 2:5-8). This is accomplished by communicating with God and by studying the Scriptures.

Answer these questions:

  1. What kind of thoughts dominates my mind?
  2. How do those thoughts make me feel?
  3. How does my behavior reflect my thoughts and my feelings?
  4. How much of my day is taken up with trying to fulfill the desires of my flesh?
  5. How much of my day is taken up with conscious presence of the Holy Spirit?
  6. What do I need to do in order to walk "after the Spirit?"



    Lesson 24

    The Contrast

    In Romans verses 6, 7 and 8, Paul shows us there is a drastic contrast in results between the two mindsets. Not one to use flowery words, Paul states simply that the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. This statement defines the eternal value of a relationship with God.

    A mind set on the flesh refuses to recognize the necessity of any kind of relationship with God, or Jesus, or the Word, or God's people. It is turned away from God; therefore, it is turned away from life. The obvious result is death.

    Verse 7 states that such a mind is enmity against God. It is totally opposed to God's law, and has placed itself in a position of being unable to keep any part of the law. It is not just alienation from God, it is opposition against God. It rebels against God authority. It is not just an enemy, but enmity itself. An enemy might possibly be reconciled, but enmity cannot.

    By contrast, the mind set on the Spirit of God is in complete harmony with God. Such a mind can receive and understand the things of God. It is linked with life and peace.

    The mind of the Spirit fellowships with God and shares all that He is and does. Although Paul has not directly stated it, the implication is that the mind of the Spirit fulfills the law and pleases God. This is in direct contrast to the mind of the flesh, which cannot please God.

    The following illustrates the dramatic contrast between the mind of the flesh and the mind of the Spirit. All believers have the mind of the Spirit; however we do not always make use of it. We have a tendency to continue to rely upon our natural perceptions and attitudes which were conditioned and stored in our hearts prior to our justification.

    The Mind

    OF THE FLESH OF THE SPIRIT

    PERCEPTIONS

    Foolishness (Of God) Wisdom
    Sinful in Adam (Of self) Righteous in Christ
    Competition (Of others) Love
    Condemnation (Of trials Chastening

    ATTITUDES

    Rebellion (Toward God) Submission
    Worthless (Toward self) Worthwhile
    Manipulation (Toward others) Acceptance
    Failure (Towards trials) Victory



    Answer these questions:
    1. If a person's mind is constantly set on the flesh, why would that inevitably lead him to death?
    2. How would I describe the eternal value of my relationship with God?
    3. At what point in my life was I actually an enemy of God?
    4. How can I stay linked with life and peace?
    5. What is a way in which I can please God?
    6. What is my attitude toward God, toward myself, toward others, and towards trials?
    7. What special insights have I received from verses 5-8?
    Lesson 25

    The Power Of The Spirit

    (Romans 8:9) But ye are not of 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. (v10) And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (v11) 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 Holy Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    Now that Paul has shown us the tremendous cotrast in rsultsbetwee the works of the mind and the works of the spirit, he is quick to assure us that every believer is controlled by the Spirit rather than the flesh The only requirement to this condition is that the Spirit must dwell in us.

    Fortunately, every true believer has received the Spirit of Christ. We have been sealed by he Holy Spirit, and the Spirit himself testifieswith our spirit that we are indeed the children of God (v16). That being the case, if the Spirit is in us, we are automatically in the Spirit.

    On the other hand, if we are not a believer we do not have the Spirit of Christ in us; therefore, we do not belong to Christ. We have no part of Him, and He has no part of us.

    This explanation by Paul should remove all uncertainty aboutwho does not have the Spirit of Christ. All believers, by virtue of the indwelling Spirit, are in the Spirit, regardless of their outward, earthly condition.

    Answer these questions:
    1. How can I be certain the Spirit of Christ dwells in me?
    2. How would I describe being "in the Spirit?"
    3. What relationship does an unbeliever have with the Spirit of Christ?
    4. What part does my earthly condition play in relation o the indwelling Spirit?
    5. How can I relinquish control to the Holy Spirit?
    6. What advantage is there in giving control of my life to the Holy Spirit?
 
Lesson 26

The Indwelling Spirit

In verses (Romans 8:10,11), Paul talks about the power of the indwelling Spirit. Even though our bodies are dead because of the sin in our members, we have the indwelling Spirit of Christ, and because we have the indwelling Christ and His righteousness, we have His life.

What this means is that every believer has within him both the principle of sin which leads to death (the law of sin and death) and the principle of the righteousness of Christ which leads to life (the law of the Spirit of life).

The good news is that even though we have these two opposing forces within us, the Holy Spirit is the stronger of the two. The Holy Spirit is the One who raised Jesus from the dead, and He ill do the same for us. Because He lives within us, He will give life to our mortal bodies, regardless of the opposition.

We are given another chance to observe the grace of God as we see the miraculous work of the Spirit is us. Physically, we are without life, we are powerless against the force that works within us, leading us to sin and to death. But the Holy Spirit, working within us, delivers us not only om the power of sin, but ultimately from the very presence of sin.

It is only through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to live the supernatural life of Christ, to which He has called us.

Answer these questions:
  1. When I say my body is dead because of the sin in my members, what do I mean?
  2. How do I have the life of Christ?
  3. What is the difference between the principle of sin and the principle of righteousness?
  4. Why is the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit important to me?
  5. How can the Holy Spirit give life to my mortal body?
  6. What should I do when the opposition seems to be overwhelming?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 9-11?
(ROMANS 8:12-17)

LIVING ETERNALLY

In the first eleven verses of this chapter, the Apostle Paul described how the Holy Spirit miraculously delivers us from the "body of this death." Not only does the Holy Spirit set us free from the law, or principle, of sin and death, He also makes His home within each of us, and makes himself available to govern our thinking.

The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit gives each believer the power to live a supernatural life. This supernatural, spiritual power is a resurrection power. It is a quickening power which raises us above the law of sin and death which works in our flesh. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to experience true deliverance from the power of sin on a daily basis.

In the next 6 verses, Paul gives us more to think about. He describes the marvelous way in which God has ordained the interweaving of human responsibility with Divine provision, through the intervention of the Spirit. Like all other issues of Christian life, both the Divine and the human sides need to be carefully considered.

Also, this portion of scripture describes our relationship to God as debtors, as adult sons, and as heirs of God.

Lesson 27

We Are Debtors

(Romans 8:12) Therefore brethren, we are debtors not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (v13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

When we consider all that has been revealed to us concerning our new position in Christ, we have to agree with Paul that we are indeed debtors. The word, "therefore," at the beginning of verse 12, refers us back to the transition which took place when we received the indwelling of the Spirit.

The first change was our deliverance from the bondage of the penalty and the power of sin in our lives. In addition to this newfound freedom we also have access to the mind of Christ, through the Spirit. And finally, we have the power of the Spirit in operation in our daily lives (Romans 8:1-11). On the basis of all the Holy Spirit does for us, we are viewed as being in His debt.

But Paul takes an interesting approach to this idea. He states that we are "debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh." The reason Paul uses this proposal is to emphasize that we are under no obligation whatsoever to the flesh. He wants us to understand there is no legitimate reason for us to live continually according to the sinful demands of the flesh, now that we have within us the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit.

Our freedom from the bondage of sin has been the central theme of Chapters 6 and 7. In Chapter 6, we discovered our "old man" was crucified so that our body of sin might be destroyed; therefore, we should no longer serve sin (Romans 6:6). In addition, we learned we have been made free from the power of sin, so we might become servants of righteousness. It becomes clear, therefore, our debt is not to our old nature which was destroying us, but to the Lord who has delivered us.

In Chapter 7, we are again assured that our debt is to the gracious work of God in us. Not only are we now dead to sin, we are also dead to the law which magnifies sin. The purpose of our death to the law, as stated in Chapter 7, verse 6, is "that we should serve in newness of Spirit."

Not only have we been crucified and buried with Christ, we have also been raised with Him that we might "walk in newness of life." Sin no longer has dominion over us. We are no longer under its control; therefore, we no longer live under condemnation. The result is that we can now yield ourselves unto God and bring forth "fruit unto holiness."

In addition, not only do we no longer have to mind the things of the flesh, we now are in a position to exercise the mind of Christ. When we put all this together, the total is that we are no longer under obligation to the flesh; we are now under obligation to the Spirit of God.

In the first part of verse 13, Paul again reminds us of the deadly consequences of continually living after the flesh. He has just explained, in verse 12, that we are not under obligation to the flesh, to live after the flesh. Now he reminds us that the result of such behavior is death.

To live after the flesh means we allow our thoughts to be influenced by our flesh. We allow our feelings to take a dominant role, and we allow our behavior to reflect our fleshly nature.

The death, which is spoken of in verse 13, is not simply a physical death, nor is it simply ceasing to be, as if we were to become extinct. It goes much deeper than that. It is a spiritual death, best described as eternal separation from God.

Believers are not subject to such a death, because they have been set free from the bondage of sin, which expresses itself through the flesh. We have learned that the wages of such sin, is death. But God has placed us in Christ, and we have received the Spirit of life in Christ. It is this union with Christ which keeps us from that death.

Paul then reveals the key to living an eternal life in this present world. If our desire is to control the influence of the flesh upon our bodies, there is only one way available to us. That way is through the power of the Holy Spirit. The phrase, "do mortify the deeds of the body," identifies the believer's responsibility. This is something we must study carefully.

Literally, the phrase means that we are to be involved continuously in putting to death the fleshly practices of the body. The Greek word for "mortify" is written in the present tense (which implies continual action), and the active voice (which implies that the action is to be done by us).

There is no question about it, the responsibility is ours for putting to death those deeds of the body which are controlled by our flesh, or old sinful nature. This subject is dealt with also in Colossians 3:5-9.

But Paul does not want us to revert to a condition of legalism. He does not tell us simply that we are to mortify the flesh and leave us to wrestle with our flesh alone. If that were the case, he would be subjecting us to a command which would make us dependent upon our own works. It would be like placing us back under a system of law. Of course, as he showed us in the last part of Chapter 7, we are unable to fulfill any law utilizing our fleshly power; therefore, we would suffer defeat no matter how hard we might try.

Instead, Paul tells us to mortify the deeds of the body "through the Spirit!" It is only by the supernatural power of the indwelling Spirit of God that we are able to mortify the deeds of the body. In this manner, Paul introduces the Divine provisions in the Person of the Comforter, who is to enter and control our lives.

The promise at the close of verse 13 illustrates the intricate manner in which human responsibility and Divine provision work together to give life. Literally, the phrase reads, "You shall be made to live." The Greek verb is written in the middle voice so we can understand that both the believer and the Holy Spirit work together to give life to the believer.

As believers, we are not without responsibility. If we want to mortify certain deeds of our bodies, we need to stop feeding them nourishing substance, and refuse them the opportunity to exercise.

We must remember our "old man" is dead, and and what we are dealing with is the carryover from our previous programming. When we decide to control our thoughts and practices rather than feed and exercise our passions, the undesirable deeds will wither and die, because the "old man" is no longer available to sustain them.

However, it is impossible for the flesh to kill itself. It is unrealistic to think we can decide to change a habit pattern and do it. But this gives us an opportunity to meet the living Christ and to watch Him bring about the necessary change. Dying to the flesh is accomplished simply by releasing the desires of the flesh to Jesus.

Without the discernment, leadership, and power of the Holy Spirit, it would be impossible to control the deeds of the body. But, at the same time, without the conscious decision of the believer to "walk in the Spirit," that discernment, leadership and power is not operative. Therefore, the believer is admonished to "walk in the Spirit" and he is promised that, in doing so, he "shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16).

The Key to eternal life while on this earth is through the exercise of faith under the direction and power of the Holy Spirit. To the degree that we turn to and trust in the Holy Spirit to provide the necessary help to put to death the deeds of the body, we shall enter into the experience of living the supernatural, eternal life of Christ.

As we exercise our faith to explore and experience this supernatural life, The Holy Spirit brings to the surface those deeds which must be eliminated. He convinces us it is best for us to be rid of those behaviors, and He creates alternative behaviors which are more appropriate. Then He gives us the power we need to carry them out (Ephesians 4:17; 5:2; Colossians 3:5-14).

Answer these questions:
  1. Why is there no legitimate reason for me to live according To the sinful demands of my flesh?
  2. Why am I under obligation to the Spirit of God?
  3. What exactly is the death which is spoken of in verse 13?
  4. Why am I not subject to that death?
  5. What is the means by which I am to mortify my flesh?
  6. What part does my faith play in the mortification of my flesh?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 12 and 13?


    Lesson 28

    We Are Adult Sons

    (Romans 8:14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, They are the sons of God. (v15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, wherby we cry Abba, Father.

    To further explain the melding of the believer with the Holy Spirit in the project of mortifying the flesh, Paul states that those who are mature enough to be led by the Spirit of God are the adult sons of God. We are led, as a student is led by his Teacher; as a traveler is led by his Guide; as a soldier is led by his Captain; not driven as animals, but led gently, in the steps of love.

    Paul has used the Greek word "hulos" to indicate that believers are not to relate to God as immature and helpless babes in Christ, but rather as mature, responsible children who contain the nature of God.

    A full grown, mature child does not have to be governed by an external set of rules (the law), in his relationship with his father. Instead, he is compelled by love, respect and devotion. He does not behave in a selfish, immature manner. Instead, he acts in accordance with the wisdom of his age.

    Paul equates the personal leadership and internal control of the Spirit with the adult-son status. He implies that believers live and act like adult sons because they have the Spirit of the Son of God in their hearts. (Galatians 4:6).

    We have already firmly established that it is impossible to control our behavior by an external set of rules, similar to the way a parent controls a small child. That leaves only one method available to us: our behavior must be governed internally in the same manner as that of an adult son.

    In verse 15, Paul continues to elaborate on our sonship by stating we have received the Spirit of adoption, not a spirit of bondage. It is the character of the Spirit within us which enables us to relate to God as adult sons, and to behave accordingly.

    The quickening (resurrection) power of the Holy Spirit is not to be thought of as producing another form of bondage. It is incorrect for us to look at the Christian life as an obligation or duty. This would be equivalent to attempting to internalize the law, opening the door to a spirit of bondage and subjecting ourselves once again to become slaves to fear.

    The truth is, The Holy Spirit's personal ministry within our hearts is characterized as a Spirit of adoption which enables us to view the Christian life in the proper perspective, that of a "high calling," and a privilege. The Holy Spirit produces within us a behavior motivated by love, rather than behavior motivated by fear.

    As we begin to recognize and accept the wonderful privilege we have to be the adopted children of God, our actions will be motivated more and more by love. It is the function of the Holy Spirit to reveal to us our exalted position as adopted children. When this marvelous expression of God's grace becomes a reality to us, we are able to address God as our own Father.

    The Aramaic term, "Abba" is roughly equivalent to our English expression, "Daddy." When it is used with the term, "Father," it conveys a most intimate, personal relationship. It is because of this intimacy with God as our "Daddy, Father," that we are able to behave as adult sons.

    Answer these questions:
    1. What is my responsibility in being led, not driven by the Spirit of God?
    2. If I do not have a set of rules to which to conform, what should be my motivation for following the Holy Spirit?
    3. As an adult son, how should I look at my relationship with the Lord?
    4. What is so good about being an adopted child of God?
    5. Why is the Christian life a high calling and a privilege?
    6. What part has God's grace played in my new position as God's child?
 
Lesson 29

We Are Heirs

(Romans 8:16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; (v17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.

In addition to having the personal leadership of the Holy Spirit involved in our behavior, Paul reveals that the Spirit also bears witness continually with our own human spirit that we are God's children.

In these verses, Paul adds another dimension to our relationship with God. He uses another term, entirely. In verse 14, he referred to the believer as an adult son. In verse 15, he stated the believer has been adopted into God's family. Now, he declares the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are God's children.

The Greek term for children is literally translated "born ones." The use of this term suggests we have truly been born into the family of God and have actually received the Divine nature of God. This is what happened when God gave us our new spirit-being and we were born again in spirit. So we see it is also the ministry of the Holy Spirit to bear witness together with our own spirit of this glorious fact.

The fact That we are actually "born ones" of God is the basis for our being heirs of God. It is impossible for us to fully understand the glorious fact that we have been graciously made heirs to the God of the universe, and joint-heirs with Christ, the only begotten Son. Brief glimpses of this reality produce an overwhelming sense of joy and security in our hearts. As we rely upon the Spirit to teach us and guide us into all truth, this fact becomes more of a reality to us.

The last part of verse 17 should not be taken to imply there is some doubt as to whether or not we will be glorified together with Christ. We have been crucified with Christ; and since our salvation, God has chosen to leave us in this sin-cursed world to be a witness for Him. In this, we endure the corresponding sufferings of our Savior.

Although it isn't pleasant, our suffering together with Christ is designed for our own ultimate good, as we are also to be glorified with Him (1Peter 4:12,13). All that Christ has achieved through His own sufferings shall likewise be shared by us who are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. May our eyes be opened to these marvelous riches of His grace.

Answer these questions:
  1. How can I tell when the Holy Spirit is bearing witness with my spirit?
  2. How would I explain that being born again includes being born into the family of God?
  3. What does being an heir of God mean to me?
  4. What are some of the things I can expect in being a joint-heir with Christ?
  5. What do suffering with Christ and being glorified with Christ mean to me?
  6. What is the best way in which I can be a witness for Christ?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 14-17?
LIVING ETERNALLY
  • Union with Christ (no condemnation)
  • New life in Christ (walking in the Spirit)
  • The Mind of Christ (thoughts and perceptions)
  • Making mortal body alive by the power of the Spirit
  • Personal leadership of the Spirit on a continual basis
  • Adult sons with eternal motivation of love
  • Children by birth through the Spirit
  • Joint heirs with Christ



    Lesson 30

    The Eternal View Of Suffering

    (Romans 8:18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

    Here, Paul makes a logical deduction based upon all he has written concerning our true position in Christ. The trials which confront us, and the sufferings which spring from those trials, must be dealt with logically by every believer. To place them in proper perspective, they need to be filtered through the light of our union with Christ.

    As with all other issues of life which we face, it is impossible to understand suffering, or to examine it objectively, unless we can see it in relation to who we are in Christ. What this means is that we must look at suffering from an eternal rather than a temporal viewpoint.

    In the fifth chapter of Romans, Paul gave us some of the benefits of justification by faith. First, Paul mentioned our peace with God, our access into His grace, and our rejoicing in the hope of our forthcoming glorification. Then he described the unique way in which believers can view trial (5:3-5).

    Instead of yielding to our natural inclination of dreading trials of any kind, Paul tells us we can glory, or rejoice in them, knowing that tribulation produces patience, patience produces experience, experience produces hope, and hope never lets us down.

    The reason hope never lets us down is because our hope is in our Lord, and our Lord will never let us down. He is a sovereign, loving God who loves us as His own.

    Believers are "in Christ." That means we are one with Him; therefore, we will both suffer with Him and be glorified with Him through those sufferings.

    We should ask God to open our spiritual eyes, so we can see suffering from the eternal viewpoint of our position "in Christ."

    The eternal viewpoint allows us to see the end from the beginning. This will assure us"...the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

    Whatever we must suffer in this life, when viewed through the eyes of faith, cannot even begin to match the glory such suffering generates for all eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17,18). Because we are joined to Christ, we can expect to suffer in this world (John 15:19-21; 16:1-3; Philippians 1:29; 1 Peter 4:12).

    But also, because we are joined to Him so tightly we are considered to be one with Him, we are guaranteed the glorification that will erase all the pain of suffering. Simply put, it is impossible for us to lose, no matter how severe the sufferings.

    The following chart outlines some other scriptures which establish and confirm our need for an eternal view of suffering.
    Answer these questions:
    1. How do I place my trials in the proper perspective?
    2. What is the difference between an eternal and a temporal viewpoint?
    3. Why should I never lose hope in God, In His sovereignty, and His love for me?
    4. Why is it important for me to understand that the suffering spoken of in this scripture is suffering for Christ's sake?
    5. Why is it impossible for me to lose?
    6. How can my suffering become a testimony to others?
    Lesson 31

    The Coming Glory

    (v19) For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (v20) For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, (v21) because the creature itself shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (v22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (v23) And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

    In these verses, Paul continues to link suffering with glory, and he affirms it by trying to connect our personal view to the eternal view, so we might have the proper perspective. He elaborates on the coming glory by approaching it from the viewpoint of the creation, itself. As he begins with the present condition of the universe, he enables us to see more clearly why we are subject to suffering.

    We probably have never thought about it in these terms, but Paul states the creation is eagerly awaiting our glorification because, since the fall of Adam, the creation has been subject to the vanity of Satan and the bondage of his corruption.

    When Adam sinned in the garden, God cursed the earth and, as a result of God's curse, the entire physical universe, God's creation, began to decay and slowly fall apart.

    Paul goes on to say that this physical universe, especially this planet we know as earth, has continually "groaned" and "travailed" in its decadence and pain from that time until the present. It becomes obvious we could not live in such a suffering environment without experiencing the fallout from all the tribulation in which we are engulfed.

    Even in the midst of all the decay and corruption found in the physical universe, however, this creation is still God's creation, and Paul says it is eagerly awaiting the day when it shall be delivered.

    2 Peter 3:9-14 gives reference to that time when a new heaven and a new earth shall come forth out of the fire of judgment into the "glorious liberty of the children of God." Obviously, it has not occurred yet. Meanwhile, the creation, while groaning and travailing, continues to look forward to that glorious time with hopeful expectation.

    In verse 23, Paul shows the similarity of the creature to the creation. We creatures also groan within ourselves while waiting for the redemption of our physical bodies. Although we may have only a vague sense of the natural force around us, it is at work, killing, stealing and destroying.

    Human suffering is inevitable because the principle of sin continues to dwell within us, and that makes us subject to disease, pain and death. It is true we have the first-fruits of the Spirit (i.e., the freedom, mind, power, etc.), and it is true we are a new creation of the Spirit. However, we are forced to live at the present time within physical bodies which can be dominated by sin (i.e., "the body of this death" - Romans 7:24).

    Therefore, along with creation, we groan and suffer within, awaiting the complete adoption of our bodies as well as our spirits. This transition will take place when we leave the realm of time and space and enter eternity with our Lord (Philippians 3:20,21).

    It appears that all creatures, animate and inanimate, because of their harmony with and mutual dependence upon the creation, wait with earnest expectation for the manifestation of the sons of God. This will take place at the second coming of Christ, when everything shall be delivered from the curse of Adam's fall.

    Answer these questions:
    1. Where will I be on that great occasion?
    2. Because of the sin of Adam, I have been made subject to vanity. What can I do about that?
    3. Although the entire creation is subject to the bondage of corruption and decay, why do all believers have occasion to rejoice?
    4. The fire at the last day shall be a refining fire. What is the best way for me to prepare for it?
    5. How do the first-fruits of the Spirit give me an edge over those who are of the world?
    6. Even though my physical body is subject to sin, how can I be certain to walk in victory?
 
Lesson 32

The Deliverence In Hope

(v24) For we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (v25) But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Like the universe we live in, while groaning within ourselves we look forward with hopeful expectation to our deliverance. It is a mystery to the unbeliever, but the believer sees clearly that tribulation and hope should be tied tightly together. Our salvation came to in this fashion. We were trapped in our unredeemed bodies and confined to an unredeemed world. But our hope in the reality of Jesus Christ was able to break through the bondage in which we were living. Jesus heard our groaning and sovereignly extracted our spirits, bringing them into union with Himself.

The hope of our salvation brought us salvation. We stepped out in faith on the basis of our hope and we met our savior. In the same way, our faith has produced a hope within us concerning the future salvation of our bodies and of the entire creation.

Paul emphasizes that we cannot hope for something if we can fully perceive it right now, "for hope that is seen is not hope." In this way, hope is a lot like faith. We do not have to use our faith in something we already understand completely, otherwise there would be no need for faith. We live in the realm of hope based upon the promise of our Lord. We have a joyful expectation of our future deliverance.

There is also an underlying message in these verses from Paul. He is warning us that our salvation in hope does not mean that even though we must suffer in this world, the power of the Spirit of God has given us the strength and the wisdom to rejoice, in hope, through the sufferings.

Verse 25 addresses patience in the midst of sufferings and trials. Paul says if we will focus upon the coming glorification when we are in the midst of our tribulations, the grace of God will give us patience to walk and wait. In this way, the suffering which we must endure will actually become a source of strength in us. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. This means we must allow the Holy Spirit to be involved in all our tribulations.

When suffering is dealt with in hope, we are able to eagerly await deliverance with patient endurance (Romans 5:3). The ability to patiently endure our sufferings, has always been a great testimony and a powerful witness to the unsaved world. Only our union with Jesus Christ enables us to look at our sufferings from an eternal point of view. As our lives progressively magnify Him, He will give us glimpses of our forthcoming glorification. Surrounded by His grace and love, we will be able to "glory in our tribulations."

Answer these questions:
  1. How did my hope open the door to my salvation?
  2. In what way is my hope similar to my faith?
  3. When I am in the midst of a trial, what should I focus on?
  4. Why is patience an important fruit of the Spirit?
  5. How does the Holy Spirit get involved in all my tribulations?
  6. In what way am I exercising hope in my life, right now?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 18-25?
Lesson 3

The Intercession Of The Comforter

(v26) Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. (v27) And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

In these verses we see another dimension of the grace of God. How many of us have ever stopped to consider that the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit of God, gets involved in our Christian sufferings? He does! In addition to all His other work in us, He supports in our suffering!

We have already learned that the Holy Spirit sets us free from the law of sin and death by communicating the righteous life of Christ to us at salvation (Romans 8:2-10). And Paul has also explained to us that the Holy Spirit not only makes us alive spiritually, He also works with us to confirm our earthly condition to be more like our heavenly position (Romans 8:11-16).

The Holy Spirit continually indwells us, empowers us, leads us and assures us. Because He is continually indwelling, He therefore is continually supporting us concerning our sufferings in this world.

The Lord Jesus conveyed this fact to His worried disciples on the night before He was crucified. In John, Chapter 14 through 16, there are three major passages in which Jesus promised to send to His disciples another of the same kind of Comforter whose purpose it would be to comfort them in His absence.

So we see the primary work of the Holy Spirit is to make the living Lord real to His disciples. Part of that function is the active interest of the Spirit in our prayers. His power and His wisdom take over in the area of intercession. Although prayer is our responsibility, the Holy Spirit can intercede and perfect our prayers.

In the natural, it is difficult for us to know how and what to pray concerning our own or another person's suffering. Because of this, the Spirit continually makes intercession for us. As human beings, we are not all-knowing; therefore, we cannot fully understand what is happening in a given situation. Nor can we be certain what is best, in God's eyes, regarding others or ourselves, especially in times of suffering.

It is easy for us to get confused between our wants and our needs. Because we are emotionally involved, we can see only a fraction of the true implications of our trials. Though we desperately want to, we find it difficult, and often impossible, to express our thoughts and feelings, even in our prayers to God.

To compensate for this weakness in us, the Holy Spirit continually makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered (verse 26). This means the Spirit cries out to the Father in our behalf with prayers we are not able to utter ourselves.

The word translated "groaning" in verse 26 is the same word used in verses 22 and 23. It implies that the Spirit expresses our prayers in eager anticipation of our full redemption and deliverance. In other words, the Holy Spirit prays for our deliverance according to God's perfect will.

Although the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in inexpressible terms, God, who searches all hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit. God is Spirit; therefore, the Holy Spirit is the very essence of God on earth. Thus, Father God in heaven fully understands the thoughts and feelings expressed by the Spirit, because the Spirit is cooperating with the Father in His intercessory work. This gives us great assurance that the prayers uttered by the Holy Spirit on our behalf are not only heard but also fully answered so the perfect will of God is accomplished in us.

Answer these questions:
  1. How does the Holy Spirit work in me to conform my earthly condition to be more like my heavenly position?
  2. In what way is the Holy Spirit my comforter?
  3. Why is it necessary for the Holy Spirit to perfect my prayers?
  4. How can my emotions have an adverse influence upon my prayers?
  5. How can the Holy Spirit know God's perfect will for my life?
  6. How can I be certain that God is answering my prayers?
Lesson 34

The Eternal Purpose Of God

(v28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. (v29) For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (v30) Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.

Another example of the grace of God is that even though we do not know what to pray for, Paul assures us we can know for certain all things work together for our good. This is difficult for many Christians to accept, because one of our biggest obstacles is to see things from an eternal perspective.

However, if we really trust God, we can know all things, including our own suffering, re continually working together for our good. We can base our faith in this on the understanding of all that Paul has revealed to us concerning our new position in Christ.
  • We know that because we are joined to Christ, we have a new life (Romans 6:4).
  • We know that our new life is no longer dominated by sin (Romans 6:14).
  • We know that because we are no longer dominated by sin, we are now free to bring forth fruit unto God (Romans 7:4).
  • We know that because we are in Christ, all we experience in within the overall plan and purpose of God in Christ (Ephesians 1:1-11).
In verse 29, Paul makes it clear that the overall purpose of God for each believer is to be conformed to the image of Christ. This means no matter what our earthly condition or circumstances might be, the ultimate purpose for each one of us is to be like Jesus Christ.

This plan was formulated in the foreknowledge of God for the good of everyone who is in Christ, and it cannot be altered by anyone or anything.

Most often, our earthly circumstances are the product of our own decisions in life, because, after all, God has given us a free will. When our circumstances are at odds with God's will, this condition may instigate a confrontation between our sinful nature and the nature of God. This usually results in a difficult time for us. We become like Saul of Tarsus before his conversion (Acts 9:1-19).

God is God, and He will have His way. In the process, He will bring us along the easiest way we are willing to come.

In verse 30, Paul provides us with a list of four specific actions of God which describes His overall plan for believers. He says we have been predestined, called, justified and glorified.

The use of the Greek aorist tense for each of these verbs expresses past action without reference to completion. This indicates the action occurred once for all at a specific point in time. From the eternal viewpoint of God, we were called, justified and glorified before the world was created.

God wants us to have this information, not so we can understand why He predestined us, UT so we might be assured that all things are in God's hands, and they actually are working together for good according to His eternal purpose for our lives.

Answer these questions:
  1. How can I be certain that God works all things together for good in my life, no matter how they may appear to be?
  2. What is God's overall purpose for my life?
  3. Who is the person really responsible for my present circumstances?
  4. What do I mean when I say I have been predestined by God?
  5. How can I be sure that everything is in God's hands?
  6. How can I build my trust in God?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 26-30?
Lesson 35

The Eternal Security Of The Believer

(v31) What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (v32) He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (v33) Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. (v34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (v35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall Tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (v36) As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (v37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (v38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, not life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (v39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able To separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In verses 31-39, we reach the climax of the entire Chapter. We can use these verses to broaden our perspective on suffering. Utilizing a series of rhetorical questions, Paul summarizes all that has been said. He intends to prove once for all that we are eternally secure in Christ, regardless of our present circumstances.

These ver4ses serve to comfort and encourage all who, because of trials and tribulations may seriously question God's power, or His justice, or His provisions, or perhaps even His love.

But we have just learned that God's eternal purpose is for each of us to be conformed to the image of Christ. Now, Paul simply asks us for our response. We know all things are working together for our good according to God's eternal plan for us; therefore, we are not in any way going to lose, regardless of the various trials we may face
  • Four basic questions are raised and answered in this section concerning our relationship with God in light of trials.
    • The first question is, "Who or what can be against us if God be for us?" The answer is obvious. No person or thing can be effective against us, because the Creator and sovereign God of the universe has already determined to work all things together for our good. Paul strengthens his answer by reminding us that God did not withhold His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. Since God gave us the most precious gift of His Son, it is logical to assume He will not withhold His grace, but will also give us all things involved in the inheritance.

    • The second question asks, "Who can accuse us before God?" This is sometimes a difficult question for us when we are in the midst of suffering, because we have a tendency to see ourselves as being guilty "in Adam." If we allow this lie to creep in, we may feel we actually deserve the suffering as punishment for our sins. The truth is, the only One who has the right to accuse us of anything, in the One who has already declared us righteous.

    • The third is closely related to the previous one. Paul asks, "Who can condemn us?" His answer is again in the form of another question, which he uses to show the absurdity of the question. Paul asks, shall Christ, who paid for our sins by His death, and rose again for our justification, and now continually makes intercession for us, suddenly turn and condemn us? The obvious answer is that no one in in a position to accuse or to condemn us.

    • The fourth question asks, "Who or what can separate us from God's love?" This question is especially important to all who questions God's love when they are in the midst of trials. Paul lists seven types of trials which may be misconstrued to indicate a separation from God's love. He then immediately adds a quote from Psalm 44, to illustrate the reality of the suffering of God's children.
The answer is simply that in all these trials we are now and always will be more than conquerors through God's love. The love of God transcends any and all trials we may experience. Nothing in death, or life, or in the spiritual world, or in the present or the future, whatever dimension or form it may take, will ever be able to separate us from God's love through Jesus Christ. God's love is eternal; therefore, it surpasses anything else in existence.

May the truth of this precious promise fills our hearts with the security and assurance we need to glorify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Answer these questions:
  1. If I find myself questioning God's power, or His justice, or His provisions, or His love, what should I do?
  2. How can I be certain no person or thing can be effective against me?
  3. As a believer, what kind of punishment can I expect to receive for my sins?
  4. Why will I never be condemned, even by Jesus?
  5. What sort of circumstance could come into my life which would separate me from the love of Jesus?
  6. Even though I may not feel like a conqueror, how do I know that I really am more than a conqueror?
  7. What special insights have I received from verses 31-39?
  8. What are the most important things I have learned from this study?
This concludes the In-Depth Study
 
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