|Romans 7:1,4-7 |
1 Do you not know brothers, (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? [Until you lose your life by crucifying your sinful nature, your carnal mind, and your evil spirit, you are still under the law; until then you are still walking in restricted flesh; until then the law is your schoolmaster. Until Christ replaces your nature, mind, and spirit with His so that your fleshly nature is dead, you are under the law. When Christ controls your thoughts, words, and deeds, then the law no longer has dominion over you because the selfish "you" has died. Even those who know no law, have the inner law on their hearts by which a man is judged and which has dominion over him until his death. From the Word of the Lord within: "Until you witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law. Until you witness the law fulfilled in you, you are under the law."]
4 Therefore, my brothers, you also became dead to the law through the living body of Christ in you, so that you could be married to another, and raised from the dead to bear fruit to God.1 [Paul is addressing believers that had been crucified, (and therefore they had died to the law), who had been raised from the dead with Christ, the new creature in newness of life. Christ had appeared in them and dwelled in them. They had received the fruit of the Spirit from Christ with the measure of faith that frees from the law, enabling them to no longer walk after the flesh but to walk after the Spirit, as it guided all their words and deeds; they had reached the first stage of perfection. The translation of this verse has been typically twisted to mean that Christ's death and resurrection made a believer dead to the law, but we are only dead to the law through the law after we have been crucified and He is dwelling in us, totally guiding us, with His prompting of every word to speak and every deed to be done. While Christ's blood sacrifice made the Mosaic law obsolete, the inner law on every man's heart is still alive, never cancelled, (which inner law includes the moral core of the Mosaic law); and for you to be free from this inner law, by which all men shall be judged, you must submit to God condemning the sins in your flesh, with commands that you hear when waiting on Him; those commands are established as additional laws in your heart, in which are all the laws you must obey and continue to obey until you are completely crucified, to then walk in love and liberty under no laws.]
5 For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin, (evil established by the law), worked in our members to bring forth fruit to death. [We are all trees with corrupt fruit, (adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lack of restraint, idolatry [covetousness], sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousies, rage, selfishness, divisiveness, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries [partying], etc.), to start; but we must be changed while alive on earth to produce good fruit. Christendom would have you simply label the bad tree good, still producing corrupt fruit; but such trees will be cut down and sent to the fire, regardless of the label on them. The law does not cause one to sin; the law adjusts, regulates, and curbs sin. From the word of the Lord within: "Either make the tree good, or make the tree bad. A tree that is holy is a good one."]
6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to that by which we were held; so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.2 [The moral laws only end when a man's selfish spirit has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, and Christ Jesus is resurrected in him to totally control his thoughts, words, and deeds with the Law of the Spirit of Life. See the footnote to Rom 3:28 for more understanding on why the the inner law on your heart, which includes the moral core of the old law, must still be observed and is your schoolmaster until your thoughts, and words, and deeds are under complete control of the Holy Spirit. From the Word of the Lord within, regarding newness of spirit: "The new life is as radically different as a man who has lived underground his whole life, suddenly coming above ground to see the sun, the sky, the plants, the animals, the wind, the stars." Notice! Paul had died to the law through the law and was delivered from the law; he served sin no longer. He fulfilled and established the law.]
7 What then shall we say? Is the law sin? God forbid, no. Were it not for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have understood lust without the law that said: You shall not covet.3 [Paul just illustrated how the law was his schoolmaster, teaching him what sin is, so that he could seek the heart and soul purifying grace of God. In the below Footnote 3 to this verse, George Fox states that the law Paul is referencing is the inner law.]
3 You shall not covet. Until we can hear the voice of Lord from within and follow his counsel to become changed, the moral laws of the inner law are our schoolmaster, a reminder to us of our problems, and a motivator to repent from our old ways and to seek divine help to be even more different, and thus to become pleasing to God. The inner law on every man's heart makes us feel bad when we lie or steal. This law includes the external moral laws: do not steal, do not lie, do not covet, do not murder, do not commit adultery, (and all sexual immorality), honor your parents, do unto others as you would have them do to you, etc. The inner law's moral laws exceed the external, Mosaic moral laws for as Jesus said, he came to fulfill the law; and then He told us how it was to be strengthened, which the inner law reflects. This strengthened inner law can be understood to have been violated anytime you exhibit a fruit of the flesh, which includes: sexual immorality, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, profanity, adultery, lack of restraint, sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousies, rage, selfish ambition, divisiveness, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries (partying), evil thoughts, fornications, wickedness, deceit, blasphemy, pride, anger, boasting, flattery, immodesty, immorality, and foolishness. Any of these disqualify all men from heaven. A man innocent of all these fruits of the flesh is in full compliance with the rigid requirements of salvation stated in the scriptures: be perfect as the Father is perfect, Mat 5:48; be righteous as He is righteous, 1 John 3:7-10; be merciful as He is merciful, Luke 6:36; become pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:3; as he who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conduct, 1 Pet 1:15; walk as he walked, 1 John 2:6; and as he is, so are we in this present world. 1 John 4:17.
From the Word of the Lord within:
When we begin to listen to the Lord, with new commands (or commandments) tailored to our life and circumstances, He tells us to cease behaviors that we had not even recognized previously as sinful. For man cannot understand or recognize most sins, until the Spirit convinces a man of sin, For the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:14. The things of God that may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. Rom 1:19. So the Holy Spirit shows man about sin, about righteousness [of Jesus], and judgment [within a man]; the soul's eyes must see, the soul's ears must hear, to learn the things of God. The things of God are not learned reading the Bible, nor listening to someone speaking, unless they speak from words supplied by the Spirit of God at that moment.
In his Journal, George Fox wrote of this verse, ("You shall not covet."):
There was a meeting of priests and professors at a justice's house, and I went among them. Here they discussed how Paul said he had not known sin but by the law, which said, ‘You shall not covet,' and they stated that was the outward law spoken of by Paul. But I told them Paul spoke that after he was convinced; for he had the outward law before, and was raised up in it, when he was in the lust of persecution; but this was the law of God in his mind which he served, which the law in his members warred against; for that which he thought had been life to him, proved death. So the more sober of the priests and professors yielded, and consented that it was not the outward law, but the inward law, which showed the inward lust which Paul spoke of after he was convinced; for the outward law took hold of the outward action, but the inward law of the inward lust.
Paul states that we are slaves to sin, unable to stop the desire to sin, subject to frequent failure, regardless of what we intend. But Christ came to free us from sin, to release the captives, sitting in darkness of the prison house, to help the spiritually poor to become free. For this purpose Christ is revealed in you: to destroy the works of the devil, (destroy sin). Paul is saying that we are helpless slaves to sin, until we are saved from our sins, turned from darkness to light, released from our sins, turned from the power of Satan by the power of Christ; we need a savior to be freed through Christ's inward cross of self-denial from our sins, really freed, even from the lure of sin or the desires of the body — lusts.
Permit me to confess a more modern example. I thought I was free of lust; I didn't covet any man's wife, dog, cat, cars, boats, planes, houses, clothes, bank accounts, friends, etc. I decided to speed up my main computer with an SSD that costs around $50; no big deal, right? But then I heard the word of the Lord within tell me "you don't need it." Still enamored with the SSD speed-up, I kept searching for the best SSD available. I heard again, "you don't need it." After a couple of further searches, as I was thinking about the Lord telling me I didn't need it, I finally realized, "I am lusting for an SSD, which I don't need because my main computer is more than adequate; and I am planning to boast to all my former business associates how much faster it is with the SSD addition," which is simply lust and planned, prideful, boasting. When I realized this, I literally started chuckling at myself for being so foolish and dense. Needless to say, now I wouldn't install an SSD in my main computer if someone gave me one.