Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Experiencing the Meaning of Romans 7
First off, let me say this: While some of the things I'm going to talk about here involve personal struggles, the only reason I'm writing this is to brag on God. I have no cause to boast on myself. It's by His grace and His grace alone that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I'll begin this post by making clear a temptation that I've struggled with throughout my life and it's one that many folks deal with and it's the sin of pornography.
As of right now, the main remedy I've had in getting away from it is to do as Jesus commanded in Matthew 5 where He talked about if something is causing you to sin; to get rid of it. What that has looked like for me practically is identifying what it is that always leads me to go back to it. And then tracing movements of it in my life and actively putting those things to death by the Holy Spirit.
So by these steps of knowing my sin, stalking its movements, and mortifying them; I've come to the conclusion that getting rid of the common offender was the correct course of action. For me, that would be my laptop. So a friend of mine graciously allowed me to store my laptop at his home. This has prevented me from logging on by myself privately and succumbing to temptation again. Granted, it's an inconvenience in a 21st century world where a large percentage of communication is on the internet, but the inconvenience is worth it.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:8 - "God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God." All the while I was on and off again on porn, I know the Lord was calling me to a higher place in His Presence, but I wasn't going to get there unless I stopped and said enough to the addiction. And I'll admit: It's been wonderful during this period of time I've kept myself from my sin. I've seen the face of God, albeit thru a glass darkly. And I intend to go even further in His glory in the future.
But there was something the Holy Spirit gave me insight to recently that I want to share. And it has to do with the truths found in Romans 7. You see, for the past few weeks I've been drawing nearer to God that ever before. And without access to a laptop it's been easy to not have that stumbling block in front of my face. However, something donned on me tonight that immediately caused me to go to God for understanding.
For the past several weeks I've been going to a certain church where they main preaching ministry has been repentance and getting right with God. Now I would be a liar if I said that I've sat in pride during these type of messages and thought to myself, "
I've not got any sin I'm dealing with." While it's true my life has been clean; it would also be false humility to claim I had sin when in fact I don't.
So anyway, tonight what I found was that increase in desire to gravitate back to porn. Keep in mind, though, at this point I've gotten rid of all my triggers and stumbling blocks. So it wasn't like there were external causes to this. Then I was reminded of what I had been hearing preached in church for the past several weeks. Then finally Holy Spirit allowed me to see the connection between what Paul said in Romans 7 and the desires that were beginning to work in my flesh.
I'm not saying that preaching repentance from sin is wrong. Far from it. It's the gospel message that saved my soul. But the apostle was clear in Romans 7 in verses such as verse 7 down to 13...
" Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of
course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would
never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.
But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes."
Nevertheless, Paul gave the answer at the end of that chapter and it's found by looking unto Jesus. I have to admit, I never really fully understood Romans 7 until now. It just seemed out of place between chapters 6 and 8. Some Christians have even went as far to say Romans 7 is a parenthetic back to Paul's old lost life. I disagree.
For Pastors, this proves a challenge for them to know their congregation. Make no mistake. Preaching repentance from sin shows that the hearers are NOT spiritual people. They are either still dead in their trespasses and sins or have not gone further than the elementary teachings of Christ. Hebrews 6 makes this clear. Needless to say, however, these type of messages will produce what Paul told us about in Romans 7. So let the people of God be aware: We will either stay babes in Christ or go on from glory to glory and become the full stature of the Person of Jesus. By the grace of God, I intend to pursue the latter.
(I speak to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ)