Now as usual, i have a problem with what DM is saying, though I think his direction or thrust is good.
First, he sees the Law as the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law as a unit is not binding on anyone anymore. It was given to OT Jews but it passed away by no later than the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. That isn’t to say that many points within the Mosaic Law are not applicable to all people in all times and all places, for they are. But as a unit, as a whole , as given in the OT, in the Pentateuch, it is no longer binding on even the Jewish people.
That aside, i am very glad DM makes the point that the Law of God has no *legal* force on Christians. We died to it in Christ. That means it can no longer be used to condemn us for sin.
Now DM also quotes from 2nd Cor. 3 and there it is talking about the Mosaic law. But it is refering to an actual event that took place back then with Moses. And the truth is that God’s Law, in any form brings death because we are not perfect, and we always fail to keep standards.
Now as we go though the rest of this chapter, i don’t think DM’s mis-take on the Law is going to affect the good things he will say.
WHY THE LAW? DEFINING SIN
In this section, we agree completely.
Law is there to show us our sin. And that as Christians we should view the law in a non-legalistic way.
The Law is a mirror to show us how where we fall short.
WHY THE LAW? PROVOKING SIN
DM and i agree that the Law provokes sin in unbelievers. But we disagree that it provokes sin in believers simply because we have a sin nature. If one focuses on the Law and tries to live by it to gain right standing before God, than yes, the Law will possibly provoke sin in believers. But what I think it does promote in believers who focus on the Law for acceptance from God is a roller coaster life of sin and repentance, as well as the swing of emotions that correspond. It views God as a hard taskmaster instead of a loving father, and as one who is never pleased because we mess up so much. It hinders spiritual growth because it keeps its adherents always fighting sin just to maintain an acceptable relationship with God.
YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING
In this section, DM and and my differences on whether a Christian has a sin nature manifest themselves. He says that God has the Law provoke sin in Christians so we will not rely on our own abilities or strengths to follow God. He says that because we have a sin nature, we are all thrilled on some level to violate the Law.
I couldn’t object more. Sin can be thrilling at times, but I never recall desiring sin just to stick it to the Boss. And it is in his teaching here that will cause the most problems [so far] for those who listen to him. One thing it does is give us an excuse for sin. For pastor says i have a sin nature and its thrilling to break God’s law. And i am not to focus on Law keeping to grow in Christ for that would be legalistic. ouch.
The line of truth is subtle but i think clear. And it starts with the right base: we no longer have a sin nature for we are new creatures in Christ: we are no longer mere men. Then as born again, Spirit-dwelt beings we have, or should have and be taught, an attitude of the goodness of God and His Law. We are no longer rebels against God, who find perverse joy in sinful ways, but children who love and have experienced His love. Sinning can lead to more sinning but for Christians it does stop. God allows us to sin, for one reason, to make the contrast between what we still are, and what glory we one day will have, greater, so as to draw us from our sin, to show us we do not need to debase ourselves, to show us that He loves no matter what, and yes, to teach us to lean on Him for our spiritual growth. For the struggle is in our minds, to rework our understandings so that we no longer depend on the world or ourselves, but wholly on God.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
In this section, DM and I understand the passage differently. I won’t say he is wrong but i do think he is. if i didn’t think i was right, i would change(-:
Certainly this part of Romans 7 seems ambiguous and different interpretations are realized.
Romans 7:7-11 [and i am quoting up to verse 13]:
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Before i get into his view, i am going to put mine forth.
i am what some call an Age of Accountability [AoA] believer. That means I do not see condemnation falling on any person until the reach a certain maturity level [only known by God and different for each person] where in grasping right and wrong, they deliberately choose wrong. So though i am a 5 point C, i do not hold to Adamic condemnation like a FH person. Accountability happens when we knowingly and willingly sin and hurt another, God be our judge. This means that the aborted, the new born, and the young child, as well as though mentally incapacitated from birth are not under condemnation if they die young. But rather, if they do not die young, they will sin the first chance they get, and in fact do sin in an unaccountable way before that.
i am not going to give all my arguments here. But i am going to explain my interp if these verses:
As young’uns, we learn rights and wrongs, and we know that something is wrong because we are told so. We also experience others wronging us. These happenings in our lives bring us to a point where we recognize in some way that there is a law or a rule over us, even if we could not normally articulate the idea. So though we have coveted in the past, there comes a point where we ‘just know’ that coveting is wrong, and we didn’t care and coveted anyhow. The sin nature in us rose up and slew us [we became condemned] because we were at the point were alw was real to us in an accountable way. We willingly chose to sin and became justly condemned before God. And our nature was revealed at that point, that we are now a sinner.
Now as I go through DM’s take on these verses, I will be asking questions of irregularities that seem so to me.
In his first paragraph after quoting the relevant passage, he says that Paul would never say we were alive before conversion. I think we were alive [as opposed to being dead in our trespasses and sins] before we first sinned in an accountable way. He thinks being alive refers to that first period right after conversion when we felt the joy of the Lord.
Paul never uses that word zao, in the Greek, Strong’s #2198, to simply mean euphoria, at least not in Romans.
But DM fails to explain what the negative word ‘died’ means. Are we now dead in joy after that initial period? And even stronger than ‘died’ is the word ‘killed’. How now are we killed by sin, after e are saved. It is like he cherry picked one word and ran with that idea, ignoring the context around it.
Love to hear from you what you think this passage means.
He goes on to speak of the time period after we come down from that great salvation joy [to the time we died and were killed?] as a dangerous time, for shock and confusion, and even doubt, as well as the full horror of the power of our sin nature dawns on us.
I mean really?
Here is one observation.
Many times in churches across the land, an easy believism Gospel is preached that results in a great number of pseudo conversions where the people soon fall away. They have assumed the ID of a Christian without the power for godliness. They are not saved, nor born again, nor made new by Jesus, and so they try to live a good moral Christian life by their own power and strength and of course fail. They only know Law and they do not know grace. They have not received mercy so their repentance is worldly and temporal. But people, many in my own Southern Baptist Convention, like the numbers and the facade of spiritual victory that counting these baptized people give them.
So any church that even allows a hint of the idea that one can be saved without having Jesus as Lord will be full of this type of ‘convert’. And in need of these not so wise words of wisdom, for unsaved people will just give up or become legalistic or just fake it.
He says that what we are doing is denying our deficiency before the Law of God.
Those that think that way have not even heard the true Gospel which states that we are ever deficient in holiness before God and His Law, and that Jesus Christ died and rose to take our place, receive our punishment, and to die so that we deficient ones might have peace with God. And this Gospel is not just to evangelize but also for the saints to remind us of our place in Christ and how he fills our great needs.
He says that as young Christians we think we are doing well when we avoid sin but rather we are doing well when we admit sin. But it is not an either/or thing: we should be avoiding sin and admitting it when we fail to avoid it.
The rest of Romans 7 is too much to add in right now. Let me know if and when you would like to get into it. maybe he covers it in his chapter 8. Which is next.