I. Topical Structure
A. Rom 6:1-7:6 and 8:1-39 (All of ch. 6, the first 6 verses of ch. 7 and all of ch. 8):
-- Life in Christ as our Savior and Lord
B. Rom 7:7 -7:25 (the 18 most famous verses of ch. 7):
-- Life without Christ as Savior and Lord
II. Chronological Explanation of Practical Sanctification from Romans 6-8:
A. 6:1-7:6 If We Died to Sin, Why Should We Continue to Live in Sin? We don’t have to. We have the option, now, of not allowing sin to control us through our mortal body. We don’t have to keep on using our body as a means to sin and act out unrighteousness. Instead, we are now able to offer our body to God as instruments of righteousness. If we do so exclusively, as slaves to righteousness, only obeying it, then that results in sanctification, and sanctification results in eternal life. If we are doing that, then we are serving in the Newness of the Spirit. So, if we are able, what should be holding us up at all on that? Only the lack of an inner desire to serve the law of God.
B. Rom 7:7 -7:25 On the other hand, before I had Christ, I was a believing Jew. At that time, I loved the Law and wanted to obey it, but I was not able to do so. Why? Because I was of flesh, sold into bondage into sin. I did not understand it at the time, but it takes more than being willing to obey the Law, wanting to, agreeing with it, and joyfully concurring that it is good in my inner man, my mind. I could not serve the Law of God merely because I wanted to. Why? Because the Law of the body, the flesh, was serving the Law of Sin, and I was unable to overcome the body of death, which made me its prisoner. Even though I wanted to obey, I could not outwardly. What I needed was to be baptized into Christ, so that the Old Self would be crucified and I would receive the Holy Spirit to lead me. Then, I would be able to employ my willingness, my desire, my agreement and concurring mind in order to do good. Until then, despite my inner man wanting to do good, I was lost; I was going to hell.
C. Rom 8:1-39Now that I have accepted Christ, there is no condemnation for me. In fact, because we walk according to the Spirit, which means we follow what the Spirit leads us to do, in Scripture or in real time, we know we have our mind set on the things of the Spirit, resulting in life and peace. If we have the Spirit, Jesus will give life to our mortal bodies to overcome the flesh. So, we are under an obligation to God, to put to death the deeds of the body through the Spirit. Because we are able to do so, we need only desire to do so. But if we don’t go through with it, for example if we are afraid to suffer in order to be sanctified, then we will not see eternal life. But we must be led by the Spirit in it.
How about a nice chart?!
Strugglers: Mortal Body Inner Man (Heart/Mind) Gentile Unbeliever
or non-devout Jew
(Not directly depicted in Rom 6-8)
Body Enslaved to Sin/can’t obey Mind enslaved to Sin/Not want to obey Devout Jew (Rom 7:7 -7:25) Body Enslaved to Sin/can’t obey Mind Loves God’s Law/wants to obey Devout Messianic Jew
Body habitually sins BUT can obey if understands position in Christ and seeks control by the Spirit Mind Loves God’s Law/wants to obey, but Mind needs some renewal anyway, so will seek obedience by the Spirit. Messianic Gentile
(Rom 6 and 8)
Body habitually sins BUT can obey if renewed Mind in control by the Spirit Mind habitually controlled to Sin, but Mind can be renewed to start taking control of Body by the Spirit
Dig me? I have all the citations ready to roll to discuss all this.
But what should be gleaned here if we get past how best to interpret the Scripture?
1. We can forget the idea we are like the devout messianic Jew, unless that's what we really are, like Paul was.
2. We are messed up Messianic Gentiles with two problems: (1) We are afraid to suffer to obey and (2) Our Mind and Heart need renewal of a radical kind, because we are challenged by false teachings about practical sanctification all the live long day!
Let me just say this:
Romans 6-8 makes it perfectly clear that most of us struggle with inability to offer the parts of our body to righteousness because we are wooses. Second, we are wooses because we can't figure out why we oughta suffer for anything for God. Why? Because we don't love God's law, and we don't love God.
Is it so very, very wrong to ask ourselves why we don't love those things?
Here's a gift to the Body it usually doesn't want to receive:
Why?Eyelog: We have trusted Christ for eternal life, but not for the remainder of our life on earth. We are born again with the Old Self de-fanged and the New Self sitting there as pretty as the Tree of Life in the Garden, but we wallow in the former and ignore the latter.
We are supposed to move from the Old Self to the New Self, putting off and putting on, at all three levels: Heart, Mind and Body
We loiter. We linger. We eat the crappy candy out of the vending machines at the bus stop we've been delivered to, instead of walking next door to dine with the Master of the Universe.
People who are wrong think they know how to read Romans 6-8. That's all. But it's time to renew the mind PROPERLY.