Freedom From Sin’s Power - Part VII of VIII


Well, having died and risen to newness of life, we would suppose that now we can get about serving the Lord, right? No!

The verses of Romans 7 essentially describe a believer who sees the truth of Romans 6, which essentially says “I’ve died to sin and thereby made free from Sin’s domination over me”, but this believer misunderstands. Erroneously, his mindset says “Great I’m redeemed, and regenerated, I’m dead in Christ and I’m now made alive in Christ, now I will try do the righteous things”. The man here in Romans 7 then finds that he cannot do what he would like to do, to live ac godly life. There is this stubborn problem described here. Rom 7:18-20 (NASB) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. 20But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.


This problem seems to contradict the facts of Romans 6. Actually, Romans 6 truth is the truth, but this problem is only because we’ve yet to learn the key lesson of Romans 7, which is… we are our utterly helpless, even after being redeemed. The Romans 7 dilemma for the redeemed speaks of those who “try” to live the supposed Christian life out of self-effort. The lesson we have to learn is this: Yes, we are a “freed self”, but though redeemed, we are still are a “helpless self”. Romans 6 reveals to us our “freed self” and Romans 7 reveals to us our “helpless self”.


Finally, in at the end of Romans 7, Paul then writes of the culmination of the frustration of this dilemma that we experience by Sin still resident in the human flesh body of the redeemed – It is expressed as a cry for help!

Romans 7:23-24 But I see another law (operating principal) in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

The phrase “body of this death”, recognizes that man’s problem is a body problem, a problem of Sin in his body members over-ruling his effort to live righteously. The body of this death is very much active when we live by self-effort to overcome sin.


Which “Self” Are We?

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The problem here is a matter of “which self” do we choose to live by – is it our “old self” who is was bound to Sin, or do we live by our new life that we have by Christ in our spirit as the new us?

-        If we don’t believe we are freed from Sin by being in Christ, and continue in the “old way” of Romans 7, according to our old self trying to keep the outer ordinances, or even trying to imitate Jesus of Nazareth as so many make an attempt to do today, we shall surely fail. We must recognize that we can never live the Christian life by the self-effort of our old way of law-keeping. The fact is that the Christian life must emanate from Christ life within; it is He who is now in us as the new us.


-        So, if we believe live as our new “Christ-self” that has been freed from the power of Sin through our co-death with Christ and that we have risen in newness of life by His indwelling Spirit of life, as our new life, then we shall have victory, peace and rest.


Being dead with Christ, we’ve also died to the outer law, which empowers Sin (1Cor 15:56b). Thankfully, God in Christ was Col. 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.


If we go back under the law as our guide for living, then we empower sin in our flesh and must fail. 1Cor. 15:56b …the strength of sin is the law. Now we must proceed in a different way, it is the way of Christ, whose indwelling life that is our way. Now we simply love Him and live by the innermost sense we have of Christ who is our new life within our spirit. We walk by the innermost sense of Him, keeping our conscience tender and clean. Now we may ignore the outer demands of religion’s laws, with its precepts and commands and expectations. Then we shall enjoy the power of His life living through us, as we trust and walk in Him.

(I must insert here a caveat regarding Biblical instruction for living, lest anyone misunderstand what I am writing here. Our first guide and final arbiter is the sense we have of the indwelling Christ. He will never lead us contrary to revealed truth applicable to our dispensation, which is “the dispensation of the grace of God (Eph 3:2)”, as given to us by the Apostle Paul to the body of Christ. Christ’s indwelling life may well lead us in ways that disagree with the laws of previous dispensations; e.g., The Law. )


We see from the foregoing Romans 7 discussion, that even the “redeemed and freed self” of Romans 6 may still not be free to live as a Christian. We must see that we are a redeemed self and freed self, but merely as a living container; we as a container can do nothing profitable of our own self (John 15:5). Note that a branch is merely the container of the life of the vine tree – the branch has no life of its own. Any fruit that comes forth is not of the branch, it is of the life that is in the vine tree.


Only the Father and Son have genuine life (Zoë, eternal righteous life of God) within their self. John 5:26 For as the Father hath life (Zoë) in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life (Zoë) in himself.


As a container, we have no life of our self, but having received Christ we are now as a freed container-self. We are no longer a bound container-self – we were bound to Sin but now we are free from the power of Sin’s domination, but we’re still only a freed container-self. As a container-self, we must come to learn that we in ourselves are devoid of a genuine righteous life and nature that would be of ourselves. Yet we are now, by the cross, free to walk in accord with Him who now is our innermost life. As we walk in accord with the indwelling “spirit of life” we are free to live, we are free to act and do as He may prompt us to do, or we may sense His inward restraint, to keep us from doing something, even if the something may appear good. Christ lives out from within our spirit in a new normalcy, as the new us. As the branch of the vine/branch relationship can do nothing of itself, we can not live as a genuine Christian by our independent self-effort. Thus, we are to be continually dependent upon Him in us to flow out of us, “as He is, so we are in the world” (1John 4:17). We are His incarnation today on earth. Since His life has become our life it actually can be quite a simple life to live. If we have gone wrong, or are about to go wrong, His Sprit, manifested in our conscience, will let us know; and then we will turn our heart back to Him. This is what it is to have the law of the spirit of life at work in our spirit.


So yes, we are still a “self”, but now a “new self”, as we abide in union with Christ.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me

Have you noticed in Gal 2:20 that Christ does not live beside us, or assisting us, rather He is the new me, in place of the old me. First “I” am still a self, but then realizing that I am crucified, I realize that and I am “no longer an independent self”, now I am becoming fixed in a new understanding that I am a “new self”, by Christ living in me, as I abide in Christ who desires to live through me as the new me. This is the exchange of life that is the very heart of the good news that is the Gospel that Paul preached. Col. 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory