by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 2 Study # 1 October 16, 2016 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(041)Thesis: The proper function of "The Law" is revelation, not regulation.
Introduction: In our concluding study of the first paragraph in Romans 7 we saw that the inner conflicts that are created by the sins of the three elements of our constitution (body, soul, and spirit) are what Paul called "through The Law". In contrast to that fleshly reality, we saw that we are totally removed from "The Law" so that it not only cannot be a tool of "The Sin" any longer to sponsor these inner conflicts, it also cannot pronounce condemnation upon us even when we succumb to unbelief and give in to the fears and dominion of these inner conflicts. We now serve God by means of His Spirit Who dwells within us.
Now, this evening, we are going to begin to look into his understanding of this significant reality.
I. The First Issue: How Should We View "The Law"?
A. The "First Principle": Drawing definitive conclusions.
1. Paul begins 7:7 with a significant question.
a. The "therefore" means that we are to keep in mind what he has just written.
b. The "What shall we say?" means that we are to drawconclusions from what we are being told.
1) In reality, it is only by drawing conclusions that we can move further into "understanding".
2) As long as we hold ourselves aloof from drawing conclusions, we keep ourselves from being able to function by faith: faith requires that we have "understanding" and such "understanding" comes only as a consequence of moving through the "line upon line, precept upon precept" process and such movement can only occur by drawing conclusions along each step of the way.
c. This is the most dangerous phase of the development of the way we are going to live because a false conclusion will skew everything that rests upon it.
2. This significant question strongly implies that we might draw a false conclusion.
B. The "Second Principle": Clarifying the Conclusion.
1. Paul taught that the conflicts of the sins of The Sin are "through The Law".
a. This is a concept of some form of instrumentality.
b. The particular form is the subject of much of the remainder of the chapter, but that the issue is instrumentality is the reason for Paul's insistence that we draw a conclusion.
2. Does this mean, then, that there is an inherent, evil characteristic in this "Law" that serves as a tool of "The Sin"?
a. As is always the case, it is not the "instrument" that possesses the attributes of the one who wields the instrument.
b. A most fundamental guiding principle exists: God is not tempted by "evil" and He does not tempt any man with "evil".
c. Thus, the answer is a resounding "Absolutely Not".
C. Therefore, we have to look for a legitimate answer to the question that has been raised.
1. There is a strong alternative to the suggestion that "The Law" has an evil inherent within it: "But...".
2. Paul uses exactly the same grammatical formulation of 7:5 (dia plus a genitive), but without the definite article prior to the word "sin".
a. This means that Paul is going to put forward God's actual intention in giving any form of "law".
b. Thus, rather than having to settle for the "conclusion" that "The Law is sinful", he is going to argue for a strong alternative.
3. The alternative "conclusion" that we must make in order to move along in a legitimate "understanding" upon which "faith" is founded.
a. It begins with "knowing" as a process of "coming to recognize" something.
b. He declares that getting to the point of recognizing "The Sin" is crucial.
1) The former statement of Romans 5:13 comes into play at this point.
a) Sin's presence in the world is essentially destructive.
b) But without "law" there is no "imputation" of sin even though the consequences fall according to Paul's Romans 6 principle that one participates in the consequences of sin even when there is no "imputation".
2) Thus, to escape those consequences, one must "know" their root.
c. Then he declares that the "revelator" is "law" when it is used according to divine intent.
1) The "sinful" problem: inner lusts in conflict with each other.
2) "The Law's" solution: "Say" that one is prohibited from "lusting".
3) As soon as this "saying" occurs, one is immediately aware of "lust" and the beginning of the "revelation" has begun.