|Romans 7 |
1 Do you not know brothers, (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? [Until you lose your life by crucifying your sinful nature, your carnal mind, and your evil spirit, you are still under the law; until then you are still walking in restricted flesh; until then the law is your schoolmaster. Until Christ replaces your nature, mind, and spirit with His so that your fleshly nature is dead, you are under the law. When Christ controls your thoughts, words, and deeds, then the law no longer has dominion over you because the selfish "you" has died. Even those who know no law, have the inner law on their hearts by which a man is judged and which has dominion over him until his death. From the Word of the Lord within: "The law is yours to have and keep until death does part. Until you witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law. Until you witness the law fulfilled in you, you are under the law."]
2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free from the law of her husband.
3 So then if while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband is dead, she is free from that law; so that she is not an adulteress, though she marries another man. [From the Word of the Lord within: "The law is yours to have and keep until death does part."]
4 Therefore, my brothers, you also became dead to the law through the living body of Christ in you, so that you could be married to another, and raised from the dead to bear fruit to God.1 [Paul is addressing believers that had been crucified, (and therefore they had died to the law), who had been raised from the dead with Christ, the new creature in newness of life. Christ had appeared in them and dwelled in them. They had received the fruit of the Spirit from Christ with the measure of faith that frees from the law, enabling them to no longer walk after the flesh but to walk after the Spirit, as it guided all their words and deeds; they had reached the first stage of perfection. The translation of this verse has been typically twisted to mean that Christ's death and resurrection made a believer dead to the law, but we are only dead to the law through the law after we have been crucified and He is dwelling in us, totally guiding us, with His prompting of every word to speak and every deed to be done. While Christ's blood sacrifice made the Mosaic law obsolete, the inner law on every man's heart is still alive, never cancelled, (which inner law includes the moral core of the Mosaic law); and for you to be free from this inner law, by which all men shall be judged, you must submit to God condemning the sins in your flesh, with commands that you hear when waiting on Him; those commands are established as additional laws in your heart, in which are all the laws you must obey and continue to obey until you are completely crucified, to then walk in love and liberty under no laws.]
5 For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin, (evil established by the law), worked in our members to bring forth fruit to death. [We are all trees with corrupt fruit, including: sexual immorality (including adultery and fornication), impurity, lust, idolatry (including covetousness), sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousy, anger, ambition, divisiveness, factions, envy, drunkenness, revelry (partying), etc., to start; but we must be changed while alive on earth to produce good fruit. Christendom would have you simply label the bad tree good, still producing corrupt fruit; but such trees will be cut down and sent to the fire, regardless of the label on them. The law does not cause one to sin; the law adjusts, regulates, and curbs sin. From the word of the Lord within: "Either make the tree good, or make the tree bad. A tree that is holy is a good one."]
6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to that by which we were held; so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.2 [The moral laws only end when a man's selfish spirit has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, and Christ Jesus is resurrected in him to totally control his thoughts, words, and deeds with the Law of the Spirit of Life. See the footnote to Rom 3:28 for more understanding on why the the inner law on your heart, which includes the moral core of the old law, must still be observed and is your schoolmaster until your thoughts, and words, and deeds are under complete control of the Holy Spirit. From the Word of the Lord within, regarding newness of spirit: "The new life is as radically different as a man who has lived underground his whole life, suddenly coming above ground to see the sun, the sky, the plants, the animals, the wind, the stars." Notice! Paul had died to the law through the law and was delivered from the law; he served sin no longer. He fulfilled and established the law.]
7 What then shall we say? Is the law sin? God forbid, no. Were it not for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have understood lust without the law that said: You shall not covet.3 [Paul just illustrated how the law was his schoolmaster, teaching him what sin is, so that he could seek the heart and soul purifying grace of God. In the below Footnote 3 to this verse, George Fox states that the law Paul is referencing is the inner law.]
8 Based on the commandment, sin produced in me all lusts. For apart from the commandment sin was dead. [ Paul thought he was without sin, thought that sin was dead, until Christ condemned the secret sins in Paul's heart with a commandment. If commandments caused sin, then when Christ shows a man the secret sins in his heart, instead of godly sorrow and repentance, a man would increase his sinning. This chapter is corrupted apparently because the scribes and translators failed to understand the verse below. Commandments can cause the awareness of sin to revive, but commandments do not cause sin itself to revive.]
9 For I was alive apart from the law once; but when the commandments came, sin was alive again, and I died.4 [Paul, (when still a Jew), had been strictly observing the law of Moses; but then Paul began to hear more commands from the Spirit that were tailored to the circumstances of his life. These new commandments caused him to realize that sin was still alive in his body; sin was alive again. One then dies and becomes dead to the law by hearing the Spirit's many commands that restricts the fleshly mind, words, and actions; and if those spoken commands are heeded and obeyed, one gradually loses their fleshly life, dying daily, until their spirit and mind are crucified. Christ is then revealed in their body. The Lord condemns sin in your flesh by revealing it to you and commanding your repentance, (the commandment came); sin of which you are often not even aware, (sin lived); with your acknowledgement of His revelations being true, you obey His commands; by grace He then removes even the desire for that sin from your heart. This process is repeated, first with your actions, then your words, and then your thoughts; until you have crucified your carnal mind and sinful nature, (I died). Now you are free from the law, walking under total rule of the Lord to your thoughts, words, and deeds. (Through the law, I died to the law.)
From the Word of the Lord within: "There are no laws when you are under complete control of the spirit; you walk in love in obedience as prompted — you don't walk in restricted flesh."]
10 Indeed, learning the commandments unto life, [resulted] unto death. [The Ministry of Condemnation must first be experienced so that you die to your selfish, sinful nature; then you receive the Ministry of Righteousness, the learning of how to walk and speak righteously, walking by the Light of Life.]
11 For sin, taking basis from the commandments, had deceived me; and through it I died. [Each new commandment from the Lord made him aware of the secret sin still in his flesh; and with each sin so revealed, Paul's godly sorrow and repentance resulted in his fleshly nature dying a little more; first his fleshly actions died, then his fleshly words died, then even his carnal thoughts died. Thus he died to the law through the law.]
12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandments holy, and just, and good.
13 Then, was that which is good made death to me? God forbid. It was sin, so that it might be shown as sin, which was working death in me by that which is good; so that by the commandments sin might be exceedingly sinful [easily recognized].
14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I was carnal, sold under sin. [This verse and the following verses were incorrectly translated as present tense, but past tense is the correct translation because Paul had been translated into the kingdom, in union with Christ sitting with Christ in heavenly places; Paul had been crucified and was dead: dead to the law through the law, and he was no longer a slave to any sin. Christ had saved Him by destroying the sin in Paul's body. Babylon's translators portrayed Paul as a sinner like themselves destined to sin for the rest of their life, while believing that Christ's death had freed them from the guilt and consequence of continued sin. This is what the Word of the Lord within spoke about the Bible translators: "They want to be sons; they recognize the scripture, 'he that is born of God has no sin,' but they blithely go on."]
15 For I understood not what I did, for not what I intended to have practiced, instead I did what I hated.5
16 But if not what intended [was] done, then I consented [in my mind] that the law is good.
17 But now no longer I did it, but the sin that remained in me.6
18 For I knew that in me (that was, in my flesh), nothing good dwelled; for good was intended and present with me; but good performed, that [was] not.
19 For I did not what I intended; but the evil which I intended not to do, I did.
20 Now if what was intended not, I did, it is no more me that did it, but the sin that dwelled in me.
21 I found a law then, that when I resolved good done, evil was present with me.
22 For I delighted in the law of God in the internal inner man.
23 But I saw another law in my members [flesh], that warred against the law of my mind, and led me into captivity to the law of sin which was in my members.
24 Wretched man me! Who will deliver me from the body of this death? [Paul is reflecting on how desperate he was before he had been freed from sin by the Lord. Then in the next sentence he says that he was going to be delivered by God through Jesus Christ. To be delivered is to be truly freed from all sin, not freed from the guilt of sin. The first part of this verse is universally translated in other Bibles as "Wretched man that I am," but there is no verb of any tense, (am), present; the Greek is literally "Wretched me man."]
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then with the mind I myself served the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. [So do we sit, captive to sin; or do we go to He who will deliver me from the body of death? Paul did not remain in this condition he describes that he went through, which we all must pass through to find salvation. With hope in the promise of the gospel, with sincere regret for our past sins, we go to God to receive his heart and soul purifying grace, by the inward cross of self-denial, to be delivered from sin, and then to have Jesus raised in us to be our ruling Lord of thoughts, words, and deeds — sin free. As Paul said: For if you live after the flesh [the sinful nature], you will die; but if through the Spirit you mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, you will live, Rom 8:13; through repentance on the cross, we mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body which are of the earthly life; fornication, impurity, inordinate affections, evil lusts of the flesh, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Col 3:5. Until finally you arrive at Paul's final state: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Gal 2:20.
The end of this dramatic narrative is found in the next two verses, (Verses 1 and 2 of Chapter 8), where Paul states: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:1-2. Paul was free from sin, no longer walking in restricted flesh; he was walking in the Spirit: in obedience to the commands of God for his words to speak and his deeds to be done. When Jesus is your true Lord and Master, actually guiding all your thoughts, words, and deeds, then like Paul, you have fulfilled the law and established the law.]
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1 you also became dead to the law through the living body of Christ in you, so that you could be married to another, and raised from the dead to bear fruit to God. This verse has been typically mistranslated to be: "Therefore, my brothers, you also have become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you may be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, in order that we may bring forth fruit to God." The wording for this verse in the original Greek is very ambiguous, leaving room for many different interpretations; and since the translators had never experienced Christ being resurrected in them, they mistranslated the verse to read that Christ's death and resurrection made us dead to the law.* Clearly that is not the case; his death and resurrection did not make us dead to the inner law or the Law of Sin and Death or dead works. We must put off the body of sins and kill our sinful nature through the inward cross of self-denial; then Christ is raised in us, and we produce fruit to God. When the wording of a verse is vague, the translators from Babylon's imitation Christianity always choose the translation that supports their false doctrines, ignoring all verses that clearly conflict with their false doctrines; and the Word of the Lord within precisely spoke about the Bible translators from Babylon's imitation Christianity:"They want to be sons; they recognize the scripture, 'he that is born of God has no sin,' but they blithely go on." When Christ is raised in you to be your true King and Lord, ruling your thoughts, words, and deeds, then and only then you are dead to the law.
* While Christ's blood sacrifice made the Mosaic law obsolete, the inner law on every man's heart is still alive, never cancelled, (which inner law includes the moral core of the Mosaic law); and to be freed from the law, which has dominion over a man until death, you must die to the law through the law described by Paul in this chapter. You must submit to God condemning the sins in your flesh, with commands that you hear when waiting on Him; those commands are established as laws in your heart, which you must obey and continue to obey until you are crucified, freed from all sin.
From the Word of the Lord within:
- "You must obey every law the Spirit establishes.
- You must have a devotion to the law that is on every man's heart; you must listen; and you must obey.
- When you have heard the dead words in the Bible and recall them, heed what is said; always obedient to His commands.
- Without obedience you have nothing; sorry, there are not wildcards in the camp.
- Restraint of sin is not enough; salvation is being freed from even the desire of your sins.
- Only a heart that is purged of sin is acceptable to God.
- Keep on repenting from the evil He shows you in your heart.
- Continue with me; continue in obedience.
- Obedience leads to restoration of life.
- Those who have been crucified are through with sin as a motivator, and this must be felt from the inside.
- There are no laws when you are under complete control of the spirit; you walk in love in obedience as prompted — you don't walk in restricted flesh."
2 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to that by which we were held [sin]; so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Paul is speaking to those whose sinful nature has been killed, who therefore have been delivered from the law, (even the inner law). So these believers are now serving according to the promptings of the Spirit of God, rather than serving according to the regulations of the letter (law). When a man walks by the rules, he walks according to the letter, not the Spirit. Paul also said they were able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit. For the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6. Jesus tells us that his spoken words are spirit and they are life, and so the words heard impart life. John 6:63. Paul tells us of what words both Paul and Jesus speak: The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart [so you may obey it];" that is, the word of faith, which we preach. Rom 10:8.
Paul says obedience to the inner law, which includes the moral core of the obsolete Mosaic law and includes the commands you hear to repent from the Spirit, is required until you are totally led by the Spirit of God:
George Fox wrote of dying to the law through the law and the transition from the schoolmaster of law, to the Spirit of Christ, in his Journal.
The law of the spirit crosses the fleshly mind, spirit, and will, which lives in disobedience, and does not keep within the law of the spirit. I saw this law was the pure love of God which was upon me, and which I must go through, though I was troubled while I was under it; for I could not be dead to the law but through the law, which judged and condemned what is to be condemned. I saw, many talked of the law, who had never known the law to be their schoolmaster; and many talked of the gospel of Christ, who had never known life and immortality brought to light in them by it. You that have been under that schoolmaster, and the condemnation of it, know these things; for though the Lord in that day opened these things unto me in secret, they have been since published by his eternal spirit, as on the house top. And as you are brought into the law, and through the law to be dead to it, and witness [see, experience] the righteousness of the law fulfilled in you, you will afterwards come to know what it is to be brought into the faith, and through faith from under the law; and abiding in the faith, which Christ is the author of, you will have peace and access to God. But if you look out from the faith, and from that which would keep you in the victory, and look after fleshly things or for words [speaking your own words] you will be brought into bondage to the flesh again, and to the law which takes hold upon the flesh and sin, and works wrath, and the works of the flesh will appear again. The law of God takes hold upon the law of sin and death; but the law of faith, or the law of the spirit of life, which is the love of God, and which comes by Jesus, (who is the end of the law for righteousness' sake), makes you free from the law of sin and death. This law of life fleshly minded men do not know; yet they will tempt you to draw you from the spirit into the flesh, and so into bondage. Therefore you, who know the love of God, and the law of his spirit, and the freedom that is in Jesus Christ, stand fast in him. Stand in that divine faith which he is the author of in you, and don’t get entangled with the yoke of bondage. For the ministry of Christ Jesus and his teaching, brings into liberty and freedom; but the ministry that is of man, and by man, which stands in the will of man, brings into bondage and under the shadow of death and darkness. Therefore none can be ministers of Christ Jesus but in the eternal spirit, which was before the scriptures were given forth; for if they have not his spirit, they are none of his. Though they may have his light to condemn them that hate it, yet they can never bring any into unity and fellowship in the spirit, unless they are in it; for the seed of God is a burdensome stone to the selfish, fleshly, earthly will, which reigns in its own knowledge and understanding that must perish, and [reigns in] its own wisdom that is devilish. The spirit of God is grieved, vexed, and quenched with what brings into the fleshly bondage; and what wars against the spirit of God must be mortified by it for the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to each other. The flesh would have its liberty, and the spirit would have its liberty; but the spirit is to have its liberty, and not the flesh. Therefore if you quench the spirit, join to the flesh, and be servants of it, then you are judged and tormented by the spirit; but if you join to the spirit, and serve God in it, you have liberty and victory over the flesh and its works.
So until you witness [see, experience] the righteousness of the law fulfilled in you, you must still strive to obey the inner law that includes the moral core of the outward law. Do you not know brothers, (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? Rom 7:1. Until you lose your life by crucifying your sinful nature, your carnal mind, and your evil spirit, you are still alive and still subject to the moral laws. From the Word of the Lord within, "until you witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law." The faith that frees from the law is received when you produce the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law; then you are walking in love and fulfill the law. Until then, you are still subject to the moral laws: love your neighbor as you love yourself; don't steal; don't commit adultery; don't lie; don't covet; don't murder; honor your father and mother; do unto others as you have them do unto you, etc.
William Dewsbury further explains the inner law on the heart:
Therefore, everyone that desires to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, turn your minds within, and examine your hearts, search and try your ways with the light that Christ Jesus has enlightened you withal, that shows you in your hearts what is sin, that pride and covetousness, lying and swearing, dissimulation (deception) and cheating, vain and idle communications, foolish jesting and unbelief, are sins. These things you know to be sins in your own consciences, by the righteous law of God in the heart, that reproves you for them in secret.
3 You shall not covet. Until we can hear the voice of Lord from within and follow his counsel to become changed, the moral laws of the inner law are our schoolmaster, a reminder to us of our problems, and a motivator to repent from our old ways and to seek divine help to be even more different, and thus to become pleasing to God. The inner law on every man's heart makes us feel bad when we lie or steal. This law includes the external moral laws: do not steal, do not lie, do not covet, do not murder, do not commit adultery, (and all sexual immorality), honor your parents, do unto others as you would have them do to you, etc. The inner law's moral laws exceed the external, Mosaic moral laws for as Jesus said, he came to fulfill the law; and then He told us how it was to be strengthened, which the inner law reflects. This strengthened inner law can be understood to have been violated anytime you exhibit a fruit of the flesh, which includes: sexual immorality, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, profanity, adultery, lack of restraint, sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousies, rage, selfish ambition, divisiveness, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries (partying), evil thoughts, fornications, wickedness, deceit, blasphemy, pride, anger, boasting, flattery, immodesty, immorality, and foolishness. Any of these disqualify any man from heaven. A man innocent of all these fruits of the flesh is in full compliance with the rigid requirements of salvation stated in the scriptures: be perfect as the Father is perfect, Mat 5:48; be righteous as He is righteous, 1 John 3:7-10; be merciful as He is merciful, Luke 6:36; become pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:3; as he who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conduct, 1 Pet 1:15; walk as he walked, 1 John 2:6; and as he is, so are we in this present world. 1 John 4:17.
From the Word of the Lord within:
When we begin to listen to the Lord, with new commands (or commandments) tailored to our life and circumstances, He tells us to cease behaviors that we had not even recognized previously as sinful. For man cannot understand or recognize most sins, until the Spirit convinces a man of sin, For the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:14. The things of God that may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. Rom 1:19. So the Holy Spirit shows man about sin, about righteousness [of Jesus], and judgment [within a man]; the soul's eyes must see, the soul's ears must hear, to learn the things of God. The things of God are not learned reading the Bible, nor listening to someone speaking, unless they speak from words supplied by the Spirit of God at that moment.
In his Journal, George Fox wrote of this verse, ("You shall not covet."):
There was a meeting of priests and professors at a justice's house, and I went among them. Here they discussed how Paul said he had not known sin but by the law, which said, ‘You shall not covet,' and they stated that was the outward law spoken of by Paul. But I told them Paul spoke that after he was convinced; for he had the outward law before, and was raised up in it, when he was in the lust of persecution; but this was the law of God in his mind which he served, which the law in his members warred against; for that which he thought had been life to him, proved death. So the more sober of the priests and professors yielded, and consented that it was not the outward law, but the inward law, which showed the inward lust which Paul spoke of after he was convinced; for the outward law took hold of the outward action, but the inward law of the inward lust.
Paul states that we are slaves to sin, unable to stop the desire to sin, subject to frequent failure, regardless of what we intend. But Christ came to free us from sin, to release the captives, sitting in darkness of the prison house, to help the spiritually poor to become free. For this purpose Christ is revealed in you: to destroy the works of the devil, (destroy sin). Paul is saying that we are helpless slaves to sin, until we are saved from our sins, turned from darkness to light, released from our sins, turned from the power of Satan by the power of Christ; we need a savior to be freed through Christ's inward cross of self-denial from our sins, really freed, even from the lure of sin or the desires of the body — lusts.
Permit me to confess a more modern example. I thought I was free of lust; I didn't covet any man's wife, dog, cat, cars, boats, planes, houses, clothes, bank accounts, friends, etc. I decided to speed up my main computer with an SSD that costs around $50; no big deal, right? But then I heard the word of the Lord within tell me "you don't need it." Still enamored with the SSD speed-up, I kept searching for the best SSD available. I heard again, "you don't need it." After a couple of further searches, as I was thinking about the Lord telling me I didn't need it, I finally realized, "I am lusting for an SSD, which I don't need because my main computer is more than adequate; and I am planning to boast to all my former business associates how much faster it is with the SSD addition," which is simply lust and planned, prideful, boasting. When I realized this, I literally started chuckling at myself for being so foolish and dense. Needless to say, now I wouldn't install an SSD in my main computer if someone gave me one.
4 Based on the commandments, sin produced in me all lusts. For apart from the commandments sin was dead. For I was alive apart from the law once; but when the commandments came, sin was alive again, and I died. Paul, (when still a Jew), had been strictly observing the law of Moses; but then Paul began to hear more commands from the Spirit that were tailored to the circumstances of his life. These new commandments caused him to realize that sin was still alive in his body; sin was alive again. One then dies and becomes dead to the law by hearing the Spirit's many commands that restricts the fleshly mind, words, and actions; and if those spoken commands are heeded and obeyed, one gradually loses their fleshly life, dying daily, until they are dead. Christ is then revealed in their body.
Paul is speaking about having the states that a Christian must pass through to reach salvation. Believing that to be still sinning till death is excused for believers, there are priests of Babylon* who claim that in this chapter Paul is speaking of being burdened with sins only when he was still a Jew, and not after he became a believer; for they preach consequence-free sin for a believer with no necessity for mortification of sin, without need of a behavior conversion from fruits of the flesh to fruit of the Spirit, and without the requirement to become undefiled; all of which must take place in the struggle between the sins in the body and the Spirit of God within any still-sinning believer who hopes to grow to salvation. Additional facts that disprove the priests of Babylon's ridiculous claim are: 1) Paul stated that he had previously been schooled in the Law by the leading teacher of the Pharisees, and 2) he had "lived as devout Pharisee in accordance with the strictest sect of our religion." Acts 26:4-5. So Paul was not writing of his epic struggle with sin while still a Jew. Only as a believer, when Paul exposed himself to the Lord's commands, did he realize the secret sins lurking in his body, from which he had faith of deliverance to come, and later received the Lord's destruction of all sin in his body and freeing him from even the desires of sin to become a perfect man.
* See Footnote 1 to Romans 7.5 in the Net Bible for one example of such priests whose doctrine is: once you are a believer, you are in Christ, and all past, present, and future, sins are excused through the transfer of the meaning of grace from the truth: that with repentance the Spirit of God commands us to deny lusts and ungodliness as it purifies us to be able to live a soberly, godly life in this present world — transferred instead to the twisted lie that grace excuses all past, present, and future sins in believers, thereby excusing believers to live in their lusts and pride as they please with no laws.
From the Word of the Lord within: "Do you agree with any who in their arrogance have stated that God excuses evil in believers? It's not fair, but they don't care. Do not be confused; do not be misled; you must break a suspected action. Consequence-free sin does not exist; the consequences are truly staggering. There is a war you must win: sin must be overcome; the fleshly lusts war against your soul."
Stephen Crisp, who also dwelled in the kingdom, wrote most excellently to this process as below:
"Now the proposition and tender of the love of God to mankind, has always carried that limitation with it, that every one in the world ought to observe; if a man hopes to be saved by Christ, he must be ruled by him. It is contrary to all manner of reason, that the devil should rule a man, and Christ be his Savior. The whole tenor of the New Testament is against it, (pray read it as often as you please, for it is a good exercise), you will find the true Christian's faith to be this: that he who has faith in Christ has an operation upon him for the cleansing his heart, purifying and purging his conscience from dead works, that he may serve the living God; though he had previously been a servant of the devil, it will make him leave his former servitude, and bring him under the influence of another law, the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which will make him free from the law of sin and death. The apostle sets down the several conditions he had passed through:
- I was alive without the law once; he thought himself a man, a brave man, a man of understanding, who had profited among the Jews; I was alive, having respect to that law which should have been my governor; [Paul knew the law well; he had been taught the strict manner of the law by a prominent Pharisee and leader of the judicial Sanhedrin, Gamaliel. Paul also thought he observed the law in righteousness.]
- but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. He had read the law, the commandment, many times, and had been at the reading of it in the synagogue; but there was a coming of the commandment, [as it was commanded by the Word of the Lord within him], which he had not been acquainted with; there was a writing of the law of God in his heart. When he came to this inward work upon him, where was the life he lived then?
[The Lord shows us the secret sins of our heart, of which we were not aware until his light reveals them to us; and with his conviction, he also commands us.]
- When the commandment came, sin revived, [when he was convicted by the Word of the Lord within, his awareness of sin in himself revived],
- and I died. [Realizing how poor in Spirit he really was, he deeply mourned over his condition. His pride was dying. The root of sin, his carnal mind is being destroyed. This is the Ministry of Condemnation; this is how one dies to the law, through the law.]
There was a professing life he formerly lived, but he was slain by the power of the commandment; it laid him in the dust as a slain man; when he was in a slain condition he found out that law in him, which was the law of sin and death, and this caused a combat and a war in him; he said: I find a law that when I would do good, evil is present with me; for I delight in the law of God in the inner man; but I see another law 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. Now this brought him to a poverty of spirit, into a sense of his miserable condition, and then he cries out, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?
Now some people in this say that they are like the apostle: they have a law in their members warring against the law of their minds; the good that they would do they do not, and they can go no further, [their excuse for remaining a slave to sin]. But the apostle Paul did reach further, though he did not in that state [which he described that he had passed through] yet know deliverance; yet he had a faith that he would be delivered, and that he would not be miserable all his days. Thus having led the Romans into the several states through which he passed, he brings them to a further state, the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. And now there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom 8:1-2. How shall we know this? They walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. Now Paul had come to that sanctified state, that state of freedom and liberty which Christ Jesus will bring all those unto that believe in him.
Holy men, in former days, experienced and found a great strife and warfare in their own hearts; they all wished to do well, and exercise a conscience, void of offence, towards God and towards man; but there was a law of sin that warred in their members. If we yield to it, it leads to sin and death; but if we yield ourselves to the law of the spirit of life, there is a power that is derived from the Mediator, that will translate the soul out of the kingdom of darkness and sin, which the devil is the prince of, and bring it into the kingdom of God's dear Son.
There must be a real change wrought in us before we can come to God, and to fellowship and communion with God, which alone can make the soul happy. Let this be the exercise of every one of us to adore and magnify the great mercy and the kindness of God, that he has not withdrawn his spirit from you, but has placed a monitor in your bosoms that calls upon you to cease to do evil, and learn to do well, and to consider that the wages of sin is death. Here is a sin, I may commit it; there is a temptation before me, but I know there is a bait and a hook. I may swallow it if I choose, but if I do, it will be my ruin. Do I wish to come to eternal death, and have my portion with liars and wicked persons in the kingdom of darkness, where the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched? Or would I have my portion with saints and angels? If I would have my portion with the blessed in the kingdom of God when I die, I must walk in the way that leads to it; but the gate is strait and the way narrow, and few there are that find it. Labor then to be one of those few."
As Jesus also said: "Strive to enter in at the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter, and will not be able to." Luke 13:24
Margaret Fox replied strongly to the ministers and teachers of corruption in her time, who taught that the entire law of God was cancelled and replaced by just believing in Jesus.
You, who are in your carnal apprehensions of God, are in the world without God. You are alive without the law, and have not come to know the law yet, and are dead in sins and trespasses. You, that live in pleasure, are dead while you live. You live unto sin and so are free from righteousness. The law which is holy, just, and good, shall cut you to pieces. You have not yet come to know the law, nor what is lawful, which everyone passes through before they come to know the liberty of the sons of God - which law cuts down all your carnal apprehensions of God. Oh you blasphemer, do you say there is no such thing as lawful and unlawful, godliness or ungodliness? Would you lay waste the scriptures and make void the righteous law of God which takes hold of the transgressor? Would you trample upon the blood of the new covenant and count it an unholy thing? Oh, the day of the vengeance is coming upon you. The Lord God is clothed with vengeance against you and all such as you are. You who sit at the table of devils are shut out from the liberty of the sons of God and know not the condition that Paul has passed through. When you know that, it will be death and destruction to you. This you shall eternally witness, before ever you come to know the living God.
5 While the inner law on the heart of every man, which includes moral core of the outward law, is our schoolmaster, we know the first state that Paul described he once was in: For I understood not what I did, for not what I intended to have practiced, instead I did what I hated. Rom 7:15; and all men are in this state, before the Sprit of God mortifies the sin in them.
But Heed! You do have control of your hands and feet; you can stop your feet from pursuing evil, and you can stop your hands from reaching for evil. You can't control your mouth and your thoughts, until the Lord makes the changes in you — but beware, you must cease your practices of immorality that are under your control. You can't control your eyes from looking at a woman with lust the first time, but you can decide to not look the second time. The Lord sees your efforts or lack of efforts, and he therefore knows the sincerity of your seeking. If you are insincere, without having turned from evil the best you can, he will know it and give you little help; if you are fortunate, he will remind you of your hypocrisy; if you are not, he will ignore you.
6 But now no longer I did it, but the sin that remained in me. This verse has been mistranslated in all Bibles to read: "It is no longer I who sin, but the sin that remains in me," leaving Paul a miserable sinner, doomed to be a sinner for the rest of his life. The tense in the original Greek is "historical present" tense, used to describe a past event in the present so to dramatize the event for the reader as though he were actually there. The "historical present" tense can be translated as either present tense or past tense. When translated into the present tense, there should have been a note explaining the conditions described by Paul had occurred in the past; instead the translators took license to paint Paul still sinning and like themselves, thus excusing the translator's own perpetual sin for the rest of their life.
Many Christians use this terrible mistranslation as their excuse for remaining in sin. But Paul is talking about the start. He then says: "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" And so he was delivered from sin. Paul passed through this state, as everyone must pass through this state before they arrive at the liberty of the sons of God to enjoy Christian freedom. Paul's final state was: it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and he was translated into the Kingdom of Christ. In the next Chapter the first two verses, (Verses 1 and 2 of Chapter 8), Paul states: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:1-2. Paul was free from sin, no longer walking in restricted flesh; he was walking in the Spirit: obedience to the promptings of God with his words to speak and his deeds to be done.
George Fox wrote extensively on this exact subject:
"And again Satan's messengers and ministers say, Paul cried out and said, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?’ And he was in a warfare, and therefore people must be in a warfare, and carry a body of death, and a body of sin about with them as long as they live, to the grave, and there is no overcoming nor no victory here. But in this, Satan's messengers and ministers wrong the apostle's words, and do not take them all; for though he cried out, who shall deliver him from that body of death and sin; yet he thanks God through Jesus Christ our Lord, and said, ‘The law of the spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, has made me free from the law of sin and death.’ Mark, he said Christ Jesus had made him free, as in Rom 7:24-25, 8:1-2. And said, there was ‘no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.’ And again, he said, ‘Thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Cor 15:57. And again, he said, ‘Those who are in Christ are new creatures.’ And again, the apostle said, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’ 2 Tim 4:7.
Then the apostle, if he had fought the good fight, he was not fighting; and having kept the faith, he kept the victory; for faith is the victory. And John said, ‘his is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.’ 1 John 5:4. And Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. Heb 12:2. So here you may see the apostle had fought and kept the faith of Christ which is the victory. So he was not always fighting and warring as Satan's messengers would have it, who was a liar from the beginning. For the apostle said, ‘I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, (mark, live), yet not I, but Christ lives 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.’ Gal 2:20."
When Jesus is your true Lord and Master, actually guiding your thoughts, words, and deeds, then sin is impossible; when you are truly born again, you cannot sin and are protected from ever sinning again. If you are still sinning, you are a slave to sin, and he who sins is of the devil, not Christ.
Stephen Crisp also wrote extensively on Paul's passing through the state of being a sinner:
From the Word of the Lord within: "Until you witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law. Until you witness the law fulfilled in you, you are under the law. There are no laws when you are under complete control of the spirit; you walk in love in obedience as prompted — you don't walk in restricted flesh."
"..when he would do good, evil was present with him. "To will," said he, "is present, but how to perform I know not;" but he did not call this a happy state He did not say then, I am in a good condition, when I am led captive by the devil at his will. The good that I would do, I do not, and I am carnal, and sold under sin. He does not say, this is a good condition, I am satisfied with it; see what he calls that condition [carnal, and sold under sin]; he gives it a more right name than many do now days, that say, this is the state of God's children; that the best of all God's children have no power to live without sin, and overcome all their corruptions; that they sin in their best duties, and can do nothing but sin, and that sin mixes itself in all their holy duties and performances. Many of their ministers tell them, that if they think they can perform any duty without sin, they deceive themselves, and run the hazard of being accursed. But this is not a teaching of Christ, but rather comes from a different master. Paul gave this state another name, which I would you were as wise when you are in this state and condition: O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me? I see a wretchedness in this condition; I see, if I am not delivered out of it, I must perish to all eternity. This is not a state to live in; who can live at ease in such a condition as this? Who can but cry out, “who shall deliver me from this body of sin and death?” Alas! We hear no such cry now among priests or people, and separate congregations [those who appointed their own preacher]. I fear this cry is almost lost among us, unless it is some few that hear the voice of God, and feel such a stroke of the divine power as Paul did, and answer to the heavenly voice. I confess that I myself have heard such a cry, and have been sensible of my woeful captivity and bondage, by reason of sin. And though I had a mind to do good, I could not do it; it was my desire that I might sin no more. I desired not to sin against the Lord, if I could avoid it; and when I would do good, I found that evil was present with me; but I was far from sitting down [giving up] there, and saying, “this is the state and condition of God's people; it is as well with me as it was with the apostle Paul, therefore I will sit down [give up trying to change] in this state.” The people of God cannot find satisfaction in such a state as this, though I confess, that God's peculiar people at first came to this state, for their conviction; and the opening of their minds, and enlightening their understandings, to see the evil of their ways; but they do not come to this state, as to their rest, and then persuade themselves that they are in the condition of the children of God. Rather they give their state an accurate name, and cry out, “wretched man that I am! What a miserable condition I have fallen into! I did not see it before. Now my eyes are opened, now my understanding is illuminated; now I see that the corruption of my nature prevails against the grace of God; and when I would join with the grace of God, and the motions of his Holy Spirit, the enemy is present to lead me away. I am not now in a happy state, but I am so far advanced that I am convinced of my miserable and wretched state and condition; if some way or other is not found for my deliverance, I shall never see the face of God with comfort.” Then arises that cry: “Who shall deliver me?” Thus the apostle Paul (Rom 7:24) sets forth the state of his convincement, and how miserable a condition he was in. Then he goes further, and tells you how it was with him. I thank God through Jesus Christ Our Lord. O! I have cause enough to thank God, I am not a wretched man now, I am not carnal, sold under sin; I am not led captive by the devil at his will now. Why, how so? The apostle said, "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, has set me free from the law of sin and death." Here is something to glory and to comfort the soul in. The law of the Spirit of life triumphed in his soul, and delivered him from the law of sin and death, and redeemed him from the power of sin, and made him serve God with freedom and liberty. I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. I would have all come to this, to thank God, not only in words, but in reality, in deed and truth. For one may teach a parrot to talk over these words; but it is the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, that will make you free from the law of sin and death.
This is a hard lesson; therefore you must go home into your own consciences before you can make a right judgment of things and give a right answer to yourselves. The law of the spirit of life will set you free from the law of your passion, and of your pride and covetousness, and sensuality, and the law of your carnal inclinations. Are you set free from these?
Now when people come to examine themselves, they have nowhere to flee to, but they must take up a daily cross, and trust to the Lord Jesus for their deliverance, who has enlightened them, to see their wretched and woeful state; and illuminated their understandings, that they might come to him, in order to their being delivered from the dominion of sin."
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