Romans 7:23


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

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. Romans 7:23

Verses 21-23 are to be taken as a unit. Verse 22 and 23 explain 21 – “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward 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.”

21 – Paul (and thus us) will to do good, but evil is there present with him.
22 – The “will to do good” is that he delights in the law of God. This is his “inward man.”
23 – “But” – this is the contrast and will be the explanation of the fact that “evil is there present with him.” There is the law of God, but contrasting that is the “law in my members.” The members of the body are the flesh which bring about our weakened state. When we get hungry, maybe we will sin by stealing food (Proverbs 6:30). When we allow ourselves to be tempted through sexual enticement, we will sin through adultery (Proverbs 6:32). And so on…

In 1 Corinthians 6:15, we see it noted that as believers, our members need to be used for a higher purpose because they are positionally now members in Christ – “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!” This is the war that we are engaged in; the war which exists in our members.

It is “warring against the mind.” Paul introduces a word for “warring against” which is found nowhere else in the New Testament – antistrateuomenon. This war sets our flesh against our will to do good and it is a conflict which can bring the greatest preacher or the most noble Christian woman into difficult straights.

Jesus noted this war on the night before His crucifixion. When he asked Peter, James, and John to stay near and watch with him, they fell asleep. Jesus’ words to them show how difficult this battle is, even for those who walked with Him – “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

Peter had a similar failure which is noted in Galatians 2:11-21. When we allow ourselves to be distracted by our weaknesses, it brings us “into captivity to the law of sin which is in” our members. There is a cure for our difficult battle and there is victory which can be had in this war. In just a couple of verses, the good news is given. For those who rely on Christ, there is deliverance from this body of death.

Life application: As we struggle with the flesh, we need to continuously remind ourselves that victory can be attained. When the trials and temptations seem overwhelming, remember that Jesus prevailed and now, through Him, there is strength to defeat the desires of the flesh. Keep in the word, pray without ceasing, and be filled with the Spirit. The battle can be won.

Lord God, you know the times that I have been hurt by others in my life. Help me to forgive those who ask for forgiveness and to hand over my hurt to you for those who still war against me. Don’t let me become bitter by events of the past, but give me the ability to move forward in Your strength. Help me to be the person who is filled with joy, even to overflowing – a blessing to others, just as You bless me. Amen.

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