Living Stream Ministry Podcast ::
Romans chapters 7 and 8 are (in my opinion) the most crucial chapters to every Christian in understanding how to live a vital Christian life. Paul was speaking frankly concerning his experience…what he was doing…what he could do and what he couldn’t do. If ever there was a man that could be good…that was equipped to be good…to fulfill the law and be obedient…this would have been Paul.
And yet, he met with such experience that he ended up crying “Oh wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from the body of this death!” And I think many many believers identify with that. We feel that we have tried…that we have worked…tried “plan A” and then “plan B.” And we go from plan to plan…thinking that something is going to finally make this Christian life vital and real to all of us. And some things help a little bit and then it seems like somehow the thing gets shorted out and sometimes disastrously so…and yet many times we get up and start again.
We have come to the most deep, most meaningful, crucial point. In all these verses, I would say three crucial words are repeatedly mentioned. (1) the word law. (2) the word life. (3) and death. Law, life and death. We all have to realize…even scientifically speaking…these three things are the hardest thing for the scientists to explain. Who could define life? Could you? Could you tell me in any university…any kind of prominent famous professor that could explain to you what is life? Not only life…even this ugly thing…death…is a hard thing to explain.
You may think death is somewhat too abstract, but in the Bible, death is very concrete. Why? Revelation 20 says death eventually will be cast into the lake of fire. The first thing which will be cast into the lake of fire is Satan. And following him you have Hades. And this proves how Satan is a solid person and how Hades is a solid place. This matter of death should be also something solid.
Then, of course we all know the matter of law is a profound thing. The thing that surprises me is that 2,000 years ago, Paul the apostle understood the matter of law. If you look into it, firstly it denotes the ten commandments of God. The law of God. But Paul says in my mind there is a law. What is this? And he says also there is the law of sin and of death. What is this? Not only so, you also have the law of the Spirit of life. The law and life are good enough for us to be troubled. Now he put also the Spirit. The law of the Spirit of life. What is this?
The first time through Romans on the life-study of the Bible, we touched these four laws that are mentioned in chapters 7 and 8. To really understand this portion of scripture, we need to be clear that there are two different types or kinds of law. We have to underline that to get into the experience that Paul got into, we need to have the understanding that he had. And this is why I appreciate brother Lee and brother Nee getting into this in a spiritually scientific (if one can say that) method of looking at the laws that are operating. And Paul used the word laws.
Certainly, the first time the law is mentioned it refers to the law of God. That is an objective written standard that God spoke to the children of Israel for their behavior on this earth. That is the law outside of ourselves. Then Paul comes to the law of doing good in my mind. And that refers to an innate law or innate ability or capacity…desire that man wants to do good. And we do. We are created in God’s image and we are created that way to be those kind of beings. So there is something in our mind…a law…a propensity…e.g. the dogs bark, the fish swim, the birds fly. Every life has a law, and part of the human life is wanting to do good.
Then there is the law of sin in our members, and this law is the other side of doing good. This law comes from man’s fall where Satan tempted man to partake of the knowledge of good and evil. And by that partaking, man not only disobeyed but partook of something that brought another law into his members…into his flesh of his body, and that is the desire to do evil.
The fourth law that we have looked at in Romans 7 and 8 is the law of the Spirit of life. And this is another law that is within us. It’s another innate ability within us that comes from regeneration. That comes from God Himself dwelling inside of us as the Spirit of life. When this operates, this law sets us free from the law of sin and death. We don’t wrestle with that problem of good and evil. We just go to the law of the Spirit of life which is resurrection life…which takes us into the realm of God and of enjoying God…instead of being occupied with the matters of good and evil.
So we have talked about these four laws. The law of God outside of us. And then inside of us three…the law of good in our mind to do good. The law of evil in our members to do evil. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus in our spirit to bring us into the realm of God Himself.