Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Romans 7:15-25 Sin in the Flesh

KEY TEXT: Romans 7:21-25 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

KEY THOT: Paul struggles with two laws operating in his person: one, he calls the law of sin, operating in his flesh ("my members", "body of death"); the second, he calls the law of God operating in his mind. In other words, with his mind he is serving God's law of righteousness, which is patterned after the mind of Christ. But in his flesh (his body where sin dwells), he continues to serve the law of sin, viz., the law of consequences--blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. But what is remarkable is that Paul identifies sin as something physical dwelling in his physical body, which he describes variously as "my flesh", "my members" and even "this body of death." Does this description of sin in the body stand up to modern science?

The surprising answer is "yes"! Science often corroborates Scriptures and in many instances actually enlightens Scriptures. The discovery of the DNA and how genes can actually affect our physical and psychological development is one of modern marvel of science. Recent neuroscience has discovered that the state of our mind can actually shape our genes, which can then be passed on to future generations as part of the DNA structure. So when Adam and Eve sinned against God, their thought-life turned toxic and this distorted their genetic structure which is then passed on to future generations as inherited propensity for sin via the DNA.

While medical science has accepted the idea of inherited sicknesses, the idea of inherited sins is not too far-fetch when we now know from neuroscience that up to 90% of all diseases are caused by toxic mindsets of fear, anxiety, wrong belief systems and self-loathing. So, the direct link between sin and sickness is an established medical fact. This is what Paul probably means when he says that "the law of sin dwells in my members" (v.23) and "with my flesh I serve the law of sin" (v.25). King David declares this same truth in Psalms 51:5 some 1,000 years before Christ: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." The word "iniquity" refers to our built-in propensity for sin that was present at conception through the inherited genes.

But because we are not just body but also soul and spirit, salvation is only completed when this "body of death" is totally destroyed and replaced by a new spiritual resurrection body free from the inherited propensity for sin through the embedded genes in all descendants of Adam. God's law of sin continues to operates in our body, subjected to the law of consequences of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Obeying the sin present in our flesh will lead to diseases and death which are then passed on to our future generations. So whether we are believers or not, our body is still subject to the law of sin: "For the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). But when we serve the law of God with our mind (soul), we experience healing and health in our physical body because the Spirit of God now dwells in us, bringing life and health in place of death and diseases: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:1-2).

Sin will always be present in our flesh--that is the consequence of being born "in Adam". But when we are born again, we are born into Christ. As believers, we have inherited the "mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16) and the Spirit of life now dwells in us through our "inner being" (Rom. 7:22). Through the renewal of our mind by the truths of God, we begin to gain victory over the propensity to sin in our flesh as we walk more and more by the Spirit. So, the answer to the sin in our flesh is the Spirit in our soul and spirit. We have been set free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. The law of sin, while still operative in our flesh, has no power over us now: its power (though not its presence) has been nullified by the higher law of God the Spirit of life.

Abba-Father, grant us a fresh revelation of the truth that we have been set free from the law of sin, so that it has no power over us. Fill us afresh with Your Spirit we pray. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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