The House Of Sin

Title: The House Of Sin

Bible Book: Romans 7 : 15-20

Author: Frank Page

Subject: Sin; Sinful Nature; Deliverence from Sin



At 76, Maurice Girard is quite sure he's alive. But officialdom has other ideas: It is saying, for the second time in his life, that he's dead. Mr. Girard discovered he was officially deceased last week, when he requested his birth certificate from the town hall in Meurthe-et-Moselle, his birthplace. The papers said he had died September 18, 1988. The retired factory accountant would have laughed out loud had it not been for the fact that the very same thing had happened before. In 1977, when he had requested a copy of his vital records, the documents included a death certificate that said he had expired June 14, 1965.

Bless his heart! The man can't seem to stay alive ... at least officially.

For most of us, the opposite problem is true. There is a part of us which can't seem to stay dead. Galatians 5:24 says, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires."

The reality of the Christian life is that the sinful nature, the flesh, which is a part of our spiritual reality continues to plague us even after we have accepted Christ. Though the sinful nature has been crucified, its life lingers on. Just as the crucified person sometimes lived for hours and/or days, our sinful nature continues to be a reality with which we must deal. This old nature, called the flesh by many biblical writers refers to the part of the person that is distinct from being controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is in direct opposition to the new nature given to us upon our salvation. To read the story of the New Testament writers is to read the story of their war with the flesh.

Turn with me to Romans 7:15-20 as we see the apostle Paul struggle with this very fact. In this passage we will see Paul expressing the dilemma, but we will also see Paul sharing the deliverer.

I. We See Paul Expressing The Dilemma (vv. 15-20).

Three times in this passage Paul stated that sin dwells in us. He was referring, of course, to the old nature. It is also true that the Holy Spirit dwells in us and in Romans 8, Paul explained how the Spirit of God enables us to live in victory, something the Law cannot help us do.

The many pronouns in this section indicate that the writer is having a problem with self. This is not to say that the Christian is a split personality, because he is not. Salvation makes a man whole. But it does indicate that the believer's mind, will, and body can be controlled either by the old nature or the new nature, either by the flesh or the Spirit. The statements here indicate that the believer has two serious problems: (1) he cannot do the good he wants to do, and (2) he does the evil that he does not want to do.

Does this mean that Paul could not stop himself from breaking God's Law, that he was a liar and thief and murderer? Of course not! Paul was saying that of himself he could not obey God's Law and that even when he did, evil was still present with him. No matter what he did, his deeds were tainted by sin. Even after he had done his best, he had to admit that he was "an unprofitable servant" (Luke 17:10). "So I find this law at work: when I want to do good, evil is right there with me" (Romans 7:21, NIV). This, of course, is a different problem from that in Romans 6. The problem there was, "How can I stop doing bad things?" while the problem here is, "How can I ever do anything good?"

The legalist says, "Obey the Law and you will do good and live a good life." But the Law only reveals and arouses sin, showing how sinful it is! It is impossible for me to obey the Law because I have a sinful nature that rebels against the Law. Even if I think I have done good, I know that evil is present. The Law is good, but by nature, I am bad! So, the legalist is wrong. The Law cannot enable us to do good.

Can you identify with the apostle Paul? The words spoken elsewhere ring true, don't they? Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Our coming short of the glory of God is a common experience isn't it? As I think of this, I cannot help but think also of Isaiah 64:6, which says, "But we are all as an unclean thing, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." A key factor in victory in spiritual warfare is recognizing that we are sinners, that by ourselves we are without holiness. I am not asking that we go into a state of deep spiritual depression. I am also not an advocate of poor self-esteem. However, I recognize that if we are ever going to win the battle, we must understand that in and of ourselves, we cannot win.

II. We See Paul Sharing Deliverer (vv. 24-25; 8:1-2).

What could be more wretched than exerting all your energy to try to live a good life, only to discover that the best you do is still not good enough. Many people experience this in their lives. Satan has so deceived our world, including most "Christian denominations" to believing that if they are good enough they will enter the kingdom of heaven, that this realization is shattering. No wonder so many believers become tired and discouraged and some even give up.

Is there any deliverance? Of course! Paul is clearly saying there is someone who will deliver us. He is Jesus Christ the Lord! Because the believer is united to Christ, he is dead to the law and no longer under its authority. He is alive to God and able to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit. That is beautifully expressed in 8:1-2. The believer realizes that there is a struggle within him between the flesh and the spirit. If, however, we yield to the Holy Spirit, then we have the power needed to obey  His will. The flesh will never serve the law of God because the flesh is at war with God. But the Spirit can only obey the law of God. Therefore, the secret of living a righteous life is to yield to the Holy Spirit and follow the abiding example of Jesus Christ.

How can you best be described-- "a house of sin or a dwelling of the Holy Spirit?" Jesus Christ died for you to save you from your sins. He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us so that we might have continual victory over the old nature that continues to plague us. What will be our response?

Dr. Jim Adkins of Augusta, Georgia told me that a Methodist pastor he knew was vacationing in Paris, France one Easter. Passing by Notre Dame Cathedral, he noticed a large two-sided sign on the sidewalk, which stated that the Archbishop was to speak that day. He went in and was seated in a large crowd. The Archbishop came in and brought a message from the Bible on the crucifixion of Jesus. He concluded his message thus.

Some years ago there were three young street ruffians who were constantly in trouble with the police. They were guilty of many petty crimes. One day they came down by Notre Dame and saw a sign  about noonday services and confession. Together they cooked up a wild tale of confession and one was chosen to tell it to the old priest in the confessional. As he finished his story, the old priest said, "My son, you see the statue of the Christ over there. He is looking down at his feet. You have to get on your knees to look into His face. I want you to go over there and kneel...then look up and tell Him, 'Jesus, Christ, I don't care what you did for me on Calvary, repeat that three times. That is your penance for what you have told me.'" The young tough, watched by his friends, went over and knelt, looking up into the bowed face of Jesus. He said, "Jesus Christ, I don't care..." and he stopped. Twice more he repeated as before...then began to weep and said, "Jesus Christ, you died for me on the cross and I ask you to forgive me my sins and be my Savior. He arose from his knees a different man. Ladies and gentlemen, that young man is your speaker today.

The death of Jesus Christ paid the price to have your sins taken away. To have victory in spiritual warfare means to accept His gift and to so submit to His Holy Spirit that life is now different. Will you allow the old nature to be buried? Will you be described as a dwelling of the Holy Spirit rather that a house of sin?

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