Tag Archives: the law

Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #23 “That Sin Might Become Utterly Sinful” (A Study of Romans 7)

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 7 each day this week.

“That Sin Might Become Utterly Sinful” (A Study of Romans 7)

I am fascinated by verse 13 which says, “so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.” This section (Romans 7:7-13) has much to say about God’s LAW: the law is not sinful; the law makes us aware of what sin is; apart from the law sin was “dead”; the law caused sin to spring to life and led to the Apostle’s “death”; the very commandment intended to bring life brought death; the law is holy and God’s commandment is holy, righteous, and good; and it is through the commandment that sin might become utterly sinful. Whew!

We also learn a great deal about SIN! We don’t naturally know what sin is without the law; the law’s commandment against coveting helps us understand what coveting is; sin is personified: it seizes opportunities afforded by the commandment to produce in us every kind of coveting. Sin springs to life when the commandment came. A second time Paul says sin seized the opportunity and deceived me and put me to death. He then says, “in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. Wow. There’s a lot I don’t understand there!

How about you? As you read Romans 7, what is one truth that you take away from this text?

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Posted by on January 20, 2021 in Romans 7


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Keys to Living Out the Christian Life! (A Study of Galatians 2:19-21) Part 1

I’ve always been a bit leery of “steps” or “keys” to anything important. Some of those approaches sound too much like a timeshare salesperson who wants to sell you a week’s vacation for $20,000.

However, I’m learning that a lot of issues do boil down to several specific decisions or choices that one makes. And breaking down a major topic into doable, incremental steps can be helpful.

So it is in the Christian life. I don’t pretend to have found THE KEYS to living the victorious Christian life, but God’s Word deals with this massive issue directly. And so should we.

The text I want to focus on for a couple of posts is that of Galatians 2:19-21 where we read:

Let’s focus this morning (and in subsequent posts) on several keys to living out the Christian life. I don’t pretend that these are exhaustive, just practical and helpful! The first key I see in this text is that I must have a proper relationship to the law (v. 19). Paul writes, “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.”

Here we learn that the law brings death, not life! Paul “died to the law” in the sense that he died to the law as a way of salvation by obedience. The law was never given for that purpose and we can never perfectly obey the law.

Notice also that this death must occur before life can become real! Paul writes, “through the law I died to the law.” A knowledge of the law brings conviction of sin and the reality that one cannot buy salvation by one’s own goodness.

Today’s challenge:  Are you trying to live out the Christian life by keeping the law?  Christians should be obedient, but the law was never given to make us righteous.  It was given to make us aware of our need of grace.  (to be continued)

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Posted by on July 8, 2018 in CHRISTIAN LIVING


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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 5 Part 1)

We are continuing our brief look at several major themes in the book of Galatians.  We’re getting ready to take about a fifteen-hour flight to Jeju Island, Korea, to teach students at the Word of Life Bible Institute.

I’m certainly learning a lot about this book.  And I hope you are as well.  The next theme that comes in this great epistle is the theme of freedom!  We see in verse 1 of chapter five that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”!  Free from what?  Free from trying to justify ourselves by our pathetic efforts to keep God’s law!

Note that the verse doesn’t say “It is for Himself that Christ has set us free.” It is for FREEDOM!  What should be the experience of FREEDOM for the believer?

As servants of the Savior we are free from the yoke of slavery of keeping the whole law (v. 3).  We seek to be obedient because we love the Lord, not because our obedience saves us!  Putting ourselves under the law in a salvation-sense means: (1) we have been alienated from Christ!; and (2) we have fallen from grace (v. 4)!  Those are certainly not two consequences that I want in my life! How about you?







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Posted by on June 12, 2018 in Galatians


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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 3 Part 5)

One last theme in Galatians 3, it seems to me, is the progress of redemption which culminates in Christ (vv. 23-29). The law provided a variety of services, not the least of which was to show us our need of a Savior. We are described as “held in custody under the law” (v. 23). The law was our “guardian” until Christ came (v. 24).

What does such language mean? Before Christ came, before “this faith” came, we were “locked up” in the law. The law prepared us for justification by faith in Christ.

As a result, we have now become children of God. Not because of the law, but the law had a function to prepare us for justification by faith. When Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (v. 28), this verse is in the context of salvation. This verse does not do away with gender-related guidelines regarding leadership in the church and in the home. This verse is saying that the ground beneath the cross is absolutely level.

Question: In light of all this, how do we believers show our oneness in Christ (v. 28)?




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Posted by on June 4, 2018 in Galatians


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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 3 Part 4)

We’ve seen a number of themes in this book of Galatians (in preparation for my teaching this book to the students at the Word of Life Bible Institute in Korea).  Let’s notice an additional theme here in chapter three.

The Apostle gets a bit legal in verses 15-22. He speaks of a covenant. God made a covenant with Abraham — and 430 years later the law was introduced. God’s promise to Abraham was not done away with by the law.

Why was the law given? It was given to show us our sin, not to save us! (v. 19). The law could not impart life. In fact, the law “locked up everything under the control of sin” (v. 22). It was our guardian until Christ came so that we might be justified by faith.

Without a knowledge of our sin, we wouldn’t know we needed a Savior — who comes to us by faith. Praise Him today for His incredible salvation!



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Posted by on June 2, 2018 in Galatians


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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 2 Part 3)

We continue picking out major themes in this great NT epistle of Galatians.  I’m using these posts to guide my study as I prepare to teach the book to students at Word of Life Korea in June.

As we think our way through this six-chapter letter, we’ve seen two themes in chapter two.  Let’s now notice a third theme:  the living out of the Christian life (vv. 19-21)!

The law, though good, only serves to show us our sin and to bring death!  But we then receive LIFE through the Son.  We are crucified with Christ; our old life is over.  We now have Christ living in us (v. 20).

But this is not a passive life.  Paul says, “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God . . .” (v. 20).  The idea that Christ lives His life (again) through me has led some believers to a kind of passive, Quaker-like existence.  No!  We are to actively add qualities to our faith (see 2 Pe. 1), to pursue godliness, to now live in the body (v. 20).

Trying to live one’s life by keeping the law means that one is setting aside the grace of God.  If that is how righteousness could be gained, then Christ died for nothing (v. 21)!  No one will be justified by keeping the law — not even the Apostle Peter!


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Posted by on May 20, 2018 in Galatians


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