The next hurdle is found in Romans, chapter seven. This chapter is probably quoted more often than any teaching of Christ. This text is used by sinners to show that they can sin and still be saved. They love to quote Paul. The more confusing Paul is, the better. If he is confusing, then they can claim to interpret it. Yet they never stop to think about what they are doing and whether or not they are interpreting it so it agrees with Jesus and His teaching.
"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have a desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it." Romans 7:14-20.
Wow! Look at all the "I's".
They just jump out at you. "I hate", "I do", "I agree", "I do not", "I know", "I know nothing", "I want"’ what a confused man. Is God the author of confusion? Does God bring sin? Is God powerless to do anything about this? Of course not! But people use this to justify their sinful confused life. "See, Paul was a saint, and was living the wicked life just like me." Not so!
This statement is not about Paul the apostle. It is about Saul the Pharisee Zealot. As a Pharisee Zealot Saul knew the righteous requirements of the righteous Ten Commandments. As a zealot he was attempting to serve God his way. He was a wretched man and cried out, "Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24.
That’s the whole point. God is our Savior from sin; not in sin. He came to deliver us from the wretched, miserable life of sin. Paul himself tells us that this experience he recounted for us was "when we were controlled by the sinful nature." Romans 7:5.
When we were, past tense;
not now as a Christian. The Christian life is related in Romans, chapter 6: "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness." Romans 6:12, 13.
Jesus does not bring sin or confusion.
Paul said that himself; "…it is sin living in me." Romans 7:17. Jesus brings peace and rest to the souls of those He lives with. Jesus would never bring all that pain and suffering to one of His children. "Peace be with you", is the message of Jesus. John 20:21. Yes, if we live the peaceful, restful, Christian life we will be "persecuted because of righteousness." Matthew 5:10. But God does not bring the persecution; the Devil does. Peace on the inside; trials and tribulations from a world that hates righteousness and loves wickedness.
The sinner will have no peace on the inside, but will be at peace with the world. Your choice. "And so He condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:3, 4. Do you see! The righteous requirements of the law can be fully met in us. We no longer live according to the sinful nature. What a wonderful God we have!
The whole point of Romans
is to separate us from the sinful desires of the body that brings death. Paul wants to bring us into oneness with Jesus who brings peace. Again, the teaching of Jesus first, then build the truth on that. Don’t let anyone use scripture, like the devil does, to present a portion of it to get you to sin. Resist, say no. Sinful scriptures refer to sinners. Righteous scriptures are for those who live righteously. Paul cannot lie. Jesus cannot lie or change His righteous way. No sinner will go to heaven. Only sinners who have stopped sinning through the power of Jesus will go to heaven. Are you ready to be a saint?
An added note. This quote is from the book, "Greece and Rome: Builders of Our World" by the Geographic Society; page 31.
"The Greeks had two souls in their breasts, one striving for clarity, temperance, moderation, the other impelling them toward orgy and rapture; love of order coupled with violence; the serenity of civilization and the cry of the cave. We find that opposition… in drama, which the Greeks invented. Such conflicts gives it enduring power."
Paul was born a Hebrew, but he grew up very educated in the Greek thought. Romans 7 is about changing from the pagan thought to the Christian thought. Perfection through the power of Jesus to control our minds and bodies.