Scripture Reading: Romans 7:5-8:4
For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
God gave the law—His first act of mercy to tell them what to do and the blessings that would ensue--to remind Israel of God’s works and do what He said, which comes from a right heart and spirit toward God.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Law entered—was added, came along side, it wasn’t the whole thing, it was one more piece of revelation. It came in between Adam’s offense and the gift of Christ.
God used the law to reveal Himself. He judged people to reveal Himself. God also shows grace and mercy to reveal Himself.
In the end, neither works with human nature. Israel ignored the judgments eventually and returned to sin. The church ignores God completely with His grace. God knows our state. He has done everything possible to get us to Him. The problem is with us.
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Concluded—enclosed, shut up together as a jailer, all are held in a condemned state because of their sin, but mercy is available to all.
God is good. In order for us to know that, we had to know what good was. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why did God put it there? Because He wanted us to know what good and evil were—eating from the tree was evil, going against what God said. But our curiosity and jealousy got the best of us.
The Law cannot save:
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Righteousness—if justification were by the law, we don’t need Christ. Frustrate—annul, make void. If the law saves, then both grace and Christ’s death worthless.
--Life comes either by faith in the promise or by works of the law.
Scripture, which contains the law, has enclosed everyone in sin, so that we have no hope but faith in the promise of Christ to deliver.
--Law makes our guilt obvious and our inability to obey clear.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Never said evil lusts would be removed, but does promise we don’t have to fulfill them! There is true conflict when you have the Spirit.
Flesh—unaided human nature tries to fulfill the law, which offers no aid.
Contrary—lie in opposition, to withstand. The thwart each other’s desires. Sometimes you don’t do the good that you would like, sometimes you don’t do the evil you would like.
Law is removed as a standard that could not help, but only stir up your felsh—Romans 7. Romans 8:1-4—law was weak through the flesh, but if you walk in the Spirit you fulfill the righteousness of the law.