There are three basic categories all of us fit into. One is what the Bible calls the “old man” or simply put someone who is “lost.” This describes all who are still in Adam as Romans five indicates. These are they that haven’t received Christ and been born again so they are what the Bible also calls sinners.
Since Paul’s Roman letter is written in succession with one point building upon the next we not only discover all of us start out in sin as indicated by Romans five but in Romans six we discover how that can be changed. According to the scriptures those of us that have placed our faith in Christ have been crucified with him. This means that God put us in Christ on the cross so when he died we died, when he was buried we were buried and when he rose we rose with him. Therefore the “old man” or “sinner” has died and now Christ in us lives our lives. This is one of the most incredible things God has ever given us eyes to see. In Adam all are sinners destined for death, but in Christ, the last Adam, we have all been given eternal life.
Moving on into the seventh chapter of Romans we seem to run into a snag. We just read in Romans six that we died and the next thing we see is how we still can’t keep God’s Law. Paul says, “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I want to do I don’t do and the very thing I don’t want to do I keep doing.” The big question is if we have been joined to Christ in his death, burial and resurrection can’t we keep God’s Law now with Christ’s help?
The answer to our dilemma does in fact lie back in Romans six where we discover that we really did die to sin. Romans seven is there to show us we have also died to the Law. When the Bible talks of death it talks of separation. In other words by being joined to Christ in his death, burial and resurrection we have been severed from sin and the Law. Romans seven is really just Paul’s way of walking us through how this looks until we embrace the way God sees things. After struggling with the whole Law keeping dilemma Paul finally comes to the end saying, “Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Moving on into Romans eight we read where there is no condemnation to them in Christ. We have been set free from the old man that was bound up in sin and death. We no longer have to go back to sin or Law keeping if we are in Christ and he is in us. As we look further into Romans eight we discover it is all about walking in the “New man” and that means walking in the Spirit. We no longer look to ourselves to keep laws rather we look to Christ to live the life that is pleasing to God through us.
Now let’s see if I can wrap this up. In Romans five we discover we are born sinners in Adam. In Romans six we find out we become a new man by placing our faith in Christ’s work whereby God counts us as having been crucified with him. This means we are no longer slaves to sin because “He who has died is freed from sin.” So, we are a new man not an old one and the truth is we are not carnal either. Romans eight tells us “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you…” so you see a Spirit indwelt believer can never really be in the flesh but we can be deceived.
The truth is Romans seven is describing what the Bible calls a carnal Christian. By that I mean a believer that is living as if he is still in the flesh attempting to please God by his own efforts. This is really not possible at all and comes from delusional thinking on the part of believers. The truth is the “Old man” has been crucified with Christ, and we are no longer living rather Christ is living through us by his Spirit as indicated in Romans eight. The trouble is the enemy fights with everything in him to keep us from this wonderful revelation so he is always tempting us back into independent thinking. He knows if he can get us distracted enough to start living as if we are independent, and can do “good” and avoid “evil” in our own power, he can render us ineffective. I pray that we will simply embrace the truth as written in the Word that the “Old man” truly has died and now we are in fact new creatures in Christ!
Written by Louie