No Good Thing

Romans 7:15-20 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. 

‘For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I’ After showing in Romans 7:7-14 that sin is more powerful than the law, Paul now shows that sin is more powerful than man who is a slave to sin (7:15-25). This verse is not to be used as an excuse to sin because we cannot help it! It states that when you are under sin, you will do things that you hate and will not be in control as long as you yield to a sinful nature. Christ has defeated sin and we have no excuse to stay in a sinful state. Not even the Old Testament saints yielded to sin after being freed from it as we can see in a summary of Hebrew 11.

‘I allow not’ – I do not approve of my slavery to sin.

‘What I would, that do I not’ – what I wish to practice, I cannot, for I am an unwilling slave to sin.

‘If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good’ – If I am forced to do what I do not want to do, then it is not I, but sin that enslaves by its indwelling power (7:16-20).

‘Will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not’ – I have a will, but it is so overpowered by the lusts of sin that I am helpless. My passion is stronger than my reason. My will, reason, understanding, and my conscience are on God’s side and consent to His will and law, but my slavemaster will not consent for me to serve God or His law.

Sold under Sin

Romans 7:9-14 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 

‘Sin revived’ [Greek: revive = anazao] sin was made to live again. ‘I died’ where there is sin in one’s life, there is death (6:23; Jas. 1:15).

‘Commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death’ the commandment condemned and killed me.

‘For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me’ sin took advantage of my helpless state and used the law to deceive me and kill me.

‘Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good’ I do not blame the law, for it is just and good in its demands.

‘Was then that which is good made death unto me?’ The Jew would ask, “Do you mean to say that the law is holy, just, and good, and yet it is the cause of your death?” The answer is, “God forbid.” It was not the law that killed me, but sin that would not let me obey the law. This made sin appear what it really is: a deceiver, a deadly enemy, and a killer.

‘For we know that the law is spiritual’ the law is spiritual and demands what is holy. ‘Spiritual’ [Greek: pneumatikos] non-carnal; religious; or spiritual.

Twelve spiritual things are noted in the Word: Man who follows the things of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 2:15; 3:1; 14:37; Gal. 6:1; Hos. 9:7); gifts of the Spirit (1:11; 1Cor. 1:7; 12:1; 14:1, 12); things (15:27; 1Cor. 2:13; 9:11); body (resurrected, 1Co_15:44-46); blessings of the Spirit (Eph. 1:3); songs (religious, Eph. 5:19); wisdom and knowledge (Col. 1:9); house (spiritual people, 1Pet. 2:5); sacrifices (1Pet. 2:5); law, because it typified the spiritual thing of the New Testament (7:14); meat and drink, typifying Christ the Spiritual Rock of 1Corinthians 10:3-4; wickedness, because it is of evil spirit origin (Eph. 2:2; 6:12; John 8:44).

‘Carnal’ [Greek: sarkinos] fleshly; natural; human (7:14; 15:27; 1Cor. 3:1-4; 9:11; 2Cor. 10:4; Heb. 7:16). Here it means the full depravity of fallen man, sold as a slave and under the control of animal appetites and the forces of evil spirits.

Dead to the Law

Romans 7:1-5 Know you not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman which has an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 

‘Know you not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?’ In Romans 6:1-23 the obligations of all people to live a holy life was set forth. In Romans 7:1-25 it shows that the Jew is freed from all obligation to law keeping and shows why the law is helpless to deliver any man from sin and hell.

‘Be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband’ death breaks all marriage bonds.

‘Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead’ Here it is stated that Jews are dead to the law because Christ has fulfilled its types and prophecies and abolished it, so they can be married to Him and produce fruit.

‘Body of Christ’ – the body of Christ in sacrifice, not the congregations (Eph. 1:23; Col. 1:18, 24).

‘That we should bring forth fruit unto God’ referring to the fruit of John 15:16.

‘For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death’ – when we were in the flesh and carnal program of the law (Heb. 9:10), the passions of sin worked in our members by the law and produced sins that the law had to condemn to death. This is explained fully in Romans 7:7-25.

‘In the flesh’ – meaning living in sin (8:8-9).

‘By the law’ the motions of sins acted contrary to the law and were made exceedingly sinful by the law and that condemned them (7:13). The law was the means of disclosing how sinful we were.

The Wages of Sin

Romans 6:20-23 For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

‘For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness’ it is emphasized here the fact that a man cannot be a saint and a sinner; holy and sinful; and cannot serve God and satan, or be a servant of sin and righteousness at the same time (Matt. 6:24).

‘Fruit’ used here to refer to good and evil results (6:21-22; 7:4-5; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:9; Php. 1:11, 22; 4:17; Heb. 12:11).

‘Things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death’ – Sin has two main results: Present shame and emptiness (6:21); and future, eternal death and hell, the end of a life of sowing to the flesh (6:21-23; 8:13; Gal. 6:7-8; Rev. 20:6, 10-15).

‘Now being made free from sin’ – now, in the present life people are free from sin in Christ (2Cor. 5:17-18).

‘Become servants to God’ a change in masters means a change in service (Matt. 6:24).

‘You have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life’ – Righteousness has two main results: Present holiness of life (6:22); and future and eternal life, the end of a life of sowing to the Spirit (6:22-23; 8:13; Gal. 6:7-8).

‘Wages’ [Greek: opsonion] meaning recompense or wages. Divine justice is under obligation to give sinners their wages or be in debt to them forever (Luke 12:5; Rev. 20:11-15).

The present state of all men outside of Christ is that of being depraved, polluted and corrupt in all his nature. His understanding is darkened (Eph. 2:3; 4:18); his conscience defiled (Heb. 10:22); his will obstinate and rebellious (Rom. 8:7); his affections carnal and sensual (Eph. 2:1-3; Gal. 5:19-21; Mark 7:19-21; Rom. 1:18-32; 1Cor. 6:9-11); his thoughts evil continually (Gen. 6:5; 2Cor. 10:4-5); his heart full of abominations (Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:19-21; Rom. 1:18-32); and his life and conduct devoted to living in divers lusts and pleasures of all kinds (1Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 1:18-32). He is a “servant of sin” (John 8:34); “unrighteous” (1Cor. 6:9-11; Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:1-3); “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1-9); “alienated from God” by wicked works (Col. 1:20-22); “separated” from God by his sins (Isa. 59:2); “without hope, and without God” in the world (Eph. 2:11-13;4:13-32; Rom. 3:9-25); blind to the truth (2Cor. 4:4; Eph. 4:18); lustful (Eph. 2:3); and doomed to eternal death and Hell (Rom. 6:23; Matt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:8; Jude 1:7; Isa. 66:22-24).

‘Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ’ eternal life is a free gift (5:15-18; Eph. 2:8-9; John 10:28). People merit hell, but not eternal life. Jesus Christ alone procured it and gives it freely to all who believe (John 3:16; 6:27; Rom. 3:24).

Servants to Righteousness

Romans 6:15-19 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know you not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 

‘Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey’ millions today have not learned these simple facts: that you cannot be a servant of sin and satan and a servant of righteousness and Christ at the same time; that if you commit sin you are a servant of sin and satan (John 8:34; 1Jn. 3:8) and not a Christian; that if you sin, satan is your master and not Christ and that sin is the service of satan and righteousness is the service of God.

‘But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart’ the question here is what is God to be thanked for? That you are not saved from sin or that you are?

‘Form of doctrine which was delivered you’ this refers to the gospel truths Paul is here making clear by his arguments. Here Christianity is pictured as a mould or die, into which people are cast, and from which they are stamped with the image of God and of Christ, and are made the holiness of God by the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:11; 2Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:24). They are cast into the mould of doctrine and the Word of God is stamped on the heart (2Cor. 3:1-3).

‘Free’ [Greek: eleutheroo] set free. ‘Servants’ [Greek: douloo] to make a slave or servant.

‘Manner of men’ [Greek: anthropinos] Greek writers often used it to signify what was easy to understand. It means the opposite of the loftiness of poets and the sublime obscurity of philosophers.

‘Infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness’ – because of the weakness of your flesh. As you have yielded your physical members to sin and uncleanness, you must now do likewise to righteousness and holiness (6:19-20). ‘Holiness’ [Greek: hagiasmos] Christians are commanded to be perfect in holiness in body and spirit (6:19, 22; Luke 1:75; 2 Cor. 7:1; Ephes. 4:24; 1Thes. 3:13; 4:7; Heb. 12:10-14). Such is possible in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:17-18). Ten facts are given on Christians and holiness: Christians are created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephes. 4:24); they are commanded to live in holiness before God all their days (6:19; Luke 1:75; Heb. 12:14); they must bring forth fruit unto holiness (Rom. 6:22); they must perfect holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1); must have hearts unblameable in holiness before God (1Thess. 3:13); they are called to holiness (1Thess. 4:7); they must continue in holiness to be blessed (1Tim. 2:15); they must govern lives according to holiness (Tit. 2:3); they must be partakers of holiness (Heb. 12:10); they must follow holiness, without which no man shall see God (Heb. 12:14).

Yield Yourselves unto God

Romans 6:12-14 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. 

‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body’ – here sin is pictured as a king or a tyrant, who has the soul passions, spirit faculties, and physical members of man under control, dominating his life. Let him not work or reign in the mortal body; give him no place or grounds for working in your being. Sin does not rule or ruin; sin rules and ruins. Wherever sin is, it will have more or less dominion.

‘Obey it in the lusts thereof’ – obey sin in its lusts. This further proves sin to be a real spiritual person ruling life. Sin itself has lusts other than the lusts of man. The lusts of sin are in reality the lusts of satan (John 8:44; Eph. 2:2-3; 1Jn. 2:17; 3:8). The lusts of man are his own creative powers depraved and corrupt (Jas. 1:14; 4:1, 3; 2Tim. 4:3; 1Pet. 4:2). They make up the basic Adamic nature. The same faculties that yield to sin can likewise yield to God and commit holy acts (6:13, 16, 18-20, 22; 8:1-13; Col. 3:5-10).

‘Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin’ it is not sin to be tempted; the sin is in yielding (Jas. 1:13-15). While sin exists as satanic solicitation, it is satan’s lust and sin, not ours. When we yield, we make the Devil’s sin our own. The one tempted should obey James 4:7; 1Peter 5:8-9; Ephesians 4:27. When man refuses, regardless of how strong the temptation is, no sin is possible (1Jn. 3:4; Jas. 1:13-15).

‘But yield yourselves unto God’ yield your will to God. Satan cannot force your will, and God will not, so the safe and normal thing is to will to do God’s will. ‘Instruments’ [Greek: hoplon] meaning weapons.

‘Sin shall not have dominion over you’ God delivers from sin at the new birth (2Cor. 5:17-18; 1Jn. 3:9; 5:1-4, 18), so if you become subject to it again, it is because of your choice (6:13).

‘For you are not under the law, but under grace’ you are not under the law that demands obedience, without giving power to obey. You are under grace that demands the same strict obedience to God, but gives free pardon for sins committed, not free to continue therein; and power to obey God in all things.

Alive unto God

Romans 6:8-14 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead died no more; death has no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God. Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

‘Dead with Christ’ we are supposed to reckon ourselves dead with Christ, (6:8, 11) then only can we be alive in Him. Man must reckon or count himself to be dead to sin and alive to God; that is, he has nothing more to do with sin and everything to do with God. He is to reckon sin as a thing of the past and as non-existent as far as he is concerned. He is to reckon that God is all-and-all and the only thing that matters in his life. Just as parents can and sometimes do cast a child out of their home and cut him off from any further relationship or inheritance, and thus, as far as they are concerned the child is dead, so the believer must completely give up sin and count that he is dead to it. This can be done by reckoning it done by faith in Christ and by giving one’s self wholly over to God and a life of holiness in Christ.

The old man and the whole operation of the devil in life must be ignored and rejected once and for all. The old life, called our old man, which is nothing more or less than the devil working in us, must be done away with and renounced forever. We must reckon that we are new creatures in Christ and the old life dead and that we no longer live as we used to live in sins and lusts that damn the soul. The old life is past and the new life is here. The devil has no more part in us, so we reckon him dead (1 Jn. 5:18). The old sins are gone and are counted dead. We are alive to God and we recognize Him as our master.

‘Being raised from the dead died no more; death has no more dominion over him’ – what was it about Christ that died? Only His body (Jas. 2:26). Then this is what was resurrected to die no more. Death will have no more dominion over His body. This proves that Christ was resurrected physically, not as a spirit.

‘Dominion’ [Greek: kurieuo] “lord it over.” Used in Romans 6:14; 7:1; 14:9; Luke 22:25; 2Corinthians 1:24 and 1Timothy 6:15. Sin does not “lord it over” the believer in Christ. The believer “lords it over” sin (8:13; 2Cor. 10:4-7; Col. 3:5-10).

‘For in that he died, he died unto sin once’ literally, the death He died was on account of sin; for an expiration of sin; a sacrifice for sin (1Pet. 2:24; Heb. 10:10-14). ‘Once’ [Greek: ephapax] once for all.

‘Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord’ – as Christ died for sin once for all and dies no more, so we should die to sin once and live unto God forever (6:9-10). ‘Reckon’ [Greek: logizomai] to count, reckon, impute (2:26; 4:3-24; 6:11; 8:18).

Dead to Sin

Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 

‘What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? … How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?’ – having proved the sinfulness of both Jews and Gentiles and that both must be redeemed alike by Christ through faith and grace, Paul now takes up the argument of the divine method of dealing with sin and the secret of a victorious holy life (Romans 6:1-8:39). The questions come up that if salvation is free and apart from works – if the more heinous the sins the more abundant the grace to pardon then may we not go on in sin so that the grace of God may become magnified? God forbid.

Seven plain gospel facts are stated in 1John: Christ was manifested to take away our sins (1Jn. 3:5; Tit. 2:12). One cannot be in Christ and continue to sin (1Jn. 3:5-6; 2Cor. 5:17). Man can be as righteous as Christ in this life (1Jn. 3:7; 4:17; Tit. 2:12). Every man who sins is of the devil (1Jn. 3:8; John 8:44). Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (1Jn. 3:8; Matt. 8:17; Acts 10:38; John 10:10). One cannot sin as long as the Word of God remains in him (Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13; 1Jn. 3:9). All people are not children of God (1Jn. 3:10).

Literally thousands of religious teachers are constantly saying that no man can live free from sin, that we sin every day, and that there is no man that does not sin every day he lives. One can see that this teaching is entirely out of harmony with the Bible by reading Scripture. If these men sin every day, then they are sinners every day and there is no time that they are not sinners. If they are sinners all the time, then there is no time they are not under the death penalty of the broken law, and they will be sent to Hell as sinners to pay the death penalty. They are not Christians or saved from sin any one day they live if they sin every day they live. Christ means nothing to them if they are sinners and if they cannot be saved from sin. People who think they cannot live free from sin are really mistaken as to what sin is. If they class lack of knowledge, temptations, and common mistakes in life that do not break the law of God as sin, then they are right that no man lives free from sin. But if they think one cannot live free from the sins of Galatians 5:19-21 as well as Romans 1:21-32; 6:19; 2Corinthians 12:21; Ephesians 4:19; 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1Thessalonians 2:3; 4:7 and 2Peter 2:1-22 that will damn the soul, then they are all wrong, for such must be true of anyone who will be saved. Men who argue that no person can live without sin are simply using every excuse under the sun to continue in sin.  They want to make people believe that they are Christians and yet they want to indulge in some sin or bad habit that will condemn them in the end. Men can live free from sin if they get saved from sin and permit Christ to live in their lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. If men live in sin daily then there is not a day in which they are not tindering the condemnation of a broken law and they will be sent to Hell to pay the death penalty for sin.

‘God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ many reasons are given in Romans that we should not continue living in sin: Death to sin nullifies it (6:2-3); resurrection from spiritual death (6:4-5); we walk in newness of life (6:4); death to sin and resurrection from sin means walking like Christ (6:5; 1Pet. 2:21-22; 1Jn. 2:6; 4:6, 17); the old man is crucified and dead (6:6; Eph. 4:22-24; 1Jn. 5:18); the body of sin is destroyed, that henceforth we should not sin (6:6); we are freed from sin (6:7, 18, 22); faith counts sin dead (6:8); sin has no dominion over us (6:9); sin not to reign in the body (6:12); the body must not yield to sin (6:13); married to Christ, not sin (7:4); we walk in the Spirit (8:1-4); we are made free from the law of sin (8:2); we are spiritually minded (8:6); Christ is in us, not sin (8:10); we are not debtors to sin (8:12); the Spirit mortifies sin in us (8:13); we have Spirit of freedom (8:15); intercession of Christ and the Holy Spirit keeps us (8:26-27, 34).