This is another part of an ongoing article by my friend Art Licursi.
Part 5 of 10 – “The Law” Empowers the Sin Nature
I believe by now in this series we’ve established that “Sin” as a personality and nature that indwells “the flesh” body of all men SO long as they live on earth – both the saved and the unsaved.
Let’s now look more closely at the response of the “Sin-nature” when we attempt to live under “the Law” during this day of the “dispensation of the grace of God.” Paul plainly states below that the activating force behind “Sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3), giving its power, is “the Law.” This is the case for anyone who is trying to live under “the Law.”
1 Corinthians 15:56 … the STRENGTH (dunamis, power) OF SIN is THE LAW.
These verses here below are from Romans 7 where Paul describes the dilemma of a man trying to live righteously while living under or according to “the Law.” Note the repeated linkage between “the commandment” (the Law) and the “Sin” nature; it’s undeniable.
Romans 7:8 But SIN taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (illicit desires). For without the law sin was dead.
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
11 For SIN, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13 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; (so) that SIN by THE COMMANDMENT might become exceeding sinful.
In these verses it certainly sounds like “Sin” is a personality, when we read of “SIN taking occasion,” deceiving,” and “working” (verses 8, 11, and 13). “Sin” sounds like a personality with a consciousness that acts and reacts in the believer who weighs his self-worth by his self-effort to conform to “the Law.”
In Galatians Paul explains the matter of “the Law’s” impotence to contribute to genuine righteous living. Paul reveals how “the Law” is intended to make men see their absolute need to trust Christ for their righteous standing and His life for living righteously. If we live by the law we bear “the curse,” which is the requirement too then keep ALL the law.
Galatians 3:10 For AS MANY AS ARE OF THE WORKS OF THE LAW (THOSE WHO DEPEND UPON THE LAW) ARE UNDER THE CURSE: for it is written, CURSED IS EVERY ONE THAT CONTINUETH NOT IN ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW TO DO THEM.
Also in Galatians 3 Paul explains how “the Law” acts as a “schoolmaster” for the unbeliever in pushing Him to Christ, and that after faith (in Christ) has come to that person then they are no longer under “the Law.”
Galatians 3:22-26 But the scripture hath concluded all (men are) under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Note from verse 23 that “before faith came, we were kept under the law,” and in verse 24 we see that “the Law” was as our “schoolmaster” to teach us our need of Christ – to “bring us unto Christ (in faith).” And then, “after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (verse 25). So after the condemnation of “the Law” does its job – to push us to trust Christ as our only righteousness.
It’s impossible for any human, except Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but (JESUS) WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, YET WITHOUT SIN. The burden of this curse is upon those who think we are still under “the Law.” Our failure under “The Law” is intended to reveal to us our utter need of a capable righteous life, to push us to receive Christ and His righteous “Spirit of life,” whereby we are not under “the Law.” Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for (because) YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW, BUT UNDER GRACE.
Thankfully we were never meant to keep the external dead “Law of Moses,” which was fittingly written on lifeless stone. It has no power except to reveal our Sin to us. Now under grace, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4). The believer’s worth and righteousness is not based on their performance, neither before nor after they are converted by faith in Christ as their Savior.
We as grace believers live under an entirely new paradigm in this age of “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2); it’s a new way of living. We are not under any external “law” (except man’s civil law), thus we enjoy that now we are under “no condemnation” (Rom 8:1 below).
Romans 8:1-2 THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION TO THEM WHICH ARE IN CHRIST JESUS,
Nevertheless, we do have within our spirit “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” to regulate us now from within. This new way of inner regulation is the living “law of the Sprit of life in Christ Jesus.”
2 For THE LAW (operative regulating power) OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HATH MADE ME FREE FROM THE LAW (operative regulating power) OF SIN AND DEATH.
As recipients of Christ’s “Spirit of life” are free to live spontaneously. Nevertheless, we have His permanent presence within us to guide and regulate us by either His prompting or restricting. Here we see a couple examples of the Lord’s inner prompting and restricting in the life of Paul and his co-workers.
Acts 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
Acts 16:6-7 6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
We can learn to practice the presence of the Lord, to trusting Him to guide us. Actually, we must learn to follow the inner sense we have by His “Spirit of life” within us. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ; Christ will guide us in all our doings; e.g., He will lead or restrict us in what or if we should buy some particular thing that we are considering; or, He may move us to change lanes on the highway, etc. He is ever-present in us and desires to be the Lord of our life in every aspect.