Romans 7:4 “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” He saying that as death dissolves the connection between a wife and her husband – so the death of the Christian to the law dissolves that connection between our Old Man and the guilt he carries under the law which makes it possible then for the New Man to establish another union – with Christ – which like the first marriage was to bring forth fruit of the womb – the second marriage is to bear fruit of love. Scripture teaches that with Christ being the groom – believers are His bride. Romans 7:6 “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” Can real love exist when people are told they must: obey the Sabbath? Pay a tithe? Wear certain underwear? What to eat and drink? Do this? Do that? Never! We are to serve in newness of the Spirit – not in the old letter of the law. We are not under a covenant of works. We are under grace. Romans 7:7 “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” In other words,
is there evil in the law? God forbid – no! But there is evil in Man. And as a result, the presence of the Law merely brings out the evil nature in human beings. Remember we read back in Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Then Paul adds, just to make sure we understand that it was sin that did the evil. Romans 7:12 “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Paul makes it clear is that it’s not the law, but the corrupt nature of man and his attempted failure to live up to the law.
In Verse 14, Paul addresses the state of tension that exists in every true believer “For we know that the law is spiritual (it’s from God and it is perfect): but I am carnal, sold under sin.” It is true that as Christians we are dealing with a dualistic nature in ourselves. We are spiritual and we are carnal. Paul describes it like this in Verse 15 “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” Ever feel that way? I do. In our renewed minds, we long to please God but in our flesh, we act in opposition – and hate the fact that we do! Paul goes on in Verse 16 “If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.” The very struggle with evil within us proves to us that we don’t love the evil – but that it is the law that is good and desired. Verses 17-18 “Not then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no go thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Our desire is there – but we fail miserably sometimes in the application. After describing Verse 23 the state of warfare within him between the spiritual and the carnal – Paul exclaims in Verse 24 “O wretched (means miserable) man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Through this tension, we are forever reminded of our inability to overcome ourselves by ourselves or by any means other than reliance upon God. And the answer – the solution to his own question he provides in Verse 25 “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Before we move on to the next chapter, I want to make a comment about Romans 7:24. For Mormons this statement of Paul may sound reminiscent of a verse found in the Book of Mormon. The character Nephi, in the book of 2nd Nephi 4:17 wrote, “Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.” Obviously, Nephi (580 BC) uses the exact quote that in 58 AD Paul made in Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am!” This my friends is called plagiarism. The person or persons who truly wrote the Book of Mormon had to have had the New Testament in front of them to copy Paul’s statement found in Romans, by putting it in the Book of Mormon.
Alright, now hold on to your hats! We are about to enter the most amazing chapters – not only in the book of Romans – but of the entire New Testament. Chapter 8:1-4 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” Under the law there is condemnation – but in Christ it is gone. No condemnation doesn’t mean that sin is okay or that it isn’t ugly or wrong – but it means that the gospel does not pronounce condemnation like the law does. No sin can be held against the believer, since the penalty for sin was paid by Jesus Christ. So, as Christians we live by and through the Spirit – and to do so is life, and liberty and freedom. God has already forgiven you. So, the only way to live free is to love. Thus, we need to examine ourselves to see what our priorities are. Verses 5-6 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” What a paradox statement. One gives death – the other peace with God.
Verse 9 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” He is saying that we are not under corrupt desires and passions because we are “in the Spirit.” We are spiritually minded and are under the direction of the Holy Spirit of God. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit made possible by God’s grace through faith on the shed blood of Jesus. Verse 10 “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Who’s righteousness? Not ours! But Christ’s righteousness that has been imputed to us and His Holy Spirit that now indwells us.
Verse 14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons (and daughters) of God.” At this point, Paul is introducing us to a new thought: adoption. When a person experiences the Spirit leading him or her, they gain assurance that God has adopted him or her into His family. Verse 15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Have you ever really contemplated upon the fact that you have been adopted by the very eternal God? Knowing that He is our Father, we never have to fear – because He is loving, tender, patient, generous, protective, wise. He has not only adopted any and all who have received His Son – He sees us too, as His Sons and Daughters.
Now, we get into a couple of verses the LDS like to use as proof texts for their teaching of premortal spirit birth. Verses 16 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirt, that we are the children of God:” Paul is affirming that those who are His – Know they are His. Verse 17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Every adopted child will receive by divine grace the full inheritance of eternal life. Mormons say that we are “children of God” in the most literal sense. All of us are the spirit-offspring our Heavenly Father and Mother. But we can’t forget the context of this passage. Verse 15 explicitly states that people become children of God – by adoption. This is not the only place where Paul wrote about people being adopted into God’s family (see Galatians 4:5-6; Ephesians 1:5). We are not born a “child of God” as Mormonism teaches. Only those who place their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation are adopted into God’s family. It’s not by conception – but by adoption. John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” We do not have the seed of godhood in us that can become exalted and grow to godhood. We are adopted into God’s family. Becoming “co-heirs” with Christ has nothing to do with becoming exalted as a God. Heirs are people who inherit something. As Christians, we inherit all the spiritual blessings and riches of God in His glorious kingdom. We didn’t earn them – they were a gift through belief on His Son. In Romans 8:19-22 Paul calls us creatures because we are created by God. We were not born children of God. but, Verse 23 “waiting for the adoption.”
I hate to do this, but for the sake of time, I’m going to skip through the remainder of this amazing Chapter 8 and hit the highlights. Paul writes that the Spirit searches our hearts and minds and makes intercession for us… All things work together for good to them that love God… We are foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son… He justified and glorified those he called… If God be for us, who can be against us?… Christ is at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for us… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?… We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us… Then closing the chapter with Verses 38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Wow, what a statement and promise.
And, this concludes our study of Romans 7-8. Don’t forget we are on YouTube, iTunes podcast, Spotify podcast, and check out our website at Talking to Mormons. com.