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Romans Seven Revelation

All newborns in Christ encounter the same growth process by God. In the outset of our salvation there is the conception that we must repay Him for redeeming us, and thus begins the distant journey of eventually understanding that though the sincerity is genuine and the zeal great, there will be the learning paces of realizing that God’s “gift” is not expected to be repaid (nor could it ever be).

This brings many “weighty” (Heb 12:1—that must be learned to bring us to the end of ourselves) lessons through which all must traverse to bring about the maturing process until we finally discover that much of our labors of works were attempts to bring about that which God has already given. Nevertheless, this encounter must be experienced in order to understand the process that “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We work for pleasure which He receives, not for favor He already sees!

Romans Seven Revelation

In Romans Seven we see that we cannot be at the same time under the law and with Christ risen. This would be to have two husbands at once. In the second half of the chapter we are given the experience of one who wants to fulfill the righteousness of the law, and to bring fourth fruit to God as standing under the law—the first husband*. Awakened by God, and under the influence of the new life, he understands the spirituality of the law; he realizes its requirements; he desires to keep the law, and his conscience cannot be satisfied unless he does so. The new nature loves the righteousness of the law; but by reason of the opposition of the flesh it does not fulfill it (vs 14, 16, 22).

Sad state of soul which, by reason of grace working in it, desires to do good; but because it is under the law*, knows not how to do it! Now let it be observed that while in this state the soul is in its relationship with the first husband, and consequently has nothing to do with the Second*. We have seen that no one can have two husbands at once, therefore in this passage there is no mention made either of Christ (other than a show of gratitude—NC) or of the Holy Spirit. It is the ordinary Christian experience of the spirituality of the law which we meet with.

The conscience of the struggling individual, being renewed, knows that it cannot fulfill the requirements of that spiritual law. The renewed will makes every possible effort to so, but it cannot succeed (with any of its own power and therefore it must be understood it’s all via Christ “for us,” hence we do what He enables us to do—NC). All the while it loves the spiritual nature of the law; it does not desire that it would be less complete. It knows that God cannot give up His authority, nor lower His holiness. It tries with all its might to attain the end; but it has no power. The law demands perfect obedience; the conscience and the will assent; but the law gives no power: the end will never be attained*.

The awakening of the conscience in one who is sincere never produces in him (again, of himself—NC) the accomplishment of righteousness, but, on the contrary, despair. “Oh, wretched man that I am!” It is much more difficult to know and acknowledge that we cannot do a single good thing, than to know and acknowledge that we have sinned*. The experience which the soul passes through under the law is a means of convincing it of its powerlessness (to keep it without ever sinning—NC); but holiness cannot be a subject of indifference, either to God or to the new-born soul; and as we find that we cannot work out righteousness, we are obligated to seek deliverance elsewhere. “Who shall deliver me?”

Yet, though the Father will convince a soul that is sincere of its powerlessness, He takes no pleasure in leaving it in this wretched condition; but as soon as it acknowledges its state, and that it is, and knows itself to be, without any hope in itself, so that it can never attain to the righteousness of the law, then the Father reveals to it its perfect deliverance in Christ (only He kept the Father’s Word apart from sin—NC). Then at once the soul gives thanks to the Father for what He has done for it; it sees where its new position is (though in it all along—NC) in Christ risen—its true Husband, that it may bring forth fruit unto God (vss 24, 25).

Henceforth, it is not only a new position (in Christ ascended) which is its place, but also strength and liberty. The flesh is still there, its nature is not changed; but our position before the Father is in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Rom 8:9). The power of the Spirit is presently living in us, so that we walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The Lord Jesus in heaven is the expression of our true position before the Father. The Lord Jesus living upon the earth is the representation and example of the heavenly Christian upon the earth. Walking after the Spirit, the law is fulfilled (by loving God and our neighbor) because we are not under law*. “For the principle of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2).

- J N Darby

Poster’s (NC) opinion:

*”the law—the first husband”: It’s my present understanding (welcoming other’s understanding here) that “the law” for the Gentiles concerns “the law of sin, since they were never under “the Law of Moses,” and that essentially speaking, the law of sin and the “Law of Moses” are of like purposes in justifying condemnation to all.

Thus the Gentiles, along with the Jews are under the law of sin, but the Jews were also under “the Law of Moses,” as presented in the Pentateuch. Universal “Law of sin”: Gen 2:17; Eze 18:4, 20; Rom 7:23, 25; 8:2.

For believers, Christ’s expiation for sin annulled the “condemnation” that came from the law of sin and the Law of Moses!

*”because it is under the law”: in its present understand, not in its place in Christ.

*”has nothing to do with the Second”: again, that is mentally, according to the unlearned understanding.

*”the end will never be attained”: e.g. never by the believer, but by Christ’s works, and His merited result imputed to the believer (1Cor 1:30).

*”know and acknowledge that we have sinned”: I believe it most spiritually healthy to remember that our walk and service, regardless the severity of sincerity and zeal will not be sinless (indwelling old man which will continue to affect us in some degree – Pro 6:27, 28 ) but is always guiltless. It takes quite some time (according to one’s sincerity and Word study) to learn we need never to look to self for God’s favor. It’s always present and in its greatest capacity, because it’s in the same degree as it is for His Son, our Lord Jesus.

*”because we are not under law”: righteousness could not be fulfilled while under the Law.

Spiritual growth devotional by Miles J Stanford: None But The Hungry Heart