The Law Attacked and Vindicated (Romans Sermon 44 of 120)
October 21, 2001 | Andrew Davis
The Law of God
I. God’s Law Attacked (verse 7)
We are looking today at Romans 7:7-12, as we continue in our study of the Book of Romans. Before you came to church this morning, did you check in the mirror? I think many of you did as I'm looking out at you. Most of you, I would say, checked in the mirror and looked a good long time. Be sure that every hair was in place and that you're wearing your best clothes. And as you looked in the mirror you expected (I would hope) that the mirror would tell you the truth. I know that's getting harder and harder for some of you. You don't want to hear the truth as you look in the mirror or see the truth. I know I'm not looking the same as I did before. And we change all the time. We look in the mirror and when we look in the mirror, we want the mirror to tell us the truth, even that wicked queen in Snow White, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" She wanted the truth, but she didn't like the truth when it came back, you remember. Didn't want to hear about it that there was one now fairer than she. Of course, that wicked queen's beauty was only skin deep or there's nothing beautiful about her internally. But she wanted the truth.
The Law Functions Like a Mirror... Showing Us Ourselves Spiritually
But what would you think of somebody that went to the mirror and looked at it, studied themselves in the mirror, didn't like what the mirror was telling them and in a rage, pulled the mirror down off the wall and hurled it across the room? That's a vain individual. They don't want to know the truth. But you know it is true that James tells us the law of God is a perfect mirror. It tells us the truth, doesn't it? And as we gaze intently into that mirror, we see who we really are. Not who we imagine ourselves to be. But who we really are.
Listen to the words of James, "Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word, but does not do what it says, is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but doing it, he will be blessed in what he does." Do you hear what James calls the law? It's like a mirror. It's the perfect law that gives freedom. And as you stare into the law, you see the truth about who you really are.
I was reading recently about a soldier in the imperial Japanese army who did not know 29 years after the war had ended that he was to lay down arms. I don't know if you've heard about this guy in the early 1970’s. He finally surrendered in 1974, 29 years after the war was over. Now, that's a soldier who's loyal to his last command from his commanding officer, at least that you can say. But the remarkable thing about this man is that he subsisted in the jungle for 29 years. And they did everything they could to get him out of the jungle, they coax him, and they brought some of his relatives from Japan to talk to him and to convince him that the war was over. He thought it was all a trick until his commanding officer came back and he was willing to meet with him to come out of the jungle. At a certain point, they would fly over in helicopters and use loud speakers and try to communicate with this guy. They didn't know where he was, just the general area of the Philippines. But when he heard the voice of his commanding officer, he was willing to meet with him and they met together and they took a photo of he and his officer, but then he still wasn't convinced and went back into the jungle.
And they got the photo to him a few days later and he was amazed. He looked at the picture and he couldn't believe how much he looked like his uncles. He hadn't seen himself in 29 years. He hadn't looked at himself. He didn't know what he looked like. I think there are many Christians like that. They never look intently into the law to know who they really are. Instead, they would rather through defiant pride, hurl the mirror, if it tells them even the slightest truth about themselves. Sinners, apart from the grace of God, do not want to hear the truth from the law of God. And that's because sin deceives us and tells us that we are better than we really are and that we don't need a savior, and that really it isn't as bad as we thought it was. Sin hates the truth and seeks to hurl the mirror away. And that's what Paul is dealing with here in this section of Scripture. If you look at verse 7, he says, "What shall we say then, is the law sin?" He's dealing with the question of the law. Is there something wrong with the law?
Paul Defends His Message
And the reason he's bringing this up…It seems throughout his teaching, throughout the Book of Romans, that he's been undermining the written law of God, the Mosaic Law. "Thou shalt" and "thou shalt not," the whole law given by God through Moses. He says in Romans 2 that Jews are not justified simply because they possess God's law. Does not prove justification simply because they have God's law. He says in Romans 2:13, "It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous." And he actually tells us further on in Romans 3:20 that no one will be declared righteous by observing the law rather through the law, we become conscious of sin. It is actually impossible to be justified by law. The law will not declare you not guilty on Judgment Day, rather it will do the opposite. He says in the next verse, in Romans 3:20-21, he says, "But now, our righteousness from God apart from law has been made known to which the law and the prophets testify this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ."
And that's what we've been looking at. This gift of righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works of the law, not by our private obedience. But rather because of Jesus Christ's obedience to the law. We'll talk about that more later this morning. And he summarizes this in Romans 3:28, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith, apart from works of the law." Works of the law cannot justify you. You will not be able to stand before God on Judgment Day based on your law keeping. And then in Romans 4, he underscores this all the more by bringing out the father of the Jewish nation, Abraham. And he proves conclusively that Abraham was declared not guilty by God before he was circumcised. A good deal before he was circumcised.
He was declared not guilty simply by believing God's promise. He looked up at the stars. God had him look up at the stars and he said "Look Abraham, do you see all the stars? If you can count them, so shall your offspring be," and Abraham looked at the stars. He just looked and he heard the promise. And he believed the promise. He believed God, and at that moment, it was credited to him as righteousness. That was the righteousness he received simply as a gift, not by law keeping. It was later he received circumcision, kind of the first moving of the law. And so, as he's been moving through Paul, it seems that he's been undercutting the law, not at all, but it seems that way. And he says in Romans 5:20-21 the law came in alongside. "The law was added so that the trespass might increase. Where sin increased however, grace increased all the more."
So the law comes in and just has the effect of increasing sin. And he says in Romans 6:14, sin shall not be your master because you're not under law, but under grace. Last week we talked about how we as Christians, now that we have come into faith in Christ, we serve God in a whole new way don't we? We serve in the way of the Spirit, the new power of the Holy Spirit, not in the old way of the written code. So that brings us right up to the brink of the text we're looking at today. So he's got to deal with this question. Well, what about the law then? Is the law sin? Is there something wrong with the law? Maybe perhaps if God had written a better law it would've done a better job. Is there something wrong with the law? And that's what he's dealing with. And so, he has to give some clear teaching here in order to vindicate the law, and specifically to vindicate God's word, because was it not God who spoke the law? Did he not say thus says the Lord and then give the law to Israel? Has God's word failed? Did he give a bad law? Is there something wrong with it and he's got to vindicate that, and that's what he's doing in this section.
II. God’s Law Explained (verses 7-11)
Look at it again beginning at Verse 7. "What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? May it never be!" You can't say it too weakly. "Certainly not!" in the NIV is a little weak actually. May it never be! It's impossible to think so! "Is the law sin? May it never be! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, 'Do not covet.'"
Law Reveals/Exposes Sin
Paul says the law exposes or reveals sin. Now one of the challenging aspects of Romans 7 is Paul's use of the word I. He's speaking about himself. He's speaking autobiographically it seems. And that's a challenge and it's going to get even tougher as we go on in the chapter. But he says, "I would not have known what sin was…" So when he brings himself in here he's speaking it seems autobiographically. But I think it goes bigger and deeper than that. I think he's also speaking as a representative Jew. He's speaking somewhat as a man who is a Jew and who experienced the law as a Jew, and all the history of the Jewish people with the law. I think in that way he's speaking as a Jewish man, and the Jewish nation themselves I believe were representative of the human race as a whole.
Gentiles should not imagine they would've done any better if they had received the law. That the Jewish nation was somehow defective or there was something wrong with them. In effect, that was a little laboratory, an experiment on human nature wasn't it, as we look at the history of the Jews and what they did with the law. But Paul, when he says I here, I think he's really representing us all. He is speaking about himself autobiographically, he is speaking as a Jewish man, but he's also speaking as a human being and as a sinner. So Paul is I believe relating personal experience, but also representing us all. And he says that law reveals sin. It exposes sin. It actually defines sin. It helps us to know what sin is. He says, "I would not have known what sin was except through the law." If the law had never been given I wouldn't have understood sin and so therefore the law defines sin for us. And it does it negatively and it does it positively. Negatively, it puts kind of barriers around our life, like fences. And it says, live inside here. To jump the fence is to transgress. And as we jump the fence, we become sinners, transgressors. We break the law. And so we look at the representation of that in the 10 Commandments.
You look through. I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods besides me. That's a barrier. You're not permitted to have any other gods or worship any other gods. Secondly, you shall not make any idols or worship any idols or bow down to them in any way. That's a barrier. It's a boundary and you can't jump across it. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Honor your father and mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal or bear false witness and you shall not covet. These are boundaries. These are fences, and if you jump over these you shall nots, you've become a transgressor. And so he's defining sin negatively. Also, sin could be defined positively. In terms of what you are expected to do, how you are expected to live. Therefore, Jesus when asked what is the greatest commandment in all the law, he said "the greatest commandment is this, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind."
Have you done that today? Think about that. Have you loved God with everything you have, every moment of this one day? It's still early. It's not yet one o'clock. I know, some of you are checking your watch, it's not yet noon. It's still early. And have you lived every moment for the glory of God? And Jesus said, there's a second command that's like it. It's not equal to it, but it's like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. So sin is defined positively. Negatively there's boundaries, and you're supposed to live in there, you're not supposed to jump the fence. Positively, you are supposed to be energetically powerfully every moment living for the glory of God to love him and for the benefit of your neighbor. That's what sin is. It's not doing what God expects and commands you to do, and doing those very things he commanded you not to do.
But actually these themselves are just summaries, aren't they? The 10 Commandments and the two great commandments. Actually Jewish rabbis went through and counted 613 commandments from God. 613. There are 248 mandates. That's thou shalt, you must, right? And then 365 prohibitions. Thou shalt not, you must not. The mandates, the you shalts included worship regulations, laws about the temple, sacrifices, vows and rituals, national regulations, rules about kings, wars, taxes, family duties, all kinds of things you're supposed to do as a Jew. And then there were prohibitions, including idolatry, blasphemy, worship prohibitions, sacrifice prohibitions, priesthood prohibitions, and diet regulations, things you couldn't eat, agriculture and loans, and personal property and justice. So, there's the positive and the negative, the things you're supposed to do and the things you're not supposed to do. And so, therefore this is what sin is. Sin is any lack of measuring up to what God wanted you to do and actively transgressing against the things he commanded you not to do.
Okay, so now because of the law, we have sin diagnosed. We understand what it is. But actually we have sins diagnosed. We'll talk about that more later, but there's a difference between sins and sin, as there is a difference between the fruit on the tree and the tree itself. So John says in 1 John 3:4, "everyone who sins breaks the law." In fact, "sin is lawlessness." Lawlessness. Well, Paul brings out a case study, doesn't he, in verse 7. He said, "I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, do not covet." Now, the Greek word is a deep desire for something unlawful. It's a yearning desire for something you must not have. Sometimes the word is translated lust, and relates to sexual desire. But I think here it just relates to the 10 Commandments and that desire for anything that God has said, you must not have it. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, you shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor. So he picks up on that coveting.
It's interesting to me, there's a movement, and I think it's well intentioned and it's a good movement, that we should get the 10 Commandments back up in schools and various things. The fact of the matter is, to look at the 10 Commandments, you realize that they are unenforceable by a human government. How could a human government enforce a commandment against coveting? But God can, because he sees your thoughts. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. And so Paul reads the 10 Commandments, and reads this commandment on coveting, and realize that God, the holy God is looking into his very heart, and he's looking at his desires. And is not desire the beginning of all sin? Doesn't it all start with something you want? And you're not supposed to have? So he goes right to the root when he brings up this issue of coveting. And here we get to the issue of sin. "Somebody who's convinced by the law would only be free from the pain of sin," said Stephen Charnock, "But somebody convinced by the Gospel wants to be rid of sin itself."
We want to be done with sin itself, not just the pain that sin causes, but sin itself. We want to be rid of the thing itself. Sin, therefore, is a deeper issue than the sins of our lives. It's got to do with a heart of rebellion against our Creator and our King. It's got to do with our very nature. Jesus said, "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good. Make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is known by its fruit." We go through our lives on these moral reformation projects. We start to change certain things. I'm not going to do that anymore, I am going to do this more. That kind of thing. All we're doing is dealing with the fruit. The Gospel gets to the root, the tree itself, the nature of the tree, what kind of tree is it? And so therefore, sin is this heart of rebellion against a creator. Against authority. Against God.
Law Excites Sin
I think about it in terms of lightning. You know, lightning comes from clouds that bump into each other, right? They rub against each other and they build up static electricity. They build it up and they build it up, but it's not until they have a path to the Earth that they discharge, you see? That's a lightning bolt. And once there's a path, the static electricity can express itself. And that's the way it is with sins and sin. Sin is this attitude of rebellion against God, but until the commandment comes, you can't express it. But once the commandment comes, you can express it. I'm not gonna do the thing God commanded me to do, or I'm going to do the thing God told me not to do. And so it expresses itself like a lightning bolt.
And so therefore, the law actually stimulates sin. Look at verse 9 and follow me, it says, "But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death."
So basically what happened to Paul speaking autobiographically, is that when he read the Law of God, it actually excited or stimulated sin in him. It put ideas in his mind and then it gave him an opportunity to express his true heart relationship to Creator and King, God. And so what it says is that sin twisted the law. It was intended to bring life, but it actually in him produced death. Sin seized the opportunity, it says in the NIV, it actually, literally has to do with the military base of operation, that expression. We've got troops over there in Afghanistan right now, special ops troops. And when troops come into a foreign area, they're going to set up a base of operations. And from that base, they're going to do all of their work in that region. Well, that's about what the law does for sin, it gives sin a base of operations in our soul.
And from that base, it moves out to deceive us and put us to death. Paul says in his case it produced every kind of covetous desire, he started to yearn and want the things he shouldn't have. "And at that moment," he said, "I died." "Once I was alive," he said, "apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died."
Now, there's a question about what Paul means when he says, "Once I was alive apart from law," is this teaching that infants, that babies, are alive spiritually, but then the commandment comes, once you understand the laws of God, that you die? And I think there is an aspect of truth, it's very complicated to figure out, but there's an aspect of truth there. It's once you understand the commands, and that they're coming from God, that it's possible to sin against an eternal God. And at that moment, your relationship with God is severed and broken. We are "dead in our transgressions and sins, in which we used to live," Paul says in Ephesians.
But it's interesting how he says that sin sprang to life. Martyn Lloyd-Jones uses the illustration of a car idling. Imagine a car, a big powerful engine V8. And do they still make V8s? I don't know. Gas guzzlers. But a quiet, kind of purring engine just sitting there. Just there. It's powerful, it's not doing much, you can't even hear it. But then, at a certain moment, you touch the gas pedal, maybe even jam it down and the engine roars to life. That's the way it was for Paul. He is saying that, as soon as I read the law that sin that was just waiting, it roared to life and moved, and has been moving ever since.
Law Condemns Sinners
And then the law comes and condemns. Verse 9, "Sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me." Oh, how deceitful is sin? How it deceives us and tricks us and tells us that we're better than we are, and that that isn't really sin. And that's really okay to do that. How it deceives us and kills us. This death is relational with God, I believe we can be living dead. We can be dead while we live. We were dead in our transgressions and sins in which we used to live. It's possible. But then along comes physical death. It is appointed unto man to die once physically, and then comes judgment, and then comes the real death, the second death, eternal death.
That is judgment. And what will happen to the sinner at that point, law will stand up and accuse. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that "the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law." And so, it is sin and the law as it accuses, that makes us fear death, and we should. If we're not Christians, we should, because the law it says, brings wrath. The court will be seated and the books will be opened. The books of the law and the books of our own life and everything that we've done will be opened and everything will be laid bare. And at that moment, the law will stand to accuse any who have not been justified in Christ.
Law Cannot Save Sinners
So Paul says, in Romans 3:20, "Therefore, no one will be justified or declared righteous in his sight by observing the law rather through the law, we become conscious of sin." Thomas Adams puts it this way, "The law may express sin, but it cannot suppress sin." Remember the illustration we got last week and we talked about it earlier about Buddhism, but better I think in relation to the law, that basically a sinner is drowning in rebellion. The law stands on the shore and calls out swimming instructions to the drowner. Instructing how to live, but grace through Jesus Christ dives in and saves that individual. It's the grace of God that actually saves. The law just stands and calls out instructions from the shore. And so therefore Paul is able to vindicate God's law.
III. God’s Law Vindicated (verse 12)
Look at verse 12, "So then, as a result, the law's holy and the commandment is holy and righteous and good." The law reflects God's character. God is holy and righteous and good, and therefore his law is holy and righteous and good. He couldn't have written a better law. There's nothing wrong with the Law of Moses. There's nothing wrong with the law at all, he's going to say the rest of the chapter, there's something wrong with us. It's sin. But there's nothing wrong with the law. Psalm 19 puts it this way, "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward."
Law Reflects God’s Character
The law is beautiful, and holy and righteous and good. There's nothing wrong with the law. There's something wrong with us. And therefore the law humbles us and gets us ready for salvation. It gets us ready for a savior. Daniel Cawdray put it this way. "As a mirror, neither washes nor make someone beautiful who looks within it, but gives him occasion either to seek for water or something else that may make him attractive and clean. Even so the law shows to us our sins and makes known to us our miserable state and wretchedness. And how that there is nothing good in us. And that we are far off from all manner of righteousness. And so, it drives us of necessity to seek righteousness in Jesus Christ." That's what the law does.
And therefore, the Law and the Gospel are partners in bringing us to salvation. I fear for the evangelical church in America today, because we don't preach the law anymore. What do we tell people? "God loves you. He has wonderful things for you." That is true. But it's not the whole story, is it? We are sinners in sight. We are rebels. And the law is given to convince us of that. Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor but" who? It's "the sick." It's not the living who need a resurrection, but the dead. It's not the sighted who need a miracle, but the blind. And so after Jesus healed the blind man in John 9, the Pharisees came in all their self-righteousness and religiosity. And they came to Jesus. And Jesus said, "For judgment, I have come into the world, that those who see may become blind and those who are blind may be able to see." The Pharisees and their self-righteousness hurled the mirror. They say, "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But since you say, we see, your guilt remains."
Jesus didn't come to call the healthy. He came to call sinners to repentance. That's what he came for. And I believe all the miracles of Jesus testify to this. Look at the miracles. What is it but a picture of human weakness and inability. Can't see. Can't walk. Can't live. Can't recover. Can't stop bleeding for 12 years. Can't raise my daughter from death. Can't eat because we have no food out here in the desert. Can't walk on water. Can't use my right hand. Can't be rid of this demon. Can't hear. Can't, can't, can't. And then Jesus comes, and all of a sudden everything changes. By the power of Jesus, Jesus can. Jesus can make you see. He can make you walk. He can make you live, even if you're dead. He can recover you from any illness. He can stop the bleeding for 12 years, by the mere touch of his garment. He can raise his daughter from death. He can enable you to walk on water. He can give you food to eat out in the desert. Human weakness and inability, and Jesus' power and ability. And it's the law that gets you ready to hear that message. You understand what can't, can't, can't, can't means. Because you live it every day.
Law’s saving purpose: Drive us to Christ – Christ Accomplishes What the Law Cannot
The law proves it to you day after day. You read the 10 Commandments and you say, "can't, can't, can't." I can't stop wanting things. Change my heart God. I can't love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Change my heart God. The law makes you a spiritual beggar, doesn't it? And it keeps you that way. And that's a good place to be. It banishes human arrogance and pride. The law is a cord of justice, but the Gospel is a throne of grace. Ready for any who are convinced that they need it. The law therefore has a saving purpose and it is to drive us to Christ. This is what Paul wrote in Galatians 2:19-21. "For through the law, I died to the law so that I might live for God."
Do you understand the meaning of that? Through the law I died and realized the law is not going to save me. And so now what's he ready for? He's ready for a savior. Galatians 2:19-21, "Through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life, I now live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God who love me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God. For if righteousness could come by the law, Christ died for nothing." What do you need Jesus to die on the cross if you can earn your way to salvation through good works and law keeping. But you can't. And so he came.
Martin Luther commenting on that passage said this,
"Although the law kills, yet God uses this effect of the law to a good end. That is to bring life. For God seeing that this universal plague of the whole world, namely 'man's opinion' of his own righteousness. His hypocrisy. His confidence in his own holiness could not be beaten down by any other means. He would that it be slain by the law. God must therefore have a mighty hammer to break the rocks and a hot burning fire in the midst of heaven to overthrow the mountains. That is to say to destroy this furious and obstinate beast of human pride, that when a man by this bruising and breaking has brought to nothing. He should despair of his own strength, righteousness, and works. And exceedingly quake before God. Being thus thoroughly terrified should thirst after mercy and the forgiveness of sins."
Does anybody preach the Gospel that way anymore? Paul does. We must be broken. We must be made to be spiritual beggars. We must see that we need a savior or else we will never be saved. And pride must be destroyed, and the Gospel does it. The laws on going work, therefore, is to make us spiritual beggars. Blessed are the spiritual beggars, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who continually mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied by grace, as a free gift, they will be satisfied. The law also reveals God's ongoing will, we'll talk more about this in the future. But William Secker put it this way, "The law by which God rules us is as dear to him as the Gospel by which he saves us."
IV. God’s Law Fulfilled in Christ
Ezekiel Hopkins said this, "We find the same rules for our actions, the same duties required, the same sins forbidden, in the Gospel as in the law." And so therefore, he sent Jesus Christ to live righteously under the law, to die under the law's penalty, to win for us a righteousness, he is the fulfillment of the law, the perfect fulfillment. Romans 10:4 "Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for all who believe." And so, he walked perfectly 33 years under the law's requirements, never broke one. Never jumped the fence once. Never failed to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. Never failed to love his neighbor as himself. And won a righteousness in which you will be robed on Judgment Day, if you trust in him. Oh, is that not sweet?
And then he puts the spirit inside you, and compels you to walk in his ways. To keep the law, Romans 8:3 and 4 it says, "For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering," for us. That is to die on a cross. "And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." The Spirit comes, and he moves you to obey the law.
What is the application of this? Well first, just acknowledge who you are. Stop saying, "We see." Come to him like a spiritual beggar. Come to him broken. Even now as a Christian. We'll get to that in the second half of Romans 7. But even now, we wrestle and struggle, don't we? We still need grace day, after day, after day. Acknowledge that sin is there, a deep-seated resistance, an allergic reaction to the words of God. And to his authority and power. Say it's there, tell the truth. Delight in God's law, it is holy and righteous and good. Don't accuse the law because you can't keep it. Don't hurl the mirror, but look into it, look deeply into it, and find out who you are, and who God is. And flee to Christ. Flee for salvation, flee for sanctification. Flee to Christ day, after day, after day. Let the law keep you continually humble, knowing that you didn't save yourself. And then ask God to fulfill his law in you, by the power of the Holy Spirit.