Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 22
THE OLD SIN NATURE VS THE NEW NATURE
Now back to our study in Romans, and we’ll jump right in at verses 5 and 6. Now we made some comment on verse 6 in our last study, but we’ll look at it briefly again. Paul is still dealing with breaking the relationship with old Adam who has to be crucified not by anything we do. We can’t crucify ourselves, and I guess that’s one reason The Lord chose crucifixion rather than any other form of death, because that’s one form of death, you see, that man cannot accomplish on his own. You cannot crucify yourself, you can’t drive the nails into your hands, and put the pole up in the air, because that had to be done by outsiders. So I believe that was one reason that crucifixion was the death of choice to carry through this whole theme, that as we are crucified with Christ it is nothing we can do. We can not crucify ourselves, it is wholly, totally, and completely a work of God on our behalf. Now then in verse 5 Paul is reviewing all of this again, as he has done so often.
“For when we were in the flesh (under control of old Adam), the motions (or results) of sins (plural. Now do you see the difference? Sin is the old Adam, he is the fountainhead of our sins of action. Old Adam is just simply the manufacturing point, but what we do are sins and then it becomes plural), which were by the law (it goes right back to the things the Law said to do and not to do, and which man in turn does not do and does do), did work in our members to bring forth fruit (the end production) unto death.” That’s all it can work for as we saw in Romans 6:23:
“For the wages (that old Adam pays) of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now Romans 7:6. What’s the first word?
“But (and I always call that the flip side. Where old Adam did nothing but generate sins that became fruit unto death, the flip side now is) now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held (under old Adam); that we should serve in newness of spirit (under the control of the Holy Spirit), and not in the oldness of the letter (or the Law).” Do you see how clearly this comes out. Now we move on into verse 7.
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin (or like old Adam? Is the Law something that just generates sin. Well what’s his answer)? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin (old Adam), but by the law (remember I said in the last lesson that the law hangs over the old Adamic nature, and is constantly trying to convict him that he’s breaking it. This is what Paul is going to make reference to. It was the Law that showed Paul what old Adam was all about): for I had not known lust, except the law had said, `Thou shalt not covet.'”
Now this is an interesting commandment. Why does Paul pick this commandment “Thou shalt not covet” as his example instead of “Thou shalt not kill, or Thou shalt not steal? Well those of you who have been in my evening classes know. This is the one commandment, out of the ten, that has to always be committed first. Now I know that makes you frown, and I don’t blame you. Let me explain. You cannot kill unless you covet. You cannot steal unless you covet. You cannot commit adultery unless you covet. You cannot destroy someone’s character with false gossip unless you covet. Can you see that? All the way through the Ten Commandments the thing that triggers breaking the Law is coveting.
Now after I have taught this, people will come back after they have had time to think, and say, “Now wait a minute Les, how about when it says `Thou shalt not take the name of The Lord thy God in vain,’ where does coveting fit in that?” It fits perfectly. Because, by and large, why do people curse and swear? Why do people use foul language? They covet something, and what is it? Attention. They think they’re drawing attention to themselves with their foul language, and so again, coveting triggers it. No matter how you look at it, you cannot break one of the Ten Commandments unless, of course, you covet first, and so that’s why Paul is going to use this commandment as the primary example of the law. Now verse 8:
“But sin (old Adam), taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (and if I understand the word correctly, it’s immoral thinking), For without the law sin (old Adam) was dead.”
Now what does he mean being dead? He’s not functioning in the spirit realm because he is not paying any attention to the Law. Now don’t lose sight of what kind of a man that Paul was. What was he? Religious. A religious fanatic in fact. He was an Israelite, a Pharisee of the Pharisees of the Tribe of Benjamin, circumcised the eighth day, he was the epitome of a Judaistic Jew. He practiced the Jewish religion to the hilt, but as a Pharisee, religious, self-righteous man that he was, was he paying any attention to the Law? No, because he was above it. He had no compunction that he was a law-breaker because he was so religious he was practically above the Law, so the Law wasn’t convicting him as he was going along his religious way, and people are no different today. Now verse 9:
“For I was alive without the law once (in other words he was functioning as a Pharisee, as a religious zealot, and the Law wasn’t even touching him. It was rolling off of him like water off a duck): but when the commandment came, sin (old Adam) revived (woke up, and as soon as the Law came down on the Adamic part of Paul, and woke him up, what happened to Paul’s old Adam?), and I died.”
Do you see that? Come back with me to the Book of Acts. I hadn’t planned on doing this. I want you to get a perfect picture of what Paul really was as a fanatical, religious Jew, and what he’s referring to in Chapter 7 of Romans.
“AND Saul (the Jew, the Pharisee, the religious fanatic), yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord (these Jewish believers who had now embraced Christ as their Messiah), went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues (dealing mostly with Jews), that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women (he didn’t care if it was women he dragged into prison), he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him (and, of course, this is The Lord from Heaven now speaking), `Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’ And he said, `Who art thou, Lord?…'”
Now those of you who have made a study of the Old Testament, and I think that it carries right into the early part of the New Testament, Who was Lord? Jehovah! Jehovah! And I feel no violence to Scripture that had Saul not had such an awe for the name, in all practical circumstances he would have said, “Who art thou, Jehovah?” because he knew this voice was coming from the presence of God, there was no doubt about that. And so I like to put it that he knew he was talking to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was talking to Jehovah. Now continuing on with verse 5.
“And he said, `Who art thou, Lord?’ And the Lord said, `I am Jesus…'”
Man, who would even have thought such a thing in Paul’s shoes. Jehovah is claiming to be Jesus of Nazareth whom he hated, and detested, whom he thought was an impostor, who was a blasphemer, and He’s Jehovah? Well look what it did to the man. It melted him like wax, and no wonder he fell to the ground blinded physically in order to see spiritually Who Jesus really was. He was the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and you remember I proved this when we were way back four or five years ago in Exodus, Remember when the voice from the burning bush told Moses:
“And God said unto Moses, `I AM THAT I AM:’ and he said, `Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.'”
And then remember I took you into John’s Gospel Chapter 8, and as the Pharisees again of Jesus day confronted Him:
“Then said the Jews unto him, `Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?’ Jesus said unto them, `Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.'”
What was he telling them? I’m the same One that spoke from the burning bush, I’m the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and of course He was. So now then Saul had to recognize that the One he was hating, the One he was trying to stamp out, this Jesus of Nazareth was the God that he thought he was worshipping. And so he had to bring the two together. Now let’s turn to Acts Chapter 26 for a moment. And now, of course, as the Apostle has gone through all his trials and sufferings, and he’s coming down toward the end of his freedom, at least before he will be imprisoned in Rome, look what he says in verse 9:
“I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” See what I just told you? He really thought Jesus of Nazareth was an impostor, and he wanted to stamp out anybody who had anything to do with this Jesus.
“Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death (and what was their crime? Believing that Jesus was the Christ), I gave my voice (or vote) against them (or I voted to have them put to death).”
“And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme (he was forcing these Jewish believers to renounce their faith in Jesus. It’s unbelievable, but this is what he was doing in the name of his religion. There isn’t any thing more tortuous, or inhuman than religious fanatics); and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.”
“Whereupon as I went to Damascus…”
And as we saw in Chapter 9 that was his purpose in going to Damascus. Now if you will come back to the Book of Romans Chapter 7, and keep all this in mind; he’s so religious, and such a fanatic that the Law wasn’t even touching him, even though he was guilty of what we can call murder, when he actually demanded the death of these Jewish believers in his own mind, he was putting them to death murderously. Now verse 10:
“And the commandment (the ten), which was ordained to life, (remember they’re Holy, and perfect, because up in verse 9, as soon as old Adam in Saul woke up and realized that the Law was condemning him, what happened? He said, “I woke up, I revived,” and he became aware that the Law was convicting him, and that he had only one prospect as a Law-breaker, and that was eternal death) I found to be unto death.” Now verse 11:
“For sin (old Adam), taking occasion by the commandment (ten), deceived me, and by it slew me.”
Paul says it was killing me. What does he mean? Let’s compare Scripture with Scripture so come back with me to verse 5 of this same chapter. This is exactly what he’s talking about.
“For when we (he could say when I) were in the flesh, the motions of sins (in other words putting these people to death, blaspheming the name of Christ, and what ever else he may have been guilty of), which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”
And Saul was no different. Saul the religious fanatic everyday of his life was piling guilt, upon guilt, upon guilt, heading for the day when he too would leave this life, and would come before the Great White Throne, and hear those word, “Depart from me you religious fanatic, for I never knew you.” That’s where Saul was headed. Now back to our text in verse 11. So old Adam had been keeping him blind to the reality of the true purpose of the Law, which was to convict him. Remember what it said back in Romans Chapter 3?
“…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” All right, that’s where it finally came to even with Saul. Now verse 12.
“Wherefore the law (the ten) is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”
“Was then that which is good made death unto me (in other words, can the Commandments be something other than good? Well he answers it)? God forbid (don’t think such a thought. But here’s what the Ten really amounted to). But sin (old Adam), that it might appear sin (old Adam. Now what’s he saying? He’s just making a double emphasis, but old Adam in order that he could be seen for what he really is, bent in rebellion, and evil, and ignoring the Law, but old Adam), working death in me by that which is good (that sounds like double talk, but you see what he’s saying over and over? That the Law in itself was good and perfect, but what was it doing to the man? It was killing him. It was convicting him); that sin (old Adam)by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”
Now I’ve got to take you back to Chapter 3 for a moment, because here’s where we get the explanation of what he’s talking about. I know most people have forgotten what we studied in Chapter 3. And keep this passage hooked up with Saul of Tarsus.
“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.”
The Law shows us what old Adam is really made of. Okay? Now come back to Chapter 7. So what does the Law do for Saul of Tarsus? It compounds his sinfulness. How by revealing everything that he does was sinful. Everything that he was doing was contrary to the will of a Holy God. Now verse 14.
“For we know (any good religious Jew knew this) that the law is spiritual (it was written by the finger of God, it was supernaturally presented to the Nation of Israel. It was holy, and God given, and spiritual): but I am carnal (in his pre-saved condition), sold under sin (or old Adam).”
He’s under the curse as the result of a fall, way back there in the Garden of Eden, and that is what we have been emphasizing now for six chapters here in this Book. That when Adam sinned, he plunged the whole human race under the curse, and separated them from their Creator. And Saul of Tarsus was no different, religious as he was. And so verse 14 says that he was carnal, fleshly, even though he was religious, yet the motivating power within him was not the things that were pleasing to God, but quite the contrary, because he was stamping out those who had recognized Jesus was indeed the Christ. Now again we have to understand the mind-set of not only Saul of Tarsus, but all the religious Jews of Jesus’ day. Why were they so constantly against Him? They could not believe that He was the Christ. He could not be the One promised all the way back from Genesis Chapter 12.