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Sermon #70 — Romans Series
Title: Sin’s Dominion Done
Text: Romans 7:1-8:4
Subject: Believer’s Free from Sin’s Dominion
Date: Sunday Morning— November 15, 2015
Reading: 1 John 3:1-24 or Psalm 73
To every sinner who trusts the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Holy Ghost declares, in Romans 6:14, “sin shall not have dominion over you!” What does that mean? — “Sin shall not have dominion over you!”
· Does that mean that once saved God’s people cease to commit sin? — Of course not!
· Does this promise of grace mean that believers do not sin very often, or at least do not regularly sin? — You know better!
· Does that mean that the saints of God in this world have control of their inordinate passions and lusts? — Sadly, we know better!
There is never a moment when we are not sinning! Sin is mixed with and mars all that we think, and say, and do!
What is the meaning, then, of this promise to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? — “Sin shall not have dominion over you!” — Read Romans 6:14 and 15, and you will see the answer.
(Romans 6:14-15) “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (15) What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”
Sin has no dominion over you who believe, and never can have dominion over you, because “Ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Sin has no dominion over us who are God’s, and never can have dominion over us, because “We are not under the law, but under grace.”
Proposition: Here is the meaning of that promise: — Sin cannot condemn sinners trusting Christ! — Sin cannot condemn sinners saved by grace! — You cannot go to hell if you trust the Lord Jesus Christ!
So come to Christ! Believe on the Son of God! — “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!” — The highest, greatest blessing God has to bestow is a holy, happy eternity, life eternal in union with his own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!
· This is a gift given by God who cannot lie from eternity!
· This is a gift purchased by the doing and dying of the Lord Jesus Christ!
· This is the free gift of God’s sovereign mercy, bestowed, “not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy!”
· This is a gift bestowed on every sinner who trusts the Lord Jesus Christ. — “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!”
Yes, it is true, “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” But the most unholy need not despair of being admitted into heaven; for there is pardon for the most guilty and sanctification (holiness) for the most depraved. — “There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared!” If you who hear the gospel are shut out from the marriage feast because you do not have a wedding garment, it will be because you refuse to take it from the hands of God and put it on by faith.
Oh, poor sinner! Listen to this preacher. — I speak to you who have heard and now hear the gospel of Christ. There is only one way for you to go to hell. If you go to hell, you will do so by only by trampling underfoot the sin-atoning, justifying blood of the Son of God, and doing despite to the transforming, sanctifying the Spirit of grace! O what a miserable maniac he is who wilfully tramples underfoot the precious blood of Christ and does despite to the Spirit of God! — “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” — If you will not have the gift, you must have the wages.
I want to persuade all who hear my voice to come to Christ. O poor, needy, bankrupt, guilty sinner, black and vile, base and perverse, come to Christ! — Believe on my Savior! — And go home today as Bro. Ed Hale used to sing, “With a pardon in your pocket from the Lord!” — And I want you who are God’s you who trust the Lord Jesus to enjoy the gift of God, the salvation that is yours in Christ Jesus as fully as possible. And I have just the message for you all. Turn to the 7th chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. My text is Romans 7:1-8:4. The title of my message is Sin’s Dominion Done (Romans 7:1-8:4). — Sin’s Dominion Done (Romans 7:1-8:4).
After making this blanket, unconditional, absolute promise of grace to every believer, “Sin shall not have dominion over you,” the inspired writer twice asserts the reason. — “For ye are not under the law, but under grace!” — “For we are not under the law, but under grace!” Then, in the rest of chapter 6 (vv. 16-23), he tells us what the consequence of this new life in Christ is. Living under grace, we live to God!
In chapter 7 the Apostle continues with this same theme, assuring us that there is no possibility of condemnation for believing sinners, because “we are not under the law, but under grace.” This is God’s assurance, given to every sinner who trust his dear Son. — “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace!”
Hold your Bible open on your lap. Let me show you four reasons, given by God himself, in this portion of Holy Scripture, four reasons why sin shall not have dominion over you, if you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.
A New Husband
1st — Sin shall not have dominion over you, you shall never be judged, condemned, or treated as a corrupt, contemptible thing by God, the law can never condemn you, because you have a new Husband, you are married to Christ (vv. 1-4). — Our marriage union with Christ forbids the possibility of condemnation.
(Romans 7:1) “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?”
When Paul says, “I speak to them that know the law,” he is not just addressing himself to Jews who know the Mosaic Law. He is saying, “I am speaking to you civilized people who know what law is, not to barbarians.” And this is what he tells us: — Once a man is dead, the law can’t touch him!
Then, in verses 2 and 3, the Apostle illustrates his doctrine, telling us that a woman whose husband has died is free from the law of her husband. Her husband died, and she is dead with regard to him.
(Romans 7:2-3) “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. (3) So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.”
Now, read verse 4 and rejoice!
(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.”
1. Sin shall not have dominion over us, because we are dead to the law, by the body of Christ!
· By His Perfect Obedience in the Flesh as Our Representative!
· By His Sin-atoning Death as our Substitute!
2. Sin can never have dominion over us, because Christ died for us, he redeemed us that we might be married to him, not to Moses’ dead corpse!
3. Sin shall not have dominion over us, because we were raised from the dead with him, “that we might bring forth fruit unto God,” that we might live unto God.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
(2 Corinthians 5:14-15) “ For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (15) And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
4. What an insult it is to our new Husband, the Lord Jesus, for us to keep bringing Moses up!
A New Life
2nd — Sin shall not have dominion over you, you shall never be judged, condemned, or treated as a corrupt, contemptible thing by God, the law can never condemn you, because you have a new life (vv. 5-13). If you trust Christ, you’ve been born again. Over you the second death has no power!
We used to be in the flesh. Now we are in the Spirit.
(Romans 7:5-6) “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (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.”
When we were in the flesh, natural, unregenerate, without God, without Christ, without life, without faith, living in and performing the motions of sin, we were under the law, cursed and condemned by the law, and lived under the dread of everlasting damnation. Now, we live with Christ, by Christ, for Christ, and to Christ, serving him in our spirits by the Spirit of God.
(Philippians 3:3) “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
We can never be cursed and condemned, we can never be judged by the law, because the law has already judged and condemned, the law has already slain us in the sweet and blessed experience of God’s saving grace, causing us to know and confess the exceeding sinfulness of our sin, destroying all hopes of making ourselves righteous before God (vv. 7-13). — In these verses (7-13), Paul is talking about Holy Spirit conviction (John 16:7-11).
(Romans 7:7-13) “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. (8) But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. 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; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”
Awaked by Sinai’s awful sound,
My soul in bonds of guilt I found,
And knew not where to go.
Eternal truth did loud proclaim,
“The sinner must be born again,
Or sink in endless woe.”
Amazed I stood, but could not tell
Which way to shun the gates of hell,
For death and hell drew near;
I strove, indeed, but strove in vain:
“The sinner must be born again”
Still sounded in my ear.
When to the law I trembling fled,
It poured its curses on my head; —
I no relief could find.
This fearful truth increased my pain:
“The sinner must be born again,”
O’erwhelmed my tortured mind
I heard the law its thunders roll,
While guilt lay heavy on my soul —
A vast oppressive load;
All creature-aid I saw was vain;
“The sinner must be born again,” —
Or drink the wrath of God.
But while I thus in anguish lay,
The bleeding Savior passed that way, —
My bondage to remove.
The sinner, once by justice slain,
Now by his grace is born again,
And sings redeeming love!
To Heaven the joyful tidings flew,
The angels tuned their harps anew,
And loftier sounds did raise;
All hail the Lamb that once was slain,
Unnumbered millions born again,
Shall shout Thy endless praise.
A New Nature
3rd — Sin shall not have dominion over you, you shall never be judged, condemned, or treated as a corrupt, contemptible thing by God, the law can never condemn you, because you have a new nature (vv. 14-23). — Throughout chapters 6 and 7 Paul is telling us that…
· The law can never make a bad man god.
· And the law can never make a good man better.
· The law can’t justify.
· And the law can’t sanctify.
· Christ is our Righteousness.
· And Christ is our Holiness.
· Christ is our Justification.
· And Christ is our Sanctification.
That new nature that is in you is Christ himself (Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 4:24; 2 Peter 1:4). And that new man, that new nature is in perpetual warfare with the old man, the old nature.
(Romans 7:14-23) “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. (15) For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (16) If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. (17) Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. (20) Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Children of God, cease looking to the law for acceptance and assurance. Look to Christ alone! He is all our Salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
Having said that, Paul would have us understand, God the Holy Ghost would have us understand, that believers are people with two distinct, separate, warring natures: the flesh and the spirit. When God saves a sinner he does not renovate, repair, and renew the old nature. He creates a new nature in his elect. Our old, Adamic, fallen, sinful nature is not changed. The flesh is subdued by the spirit; but it will never surrender to the spirit. The spirit wars against the flesh; but it will never conquer or improve the flesh. The flesh is sinful. The flesh is cursed. Thank God, the flesh must die! But it will never be improved.
This dual nature of the believer is plainly set before us in the Word of God. It is utterly impossible to honestly interpret this portion of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, the 5th chapter of Galatians, and 1st John 3 without concluding that both Paul and John teach that there is within every believer, so long as he lives in this world, both an old Adamic nature that can do nothing but sin and a new righteous nature, that which is born of God, that cannot sin, that can only do righteousness. David’s 73rd Psalm stands in the Inspired Hymnbook of the Church as a song of instruction to Zion’s pilgrims about this warfare.
The Holy Spirit’s work in sanctification is not the improvement of our old nature, but the maturing of the new, steadily causing the believer to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and bring forth fruit unto God. — This is not a law work, but a grace work!
Every believer knows the duality of his nature by painful, bitterly painful, experience. Ask any child of God what he desires above all things and he will quickly reply, “That I may live without sin in perfect conformity to Christ, perfectly obeying the will of God in all things.” But that which he most greatly desires is an utter impossibility in this life.
Is it not so with you? Though you delight in the law of God after the inward man, there is another law of evil in your members, warring against you. You would do good; but evil is always present with you, so that you cannot do the things that you would. Even your best, noblest, most sincere acts of good, when honestly evaluated, are so marred by sin in motive and in execution that you must confess, “All my righteousnesses are filthy rags!”
It is this warfare between the flesh and the spirit, more than anything else, that keeps the believer from being satisfied with life in this world. Blessed be God, we shall soon be free! When we have dropped this robe of flesh we shall be perfectly conformed to the image of him who loved us and gave himself for us!
A New Hope
4th — Sin shall not have dominion over you, you shall never be judged, condemned, or treated as a corrupt, contemptible thing by God, the law can never condemn you, because you have a new hope — “A Good Hope through Grace” (7:24-8:4).
(Romans 7:24) “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Paul here compares our life in this state to that inflicted on criminals in ancient times by their barbaric rulers. They would fasten a living body to a putrid carcass, and the condemned man would be compelled to live body joined to body, death joined to life, until the criminal finally pined away in miserable death. That is the picture Paul has in mind, when he speaks of our old nature as “the body of this death.” No wonder he so earnestly cried for deliverance, saying, “Who shall deliver me?”
“The living and the dead, at his command,
Were coupled, face to face, and hand to hand.
Till, choked by stench, in loathed embraces tied,
The lingering wretches pined away and died.”
— Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro)
Roman Poet 70-19 BC
But Paul’s cry was not a cry of despair. It was a cry of confident, blessed hope, “a good hope through grace!”
(Romans 7:25-8:4) “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) 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: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
“Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Sin’s dominion over you is forever done, because, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ…
· You have a new Husband. — You are married to Christ!
· You have a new life. — Christ is your Life!
· You have a new nature. — You are made partakers of the divine nature!
· You have a new hope. — Not a hope of law and works, but the good hope of grace!