Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com
Sermon #74 — Romans Series
Title: Delighting in the Law
Text: Romans 7:22
Subject: The Believer and God’s Law
Date: Sunday Morning — December 13, 2015
Reading: Psalm 73:1-28
What is your attitude toward the law of God? Is it something you fear and dread? Do you use it as a pattern of moral behavior? Is it a standard which you strive to uphold in your life? Is it a spiritual thermometer by which you measure your spirituality and personal holiness? Is the law of God something you love, or something you despise? Do you seek to be saved by it? Do you ignore it? Are you indifferent to it? Perhaps none of these questions apply to you. You may simply be ignorant of it. I hope that before you leave here today God will graciously make you know his law, both in the letter and in the spirit of it, and that he will cause you to love and delight in his law.
I want to talk to you this morning about — Delighting in the Law. That’s my subject — Delighting in the Law (Romans 7:22).
Because we preach the gospel of the grace of God plainly, declaring to all men that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, without the works of the law, we are often accused of against the law. Those who oppose the gospel of the grace of God which we preach, charge us with being promoters of lawlessness and licentiousness. That has always been the case. The Pharisees charged our Lord with being a glutton and a winebibber, and one who sought to destroy the law. The Judaizers at Galatia charged the Apostle Paul with lawlessness. And the legalists of our day, those who seek to make salvation, at least in part, the work of man, charge us with the same scandalous lies.
I cannot silence the mouths of wicked men, nor will I attempt to do so. God will settle the issue in his own time. But I do want you to properly understand the doctrine of God’s Word. I want us to know the gospel of God’s free grace in Christ. And, if we are to understand the doctrine of the gospel, we must know something about the law of God. And that is my subject this morning. You will find my text in Romans 7:22.
Proposition: In this verse of Scripture the Apostle Paul declares that which is the attitude of every true believer with regard to the law of God. — “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.”
1. The saints of God delight in his law.
2. It is not possible for any man to obey the law of God.
3. The Lord Jesus Christ has fully satisfied the law for God’s elect.
4. All who believe on Christ fulfill the law by faith.
5. In Christ we are free from the law.
Delight in the Law
1st — The first thing I want to establish this morning is the fact that the saints of God delight in his holy law.
I am getting a little bit weary of men charging me and this congregation with antinomianism. I would as soon be charged with Arminianism, or adultery, as be charged with antinomianism. To say that a man is an antinomian is to say that he is lost, but more, it is to declare that he is a scurrilous, hypocritical reprobate, without conscience before God or man. An antinomian is one who is against God’s law, which means that he is against God’s holiness, which means that he is against God.
Now, we are against legalism. We are against making salvation in any measure a matter of obedience to the law. But we are not against the law. We are for it. We delight in it, because we see that the law of God is, like himself, perfect. The law is holy, and just, and good. I want everyone here to understand this.
The law of God is perfect (Romans 7:12; 1 Timothy 1:8-10).
(Romans 7:12) “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”
(1 Timothy 1:8-10) “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; (9) Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, (10) For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”
The law of God, as it is set forth in the Ten Commandments, is perfect: holy, just, and good. In it the interests of God’s glory and man’s good are perfectly maintained. The law is impartial and complete, covering all the circumstances of life. Because it is perfect, it ought to be kept by all men, always.
· If men and women kept the law, they would love God perfectly.
· If we kept the law, we would love one another perfectly.
· The essence of obedience to the law of God, if it were perfectly maintained, would be love, perfect love (Matthew 22:37-40).
(Matthew 22:37-40) “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (40) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
We recognize the perfection of the law because it has been written upon our hearts in regeneration (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16).
(Hebrews 8:10) “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
(Hebrews 10:16) “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.”
In the first covenant the law was written upon tables of stone. In creation it is stamped upon the conscience. But in the new covenant, the covenant of grace, in the new creation of grace the law of God is written upon the hearts of heaven-born souls by the Spirit of God. What does that mean? It means that when God comes to deal with is elect in saving grace….
· He makes them to know his law’s spiritual nature (Romans 7:7-9).
· He makes us to approve of his law.
· He makes us to see our own guilt, depravity, and just condemnation before the law (Romans 3:19).
And every sinner in this world who has experienced the grace of God in regeneration delights in the law of God. We not only approve of the law of God, we delight in it! There is in every believer a new nature called “the inward man,” that is righteous and holy. That new nature is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” That new nature is the holy “seed” that is born of God. And after “the inward man,” in his inmost soul, in his heart of hearts, every believer delights in the law of God.
Let’s look at the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), and see if this is not so.
1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (v. 3). — Is it not the delight and supreme ambition of your heart to love, worship, and serve the one true and living God as he is revealed in Christ? That is the meaning of this commandment. We delight in it.
Do not I love Thee, O my Lord?
Behold my heart and see;
And tear each odious idol out
That dares to rival Thee.
2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…” (vv. 4-6). — We earnestly seek to avoid every form of idolatry. Carnal, physical symbols and representations of God, his power, or his grace, to the believing heart, are repugnant. We seek to worship God in Spirit and in truth.
(John 4:23-24) “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (24) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.””
(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 worship God spiritually: by the Spirit and in our heart.
· And we worship God in truth, truthfully, sincerely, and in accordance with revealed truth.
3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” (v. 7). — We seek to reverence and adore the name of the Lord our God, earnestly desiring never to profane it in thought or word.
4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…” (vv. 8-11). — We find rest for our souls in God’s providence and grace through faith in Christ, our true Sabbath (Hebrews 4).
5. “Honor thy father and thy mother…” (v. 12). — We seek to honor all God ordained human authority, which grows out of parental authority.
6. “Thou shalt not kill” (v. 13). — We respect human life and seek to protect it.
7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (v. 14). — We seek to honor God with our bodies, not abusing the sexual, sensual powers and privileges given to men and women in marriage. NOTE: The word “adultery” takes in and includes all sexual promiscuity: — adultery — fornication — sodomy.
8. “Thou shalt not steal” (v. 15). — The grace of God teaches us to respect and protect the property rights of our neighbors.
9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (v. 16). — We seek to protect social order by protecting the name, character, and reputation of our fellow man. We seek to avoid slander, gossip, and false witness, and to promote the honor of others. We not only want to avoid hurting other men and women, we seek their happiness and welfare.
10. “Thou shalt not covet…” (v. 17). — We seek to avoid all envy, jealousy, and covetousness, and to find contentment and satisfaction in God’s providence.
We do not need the commandments of the law to teach us to do these things. The law is written on our hearts by “the grace of God that bringeth salvation…teaching us that denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). Only the ungodly, the rebel, and the lawless need the commandments of the law as a rule of life and motive for obedience (1 Timothy 1:9-10).
2nd — We delight in the law of God. But, secondly, we recognize that it is not possible for any of us to obey the law of God. For the fallen, sinful sons and daughters of Adam, obedience to the holy law of God is an impossible task.
We love God’s law, and delight in it. There is nothing revealed or required in the law, but that with which our hearts are in complete agreement. — “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” (Romans 7:23).
Because sin dwells in us, it is utterly impossible for God’s saints to obey the law. The very best works that we do are all tainted and corrupted by sin (Isaiah 64:6).
(Isaiah 64:60 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
· We desire to have every affection of our hearts regulated by love for God, but they are not.
· We desire to worship God without rival, but we do not.
· We desire to honor the name of God in all things, but we do not. Strictly speaking, we do not honor the name of God in anything.
· We desire to rest in God’s providence and grace, never questioning his wisdom, power, and goodness, but we do not.
· We desire to honor all God-ordained authority, but we do not.
· We desire to respect human life, but we are often full of anger, committing murder.
· We desire to honor God with our bodies, but we often are filled with lust, committing adultery.
· We desire to honor the property rights of others, but we often steal, if not in deed in thoughts of covetousness.
· We desire to be truthful in all things, but we often lie.
· We desire to be content with God’s providence, but we are usually covetous.
Even our most devoted, most spiritual, most consecrated times of worship, prayer, meditation, and praise are, in and of themselves, nothing but corruption and sin.
In the believer’s heart there is a constant warfare between the flesh and the Spirit. The Spirit rules. The Spirit dominates. But the flesh will not surrender (Galatians 5:17).
If God’s saints, men and women redeemed by the blood of Christ and indwelt by God the Holy Ghost, cannot keep the law, it is certain that the ungodly and sinful can never be saved by obedience to the law (Galatians 2:16; 3:10-11).
(Galatians 2:16-21) “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (17) But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. (18) For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. (19) For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. (20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (21) I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
(Galatians 3:10-11) “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (11) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.”
· You cannot justify yourself!
· If God justifies you, you cannot sanctify yourself!
· If God sanctifies you, you cannot preserve yourself!
· If God preserves you, you cannot glorify yourself!
Christ Obeyed and Satisfied
3rd — We delight in the law of God, though we know that it is impossible for any man to obey God’s law. But, and I want you to get this third point — The Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, our Substitute, has perfectly obeyed and fully satisfied the law for God’s elect. — Our Savior’s name is Jehovah-tsidkneu, “the Lord our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16; Romans 8:3).
(Jeremiah 23:6) “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
(Jeremiah 33:16) “In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.”
(Romans 8:3) “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.”
· Christ is our righteousness by his obedience in life (Romans 5:19).
· Christ is our righteousness by his obedience in death (Galatians 3:13).
· Christ is our righteousness b his grace in regeneration (Ephesians 4:24).
(Jeremiah 50:20) “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”
Fulfilled by Faith
4th — Now all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ fulfill the law by faith in him (Romans 3:31, 8:4).
(Romans 3:31) “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
(Romans 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. (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.”
All who claim righteousness of any kind by their personal obedience to the law lower the requirements of the law. And when you lower the requirements of the law, you virtually destroy the law. We do not lower the law’s standard. God’s law is perfect. And it demands perfection. And when a sinner trusts Christ alone for salvation and acceptance with God, he meets the demands of the law.
· Christ is our perfect Righteousness.
· Christ is our perfect Satisfaction.
· And we are complete in him (Colossians 2:9-10).
(Colossians 2:9-10) (9) “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
Shout, believer, to thy God!
He hath once the wine-press trod;
Peace procured by blood Divine,
Cancelled all thy sins and mine!
In thy Surety thou art free,
His dear hands were pierced for thee;
With his spotless garments on,
Holy as the Holy One!
Oh the heights and depths of grace!
Shining with meridian blaze;
Here the sacred records show,
Sinners black, but comely too.
Free from the Law
5th — And, lastly, I rejoice to send you home with this good news from the Word of God — In Christ we are free (utterly, completely, absolutely free) from the law (Romans 6:14, 15; 7:4; 8:1; 10:4; Galatians 3:13, 24, 25; Colossians 2:13-16).
(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.”
(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.”
(Galatians 3:13) “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
(Galatians 3:24-25) “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (25) But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
(Colossians 2:13-23) “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (16) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (18) Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (19) And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (20) Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (21) (Touch not; taste not; handle not; (22) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (23) Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.”
(Romans 10:4). (4) “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.”
“Christ is the end of the law.”
· Its ceremonies.
· Its covenant.
· Its curse.
· Its constraint.
“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.”
· Pardoning righteousness.
· Justifying righteousness.
· Sanctifying righteousness.
“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” — Would you be free from the law? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and the law shall never condemn you!
Application: Rowland Hill’s Dream