At Last Operating as a Truly Liberated Self
So we pass through the gateway of Romans 6 via Romans 7 into Romans 8! Romans 6 was the application of Paul’s second radical revelation about Christ on Calvary (Gal. 1:11-12), and the meaning of the two levels of remembrance at the Lord’s Supper—the wine symbolizing the blood shed for sinners, the broken bread symbolizing the body dead and risen for the saints. Paul ran from Damascus because, under fierce pressure, he didn’t, know how to stand as a Christ-in-him for deliverance, and his friends had to help him out by a rope-basket.. He was “driven” into Arabia for three years as a result. There Paul saw and learned identification with Christ in its full meaning only given us by him in Corinthians 5:14, 21. If He hung there on the cross as us, His body represented our bodies. But what do our bodies express? The nature of its indwelling spirit., which was sin. So Paul actually said that God made His sinless Son “sin for us.” By His shed blood He “bore our sins,” which were not His, and atoned for them in His blood. But now Paul was saying He actually was made sin in that holy nature representing ours, because our bodies express that sin nature and are thus “sin.” No wonder He cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” But, as Paul said, if Christ died as us, expressing the spirit of sin in His body, then when He died, out went that sin-spirit from His body, for a dead body has no spirit. And so too, therefore, out went that sin-spirit from our bodies. And into the dead body in the tomb came His own Spirit, and thus also into our bodies. So Paul could say in Romans 6:10, “…in that He died, He died unto sin once,” and so our bodies were annulled as occupants of sin (Rom. 6:6), and we reckon ourselves “dead indeed unto sin.”
If Romans 6 is the presentation for us all of the fact of our deliverance, by Christ’s body-death, from the sin principle indwelling us, and we who believe are to state that to be so of ourselves, then we faithfully do so. But we say within ourselves, “I say that, but it: isn’t working well in me!” “Reckon” means I count it as so and say so, but that is different from realizing. There is a difference between me saying I reckon I have a book in my hands and saying I have a book in my hands! “Reckon” means that I’m not really sure. So honest Paul, and honest us with Paul, come to the desperate cry of Romans 7: “I say I’m dead to sin, but it isn’t working! Wretched man that I am. What’s wrong?” Calvary fact is no good to me unless it becomes Calvary experience, and in Romans 7. it doesn’t. That’s why Romans 7 is written in the present tense (Rom. 7:7-24), although Paul had just said it was a past fact for him (Rom. 7:4-6). Because all of us go through Romans 6 via Romans 7 to get to Romans 8, and only those who have come through can honestly give the glory statements of Romans 8:1-2, Paul must not say it for us, so he identifies himself with us in our stumbling, searching, faltering walk until we ourselves can say those “1 and 2” verses with him.
At last, by this second travail of the believer, the light is lit, and very simply. “Why do I keep doing things I have been doing, and not doing what I want to do?” cries Paul in agreeing with the tenth commandment not to covet, setting himself not to do it, and then finding “sin wrought in me all manner of lusts.” Now here is the secret and the answer. It was sin that wrought these in me and caused me to do and have them. Yes, sin, but not I!! That was the flash of Spirit-light. “Why,” Paul says, “I didn’t want to do those things, so it wasn’t I doing them!” Then who was it? Why, obviously that intruder who first got into me through the Fall mid made me his dwelling place. It was not I, but “sin that dwelling in me,” which he repeats twice for emphasis in Romans 7:17 and 20. It was sin, Satan in his nature, operating in me, but by his supreme deceit, he has made me, from Adam onwards, think it. was I doing it, as if I have an independent, nature of my own. But I am only a vessel, branch, temple, slave, body-member. The doer is the one I contain!
And so Paul saw it. He had, as in Romans 6, seen in his Arabia visit this total meaning of Calvary—that Christ’s body represented ours and our body expresses the sin-spirit. So did His on the cross! But, as He died, out went that sin-spirit from His body as ours, and in His resurrection in came His Spirit of Truth in place of that false deceiving spirit cast out forever. So, Paul moves on with his exclamation of delighted thanks in Romans 7:25 to his total statement, of who he now is with no further condemnation, but set free by the law (the fixed principle) of the Spirit of life by Christ in him, from that former law (fixed principle) of sin and death, that lie of independent, self-relying self. Now it is Christ dwelling in him (Rom. 8:8, 9) where it had been sin dwelling in him.
The whole key to this lies in the understanding that we humans never had a self-operating, self-relying nature, but were solely created to express God in His nature. But we only became conscious, functioning humanity when we were voluntarily, though deceivedly, taken captive by that spirit of error, so that we each were Satan-I. Then, through our Last Adam and His Calvary death and resurrection, we change back to our True Owner-Creator and are Christ-I. Many believers know and claim the reality of Christ in you, as in Ephesians 3:17, but because we never knew the basic reality of formerly being Satan-sin dwelling in us, and mistakenly living in the deceit, of a self-acting self, we have been falsely taught that we have a deposit of sin in our human selves (soul and body) and must, therefore have some continual forms of warfare for the rest of our lives. Yet the glory of the revelation is that there never has been anything wrong with our human selves (spirit, soul and body) which God created as “very good.” All that happened to our selves was the misuse of self by the Satan-god, and now right use by our true Christ-Indweller. This means that we can boldly accept ourselves as always having been right, selves, only formerly in wrong hands but now in right hands.
The flesh, Paul’s common term for our humanity, is right in its right ownership, as with Jesus (“God manifest in the flesh”). With us, it had become “sinful flesh,” but then in Christ the sin was condemned in the flesh (Rom. 8:3), and “they that, are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24); and “the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20). Flesh as humanity is, of course, always available to temptations by its appetites (Gal. 5:16-18), and can catch us out if we foolishly go back to struggle with self-effort. But if we fully recognize the Spirit expressing Himself as us/by us, then that old pull of sin and the “you ought not” law on our deceived self has no further power (Gal. 5:18). Flesh is not in itself an evil tiling any more than the eye is evil. It is the lusts which are evil, not the flesh or the eyes (1 John 2:16).
We need expanded understandings of the completeness of Christ being expressed by our humanity, with a growth as in 1 Peter 3:18, and an ever-expanding conformity to His likeness expressed in our humanity (2 Cor. 4:19 and Rom. 8:29). We thus have rescued and regained our human selves from any blame in themselves and those false condemnations we lived in while in a Romans 7 deceived consciousness of our guilt We walk blameless and sanctified as Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. We regain our human selves, mortal in the physical and thus remaining in our world to be a light in it, but holy in our spirit-selves expressed in our souls and bodies (Heb. 10:14-22).
- God All in All
- Jesus, the Second Man
- We Humans Have No Nature
- Pairs of Opposites: The Operating Law of the Universe
- The Fallacy of Having Two Natures
- No Such Thing as an Independent Self
- At Last Operating as a Truly Liberated Self
- The Way Is the Obedience, Not of Words, but of Faith
- Then Daily Living
- Trials Are Adventures, Temptations Are Opportunities
- When Temptation Becomes Sin
- The Difference Between Soul and Spirit
- The Finality! We are Royal Priests
- Death in Us, Life in Others
- God Meaning Evil for Good
- Speaking the Word of Faith
- The Lamb on the Throne
- The Spirit’s Drive in Us
- The Gaining of Specific Intercessory Objectives
- Children, Young Men and Fathers
- A Missionary Mother’s Intercession
- To Sum Up