A study of Romans: The Righteousness of God #14 The Doctrine of Sin – Romans 7:18-20

22 Jul

Deuteronomy 22:1-4 (ESV)
1  “You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother.
2  And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him.
3  And you shall do the same with his donkey or with his garment, or with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he loses and you find; you may not ignore it.
4  You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and ignore them. You shall help him to lift them up again.

Proverbs 3:27 (ESV)
27  Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Proverbs 21:13 (ESV)
13  Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 (ESV)
20  Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.

What are some of the problems in life that we must face and overcome? Number one on the list is sin, because nobody on earth is sinless. We are all guilty of both sins of omission (“doeth good”) and sins of commission (“sinneth not”). If we walk in the fear of God and follow His wisdom, we will be able to detect and defeat the wicked one when he comes to tempt us. Wisdom will guide us and guard us in our daily walk.

 James 4:17 (ESV)
17  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Romans 7:18-20 (ESV)
18  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
19  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
20  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

Paul had a deep desire to do only good. The wishing to do God’s will was very much present within his redeemed being.

Paul is not saying that he was totally incapable of doing anything that was good and acceptable. He is saying that he was incapable of completely fulfilling the requirements of God’s holy law

As a believer grows in his spiritual life, he inevitably will have both an increased hatred of sin and an increased love for righteousness. As desire for holiness increases, so will sensitivity to and antipathy toward sin.

The other side of the predicament, Paul says, is that I practice the very evil that I do not wish. Again, it is important to understand that this great inner struggle with sin is not experienced by the undeveloped and childish believer but by the mature man of God.

It demonstrates the inadequacy of human resolution. To resolve to do a thing is very far from doing it. There is in human nature an essential weakness of the will. The will comes up against the problems, the difficulties, the opposition—and it fails.

Once Peter took a great resolution. “Even if I must die with you,” he said, “I will not deny you” (Matt 26:35); and yet he failed badly when it came to the point. The human will not strengthened by Christ is bound to crack.

It demonstrates the limitations of diagnosis. Paul knew quite clearly what was wrong; but he was unable to put it right. He was like a doctor who could accurately diagnose a disease but was powerless to prescribe a cure. Jesus is the one person who not only knows what is wrong, but who can also put the wrong to rights. It is not criticism he offers but help.

When we are made aware of sin, we have a clear responsibility: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 niv).

1 John 3:16-18 (ESV)
16  By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
17  But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
18  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Popular sitcom, he characters are arrested on a duty to rescue violation. This law requires people to act as good Samaritans, and holds citizens legally liable for their failure to act. In common parlance, a lie of omission may be referred to as “playing dumb.”

Any treatment of Christian doctrine would be incomplete if the biblical statement concerning sin were omitted. Modern Philosophy denies the existence of sin, but any such denial is part of a false philosophy. All refusal to admit the existence of sin can neither be controverted nor challenged. The Bible declares sin’s existence and the human heart displays it. Sin is not a myth, it is not a figment of the mind; sin is a fact.

The Explanation of Sin

What is sin? Dr. Charles Ryrie has given a listing of Hebrew and Greek words which describe sin. He says that in the Hebrew there are at least eight basic words. The usage of these words leads to certain conclusions about the doctrine of sin in the Old Testament.

(1) Sin was conceived of as being fundamentally disobedience to God.

(2) While disobedience involved both positive and negative ideas, the emphasis was definitely on the positive commission of wrong and not the negative omission of good. In other words, sin was not simply missing the right mark, but hitting the wrong mark.

(3) Sin may take many forms, and the Israelite was aware of the particular form which his sin did take.”

“The New Testament uses twelve basic words to describe sin. From the uses of these words several conclusions may also be drawn.

(1) There is always a clear standard against which sin is committed.

(2) Ultimately all sin is a positive rebellion against God and a transgression of His standards.

(3) Evil may assume a variety of forms.

(4) Man’s responsibility is definite and clearly understood.”

The word that is used most frequently is missing the mark. It is the most comprehensive term for explaining sin. Paul used the verb hamartano when he wrote, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

God has a high and holy standard of what is right, and so long as man follows the Divine standard he will see himself as he truly exists in God’s eyes.

The Book of Judges contains the record of 700 men in the Tribe of Benjamin, all left‑handed, and “everyone could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss” (Judges 20:16). The word translated “miss” is chata, rendered “sin” in Exodus 20:20 and so translated about 200 times in our English Bible. The left‑handed marksmen in the Tribe of Benjamin rarely if ever fell short of their target. They were known as men of the sling, with a deadly accuracy which never missed the bull’s eye. On the other hand, the Bible contains no record of a man, save Jesus Christ, who never missed the moral standard of Almighty God

Every man has failed to do what he ought, therefore the term is fittingly applied to sins of omission. Every man can be charged with the sin of the Pharisees whom our Lord charged with leaving undone the things they ought to have done (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42).

The Bible says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). You see, sinning is not limited to the doing and saying things that are wrong, but it extends to our failure to do what in God’s standard is perfectly right, missing that mark, falling short of the honor and worth of Almighty God.

The Entrance of Sin

With respect to the entrance of sin in the human race we are confined to God’s revelation to us in His Word. The Word of God leaves no room for doubt in this matter of sin’s origin.

According to Scripture sin first made its appearance in the world in the angelic creation. Peter wrote, “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (II Peter 2:4).

To this Jude adds, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).

The obvious deduction is that the sin of these fallen angels was a free act on their part, arising from their dissatisfaction with the place God assigned to them when He created them. Lucifer, who became the Devil, appears to have been the leader of the rebellion (Isaiah 14:12‑14), so that the Devil and demons were not created by God as such.

They were angels who rose up in rebellion against God. Exactly how such dissatisfaction and rebellion could arise in beings whom God created is not revealed by the sacred writers. We assume that they possessed personality and freedom of will and thereby had the capability of making right or wrong choices.

The Scripture is clear in its declaration that “by one man sin entered into the world . . .” (Romans 5:12). Sin is a very real and terrible fact of human life. The problem as to its earthly origin is solved in Romans 5. It came through the sin of “one man,” Adam, and thereby “passed” to “all men.”

The Extent of Sin

The seat of sin is in man himself. Our Lord said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19).

The Effects of Sin

Genuine guilt toward God arises from illumination we receive from the Bible. It appears as the result of a breakdown in man’s obedience to God and his utter dependence upon God. It is a truly genuine guilt when the sinner knows in his innermost heart that he has disobeyed God, and that all such disobedience is sin. If a person is gripped with guilt‑feelings which are a result of sin and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, there is one solution, and only one. He must turn to God, trusting the redeeming work of Christ, and he may be veritably assured of forgiveness and cleansing.

When a person feels guilty because of sin, he does so because God has disapproved of that sin. He knows he has transgressed God’s law and therefore deserves to be punished. The guilt‑feeling grows out of the fact that his fellowship with God has been marred.

Every sin is an offense against God and stands in opposition to the holiness of God. We should be thankful to God that He has provided in man’s make‑up and constitution the genuine and real guilt‑feeling whenever sin enters.

Another consequence of sin is the punishment imposed upon the sinner by God. Since sin is a capital crime against God, man is guilty of death. The Scriptures repeatedly tell us that sin and death are inseparably linked together.

 “For the wages of sin is death . . .” (Romans 6:23). “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me” (Romans 7:11). “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15). The guilty sinner cannot escape the Divine sentence, “As it is appointed unto men once to die . . .” (Hebrews 9:27).

The Expiation For Sin

Expiation is the act of making satisfaction or atonement for a crime or fault. God, because of His nature, not only demands that sin be punished but He also has provided for the sinner’s restoration to fellowship with Himself. It is at this point where the death of Christ enters the scene.

God could not be satisfied until sin had been fully atoned for. The Bible teaches that by the sufferings and death of Christ, the acceptable Substitute was provided for the sin of man, thereby making His sufferings and death to be vicarious, that is, in the room and stead of the sinner.

There could be no expiation for sin apart from the sacrifice of blood, the reason being that God so declared it. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Christ was the sinner’s bleeding sacrifice. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12).

Paul wrote, “One died for all” (II Corinthians 5:14). “For He hath made Him to be sin for us . . .” (II Corinthians 5:21). Peter added, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (I Peter 3:18).

Expiation means that our sins were laid upon Christ. “The LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

The chief purpose of the Incarnation of Christ was to offer Himself a ransom for sinners. “Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

“For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

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Posted by on July 22, 2021 in Romans


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