Oh wretched man that I am Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thanks be to God, Who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Law of God is perfect and restores life. His testimonies are steadfast and sure. His Law makes foolish people wise and the one who delights in Him is blessed indeed. No one could argue that God’s Law was anything but good – yet it is insufficient. The Law tells sinners what to do, but it can do nothing at all to help them fulfil it. Instead, its accusing finger points at everyman, for none are righteous – not even one.
The Law may be perfect and man may desire to obey the perfect Law of God, but it is insufficient to save a guilty sinner – and we discover it to be a ministration of death – for it tells us God’s standard for man, but then shows us that we can only fail. The Law may be good and spiritual and the born-again life in Christ may desire to keep God’s commandments – but the old sin nature is carnal and in bondage to sin. This is why Paul failed when he tried to keep the Law in the strength of his old fallen nature, which caused him to cry out:- Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of sin – and free me from this life that is dominated by death.
However hard man tries, it is impossible for him to keep the requirements of the Law. One only has to be born as a son of Adam to be condemned to death – eternal death. Natural man / unsaved man is dead in his sins and born under condemnation. No wonder the disciples asked Jesus in astonishment – Who then can be saved? No wonder Paul warned the Galatians of the Law’s restrictive nature, when he said: before faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Galatians 3:23
The way of faith that was revealed was Christ – the way of the Cross – the only Way. And the Law was described by Paul as a schoolmaster that was to point us to Him. That schoolmaster could instruct the natural/unsaved man how to live but could not change the sinful nature of its students – it could only impose a penalty for failure, and the wages of sin – the penalty for failure to keep the Law – was death.
The Law though perfect, had no way to remove the death sentence – so death reigned from Adam’s fall to Moses and continued to rule from the time of Moses to Christ. The Law was God’s perfect tool to direct us to Christ so that we might be justified. But the Law can be equally problematic to the one that has been justified, for if one starts to live a Christian life under the restrictive measure of the Law of Moses or any self-imposed legalistic system, it can only be done by the old sin nature being guided by the lust of the flesh and not the new nature in Christ, that is led by the Spirit of God.
Paul discovered, after his Damascus Road conversion, that trying to live the Christian life in the power of the old sin nature was doomed to failure, causing him to cry out… O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Paul also scolded the Galatians for not applying this truth that he had taught them: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? After being saved by the Spirit, are you now trying to live by means of the flesh? Galatians 3:1
Paul had discovered the answer was Christ – the way of the Cross – the only Way. His elated cry was: thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord. And this is how it works!!! Christ lived a perfect life and by fulfilling all the requirements of the Law, He was able to go to the cross and become the one and only Sacrifice for the sin of the whole world. This broke the power of death in His life and hence Christ rose from the dead. The Father, Who has life in Himself, granted the Son to have life in Himself too.
God’s condition for salvation was to believe – believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation was His free gift of grace to everyone, who would believe in His beloved Son. And one thing that happens to a believer is that he becomes a new creation in Christ. He is given a new life – a born again life – the life of Christ – Christ’s very own life.
It was living his life, through the new-life in Christ, that was given to Paul – when he was born again, that was Paul’s open secret of how to live the victorious Christian life. It was living this new-life in Christ that broke the power of sin in Paul’s life. It was living this new-life in Christ that delivered Paul from the body of death. And it is living our Christian life, by means of the new born-again life of Christ in us, that will give you and me the victory over the power of sin in our lives too. Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord !!
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