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The Believer and Indwelling Sin, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
April 28, 2022 4:00 am

The Believer and Indwelling Sin, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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April 28, 2022 4:00 am

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So the heart and the soul and the mind and deep within the individual longs to do what is good. The band is toward good but there is there that causes that to be not so easily, back that justification never occurred either. What does it mean for you and me. Well, if you don't see holiness in a professing believer.

It could be that that person really is not a Christian but does being holy mean that you never sin or that you hardly ever do. John MacArthur tackles that issue today as he considers the question why do I still sin here on grace to you so John this is a new series that you're starting today, I'm glad to see that title. Why do I still sin because that is a common question that we get a lot from people who come for counsel. They say things like, look, if I'm a new creation in Christ. Why do I still sin so what's your short answer to that question. While you still sin because you're not yet fully redeemed.

Now you say wait a minute I'm truly saved right your soul has been saved your humanity has not yet been saved.

That's why the Bible says that your salvation is nearer than when you believed that aspect of salvation is your final salvation, but Paul understood this clearly in Romans seven, and that's were going to go with the series, nobody would argue that Paul was was not a Christian. Of course he was a believer and he was the greatest teacher of Scripture apart from Christ and all of the New Testament era. But it was Paul who said, I fight inside there's a battle there's war literally war going on in me between my remaining sinful flesh and the new creation so the new creation is still incarcerated in unredeemed flesh and that's why in Romans eight we wait for the redemption of the body. So we are redeemed souls living in unredeemed bodies of the older we get, the more we are aware of how unredeemed they really are. This series is at the very heart of understanding Christian life if you don't understand the battle between the unredeemed flesh and the redeemed spirit.

You don't understand the most basic truth about being a Christian so willing to do this series.

Why do I still sin and you're going to find it may be the most insightful series that you've heard at all because this is going to show you why you struggle and how to overcome and be victorious in that struggle and we have all been overwhelmed with a sense of our sinfulness. In fact, you never get away from being sad about your sin no matter how you mature in Christ. But understanding why you sin and understanding how to overcome that and be victorious in the battle is foundational to living a Christian life to the glory of God.

So stay with us. Yes. Whether you're a new believer or a senior saint you have felt the pain of failing our Savior and giving into the flesh. I know that because we've all done that, and yet there is hope.

You really can defeat sin you'll see why. Throughout this study, and with that hears John to start helping you answer the question why do I still sin. Let's open our Bibles and look together at Romans chapter 7 Romans chapter 7 verses 14 through verse 25. Now some people say this is a Christian being described. And some people say this is a non-Christian and people of been saying those two things ever since. Romans seven was written whole movements have depended for their very life on the interpretation of Romans seven, one side says there is too much bondage to sin for a Christian the other says there's too much desire for good for a non-Christian you can't be a Christian and be bound to sin and you can't be a non-Christian and desire to keep the law of God. And therein is the conflict of interpreting the past. Talk about the non-Christian view for a moment, people want us to believe that this is speaking of a non-Christian say verse 14 is the key. I am carnal, sold under sin, and so they would say that that has to be an unbeliever and then verse 18 for I know that in me, that is, in my flesh dwells no good thing for to will is present with me. But how to perform that which is good I find not and they say that has to be a non-Christian because of a person is a Christian knows how to do what's good where.

Where is the evidence of the Holy Spirit's power. There so they question the very obvious ignorance of the person in verse 18. Not able to figure out how to get his results that he wants. Should one in Christ be so impotent and then again verse 20 4O wretched man that I am seems rather far from the promise of chapter 5, verse one.

Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. Rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And then he goes on to talk about the fact that we not only have the hope and the joy but all the benefits.

How can this man be so wretched with so many benefits. How can he be carnal, sold under sin when chapter 6, verse 14 says sin shall not have dominion over you, and then they invariably go into chapter 6 in detail. For example, chapter 6, verse two.

How shall we, that are dead or have died to sin, live any longer in it. Verse six knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Verse seven for he that has died is freed from sin. Verse 11. Reckon yourselves to have died indeed on to sin. Verse 12.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body. Verse 17 God be thanked, that whereas you were the servants of sin, you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. Verse 18. Being that made free from sin. Verse 22 but now being made free from sin and become servants to God. Now with all that in chapter 6. How in the world can it be said in verse 14 of chapter 7. I am carnal, sold under sin is a Christian understand the problem now will deal with each one of these things as we go through the passage but here, let me just say in general reference to chapter 6 that the emphasis in chapter 6 is on the new creation the new nature. The new identity. The new person in Christ, the redeemed. I the emphasis therefore is on the holiness of the believer and in his new creation and it is redeemed itself. He has broken sins.

Dominion, the emphasis in chapter 7 does not necessarily have to be the same as in chapter 6, and every Christian knows that even though he is new in Christ, and since dominion is broken, and sin no longer has mastery over him.

Sin is still a problem, and so whether or not you want to see a Christian in chapter 7, you still got to see a Christian having conflict with sin, even though his new creation. His new self is holy and that is why it's so important to understand what we taught in chapter 6 that that which is re-created is the new I and that new redeemed self is holy, but they're still going to be a conflict and whether you see that conflict in chapter 7 or not there is still a conflict and it is pointed out, may I add, even in chapter 6 notice chapter 6, verse 12. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it. Celeste I wait a minute you just said we died to sin. You just said the body of sin. Verse six was destroyed and we would henceforth not serve sin. Now why in verse 12 are you commanding us not to let it rain. You see that the same problem in chapter 6, you still have to deal with the problem of the believer and sin, and in all that Paul said in chapter 6 about our new nature and our new creation in our new essence. He never said that from then on we wouldn't have a battle with sin.

Verse 12 implies that sin could still have a raining place, it could still be shouting out orders which we are submitting to. We could still be obeying sin following verse 13 neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness under sin, which is to say that you could do that and so you have to be commanded not to do that. So on the one hand, the problem in chapter 7, is the problem in chapter 6 because you have all of those statements about you died to sin, you are dead to sin. Sin is no dominion over you. Your service to sin is broken. You are now servants of God in your free from sin, you are free from sin.

At the same time have the commands not let sin reign over you. So there are no problems found in the interpretation of chapter 7 that are also found in the interpretation of chapter 6, verse 19 of chapter 6 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh. Remember we said about that when you sin.

It is in the new you.

What is your flesh, your humanness, and so he says I have to remind you of these things because your flesh is still there for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity in the past. Even so, now yield your members servants to righteousness on the holiness and the application again, is there is again there is that you could yield your members to sin, you could yield your members to sin. So arguing that chapter 7 cannot refer to a Christian because of statements in chapter 6 is to really misunderstand the intention of chapter 6 and I think it to be a rather weak argument, let's look at chapter 7 verses 14 to 25 and look at it as if it were a Christian as if it were a Christian in view verse 22 for I delight in the law of God after the inward man is a very strong statement is I delight in the law of God after the inward man on the other side.

We asked the question does an unbeliever delight in the law of God after the inward man.

You don't find such indication in the Scripture.

In fact, in chapter 8 of Romans. In verse seven the middle of the verse it says that the unregenerate person is not subject to the law of God, not subject to the law of God.

Verse 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God sends a Christian to me for two reasons thanking God through Jesus Christ our Lord and serving the law of God with his mind.

Service of the heart. The service of the deepest part of man. And I remind you of what it says in chapter 8.

Again, that the one who is apart from Christ cannot be subject to the law of God, now look back in verse 15, for that which I do. I know not for what I would that do I not, but what I hate that.

Do not.

That sentence to me that says that there is a battle here because the deepest truest part of this individual wants to do what is right, but something keeps him from doing it. Is that true of an unsaved person that they really long to do what is right, but are inexplicably prevented from doing it, not according to Jeremiah was in the heart of man is deceitful above all things and what is desperately wicked verse 18 for I know that in the that is in my flesh dwells no good thing for to will is present with me. But how to perform that which is good I find not against the same idea. Something deep inside me wants to do what's right. Verse 19 for the good that I would. I do not do evil which I would not that do I have in verse 21. I find then a law that when I would do good, evil is present with me.

So the heart and the soul and the mind and deep within the individual longs to do what is good.

The band is toward good but there is an evil principle. There that causes that to be not so easily accomplished. Whoever this is, get this belongs to do good things and finds himself doing what bad things as far as I can read Romans chapter 3 the evil person is no longing to do the will of God. There is none good, no, not one in Romans three says everything about them is bad, everything there is none that understands there is none that seek after God. Verse 11.

Nobody seeks God's purpose is God's holy will. God's holy moral law. There is no fear of God before their eyes. They have no regard for him or his law, the conflict hear the tension.

The battle between what Paul says. I delight in. I love, I approve I want.

I long to do and that he actually does, I believe can only be true in a redeemed person. I don't really think in a an unregenerate person and unredeemed person unsaved person that there really is much of a battle at all to me.

We don't believe for a moment that people without God are basically really good people who just can't seem to pull it off. We believe there really evil people who act out the evil that's inside now that another question comes up. At this point and this is been equally furious debate. Okay, let's say it's a Christian, just to make MacArthur happy. But since a Christian, Christian is something besides a description of a Christian on a low low level of spirituality menisci as you figured out what's going on. She's trying in his own strength to keep the law.

One writer says that this is the abject misery of failure of a Christian who attempts to please God.

Under the Mosaic system sort of a super legalistic kind of Christian try to crank out his own righteousness and is unable to do it in his own flesh. Well visit along the legalistic Christian is a low level sorted self-righteous Christian. I frankly don't think so.

And the reason I don't think so is because those kinds of Christians usually don't have this kind of perception. If you ever learn anything about a legalist you will always learn that they are under the illusion that they are very very spiritual, never for a minute do they think they're like this you look at a Christian is my friend, this is the most mature spiritual Christian there could ever be who sees so clearly the inability of his flesh as over against the holiness of the divine standard you see in the more mature he is and the more spiritually is the greater will be the sensitivity of his own shortcomings.

You show me an infantile quote unquote carnal, fleshly, legalistic, self-righteous kind of Christian, now show you somebody lives under the delusion that everything is doing is really very spiritual. You show me a person with this kind of brokenness. You show me a person agonizing in the depths of his own soul because he can't do everything written in the law of God, and I'll show you a spiritual person so II believe that what you have here is Paul. That's right, Paul, and you see the word I 46 times in this portion of Scripture in Romans are, if I remember great don't count them now. Anyway, says a lot and I think what you have to visit. Well this was Paul before he was saved. This was Paul when he just got saved and he was a infantile and he was still sort of a carnal. I think this is Paul at the very height of his Christian perception. This is Paul at the level of maturity and what he sees is that he does not live up to the holy law of God, though he desires with all his heart and he finds himself debilitated by that ugly reality that sin in its residual reality is still hanging on, and that is a profoundly sensitive realization, this is Paul far along in his apostleship mature in the Lord walking in the dynamic of spiritual life planning experience the mighty power of God and the wisdom of God and the knowledge of God and the Moreno's and the more he experiences the more he hates the sin that he sees hanging on in the terms that he uses in Romans seven are so precise that I think we can't miss this picture. Whoever this person is key hates sin. Verse 15 I hated he's whoever this person is he loves righteousness verses 19 and 21 I want to do good. Whoever this person is he delights in the law of God from the bottom of his heart.

Verse 22 whoever this person is he deeply regrets his sins. Verse 1518 20 4O wretched man whoever this person is he thanks God for the deliverance that is his in Jesus Christ our Lord. Don't tell me this man is not a Christian the Christian and listen to extremes.

He holds them in tension temporarily. He lives in this world as a man of flesh and blood subject to the conditions of mortal life. He is a son of Adam.

Adam is his fellow and all other men as well who inherited the sinful seed but spiritually he is passed from darkness to light from death to life. He now shares in Christ death, burial and resurrection, and is now the possessor of an incorruptible eternal seed.

The divine nature.

He is a new creation is no longer in anatomy is in Christ, what sin hangs on in his humanness and so is conscious of the presence and power of indwelling sin, and he despises and he hates it and eludes because he has tasted of the incorruptible seed. This is the man in Romans seven, but just to reinforce this.

There is a rather dramatic change in the verb tenses in the chapter, the verbs from chapter 7 verse 7 to 13 are in the past tense and I believe they speak before his conversion, and we went through that in detail to point out that this was his pre-conversion conviction experience when he was face-to-face with the law of God and the verbs are in the past tense.

Eris as soon as you hit verse 14. They are in the present tense write down through verse 25.

The change in the verb tenses very important linguistic note, it tells us Paul is moved out of the past before he was redeemed into the present. There is also a very interesting change in circumstance relative to sin. From verse 7 to 13. Sin kills him. Sin slays him. He says that in verse 11 sin taking occasion by the commitment to see me and by assuming sin killed him jealous, self-righteous, as all his hopes all of the securities.

When he found out he was really a sinner seeing a lot. God just devastated.

Images wipe them out. Sin killed. But all of a sudden when you come to verse 14 he is fighting soon and he will not kill it. You will not get into it so I believe this is Paul's own testimony of how it is to live as a spirit controlled mature believer who loves with all of his heart. The precious, beautiful, holy, majestic law of God and finds himself wrapped in human flesh and unable to fulfill the law of God, the way his heart wants him to. I also believe that in this section he continues his discussion of the law and he is affirming to the Jew that there's nothing wrong with the law. The law can't save. We saw that the law can't sanctify but it's still good because it does what it convicts us of what sin and that is true before your saved and guess what is true afterwards and I believe in seven, 14 to 25. He's following the same argument. That's why the word for appears in verse 14.

It just flows right along just as sin did not obviate the goodness of the law before he was saved. It doesn't obviate the goodness of the law after he say the law reveals soon to be sinful before your saved and it reveals soon to be sinful after six you know when you become a Christian and you read about sin in the Bible, are you less concerned about your sin because you're not Christian know you should be what were concerned about in the law will always reveal it when David said I would buy word abide in my heart that I might not sin. He was saying that the word of God in the heart becomes the point of conviction is a just information. Understand that we don't go through life just needing information we need conviction in the law has that power.

So while telling us that the law cannot say in the law cannot sanctify. He affirms that it is good and holy and just because it does convict of sin before your save and bring you to Christ and after your saved so they'll understand God's holy standard and long with all your heart, to fulfill the problem is not the law problems us.

This is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us.

John's current look at Romans seven is titled why do I still sin. Now, as John mentioned before the broadcast. You can't grow spiritually if you don't understand your daily battle with sin. So for some review that can help you keep sin at bay. Go to our website and download John's study.

Why do I still sin.

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John MacArthur on Phil Johnson inviting you to join us at the same time tomorrow when John looks at the power of indwelling sin and how to overcome it to another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on race to

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