17/7/2016 LESSON 7
THE LAW IS POWERLESS TO SAVE
Quarter’s Theme: BASIC CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES
Unit 2 – The Believers’ Justification And Admonition To Sinners (Lessons 5-9)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 159, 165
Devotional Reading: GAL. 3:19-25
Topic For Adults
YOU CANNOT MAKE HEAVEN THROUGH KEEPING THE LAW
Topic For Youths
YOU NEED DIVINE POWER TO OVERCOME SIN
Topic For Intermediates
SAVED BY GRACE ALONE
ROM. 7:4-12, 21-25
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. (Rom. 7:6) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Man Is Helpless Under The Law To Conquer Sin
Man needs Divine help to get rid of sin in his life. Many go through life with the sense of guilt because they keep falling into the same sin over and over again. They fall into sin, regret committing the sin, promise not to do so again, get tempted and fall again – trapped in the sin circle. Many give up, consoling themselves that other people also fall into sin. Some propagate philosophies that the idea that an action is sinful is a figment of man’s imagination. No matter what escape mechanism or philosophy man adopts to ease the guilt of sin, God-given conscience does not relieve him as long as sin has its hold on him. Man needs help from God to break its power and control over his life. In the inner recess of man’s soul, there is a desire to get rid of sin and live to please God.
Point of Emphasis: Man is truly wretched until he finds solution to the sin problem.
Prayer Point: I receive the power to live above sin through the enablement of Jesus Christ.
Sin can be likened to cancerous tissue in a body. Unless the cancerous tissue is
removed, it will eventually destroy the body. The human society is dying under
the power and impact of sin. The law is like a diagnostic tool which does a good job to reveal the cancer, but which cannot cure the cancer. The law highlights the failure of man to meet God’s set standard.
NOTE ON THE TEXTS
PART 1: CHRISTIAN DEAD TO LAW (ROM. 7: 4-6)
The law was given through Moses during the Old Testament era. Over the millennia, man has tried unsuccessfully to please God by keeping the law. Instead of the law bringing man closer to God, it stirred up the desire to circumvent it and delve deeper into sin. In order to bridge the gap between man and God, He sent His Son to atone for man’s sins. His death on the cross fulfils all the righteousness which the law was given to accomplish. By His death on the cross, Jesus has brought to an end all the legalistic demands of the law on those who believe in Him. By yielding one’s life to Christ, one is crucified with Him, and therefore, becomes dead to the law.
Being dead to the law however does not mean that the believer is free to do all the things that the law forbids. Jesus did not come to abolish the righteousness which God demands. In fact, the standard of righteousness for believers is higher than what the law demanded. The path to obtaining the righteousness God demands changed from depending on the observance of the law to believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ bestows righteousness on the believer and enables him to conquer the power and control of sin over his life.
Being married to Jesus Christ, the Christian is now expected to bring forth fruit unto God and to serve Him in newness of spirit. His spirit has been made to come alive, has been empowered to conquer the control of sin, and enabled to live to please God in righteousness.
PART 2: THE LAW IS GOOD AND JUST (ROM. 7: 9-12)
Psalm 19:7-8 acknowledges that God’s law is perfect. God gave the law to regulate God-man and man-man relationships. It forbids that man should commit heart-murder, wickedness and heart-adultery. It is meant to give direction for man to draw his heart closer to God. The law is not burdensome as man regards it (1 Jn. 5:3).
- Man would have kept revelling in his fallen state, thinking he is fine. The law, like a mirror reveals that man’s heart is desperately wicked.
- The law also reveals to man how helpless he is to redeem himself by trying to fulfil the dictates of the law. He keeps falling into the sin which the law forbids.
- The law also points man to the fact that the demand for right living is not man-made, but comes from God the Creator. Man does not have the authority to change the standard.
Man has proved himself incapable of keeping the law. What the society tries to do is to tinker with God’s law, to water it down such that it can accommodate whatever man wants to do. Notwith-standing how much man has changed the societal norms, God’s law and standard do not change.
PART 3: CARNAL MAN CANNOT BREAK THE YOKE OF SIN (ROM. 7:21-25)
Paul was one who strictly observed the law – “concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Phil. 3:6). Yet Paul was acutely aware that sin dwelt in his heart. The restraint that the law tried to enforce only stirred up the fallen nature to circumvent it. Rather than willingly obeying the law, the natural man would always look for how far he can disobey and get away with it. God-given conscience tries to keep man on the track to fulfilling God’s law, while the fallen nature tries to swing man in the opposite direction. The battle between the two natures rages every day. The inability to break the cycle of sin makes man feel wretched.
Man needs to go further than being convicted of sin, he needs to lay hold on the provision of forgiveness through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. He should go beyond the feeling of being wretched to accept the forgiveness, which God offers through grace.
The law is able to reveal the fallen nature of man, but does not empower man to overcome the power of sin. Grace is given by God to forgive the repentant sinner, to cleanse him of all his past sins and to empower him to overcome the power of sin.
- What was the purpose of the law?
- What is the weakness of the law?
- How can we be delivered from the power of sin?
- What does it mean to be dead to the law?
- Since law is powerless to save, how then can we make heaven?