Thursday, September 27, 2012

Romans 7, Rebirth, & Renewed Minds

"I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want." (Romans 7:15,19)

I once experienced the struggle Romans 7 talks about when I believed I was a sinner. But now that I truly walk by the spirit (which doesn't simply mean to act moral or obey the law, it means to know & focus on the spirit of God & what he has birthed as our spirit) I never experience the condition of Romans 7 but the freedom & empowered state spoken of in Romans 8 where I never have condemnation, guilt, or shame.

Twice in Romans 7 (17 & 20) Paul says, "It is no longer I who sin but sin living in me that sins." He is saying "I no longer sin." "I do not sin anymore." "When you see sin come out of my person it is not me who is doing it. I am not the cause or the source. I no longer produce sin." This gels perfectly with 1 John 3:9 which says someone who is born of God cannot produce sin. I can rightly say, "I, being a child of God, no longer sin."

"It is no longer I who sin but sin living in me that sins," has to be speaking of either the flesh, the mind (soul), the spirit, or some combination of those. Certainly it is at the very least talking about the spirit. IT MUST BE TALKING ABOUT ONE OF THEM or Paul is a liar & you must throw out his writings.

I no longer sin. Sin in my flesh still produces sinful actions if I don't walk by spirit but I, in my new spiritual identity in Christ, do not sin. Why? Because a birth establishes a new identity. "Your new creation has been created in God’s image. It is righteous and holy" (Ephesians 4:24).

"From now on we identify NO ONE according to the flesh (what else is there left to identify by but the spirit?). If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things PASSED AWAY; behold, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5:16-17) That new creature is new because it has been recently born. Jesus said in John 3:6, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." New birth exclusively concerns the spirit because "A man cannot be born when he is old. He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born" (John 3:4). Our new creation is our spirit, we are not to identify ourselves according to the flesh. Don't hold onto the flesh as part of your identity, doing so empowers the enemy.

If "It is not I who sins but the sin living in me that sins," as Paul says in Romans 7:17,20, then who is responsible for the sins?
While there are various instigators for unloving actions (sin, Satan, the law, the body, lies that are believed) the unrenewed mind, which is flesh, is ultimately responsible for those actions occurring.

If you don't put to death the DEEDS of the flesh sin is going to come out of your body. If you don't mow the lawn it is going to continue to grow & get longer. Putting to death the deeds of the flesh is like mowing the lawn. Renewing your mind is like uprooting the grass & plowing the dirt so sin will never grow there again. The less renewed your mind is the more unloving actions will show up in your behavior.

Truly it is not you, as a spiritual child of God, sinning. If sinful actions come out in your behavior it is your unrenewed mind that does not cut them off. Your mind is the bridge between the flesh & the spirit. The unrenewed parts of your mind are paved with old flesh. The renewed parts of your mind are paved with spirit.

Your mind can be used as a lawnmower, plow, or seed sowing hand. The unrenewed mind lets the grass grow. A partially spiritual area of the mind only mows the grass. A renewed area of the mind plows the land to prevent grass from growing in that area again. A fully renewed area of the mind sows good seed into the soil for fruit bearing life.

The love of the spirit, through renewed parts of the mind, takes responsibility for the unloving actions caused by the flesh & makes amends with the parties harmed. Christ made amends for our actions & relationally He continues to do so through us who walk by spirit. So our spiritual identity in Christ isn't a false excuse to "get off the hook" for how we behave. It is our reborn identity perfectly loved by God that, given the opportunity, flows out only good things. It is our true self, our eternal self. It is not self-centered nor does it make excuses for the flesh's behavior. It is one spirit with God (1 Corinthians 6:17 & Ephesians 4:4). It is God living in us, & with us, & through us. I will accept nothing less than the identity I know I was born into by the Spirit of God. I am not a sinner. I am perfected forever. I am perfect as my Father in heaven is perfect. I am one with God because He wanted to love me & I let Him. The fact that nothing can separate you from His love means you are already in His love. Absolutely nothing ever stands between you & His love. Trust Him & let Him love you as He wants to love you.

Related Posts
Commentary on Romans 7 by Andrew Wommack

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