Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

Deadly Combination


For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.  Romans 7:14


Paul began a personal testimony in Romans 7:7-13. In those verses he described his self-effort to keep the tenth commandment, do not covet. But he was unable to keep the commandment. His self-effort resulted in an emotional state that he called death.


The word translated “carnal” in Romans 7:14 means “fleshy” Paul’s self-effort was the work of his flesh.


Paul’s words, “Sold under sin,” are a picture of slavery. Romans 6:16 teaches that when one obeys his flesh again and again, he becomes a slave to it. Paul had tried over and over in his flesh not to be covetous. The result was slavery to his flesh.


The message in Romans 7:14 is that when our attempts to do the will of God are done in the flesh, we will be headed toward spiritual failure as surely as the combination of some gases cause physical death.


Some of us will admit that many of our attempts at Christian living have been through the deadly commingling of God’s will with our self-effort to obey His will. We desperately wanted to do God’s will and we did our very best. That was all that we knew to do. However, we discovered through our own experiences that the combination of God’s will and our self effort was a pathway that leads to deadly failure.


There is a way for the believer to follow the teachings of the word of God. It is by living out his union with Christ and by experiencing the spiritual crucifixion of his flesh and by being filled with the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:3-4 says:


He [Jesus] condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.


This verse does not say that we will fulfill the righteous requirement of the law. It says that the righteous requirement of the law will be fulfilled in us. The Holy Spirit will be the one that fulfills God’s will in us as we continue to live out our union with Christ.