July 25, 2023
The Bible Edge
Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have a Bible Edge
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
The great conflict is articulated perfectly in this verse. The Apostle Paul expertly makes a statement from which a thousand nuggets could be found. Notice the way he states a universal truth in a non-offensive manner. The verse begins with a simple enough statement, …we know that the law is spiritual. In context he is discussing the law of God. He says clearly that this law is spiritual. In the Old Testament the law was physical, but in the New Testament the law is spiritual. This is why Jesus said things like: Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28
Having established this universally held truth of the law being spiritual, Paul then moves to deal with carnal sinfulness. In the first phrase of this verse, he used “we” but now in dealing with sin he wrote “I.” He did not treat his audience like they were rank sinners. After all, in the introduction of the book of Romans he identifies his audience with adjectives like: “the called of Christ,” “saints,” “beloved of God.” He even proclaimed that…your faith is spoken of throughout the world (Romans 1:8). These were God’s children to whom he was communicating. Therefore, when it came to speaking of personal sin, instead of clumping them together in a mass of sinful creatures, he made it personal. He said …but I am carnal, sold under sin. So were they, he just did not point that out.
Then, to illustrate the great conflict of attempting to keep the spiritual law while being sold under sin in this earthly carnal state, the Apostle continues with an amazingly honest and personal testimony of his struggle with this great conflict. He makes statements like: For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (Romans 7:15) He goes on for some verses concluding in Romans 7:24 with: O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Then he gives the universal answer to this universal conflict of spirit vs. the flesh: I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:25) The only answer to this conflict is Jesus Christ. A year’s worth of short devotions like this one could be written on this one answer to every problem. A decade’s worth too, no doubt. But that task would fall into the same category that the last verse in the last chapter of the Gospel of John revealed. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (John 21:25)
Let it simply be said that the answer to the universal great conflict of God’s people is to let Jesus Christ reign supreme. Now, that is an edge, a Bible Edge for surviving this great conflict of the spiritual law vs. the carnal nature.
William T. Howe, Ph.D.