3. How do you come to know your misery?
A. The law of God tells me.1
1. Romans 3:20 “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
Romans 7:7-25 “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
“Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”
4. What does God’s law require of us?
A. Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind [and with all your strength—KJV].1 This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.2 All “the Law and the Prophets” (the Old Testament) hang on these two commandments.
1. Deuteronomy 6:5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
2. Leviticus 19:18 “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”
5. Can you live up to all this perfectly?
A. No.1 I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.2
1. Romans 3:9-20,23 “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one;no one understands;no one seeks for God.All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;no one does good, not even one.’Their throat is an open grave;they use their tongues to deceive.’‘The venom of asps is under their lips.’‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.’ ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood;in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.’‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
1 John 1:8,10 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
2. Genesis 6:5 “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Romans 7:23-24 “but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
Romans 8:7 “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”
Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
Titus 3:3 “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
yes, a miserable wretched life the Righteous, Holy and Perfect reveals within me now! Until then, I didn’t have a clue just how bad it was that I am!
Oh, thanks be to God that He can take a wretch and make him one of His Own!