The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 9 : Romans (Commentaries on the Book of Romans)

[Chapter 7-4] (Romans 7:14-25) Our Flesh That Serves Only the Flesh

(Romans 7:14-25)
“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 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.”
 
 
How amazing His grace is!
 
We give thanks to our God who has permitted us this Summer Bible Meeting and reigned over the weather, preventing typhoons to give us these beautiful days. He has sent souls and gathered His people together to give us His Word and to let us rejoice in fellowship with each other and the Holy Spirit.
God is alive! How amazing His grace is! People now think that typhoon “Doug” will surely come to our country, so officials patrol to withdraw all the campers in the In-Jae valley area. I went to downtown In-Jae this afternoon. I heard people talking to each other, worrying over the typhoon, speculating on how powerful and destructive this typhoon was going to be.
But will everything happen in the way they expect, even as we, the children of God, have gathered here for the summer retreat? If we pray, it will not rain by the mercy of God. Will God blow away His people? God reigns the weather, but He does so on account of our faith. He works wisely, and this means that He will not test those of us whose faith has just begun by making them wonder, “Why does God give us a typhoon when we have this summer retreat?”
I had no power to prevent typhoon “Doug” when I heard about it in the news. All that I could do was pray. This Summer Bible Meeting had already been scheduled, we had already gathered, and there was nothing I could do about it. And I was worried that this chapel might not be strong enough to withstand the typhoon, given the fact that it was built with prefabricated materials. So I couldn’t help but rely on God. I prayed, “Help us God. Protect us. In Jesus’ name I ask, Amen.” And sure enough, God prevented typhoon Doug! I believe God knows everything. He leads us to safety because He understands our situations better than we do.
The weather shows us so minutely that God is alive. I heard a peal of thunder like a boom of guns in my tent. So, I came out of my tent and looked at the sky. The sky was dark and thick clouds were coming over the valley. So I asked, “Lord, are clouds coming?” My faith began to weaken, “Lord, what’s going on? Has the typhoon reached here? Is it really here?” But I had prayed and believed in God, and held on to this faith, saying to God, “I believe You will take care of us, Lord. I believe in You. I already believed that You would work for us.” God really blessed us, as we believed. We thank Him with our hearts.
 
 
The flesh is selfish and evil
 
We cannot do anything if God does not work for us. Our God keeps and helps us. Let’s take a look at God’s Word. Romans 7:14-25 tells us that the Apostle Paul saw himself as staying in the flesh and having been sold under sin. He also discovered that it was a law that the flesh could not help but sin while he was alive.
We who are born again also do evil, though we want to do good with the flesh. Romans 7:19 states, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” We come to see that no good dwells in us. Because of that, we sigh in grief, thinking, “Will I be able to keep my faith?” We are greatly grieved because of our hopeless and evil flesh. Do you know how selfish the flesh is? Romans 7:18 states, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”
We are always taking our own side, even as we are the seeds of evildoers. Do you know how selfish we, all human beings, are? We certainly know we are evil, but we do not side with the Lord; we take our own side. The Lord is certainly good, and His will is also good. We know that we are evil, yet we love ourselves too much. God commanded us not to have other gods before Him. God told us this to give us the knowledge of sin.
We love ourselves and do everything for ourselves, though we know how selfish and self-righteous we are. We fret when there is something beneficial to us, but how stingy and miserly we are to the Lord! It’s because we have no sense. Children never let go of their cookies. They seize what is in their hands until it breaks, and they never share it because they are young and have no sense. They don’t know that there are more precious things in the world than cookies. Children are like that; we are like that.
Our sins were washed away, but we are still selfish. We give thanks to the Lord for making us sinless and giving us the Holy Spirit by His power. But a war begins within ourselves after receiving the remission of sins and being born again. This war is between the flesh and the Spirit. We are happy after we are born again, but we are soon tormented by this war. But the Lord now wants us to work for the Kingdom of God.
Our Lord abandoned His glory for us. He was sent in the likeness of the flesh. He was not sent to the world as a handsome man. He came to the world as a humble man, maybe as a short-legged and ugly man. In fact, it is said that Jesus was not at all handsome. Isaiah said, “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2). Still, the Lord has taken away all our sins.
Our flesh serves only sin. Paul knew that his flesh was a mass of sin, so he said, “For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do,” and yet he did not elaborate in detail because he was ashamed of his sins.
We are like garbage cans. We are masses of sin. How deplored would we be to see ourselves leaving a trail of trash behind us. Yet stung by our conscience, we say to God, “Lord, I should not do this, and I want to live according to Your will, but I did it again. How can I stop this, Lord?”
 

We can thank God when we know our evilness
 
We must think about the grace that Jesus Christ, our God, gave us. We must think about what God did with our hearts. Only then can we come to know what is right, and only then can we begin to serve the Lord. It is by the grace of God and our faith in Him that we seek God, offer ourselves to Him, and overcome any challenge that may await us as we follow God with our hearts and walk with Him.
We begin to deny ourselves when we come to know that we are evil and useless before God. We realize that avoiding sin is impossible without serving the Lord because of our flesh, and that we cannot do anything, though we are blessed greatly, because of our weaknesses. I give thanks to God who blessed me to serve Him. If God had not put me into the ministry to serve the gospel, I would have remained merely a mass of sin that was still in the flesh and would never do anything righteous before Him.
I give thanks to God for enabling me to serve Him. That’s why I offer a prayer like this. “Thank you, Lord. Lord, I need money, but I have nothing. I want to do all these things for You, though I have nothing. Please help me. I will not spend the money for me, but for the Lord. If I spend money on myself, the flesh will be comfortable. But I want to spend it for the Lord and for the righteous work. This money is precious for me, because I worked very hard for it. And because it is precious to me, I offer it to You. Please spend it for your righteous works.”
Those who know their evilness know that no good thing dwells in them. What do I mean by the words, ‘No good thing dwells in them’? It means that they have only evil things in their flesh. It is evil to live only for oneself.
 

We thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord
 
Paul confessed, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 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 7:24-25). What does the flesh serve? The flesh always serves sin. However, we serve God with our hearts. Through whom do we thank God? We thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Paul said, “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” So do I. If the Lord had not taken out all my sins, I couldn’t have been saved because the flesh still serves sin now.
“I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” We give thanks to the Lord because He took away all the sins of all the flesh. Our flesh serves only sin, even after we receive the forgiveness of our sins. But the heart wants to serve God. The reason why we thank God and why the heart is made righteous is through Jesus Christ. Do you believe this? We thank God and serve Him because He took away our sins. If the Lord had not taken away and saved us from the sins of the flesh, we would have eternally perished. Do you believe this?
Had the Lord not taken away all our sins, how could we have peace, how could we give thanks to the Lord, and could we serve the Him? How can a person who is under sin help other people? How can a person in jail rescue other people in jail? “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Savior.” The Lord cleansed away all our sins for us to serve Him, and He has given us peace in our hearts.
 

We are already dead in the world
 
How can we preach the gospel, serve God, work for Him, and contribute to His ministry, without our Lord? We do all these things through our Lord. We continue to follow the Lord today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow—never changing. This is the right faith. Those who serve the Lord are like a virtuous and wise woman who keeps her house well. Do not lead a fickle religious life like a frying pan that cools down as easily as it heats up in no time. You should follow the Lord all the time, until He comes again. Consider yourself as cut and perished from the world after you are born again. I want you to remember that you are not a person of the world anymore. We have already become dead to the world.
Our names are eliminated from the family tree of the world. Do you understand? Our names are not in there.
The world may say to you, “Long time no see. What’s up? I heard you attend church. I also heard that all your sins are forgiven. So, you have no sin, huh?”
“No, I have no sin.”
“That’s strange. I think you might have fallen into a wrong church.”
“No, don’t look at it like that. Come to my church. You’ll see how nice it is.”
“I still think you are weird.”
Then we think, “Why don’t they understand me? I wish they would understand me.” But can those who are yet to be born again understand us? How can those who do not know that people can become sinless understand us? How can they understand that Jesus took away all the sins of the world? They can’t. So, don’t expect them to understand you. The Lord said good-bye to the world for us. He waved a yellow handkerchief on the Cross. He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), for the fear that we wouldn’t be able to say good-bye to the world because we are easily moved by pity. He also said, “I eliminated your names from the family tree of the world.”
 
 
The Lord enabled us, who could never serve Him, to serve Him by taking away all our sins
 
We, who could never serve the Lord, were made to be those who could serve Him through Jesus Christ. By nature, we were the ones who could never serve the Lord. We must praise the Lord for bringing us into His church and qualifying us to serve Him. The Lord uses us. It’s not true that we do His works. Do you understand? The righteous Lord, in other words, uses us in His righteous works.
Evangelist Lee once referred to the manure-series in his sermon and said that he was as filthy and disgusting as a heap of smelly manure. But even that is a gentle expression. Anything else that you can ever imagine, we are still filthier. Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things.” God enabled those whose hearts are deceitful above all things to live for the glory of God, the Lord and the Highest of all. He called us to do His righteous work.
We can follow the Lord and live in His grace because the Lord washed away all our sins. We can suffer with Him and be glorified together with Him. We had already died but for the Lord. If the Lord had not taken away all our sins, we would have been left out of salvation. We would have still remained worldly people if we had lived according to the flesh.
The Lord eternally saved us once and for all. He saved us and made us the instruments of His eternal ministry. How evil and dirty we are! After meeting the Lord, we come to find out more and more just how evil and dirty we are with time. This is why we rejoice when we see the light. But when we look at ourselves, we sigh in grief, just as Paul confessed, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)
But Paul immediately praised the Lord, “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” The Lord washed away all our sins. He blotted out all the sins of the flesh. How many sins do our flesh commit everyday? Don’t pretend as if your flesh does not sin.
 

Do you thank the Lord?
 
The Lord blotted out all the sins that we commit with the flesh. Do you believe? That the Lord took away the sins of the world may not seem like much to you, but when you realize that He took away all the sins that are committed by your own flesh, you will shout out, “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Thank you, Lord! I praise You!”
Sin has its own weight. The Lord has taken away all the sins that we commit in our entire lifetime, until our last day. How thankful we are! Had we sinned just a little, we may ask the Lord for His forgiveness with our prayers of repentance. But our sins are countless and ceaseless to the end of our lifetime. When we realize this, we can do nothing but to praise God, “Thank you, Lord. You’ve blotted out all my sins! I praise You!” We thank God, in other words, “through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Do you thank God and confess like this? “Thank you, Lord. I give thanks to You for calling and saving me to serve Your righteousness. I give thanks to the Lord who saved me from all the sins of the flesh.” Do you thank the Lord? The true redemption of sins looks this simple, but at the same time it is not something to be taken lightly. It is very profound, great, wide, precious and eternal.
 

We must follow the Lord because there is nothing beneficial in us
 
We are a mass of sin. We must know that we ourselves are darkness itself. “I am darkness, but You are the light. You are the true light, while I am complete darkness. You are the sun. I am the moon.” The moon can lighten the earth only by receiving the light from the sun.
The moon itself cannot lighten. It lightens by reflecting the light that it receives from the sun. Everything is darkness. Are you light or darkness? We are in darkness without the Lord. We can thank, serve, and follow God because of Jesus Christ, and because in Him there is no condemnation. To serve only our flesh, on the other hand, is to serve only darkness. Give it up as early as you can. Our flesh does not change however hard we may try. There is nothing special in us. Our flesh is not everlasting, and so we must live for eternal things. One who lives for eternal things is a wise person. We must know ourselves early and give ourselves up early. We must know that there is nothing to expect from ourselves, and that there is nothing good in us. We are a mass of sin that always and only serves our flesh. The flesh says, “Give me anything I want,” and acts like a leech that sucks blood, attaching itself to the body (Proverbs 30:15).
We feel hungry as soon as we go to the toilet after eating something. We are not satisfied with the flesh however hard we may try to serve it. We feel hungry in a matter of hours, regardless of how much and how delicious food we just had. But if we thank the Lord and follow Him, our joy becomes only bigger.
We don’t feel empty when we follow our Lord. Do you want to have everlasting joy after your redemption? Then follow the Lord. Do you want to lead a life of light? Follow the Lord. Do you want to live a life of grace? Follow the Lord. Do you want to lead a fruitful life? Know that you are in darkness and just follow the light.
We follow the Lord wherever He goes, and we stop wherever He stops. We do what the Lord wants us to do, and not do what the Lord does not want us to do. We must walk with Him and follow Him. Do you have anything to expect from yourself? Of course not! We must follow Him because there is nothing to be expected from ourselves. Is your flesh eternal? Of course not! Then why are you following something that can neither offer anything nor is everlasting?
A long time ago, I used to sing a song that goes like this. “♪Give me back my youth♪” But now, I’m okay even if God does not give me back my youth. On a second thought, I realized that I wouldn’t be that happy if I returned to my youth. If we follow the Lord, who is the light of our lives, the crown of glory is laid up for us. You don’t need to return to your childhood again. Instead we sing, “♪I will not deny the Lord and I will follow Him everyday for the rest of my days♪” This shows the true faith with which we do not deny the Lord in our lives and with which we always thank God. Let’s sing this gospel song!
“♪I love God the Lord who formed man from the dust of the ground; Who breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; ♫And who sent His Son for us. I am formed after His likeness, so I will dedicate my body to the Lord. ♫I will not deny the Lord and I will follow Him everyday for the rest of my days.♪”
 

I give real thanks to the Lord
 
I give real thanks to the Lord. The Lord took away our sins and enabled us to serve Him, follow Him, and do His righteous work. If the Lord had not blotted out all the sins that we commit with our flesh and taken them all away, how could we do His righteous work? Not even 0.1%! A sinner is still evil no matter how good-natured he/she may seem. How wonderful is it that the Lord would wash away our sins and enable us to serve Him? How marvelous is it that the Lord would eliminate all our sins and bless us, who had been immersed in filthiness all our lives, lived like a miser, been bound to hell, and lived a vain life without the Lord?
That the Lord has chosen us to serve Him by taking away all our sins and blessing us with our redemption by faith shows just how great God’s grace is. How can we be righteous with sin in our hearts? The fact that we have no sin is surely an extraordinary grace. Praise God! The flesh will certainly commit sin again. Even though we hear God’s Word now, we will sin again, perhaps as soon as we step out of this chapel. Because of that, I praise the Lord for washing away all our sins. Have no doubt—our Lord Jesus Christ took away all our sins by His baptism in the Jordan River and ended the judgment for sin on the Cross! I believe and praise God! How, then, can we praise God? We can praise God through Jesus Christ!
Beloved saints! We cannot recompense for God’s grace however hard we may try for the rest of our lives. It is not enough even if we eternally give thanks to the Lord, who enabled us to do His righteous and fruitful work by taking away all our sins, however weak we may be. We cannot praise Him enough even if we praise Him for the rest of our lives.
We deeply know in our minds that nothing good dwells within us. Think it over. Will you sin as long as you live? You surely will sin, but the Lord has taken away your sins already. The Lord blessed us to do the work of God. The Lord enabled us to serve Him. We cannot help but give thanks to our Lord. I want you to praise the Lord and live a life of thankfulness to Him through Jesus Christ for all your life. Our God enabled us to live a thankful life to God. God saved us from all the sins that we commit with the flesh. He saved us from all our sins in order to for us to serve Him with our hearts. Because the grace of our Lord is so great, we want to follow and serve Him. Let us thank Him with all our hearts.
How amazing the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ is! I really want you to know just how wicked and weak your flesh is, to look into what you are doing, to think about whether the Lord really took away your sins or not, to give thanks to the Lord, and to live by faith. I give thanks to the Lord who enabled us to live precious lives. “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). We love God with our hearts, but with our flesh we love sin. But our Lord is lovelier. It would not be a sin until we commit a lawless deed with our flesh, but the Lord has already blotted out even the sins that we would commit in future. This is why our Lord is lovelier, and why He is to be thanked.
Thank You, Lord. I praise You for giving us the hearts to serve You, and for saving us wholly from all the sins of our flesh, committed throughout our lives.