The spiritual law




[Romans 7:14-20]



                Look at Romans 7:14 – “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.”  We can divide this verse into three parts: (1) “We know that the law is spiritual,” (2) “I am unspiritual” and (3) “sold as a slave.”  Today I would like to meditate on the third part, “sold as a slave to sin.”


                The Apostle Paul said, “… sold as a slave to sin.”  The word “sold” here is also found in the Old Testament.  Look at 1 Kings 21:20 – “Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me, my enemy!’  ‘I have found you,’ he answered, ‘because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD.’”  Wicked king Ahab sold himself to sin.  But the Apostle Paul says that he did not sell himself to sin, but that someone sold him to sin.  Look at Psalms 51:5 – “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”  This Psalms 51 is David's psalm of repentance.  He wrote this Psalms of repentance when God sent the prophet Nathan and revealed his sin when he was unaware of his sin even though he had violated Uriah's wife Bathsheba and killed a loyal soldier Uriah to cover the sin.  David said that he was sinful at birth (a sinner by birth).  Someone made David to sin.  The Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:14 that he was “sold as a slave to sin.”  Here, the “slave to sin” had no choice but to live an unspeakably miserable life in the days of the Apostle Paul.  Among slaves, children were also enslaved because their parents were slaves, but there were also those who were sold into slavery.  Those sold into slavery had no power or freedom.  They were simply slaves of their masters.  As the slave was bought by the master with money, he could use it as his own property and furniture, and then sell the slave or throw him away.  When the Apostle Paul said that he was sold as a slave to sin, he was not a sinner without knowing what sin or the law was, but a Paul who believed in Jesus and was a servant and missionary of the Lord whom the Lord had appointed as an apostle to the Gentiles.  In fact, when the Apostle Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans, he was on his second mission.  Yet he said that he was sold as a slave to sin.  So who sold Paul as a slave to sin?  That was the devil Satan.


            Not only the Apostle Paul, but we also believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, and as children of God, we are sold as slaves to sin even as we pray, calling God “Abba, Father.”  But often we do not even realize that we are sold as slaves to sin.  At the same time, we often become slaves to sin and commit sins as sin leads us.  There are many times when we are regenerated and worship God while calling God “Abba, Father” and living as slaves to sin.  Look at 1 Timothy 1:15 – “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.”  The Apostle Paul confessed, “sinners – of whom I am the worst” while in a Roman prison.  That is, when he did not know when he was going to die (or martyrdom), he confessed in a Roman prison that he was the chief among sinners. The Apostle Paul said that he was guilty of many sins.


                How are we?  Are we not guilty?  Are we far from sin?  Now we are grieving at sin.  We sin and do not even know that we are being sold as slaves to sin.  Are we not living in sin like this now?  The Apostle Paul knew the seriousness of sin.  He knew he was being sold as slave to sin.  Even though Paul had come this far with God's love and grace, he had pain in his heart because he was being sold as a slave to sin.  So was Peter.  In Matthew 26:74-75, the Apostle Peter denied Jesus three times.  On the third denial, he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don't know the man!” (v. 74)  Immediately a rooster crowed and then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken.  So he went outside and wept bitterly (vv.74-75).  Legend has it that the Apostle Peter knelt down and repented whenever a rooster crowed.  What about us?  Do we realize that we have been sold as slaves to sin and weep bitterly and repent like the Apostle Peter?  Satan, who tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, made them sin and sold them as slaves to sin, has been attacking us whenever there is an opportunity.  We must be filled with the Holy Spirit and armed with the Word and prayer to fight and overcome this Satanic attack.  I hope and pray that we will become victorious saints who will fight the good fight well to the end with an awareness of our sins and will receive the full crown of righteousness prepared for us (2 Tim.4:7-8).