Feb 25

Session 4 Recap: Mark Dever, “Conflict”

2017 | by Aaron Colyer | Category: Clarus 17

Editor’s Note: Aaron Colyer is the Lead Pastor at First Baptist Church, Roswell, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of Mark Dever’s message from Saturday morning at Clarus, February 25, “Conflict,” from Romans 7.


Dever begins by giving us some big picture ideas in the chapters leading up to Chapter 7. Gilbert previously described to us the great faith explained in Chapter 4, in which we also see our own connection to Adam in his sin. In Chapter 5 Paul discusses the peace we have by faith in Christ, and Chapter 6 reveals the newness of life every believer experiences. However Chapter 7 takes us back to the conflict we have with the law of God, revealing our sin in spite of the fact that every genuine believer is reborn. The encouragement for the Christian reading Romans 7 is found in that while sin and death continue in this life, so do grace and victory over sin through Christ!

Dever contends that Paul’s argument follows three questions: 

  1. What is our relationship to God’s rules? The law is no longer our master, as “the law is only binding on a person as long as he lives.” As in marriage, the covenant is only broken through death, and the covenant of the law has no power in the life of a Christian because we have “died to the law through the body of Christ.” As believers we are to recognize that we are dead to the law and Christ is our new master. It is a joyous message to know that because of the death of Christ, we are freed from the threat of God’s wrath hanging over our heads. Because of His power setting us free from sin, we are free to now bear fruit for God!
  1. Are God’s rules good? Though we are dead to the law now, it is still good. The law made us aware of our sin, but sin is the culprit- not the law. Our ambusher, betrayer, assassin, and murderer is sin, not the law! Each person has rejected God’s truth, and in so doing we have been mortally wounded- not by the law, but by our own sin. Thus, Dever encourages us to take heed of Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good, blessed is the man that takes refuge in him.” While it is good that the law expose our sin, we should also resist the temptation to find our identity in our sinfulness, lest we forget the Imago Dei by which we have been created. This honesty about sin only helps the Christian to celebrate the victory that is found in Christ!
  1. Do God’s rules kill us? Paul emphatically answers his own question quite strongly, “By No Means!” Paul’s problem was not that he was bound to the law, but that even in his vindicated, new life, he is still bound to sin. If Paul should “delight in God’s law” and yet struggle through sin, we too must be prepared to endure that same civil war in our own hearts. This war only leads us to rely on the victory that comes through Christ alone. Our triumph is in Jesus and the gospel. We don’t need more rules, we need rescue! And thanks be to God- Christ Jesus has provided that for us!