About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Body Of Death
Lucilla was a widow.
She had two sons, Camillus 18 years old and Decima 19 years old.
In the process of defending their Roman village from an enemy
attack both sons were captured by the opposing army.
Her ear piercing screams echoed throughout the stadium.
In excruciating agony she fell face first to the ground at the
sight of a soldier's sword puncturing the chest of Decima.
Her body quivered with terror as her son dropped to the ground.
His death was immediate, but the horror wasn't over.
Lucilla glared up through
her tear soaked eyes. Decima's
corpse was stripped naked. After
stripping Camillus naked they tied him to his brother's decimated dead
body. A steady stream of blood
seeped from Decima's chest and wrapped its way around Camillus.
Face to face, chest to chest, poisonous pus, blood, infection, and
maggots would slowly rob Camillus of his life.
The above narrative
portrays the cruelty of
"The living and the
dead at his command
Were coupled, face to
face, hand to hand,
Till, choked with stench,
in loathed embrace tied,
The lingering wretched
pined away and died."
The Apostle Paul was
born, raised, and traveled extensively throughout the Roman Empire. His home town of
Paul doesn't paint a very
attractive picture of his human nature, but it's the picture the Bible
paints of who you and I are at our core.
Jeremiah 17:9 states that we are so wicked that we don't know how
wicked we really are. Our best
attempts at being righteous are like filthy rags in God's sight, or as
menstrual clothes, as some commentators translate the Hebrew (Isaiah
With this depraved view
of his human nature in mind Paul asked, "Who will deliver me from
this body of death (Romans 7:24)."
Here's where the tragic story of Camillus being tied to his
brother's rotting corpse comes into play.
Because Paul would have known about this form of torture some Bible
commentators suggest that he had such torture in mind when he asked,
"Who will deliver me from this body of death?"
In other words, "Who will rescue me from this rotting sinful
nature that clings to me like a rotten corpse?"
Although this commentary is speculative, it does paint a clear
picture of how Paul viewed his human nature in Romans 7.
Paul understood that his
human nature died with Jesus on the cross (Romans 6:4).
In Paul's mind, his human nature was a sin infested dead rotting
corpse. He also understood
that a new nature in Christ rose with Jesus from the dead (Romans 6:4).
It replaced his old nature that was now dead. He
was a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
He had been born again (John 3:5).
Even though Paul's old
human nature was dead, like Camillus being tied to his brother's corpse,
it clung to his new nature. For
this reason Paul's new nature would serve God while his deceased nature
would serve sin (Romans 7:25). This
accounts for the conflict between flesh and Spirit, between the old and
new nature, as Paul puts it in Galatians 5:17.
Paul did not end his
narrative of Romans 7 in defeat, and neither should we.
The rotten corpse of our old sinful nature, although clinging to us
at the present, will not destroy us. We
have the Holy Spirit within us that has molded us into new created beings
(Romans 8). It is this deposit
of the Holy Spirit into our lives that guarantees us of a death free
eternity (Ephesians 1:14). We
thank our Lord Jesus Christ because He is delivering us from this body of
death (Romans 7:25).