Our fruit to holiness is sanctification
For this to take place we must first be set free from sin so that we become slaves (servants) of God. In Rom. 7:25 Paul says that with the mind he himself served the law of God but with the flesh the law of sin. Paul didn’t serve sin with his mind-he didn’t yield to temptation but overcame through the power of the Spirit. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus had made him free from the law of sin and death. (Rom. 8:2). The law of sin and death only comes into effect when I serve the law of sin with my mind.
The law of sin in my members
Nevertheless he still served the law of sin with his flesh. How is this possible? A simple example can help us to understand. Imagine a man learning to play the piano. With his mind he is following the notes and to the best of his understanding and ability he is playing what is written in the notes but still he makes mistakes. This is what Paul means when he says “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.” Rom. 7:22 23.
We must not confuse the law of sin in our members with the law of sin and death-the former comes into effect when I serve the law of sin with my flesh (not my mind) whereas the latter comes into effect when I serve the law of sin with my mind.
Sanctification is development
If we go back to the example of the man playing the piano we can say that there are some mistakes the man notices as soon as he has made them. Nevertheless he didn’t do them with his mind it was the other law in his members. Other mistakes he does not become aware of. These are mistakes that the teacher (the Holy Spirit) must point out to him so that he becomes enlightened. This is how it is with everyone who serves the law of God with their mind. They continually discover that their deeds and actions have been influenced by the law of sin which is in their members. When they discover this they agree with the Spirit’s judgment and they hate it and put it to death through the Spirit. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” Rom. 8:13. The deeds of the body are deeds resulting from the law of sin in my members. They were not carried out consciously just as the man learning to play the piano did not consciously make mistakes. When I discover these deeds and put them to death I am being sanctified.
I must have an interest in sanctification
How far someone progresses in learning to play the piano depends on his ability as well as his interest. But ability has nothing to do with sanctification it only depends on how interested one is. Paul came far on the way of sanctification because his interest was very great. He was gripped of the life of Jesus “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14.
Someone who does a good deed occasionally can feel very pleased with themselves and discover nothing of the other law in their members. Paul on the other hand always discovered the other law in his members and found then a law that evil was present with him the one whose will was to do the good. (Rom. 7:21). If we truly serve God and delight in His law then we also we find this law. What is important is that in all things we serve God in sincerity of heart and not with eye-service as men pleasers. (Eph. 6:6). It is when we do the will of God from the heart that we find this other law in our members- those who live to please people never discover this. They have no ear to hear the Spirit ‘s voice and as a result are not able to receive the Spirit ‘s instruction and discipline. But we don ‘t need to be discouraged when we discover the evil that is present with us and sense the Spirit ‘s discipline because it is exactly this that gives us the possibility to be further sanctified-and the more sanctified we become the more blessed life becomes-for ourselves and for those around us (Heb. 12:10 11).