“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin” (Romans 7:21-25).
Continued from My Roman Holiday: Romans 6.
“So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7:4-6). Romans 7 continues with the Apostle Paul’s message of freedom to the believer. Although Paul might have seemed critical of the law, nothing could have been further from the truth as he explains: “What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead” (Romans 7:7-8).
The law reveals humanity’s sinfulness, and consequently, our desperate need for a Savior. Without the law, we would have no way to know, to borrow Paul’s example, what coveting was, or that it was wrong. “Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful” (Romans 7:13). And now brothers and sisters, we have every reason to rejoice, for we have been released from the law so that we may be free to serve in the new way of the Spirit. “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin” (Romans 7:21-25). Some people say that the struggle Paul describes was prior to conversion, while others say that he’s referring to struggles as a believer. What I know for certain is that I can relate, and I think one of the things the apostle is trying to convey is not to become discouraged in our struggle with sin. The struggle is cause for encouragement, for it testifies to the Holy Spirit’s transformative work underway within.
The enemy seeks to distract our focus away from God, just as he did the people in Romans 1, but brothers and sisters, we aren’t like those who came before. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Some people say that prayer doesn’t work, but I have a callus on each of my knees that say differently. Sanctification is a process found throughout scripture (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Peter 3:18).
Romans 7 is full of any number of other revelations and wonderful truths worth exploring, but I have written what I believe the Holy Spirit has guided me to write.
Romans 7 speaks into our lives today; we are no longer bound to serve in the old way of the written code. Instead, we are released from the law and bound to Christ. As I embark on my Roman holiday, I look forward to the journey ahead. I found a story of transformation in Romans 7. Until next time, and Romans 8!
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Praise God for setting us free from the Law of sin and death in Christ! Great post. Thank you.
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