READ: Romans 7
BACKGROUND: In Romans 7 Paul discusses the process of sanctification as it relates to the Law. Specifically he deals with the issue of the Law convicting us of our sin, and the difficulty of believing in Christ yet remaining sinful.
1-6 – Paul uses the metaphor of a marriage to describe our relationship with the law. Because of our death with Christ we are released from our marriage to the law as a hope of salvation. That is to say that the power of the law to condemn us is now broken because of the sacrifice of Jesus. We are set free from bondage to sin and destruction through the cross.
9 – Paul thought he was alive, but then he learned the law and realized how sinful he was in comparison to God’s holiness.
12 – The Law is essentially good, but its negative function is that it helps bring the magnitude of our sin to light. The Law doesn’t condemn and destroy us. It simply helps us be aware of the sin in our lives that condemns and destroys us.
15-25 – Paul commiserates with all of us as Christians. He believes in Jesus and he wants his life to reflect that. But it doesn’t sometimes. He continually finds himself doing what he wished he hadn’t or not doing what he wishes he had. Ultimately, his hope is in Jesus that he will be transformed more and more throughout his life into a better reflection of Christ.
THINK: My softball team played our first game of the year on Thursday. We lost 33-0. I’m still not sure how to even process that. We were just awful. We got mercy ruled in the 4th inning. We only had 2 baserunners the whole game. We made at least 10 errors. It was one of the worst collective efforts I’ve ever been a part of. I didn’t really do my part either. I almost tripped myself and fell flat on my face when I turned to chase down a ball that was hit over my head, and then I proceeded to swing at a terrible pitch and tamely hit the ball off the handle of the bat to the pitcher. For a team that’s been pretty good over the last few years, we were brutally bad Thursday night.
As I read Romans 7 I couldn’t help but flash back to the game. Romans 7:15 is one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible: “I don’t understand the things I do. What I want to do I don’t do. The things I hate, I do.” Our whole team experienced this on a softball level. We didn’t hit or catch the ball well. We did – twice! – strike out and generally hit the ball quite poorly. We just couldn’t seem to do the things we really wanted to do. And we kept on making errors – doing the things we really didn’t want to do.
This is so true for our spiritual lives a lot of the time. Paul struggled with it and so do we. We know the right things to do. It isn’t a matter of knowledge or confusion. We know what God is calling us to do, but we just don’t do it. And we know that there are a number of things he calls us not to do, but we can’t seem to stop doing them anyways. Sometimes all of echo Paul in not being able to understand the things we do. We have hope, though, in 2 things: 1. Being made like Christ is a lifelong process that none of us will ever complete while we’re living, but by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us we can get closer and closer every day, & 2. We are washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ and so we’re set free from the horrible consequences of our sin. We need to live in that hope, and we also need to constantly allow God to continue transforming us so that we do more of the things we know are right and less of the things we know are wrong.
ASK: Have I done anything lately that made me feel like “I don’t understand the things I do?” Is the amount of time that I give God in my life reflective of a heart that truly desires to stop sinning and be more like him?