LONG WALK TO FREEDOM
God of might and mercy, in Your love I’m found, in Your mercy I live, in Your grace I’m saved. How great You are.
Read Romans 7:7–25
The Law and Sin
7 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.”[a] 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13 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.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[b] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 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. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 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[c] a slave to the law of sin.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIs a ‘marriage’ the wedding day, or years of faithfulness? Is ‘getting married’ over in a day, or does it take decades of commitment?
People have argued for centuries about the ‘I’ in verses 14 to 25. Is it a non- Christian – but then what about verse 22? Is it a believer in Old Testament times or Paul before his conversion? But why switch to the present tense after verse 13? Is it a Christian – but how do we square verse 14 with, for example, chapter 6 verse 18? I think it describes the struggle all Christians face – or at least, this one (me!). Note the context of Paul’s struggle: covetousness (vs 7,8), a sin of the heart, a sin of inner passion – which are surely the hardest to overcome!
These verses are not the last word in Romans – and neither are they the last word on my faith. They describe my experience: I delight in God, I long to do (and think) what is right, but I don’t (always) because my freedom from sin and sinful desires has already happened, but is not yet complete. I feel the tension and the struggle every day, sometimes more, sometimes less, but I can’t escape it entirely. Yet.
Do you recognize this struggle? Do you sit in church thinking you’re an impostor? Do you know God’s forgiveness but struggle to feel forgiven? Bring these emotions to God in prayer – tell him how you feel, rest in him and listen to his reply.
Patient One, I know I sing and speak way beyond what is going on inside of me. Forgive me and help me in my desire for sincerity.
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