Good, Bad and Sinful
Father, as I bow before You, I sense Your nourishing, encouraging, healing love. Hallelujah! I am loved and forgiven.
Read Romans 7:7-25
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Isn’t it strange: when you see a sign “Wet paint, do not touch,” you want to find out for yourself! So, should the sign not have been put there? Of course not: it was put there for my benefit. What it has actually done, though, is to show my tendency to disobey and so, paradoxically, make me more likely to get paint on myself.
Here Paul wrestles further with the problem of the Law. It is a good gift from God (13) and yet it appears to have brought harm. But this is only because it has highlighted our problem: though it was intended to bring life, in fact the Law has brought to our attention the reality of sin in our lives, which brings death (10). Paul talks of the experience of the power of sin in the first person (“I do what I do not wantﾅ”). Scholars have debated whether this is Paul’s pre-conversion or post-conversion experience, but it is neither: Paul is exploring humanity’s experience, just as we might construct an argument using the first person plural (“we saw on p. 13 thatﾅ”). We are subject to sin, which has a kind of power over us. The Law highlights this but cannot change it, and more is needed, as is shown in the Old Testament itself, in texts like Jeremiah 31:33. This “more” is the resurrection life we are already experiencing.
But we are not there yet. Just as we have to consider ourselves dead to sin, so we have to actually begin to live as if that were reality. At the same time we are still aware of the tendency to sin in our lives. We have been delivered from the penalty of sin; we are being delivered from its power; and one day we will be free from its presence.
Reflect on areas of your life where you have seen the power of sin being rolled back by God’s grace, and let that encourage you for the areas yet to be dealt with.
Lord, I need to see afresh that because of my faith I am dead to sin and alive to Christ. May that help me live victoriously.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.