Day 8: Romans 7
So when I was asked to look at Chapter 7 my initial thought was why can’t I have the ‘no condemnation in Christ’ bit or the ‘more than conquerors’ part, rather than a chapter that seems tied up in baffling theology!! But, then I realised, that this is a passage I have always glossed over and not properly considered and that Jesus was now throwing me a challenge, so here goes people!!
In its simplest form, I believe that this chapter deals with the struggle between our old self and our new self – that question that we often ask; how can we be new in Christ if we still struggle with sin?
In verses 6 & 7 Paul says this:
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.
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.
Paul has an amazing way of showing us that the law will always be in our lives and that, as humans, we will never escape this in the flesh BUT that we can choose whether we live under this or not. The law can highlight our sin but we don’t have to be condemned through it! Jesus, by HIs ultimate act of grace opened up a world of forgiveness and fresh starts!
Verse 15 says this:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Paul acknowledges that he still sins even though he also knows that he has a new identity in Christ……..so how does that work??!! Personally I think the important part is recognition. Paul recognises that in his body he has a weakness for sin but, crucially, he also recognises that this is NOT his heart! His heart and spirit are aligned to Jesus! He knows who is in Christ and understands that he has the ultimate power within himself to choose to avoid sin, which is something he spends his life working on.
At the end of the chapter we are reminded that even though we ‘delight’ in God’s law and serve Jesus with our hearts, our flesh often still serves the law of sin. Sometimes that means that we see ourselves as half good and half bad, but the truth is that we are ALL GOOD through Christ and with him we can CHOOSE to fight sin!
Sin and temptation will always be with us, but we have tools that can help us to grow in our understanding of who we are in Christ – His Word, the Holy Spirit, worship, fellowship, prayer…..and the list goes on! Ultimately, knowing more of our true identity in Him will help us to acknowledge and deal with sin, enabling us to become more like Jesus everyday.
Ministry Team Leader