Measuring Up {Romans 7}

11:59 PM

By Becky Austin

I'm sure that Paul knew every detailed letter of the Law as did many of the Jewish people he was trying to teach about salvation. As Chapter 7 begins, Paul is using an analogy to show his listeners that although the Law is binding, there is a way to be freed from it. According to Jewish law, a woman was obligated to stay married until her husband died.  But if he died, she was free to marry another.  Through the death of Jesus, on a spiritual level, a similar thing occurred. “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” (V4) Jesus did away with our obligation to the Law and became like the "new husband". Our loyalties were shifted from being enslaved to serve the Law and we gained freedom to serve Jesus, and to bear spiritual fruit for God. 

We are no longer bound to the Law but that doesn't mean the Law has no value or purpose.  In fact, Paul says it serves an important role. "If it had not been for the Law, I would not have known sin".  The Law shows us the character of God.  It shows us the righteousness and holiness of God.  “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” (v12). 

The Law is not what brings us a death sentence spiritually.  Paul recognizes that it is the sinful nature of our flesh that wants to entice us to do the  opposite of the Law that is the true threat to us.   Unfortunately, he also realizes that even though we are spiritually given God's grace and eternal salvation, we still have bodies of flesh to contend with.  “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." (v 14-15)

Do you struggle as Paul did with wanting to please and honor God but your flesh keeps tripping you up? “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. " ( V22-23) As a Christian, this can be very discouraging. And guess what....
That's just what Satan wants you to be.  He wants you to quit, throw in the towel, or maybe he wants you to keep trying harder and harder in your own strength until you exhaust yourself or get swallowed up in defeat and failure.   

Perhaps you ask the same question Paul did. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  (v24).  Notice he didn't ask "What" but " Who".   Paul, who encountered the risen Jesus on the dusty road to Damascus, knew that it wasn't his failures in the flesh  that he should focus on but the perfect work of the risen, glorified Christ whose blood covers all our sins and failures. " Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! "

We're not going to be perfect in these bodies of flesh.  We don't have to be.  We're perfectly represented to God because Christ dwells in us and He is perfect. Living this life is a process of letting The Holy Spirit continue to work within our hearts to mold us, teach us, transform us and draw us deeper and deeper in a dependency relationship with Jesus. Even our failures can be tools of transformation if surrendered to Jesus. 

    " My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. " Psalm 73:26

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