In chapter seven of the book of Romans, the apostle Paul takes us on a journey through our transition from unbeliever to believer, saved by the blood of Jesus. Before trusting Jesus we were slaves to sin. Sin is the act of going against the moral laws of God. The Old Testament of the Bible is filled with hundreds of laws that establish the boundaries of sin. Paul wants us to know that by trusting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have been released from the shackles of sin.
“For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.” Romans 7:2 (NIV)
As symbolized through baptism, believers have died to sin and have been raised again as slaves to righteousness and followers of Jesus Christ. As a result, it is no longer the letter of the law that we live by. Going forward, we now live by the spirit of the law. What is in our heart is more important than the specific actions we carry out.
“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.” Romans 7:6 (NIV)
Therefore, the question then becomes, are the laws in the Old Testament no longer of use to believers? Naturally, Paul rejects that idea. The law remains as a guide and a clear indicator of precisely what it is that God considers to be righteous.
“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.” Romans 7:7 (NIV)
For reasons we may never fully understand, God created us with a sinful nature. Sin is part of our DNA. The apostle Paul had a hard time dealing with sin. We all do. Obviously, our struggle with sin is an important part of God’s plan. God has created us in such a way that we will need to constantly wrestle with sin in order to develop our ability to thrive in the eternal world to come.
“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Romans 7:18 (NIV)
Praise God for sending His Son to rescue us from sin. By placing our faith in Jesus, we have been given a new life free from the death sentence imposed by sin and we are now guaranteed an eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24-25 (NIV)
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