Tuesday 20 March 2012

Bible Book:

"You 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 ... But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held is captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit." (vv. 4, 6)

Romans 7:1-12 Tuesday 20 March 2012


Paul writes of God's grace, to the Christians in Rome. Theycomprised Jews who believed that Jesus was indeed the promisedMessiah, and Gentiles who had converted from idolatry. This letteraddresses problems arising between the Jews' insistence that theGentiles live under (ie are obedient to) the Jewish Law, and becircumcised.

In the first six verses of today's passage Paul uses the idea ofmarriage, contrasting between living an old life bound to the lawand the new living life by the Spirit of God that begins when aperson accepts Christ. No longer slaves or in bondage, we are freeto belong to another, to be Christ's bride, the Church. Thestruggle with sin may still be evident, but Paul states we have noobligation to it. If we live by the Spirit, then we will producegood works for God. These will flow naturally, out of love andgratitude for God, from our new nature.

In the second part Paul then answers his own rhetorical questions(v. 7): "What then should we say? That the law is sin? By nomeans!" All people have some sense of right and wrong. People whodo not have the law may well know that they have done wrong. Butwithout God's law they do not see wrongdoing as sin against God.While intended to lead us toward a relationship with God (Galatians 3:24), God's law touches our pride, aswe often resist on the basis of self-determination. God's lovingpurpose is that the law would make us understand how bad sin is, inorder that we recognise the need for forgiveness from JesusChrist.

Paul clearly shows that the law is necessary, holy, righteous andgood. Without God's saving power, grace and mercy, it simplyexposes our weaknesses; but in Christ we are set free from thebondage of sin, and able to draw strength to live daily forJesus.

To Ponder

As you examine your thoughts, and recent actions,in the light of God's holiness and word, what will you ask of God:to forgive? to set free? to reconcile? Or will you just givethanks?

What does it mean to you, to live in step withthe Spirit? You may like to meditate on the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25)?

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