Faith: Approaching the NT Book of Romans / Romans 7
New Life is found at the intersection of everything we can’t complete ourselves with everything that Christ has already made complete.
• Chapter 7 seems to end a cycle of arguments that are made in the beginning chapters of Romans. That we cannot sustain our own salvation and need something outside of ourselves to help us.
› The internal life is fraught with trying to understand, settle and win to find balance.
• Paul uses strong language to define that miss. He tells us we are waging war against ourselves.
Sin and evil produces less than we hoped
• But the reality is we use sin and evil all the time as tools to get us to where we would hope to get us. So we have to look at the way Paul uses sin and evil to get us to the need for Christ.
Romans 7:14–15 ESV
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.
The Law as mirror
• Paul calls the Jewish law a mirror. It shows and names what we are doing. It is the law that helps us to see that our actions aren’t moving us closer to Christ.
Romans 7:7 ESV
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
How we understand sin
Desire produces less than we hoped
Romans 7:14–17 ESV
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. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Both of these are attempts to move forward, but what if instead of carving our own path, we followed One that led us into the future
Romans 7:18–19 ESV
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
• In fact new life is like starting over every time. It takes our participation, not to get us to new life but our participation to walk in new life.
• Our lives are too complex, our sin condition is too strong, to put everything back to where it needs to be. We need some outside help.
New life is not found in putting the pieces together, it is found in the given life of Christ
Romans 7:24–25 ESV
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
• It is in the understanding that while we may not be beholden to sin in the freedom that Christ brings we still need someone to bring new life. God showed up, not when things were great, but when things were at their worst, in order to bring life.
Matthew 11:28–30 ESV
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”