In Romans 6, we learned that believers who identify with Jesus Christ have died to sin and are no longer a slave to it, but we still have a sin nature within us. Romans 6 is about freedom from sin, and Romans 7 is about freedom from the Law.
Free to Marry Again (7:1-6)
Paul uses the image of marriage to illustrate the point about a believer's relationship to the Law. As a woman is no longer married to her husband when he dies, so a believer is no long "bound" to the Law but "bound to another" (Christ) who died on the cross (7:4). We are bound to Him as His bride (Ephesians 5:25) and can bear spiritual children (Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:11).
The Law's Strength (7:7-13)
Even though the Law, because of its restraints, aroused sin, it is not sinful or the cause of sin. In fact Paul says the Law is holy, righteous, good (7:12) and spiritual (7:14). Its function was to make sin known like a black speck would become visible if it had a white background behind it. The Law was the pure white standard against the world that was black with sin. The Law named sin and called for accountability. It was a "tutor" to bring us to a higher standard of holiness (Galatians 3:24-25).Paul establishes that the problem is not the Law but sin.
The Law's Weakness (7:14-25)
The Law tells us what sin is, but it is inadequate to help us change. It cannot "sanctify" (we are going to talk about that word tomorrow). In 7:7-13, Paul talked about his past experience of coming to the realization of his sin through the Law using past tense verbs. In 7:14-25, Paul is talking about his continuing struggle with sin using present tense verbs. Some think Paul is talking about his life before He became a believer in 7:14-25 because we can no longer be sold into bondage to sin. It merits further study, but I can say that I still have an ongoing struggle with sin (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 4:7) so if Paul is talking about his struggles as a believer, his experience parallels my own! How about you?
Even though our inner being (2 Corinthians 4:16, Ephesians 3:16) delights in God's Law (Psalm 119:16, 24, 47) because we are new creatures in Christ (Galatians 2:20) and have a capacity for loving His truth, we still have a sinful nature that continues to try to claim us (Romans 7:17, 20, 21). There is a constant war between the old and new natures. Because of this, Paul proclaims Himself a wretch (Revelation 3:17), but concludes that he could cast himself on the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
REFLECTION and APPLICATION
Here is a perfect word picture of Romans 7 from the Daily Walk, November 15/16, 2008:
When you were a child, did you ever try to pick up a box that was too heavy for you to lift? Try as you might, you could only raise one side an inch or two off the floor. You were powerless to lift the entire burden, much less move it from one place to another. Then, just as you were about to abandon the project in frustration, along came an adult to help you. He reached down, picked up both you and the box, and together you "carried" the box with ease.Now think of the above example as a "Parable of Paul's Dilemma . . . and yours" (see 7:19-25).
What is the box?
What is the frustration?
Who is the One who helps?
What should your response be toward Him today and every day?
Talk to Him about it.
Lord, thank You that You have lifted the heavy burden of our sin off of us and carry it because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Help us to walk in a manner that pleases You. Amen.