Sunday, February 5, 2012

Romans 7:7-13

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

Paul anticipates the next question his reader is going to ask. The relationship of law and sin can be difficult to grasp. Is the law sin? Emphatically no! Sin is always in our hearts, from the very beginning. But it is not always recognizable as sin. The law came to define sin. By its very nature, the coming of the law prodded sin into action. The action of sin is recognizable, making the sin that was already there utterly sinful.

So, the law is not sin, and the law is good. What is good does not become death to me. The law only reveals sin; sin itself causes death. We just didn’t know we were dead before the law came.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Romans 7:1-6

I added a bit to this, so am reposting it.

(I am working my way from the middle backwards... sideways as it were. I started meditating and memorizing in Romans 8, now am in Romans 7, then will do Romans 6. Ch 8 has been such a constant part of my life for years, and I already knew most of it. 6-8 go together. So you see, it does sort of make sense,)

1-3 Do you not know, brothers – for I am speaking to men who know the law – that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 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 of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

This is simply an illustration for the next point Paul is going to make. He compares us to a woman because she is under the authority of her husband, and she is bound to him until death.

4-6 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released by the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Just as the woman is under the authority of her husband as long as he lives, we are under the law of the authority of our sin nature. But when the body of Christ died for us, it is as though sin died. So we are no longer slaves under the authority of sin. We have been freed from that.

But we are not just free from the law – we are free for a purpose! Look at all the “thats” in this passage.

I died to the law through Christ’s death
I belong to Him through His resurrection
in order that I might bear fruit to God.

The sin nature used to control me
The law aroused sin’s passions
so that I bore fruit for death.

I am released from the law
so that I serve in the Spirit.

I am not bound by the law.
I do not serve the law.
I am not judged by the law.