Today’s Passage: Romans 7
“May It Never Be” Total: 7 (+2, verses 7 and 13)
In this passage, Paul further develops the idea that coming to Christ entails a form of “dying.”
His first point is that the law only applies or holds power over those who are still living. He uses the example of a married woman whose husband dies, which event allows her to remarry without being an adulteress under the law. Then, as if to deliberately complicate things, he states that “the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death” (v.5), only to turn around and anticipate the potential objection: “Is the Law sin? May it never be!” (v.7)
His counter-argument seems to be that when bad people (i.e. all of us, born sinners) are exposed to the law, they respond to it badly, in keeping with their nature. He uses the example of coveting: the law tells him not to covet, and the sinfulness dwelling inside him says, “Oo, coveting! Let’s do it!” and promptly takes the opportunity to kill him that was given through the commandment (v.11). I’m reminded of how children, when told to keep their hands out of the cookie jar, will conspire and go to great lengths to get into the cookie jar, no matter how far out of reach one places it.
The chapter ends with a passage easy to identify with, where Paul laments that he finds himself doing the evil things that he doesn’t want to do (vv.15-25). While I’ve experienced this feeling, it sometimes strikes me as peculiar that Paul seemingly takes great pains to distance “himself” from the “sin” that is doing the sinning. “So now,” he writes, “no longer am I the one doing [evil], but sin which indwells me” (v.17). From a certain perspective, it’s easy to read this as an excuse, and it almost makes Paul sound intermittently possessed by sin.
For someone who never technically met Jesus Christ in the flesh, Paul’s theology about dying to sin shows remarkable congruence with Jesus’ statement:
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)
Chocolove dark chocolate coffee crunch is again the chocolate of the day. I am saving the last of the bar for Friday, but I will soon need to purchase more chocolate for the purposes of this blog. What chocolate should I buy? Leave a comment with your suggestions!