Romans 7:14-25

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, June 8, 2015 0 comments
by Katie Erickson

“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:14-25)

This section of the book of Romans is often referred to as the “do do” chapter. As you read the text above, you may have gotten lost in all the do’s that Paul writes. But when you look at the underlying message, it truly sums up humanity and how we live our lives.

In last week’s passage, we looked at how we want to do what we’re not supposed to, simply because we’re told not to do it. That’s what Paul is elaborating on here. We want to do what is good and right, but we mess it up, and we keep messing it up. Our minds agree with God’s law, but our actions don’t necessarily match up to that.

We know we should do what God wants us to do and not disobey Him by sinning. But when we do what we don’t want to (sin), it’s the evil living in us that does it. We were all born with original sin, so we have that natural tendency to go against what God wants us to do. We are a new creation because of the work of Jesus on the cross, but we’re still living in the sinful world and still have sin in our lives. This is an ongoing battle in every one of our lives.

Having good intentions are not good enough, especially not in God’s eyes. Just because I know I shouldn’t tell a lie, and really I didn’t mean to but it just slipped out, doesn’t make it right. I still told that lie, even if my intention was not too. As the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Hell is the only place we’re headed when all we have are good intentions, without a perfect life to back them up - or without the perfect life of Jesus Christ covering up our sins.

This brings back the idea of slavery that we talked about in Romans 6: are you a slave to sin and the requirements of the law, or are you a slave to the grace and freedom that comes through Jesus Christ? Our sin traps us in spiritual death because we cannot live up to the perfect standards of the law, and only Jesus Christ can free us from it.

In last week’s passage of Romans 7:7-12, Paul shared how he got to know and understand the law. Here, he shares his struggle with the law (which is the same struggle that we all have), and his hope of a future without that struggle in his life. We are already made perfect because of Jesus Christ, but we can’t yet fully live that our lives because we’re still living in this sinful world. As I wrote about recently, we’re simultaneously saints and sinners.

Good intentions are great, but it’s what you do that truly matters. But, if you can’t live up to God’s standards and have faith in Jesus, then it’s what Jesus Christ has done for you that truly matters!

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