Romans 7: Can’t help myself — bad habits

February 1st, 2007

If you want to survive as a helicopter pilot, you have to train yourself to act calmly and smoothly even when every natural reaction in your body is telling you to be tense. The normal physical reactions which might protect you if a lion is chasing you or if you are in some other sort of dangerous predicament are reactions which may harm you if they happen at the wrong time. Once you get your pilot’s licence those natural reactions don’t suddenly vanish. You have to keep vigilant to ensure that you don’t forget yourself and react incorrectly at the wrong moment.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans — Chapter 7

7:1 Are you unaware, friends — I am speaking to people who know the law — that the law has power over people only as long as they live? 7:2 A woman who has a husband is bound by law to the husband while he lives, but if the husband dies she is released from her legal obligations to her husband. 7:3 If she married another man while her husband was still living, she would be called an adulteress. But if the husband died she would be free from the law, so that she would not be an adulteress even if she married another man. 7:4 Friends, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so you could belong to someone else, the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce fruit for God. 7:5 When we were dominated by our sinful nature, sinful passions stirred up by the law worked in us to produce results which led to death. 7:6 But now we have been released from the law and have died to the thing which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the letter of the law.

7:7 Am I suggesting that the law is sin? Certainly not! However, I would not have been aware of sin except through the law. I would not have understood coveting unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 7:8 But sin, finding its opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of coveting. Apart from the law, sin is dead. 7:9 I once lived apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came to life and I died. 7:10 I found that the commandment, which was intended to bring life, actually brought death, 7:11 because sin, finding its opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.

7:12 The law is indeed holy, and the commandment is holy, and righteous, and good. 7:13 So did something which is good bring me death? Certainly not! It was sin that brought death to me through something which is good, using the commandment to make sin glaringly obvious. 7:14 The law is spiritual, but I am worldly, sold out to sin. 7:15 I do not know what I am doing. I do not do what I want to do. Instead, I do things that I hate. 7:16 If I do things that I detest, I agree that the law is good. 7:17 It is no longer me doing it, but sin which lives in me. 7:18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I have the desire within me, but I do not do good things. 7:19 I do not do the good that I want, but I do do the evil which I do not want. 7:20 If I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it, but sin living in me. 7:21 There seems to be a law that, when I want to do good, evil is present. 7:22 In the core of my being I delight in God’s law, 7:23 but I see a different law at work in other parts of my body, fighting against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner to the law of sin which is in the other parts of my body. 7:24 What a miserable man I am! Who will rescue me from this body filled with death? 7:25 Thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So I serve God’s law with my mind, but I am a slave to sin’s law with my sinful nature.

Entry Filed under: Perseverance

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. » Str&hellip  |  March 27th, 2010 at 8:11 am

    […] the idea that Christ died to pay the price for their sins. But what does Paul mean in the seventh chapter of his letter to the Romans when he says, “You also died to the law through the body of Christ, so you could belong to […]

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