Miserable or Relieved?

Note from Jesus

Dear Faithful Follower,

Today’s verses are different selections from chapter 7 of Paul’s letter to Christians in Rome. In previous parts of the letter, he had written about grace being made available through:

  • My sin-offering on the cross (Romans 3).
  • Your faith in My sacrifice for your sins being credited to you as righteousness (Romans 4).,
  • My sacrifice given for you out of the Father’s loving grace, not because you deserved it (Romans 5).
  • My saving death, burial, and resurrection where you died to sin through your baptism into My death because of your faith (Romans 6).

Paul wanted you to know that as a baptized believer saved by grace you are dead to sin and alive to live for God as His righteous child.

But how?

How will you live for God righteously?

How will you live up to the Father’s demands to be righteous as His child?

Will you use law-keeping to try to be considered righteous? That was the easy answer for those who grew up living under the Mosaic law. So in today’s verses, Paul explained that any attempt to be considered righteous by living under a law — any law, but especially the Mosaic law — is ineffective to obtain righteousness before God. While the Law was a precious gift and it points out the righteousness the Father demands, it has no power to change you and make you holy without My sacrifice.

Paul wanted to help you understand that law-keeping cannot make you righteous. The problem is not the law — it is holy and just; the problem is the deceptive power of sin that takes the law and uses it to lead you to sin. Your fleshly nature — “living in the flesh,” also called “the fallen human realm, owned by sin”“awakened [y]our lust for more” sin.

While My sacrifice saves you from sin and death, if you try to be righteous by law-keeping, you end up “absolutely miserable” and in bondage to sin once again! You do what you do not want to do — you fall back into sin again and again. Sin “owns you” and “has taken up residence in” you. The only relief is to remember that you died to sin and to the whole law-keeping way of trying to be righteous and that you can rely on the Holy Spirit to lead you to righteous living. Paul said it this way:

But now that we have died to those chains that imprisoned us, we have been released from the law to serve in a new Spirit-empowered life, not the old written code.

(The Spirit’s power will be the focus in tomorrow’s verses.)

The Father’s grace brings you salvation and righteousness by providing the sin offering (My death on the cross) that atoned for your sin and by giving you the Holy Spirit to empower you to righteous living. Everything about your salvation is a gift, so don’t try to earn your salvation or think yourself superior because you obey the law, any law. Recognize that the Father’s grace is the only way you stand before Him as His righteous child!

Verses to Live

Pay attention as you read these verses. They remind you that you are dead to the whole law-keeping principle because obeying the law cannot save you. Your fleshly nature and sin’s deceptive power to use the law to trip you up lead you back to the principles of sin and death. Your faith in My sacrifice for your sins and the indwelling Spirit’s power to help you become the person you want to be, provide your only way to live righteously as the Father’s child.

My brothers and sisters who are well versed in the law, don’t you realize that a person is subject to the law only as long as he is alive? So, for example, a wife is obligated by the law to her husband until his death; if the husband dies, she is freed from the parts of the law that relate to her marriage.

My brothers and sisters, in the same way, you have died when it comes to the law because of your connection with the body of the Anointed One. His death — and your death with Him — frees you to belong to the One Who was raised from the dead so we can bear fruit for God. As we were living in the flesh, the law could not solve the problem of sin; it only awakened our lust for more and cultivated the fruit of death in our bodily members. But now that we have died to those chains that imprisoned us, we have been released from the law to serve in a new Spirit-empowered life, not the old written code.

So what is the story? Is the law itself sin? Absolutely not! It is the exact opposite. I would never have known what sin is if it were not for the law.

There was a time when I was living without the law, but the commandment came and changed everything: sin came to life, and I died. This commandment was supposed to bring life; but in my experience, it brought death. Sin took advantage of the commandment, tricked me, and exploited it in order to kill me. So hear me out: the law is holy; and its commandments are holy, right, and good.

This is what we know: the law comes from the spiritual realm. My problem is that I am of the fallen human realm, owned by sin, which tries to keep me in its service.

I know that in me, that is, in my fallen human nature, there is nothing good. I can will myself to do something good, but that does not help me carry it out. I can determine that I am going to do good, but I don’t do it; instead, I end up living out the evil that I decided not to do. If I end up doing the exact thing I pledged not to do, I am no longer doing it [myself] because sin has taken up residence in me [and is causing me to do it].

I am absolutely miserable! Is there anyone who can free me from this body where sin and death reign so supremely? I am thankful to God for the freedom that comes through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So on the one hand, I devotedly serve God’s law with my mind; but on the other hand, with my flesh, I serve the principle of sin.

(Romans 7:1-2; Romans 7:4-7; Romans 7:9-12; Romans 7:14; Romans 7:18-20; Romans 7:24-25)

Special Note:

Today’s verses end with a somewhat negative tone. The next verses, which will be included tomorrow, have a completely different and incredibly positive tone as Paul will begin his discussion of life in the Spirit and the relief for the predicament stated in these last verses.

Response in Prayer

O Father, thank You for Your grace! I am saved by Your grace. I am sustained by Your grace. I am transformed by Your grace. I have access to Your presence because of Your grace. Thank You for Your grace. Without Your grace, I know I would be without hope. In the name of Christ Jesus, I thank You. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.