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 from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. (verses 4-6)
The latter part of Romans 7 is classic, describing so painfully, yet accurately, the struggle I often have with sin. “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (verse 15). All too often, to varying degrees, this describes my own reality as I have found myself in a battle with temptation and sin. I cry out with Paul: “Who will rescue me?”
But of course Paul’s answer is already given. My rescue has come from God through Jesus Christ my Lord. Praise him!
And what I discover in Paul’s writing is that the reality of my relationship with sin is completely different than those pain-filled moments of struggle.
We’ve been reading about it already in Romans 6. “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). Praise God – in Jesus the slavery is ended!
Romans 7:4-6 affirms the same. Coming now from the point of view of the law (which awakens sinful passions within us), Paul says again that we have died. We are no longer under law, no longer under the control of the sinful nature. Rather, having died to what once bound us, we are released, set free. Our life is now in Christ.
So, what of the piercing description of struggle given later in the chapter? It’s still too often all too real. The struggle remains. But the point is, we don’t have to stay there. Who will rescue us? Jesus Christ our Lord. He already has! Released, I can now “serve in the new way of the Spirit” (Romans 7:6).
Oh, the spiritual battle continues. Does it ever! But my footing is completely different.
O Lord Jesus, capture my mind with the new reality. This day, let me serve in the new way of the Spirit. To your honour and glory. Amen.
Give Thanks: Take time right now to pray. Give thanks for this “new way of the Spirit.” Thank Jesus that you, too, have died to what bound you. Hammer down the truth afresh by prayer and thanksgiving. Ask the Spirit to renew your mind according to this reality.