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Focal Passage:  Romans 7:7-25

Romans 7:20 “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”

Oh, what a great a glorious proclamation the Apostle Paul is making here!  Only now, once we have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, can we say that we are new creatures.  Only now, now that the Holy Spirit has taken up residency in our hearts, can we exclaim with the rest of God’s regenerated children that it is the sin that dwells in us that disobeys God, not the justified child of the Most High.  Paul says “Now,” or in other words, “Now that I am justified by the blood of the Lamb…”  Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross gives us new identities, identities that may say, “I may disobey in my flesh, but Jesus has given me His righteousness and in that I am redeemed.”  Oh, what a Savior!

Study/Meditation:  How can you correlate what Paul is writing here to the Roman Christians with what he wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 5:17?

*Father, thank You for making me new in Your Son, Jesus Christ!  Amen.

By Dr. Deb Waterbury

My husband and I were painting the house this past weekend, which is a little easier since I really don’t have too many fears.  As a matter of fact, I most likely need a good dose of fear sometimes just so that I can stay on track.  Consequently, I had no problem whatsoever going up that ladder to paint the eaves on our house.  It’s beautiful up there, and having grown not one fraction of an inch since I was measured in the seventh grade at a whopping five foot nothing, any time I can see up high is a real treat.  I scaled that ladder like a pro, and all the while my husband was cautioning me to be careful.

Be careful? I thought.  This is great!

And then I ran out of paint. (more…)

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:7-25

Romans 7:18b-19 “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”

Again, Paul’s transparency is astounding.  He is continuing to recognize the complete totality of his sin nature, but he is also recognizing the change the Holy Spirit has made in him.  His heart wishes to please God; it wishes to do that which is good and “right.”  His heart has changed; this he declares.  However, in perfect humility and awareness, he also relinquishes to the truth that he cannot do the good that he wishes to do.  His flesh, or his sinful nature, continues in its battle against his newfound desires to please God.  This should be comforting news to we sinners who are saved if even the Apostle Paul battled sin every day while on this earth.  However, it must also be sobering news as we grip the mighty reality that we are nothing without our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is the only means we have toward righteousness and our only avenue to the Holy Father.

Study/Meditation:  Why do you have no ability to do what is really “right,” as the Apostle Paul calls it?  How does this demonstrate your complete dependency on God?

*Father, it is only You in me that enables me to please You.  Help me today as I work to discern this great truth in my life and live it out in a way that does please You.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:7-25

Romans 7:17-18a “So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, my flesh.”

Paul is making a clear distinction here about what happens at conversion in a believer, and this distinction only occurs when the Spirit comes to reign within these mortal frames.  Paul says that now that he is a believer, he can make a separation between the desires of his flesh, which still abide within him, and the desires of the Spirit, which now abides within his heart.  It is again much like finally seeing into a mirror clearly; we can now see that without Christ we are fully sinful.  Just like Paul, only when we have the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ present in our hearts can we see what we really are without him.  He is not saying, “The devil made me do it.”  Paul is realizing, “I make me do it,” and there is nothing good in “I” at all.  Now he knows, as we do, that the only good in any of us comes with the Spirit of the Living Christ.

Study/Meditation:  Why can a believer not say, “The devil made me do it”?  Who makes us sin?  How do we fight that temptation?

*Father, thank You for depositing Your Spirit within me so that I may not follow the desires of my sinful flesh.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:7-25

Romans 7:16 “Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.”

Paul has established that believers are simply sinners who have been redeemed.  In that redemption comes a newfound respect and admiration for the written demonstrations of God’s character—His law.  It is good and holy and righteous and it is now written on our hearts.  With this heart change comes the desire to obey God’s law and to do whatever is needed to please our Heavenly Father.  When we sin now we are acting against that holy writ which is now in our hearts and we don’t want to disobey it.  Since rebellion against the law is sin as we see it in our redeemed states, then logic dictates that the law is good.  The battle is real and it is of the utmost importance that God’s children understand which side is which, fighting the good fight while wielding the sword of the Spirit.

Study/Meditation:  Read Ephesians 6:10-17.  What does Paul admonish us to in this letter so that we fight the good fight of faith?

*Father, help me in this fight of faith.  Give me wisdom and discernment this day and every day to defeat the sin within me through Your Word.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:7-25

Romans 7:14-15 “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.  I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

It’s so very important to us as believers to hear and understand Paul’s point of view in this section of Romans.  He is using all first person pronouns—I, me, we.  He is not speaking of sin and the propensity to commit it from the perspective of a nonbeliever or even from one who is on the verge of conversion.  He is speaking as a converted believer, and his struggle with sin is real.  How many times have we questioned our salvation because we still struggle so very much with sin?  The truth of the matter is that the battle between sin and the Spirit in us does not end with conversion; it begins with conversion.  The first time we truly begin to battle with our indwelling sin is when the Spirit unites us with our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Paul’s point here is both a comfort and a call to action.  Believers still sin, but they are saved by grace.  It is this grace that brings the battle because our hearts are being changed so that sin is no longer desirable.  The call to action is to seek sanctification by obedience to the very Father who saved us by His grace.

Study/Meditation:  Once saved, we generally still struggle with the same sins as before we were converted.  Why do we hate this sin so much after receiving Christ?  How do we now do battle against this propensity toward sin?

*Father, forgive me for the sins I commit daily, sins that I hate.  Help me in my ongoing struggle against my flesh so that I may be sanctified to Your presence.  Amen.