Our Blog

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:7-25

Romans 7:13 “Did that which is good, then, bring death to me?  By no means!  It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.”

If we spend our lives trying to gain salvation or God’s merit by keeping the law, then we have proclaimed the essence of the law evil each and every time we break it.  The law, in this situation, is the source of our problems; we are focusing on it and our inability to keep it as the issue.  However, the law is the expression of God’s character; it is comprised of His words.  It cannot be evil, nor can it be the problem.  That’s why Paul has gone to such great lengths to make us realize that the law is not the source of our difficulties.  Our condition in sin isn’t the result of something that has happened to us or a consequence of something “out there.”  Our condition in sin is a condition of our hearts; it is a condition that begins and ends with our very natures.  The answer must be one that goes straight to the core of that problem, and only the grace of God can do that.

Study/Meditation:  Why do you think it is human nature to blame the law for our situations?  Why has Paul spent so much time explaining that this is not the case?

*Father, Your Word is holy and good and I know that it is not my problem.  I know that my heart is the problem and I know that only You can save me.  Thank You for choosing to do so, bringing me into Your Kingdom as only Your grace can do.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:7-25

Romans 7:12 “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.”

After having told us exactly what the law is not—it is not the problem; our sin is—Paul is now telling us exactly what the law is.  He says that God’s law is holy and righteous and good.  It is holy in that it is a reflection of God’s character.  He is its Writer and He established in Isaiah 6:3 that He is “Holy, holy, holy.”  The law is righteous in that it is just.  One cannot claim that the law is somehow unfair.   It does not put unfair demands on people.  Its demands are godliness, which is what God’s children are called to be.  And finally, Paul says that the law is good; it is meant for our good.  Fewer rules are not the means to happiness.  Living a total “free-for-all” is not good for anyone.  God has given us His law because He knows it will bring us what is truly good.  God’s law is holy, righteous, and good.  We cannot blame it for our problems.  For that we need look no further than our own hearts, which is exactly the place where God plants His loving grace and mercy.

Study/Meditation:  How is it that the law is ultimately good for you, even though according to the world it places restrictions on you?  How might you explain this to an unbeliever?

*Father, Your ways are higher than mine and Your thoughts are bigger than mine.  Thank You for giving me what is best for me even when I don’t understand.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:7-25

Romans 7:8c-11 “Apart from the law, sin lies dead.  I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.  The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.  For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.”

In a section of sheer personal transparency, Paul tells us that he used to think he was a righteous man.  Before he understood the reality of the law and what it truly required, he thought he was a holy and righteous follower of God.  But when the law was revealed to him in its truest sense, he saw just how sinful and fallen he was.  In essence, he saw his own spiritual death and decay because he finally saw the law, this law which in and of itself is holy and perfect.  The law was meant for righteousness, to display holiness, but there is no righteousness in fallen man apart from Christ.  Therefore the law serves as the most perfect of mirrors that when looked into we do not see the superfluous camouflage of this outward form; we see in this mirror what is true of who we really are.  Our own sinful natures deceive us into thinking we can earn what the law shows we can never attain—without Jesus.

Study/Meditation:  John Owen said, “Be killing your sin or your sin will be killing you.”  What does that statement mean to you and how is it applied in today’s passage?

*Father, thank You for allowing me to see who I really am without You.  Thank You for the mirror of Your Word.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:7-25

Romans 7:7b-8b “Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.  I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’  But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.”

Understand that Paul is not saying here that until he knew the law he didn’t know right from wrong.  He had already established earlier in his letter that God has written this knowledge on the hearts of every man, so man is without excuse. (Romans 2:15)  What Paul is pointing out is what understanding the truest sense of the law revealed to him.  Notice that he went straight to the tenth commandment, “You shall not covet.”  Murder and adultery and stealing and the rest of the first nine are all sins that can be seen in one’s actions, but coveting is a matter of the heart.  The law revealed to Paul that his sin problem was a heart problem, and in that knowledge he realized that he hadn’t really kept any of the law.  His point is that the law displayed the extent of his need for God’s grace; it displayed his utter and total inability to keep the law to its letter.  Neither can we; our hearts will always rebel.  In other words, knowing the law doesn’t give us the ability to keep the law.  Knowing the law gives us the ability to see that we cannot keep it.  Only by grace are we saved.

Study/Meditation:  Why is knowing the law so important for a believer saved by grace according to Paul?  How can you apply this to your own personal life?

*Father, Your law is wonderful and revealing.  Thank You for giving me the means by which I see clearly my complete need for Your mercy and Your grace.  Amen.

By Laurel Strasshofer

I am a natural “retreater”.  Seriously.

Give me a little dose of misunderstanding – or even some genuine hate from the opposition – and my first instinct is to retreat in my wounding; ask, “Why don’t they like me, God?” I might even call a close friend for consolation and commiseration. But mostly, I would hide.

Yeah. I am a runner.

But, truthfully, I am also aware if I honestly believe the vision and mission I am pursuing is God-inspired (and that the actions bringing criticism are aligned to that vision and mission), this ought not to be my behavior. I am so grateful He gives me regular opportunity to work on this! (more…)

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:7-25

Romans 7:7a “What then shall we say?  That the law is sin?  By no means!”

Paul has been making some fairly bold assertions in his letter to the Romans so far in regards to God’s law and the part it plays in the life of a Christian.  He’s just finished teaching that the law is neither God’s agent of justification or of His sanctification of His children.  God’s grace is the agent for both of those.  Now he addresses the rhetorical question, “If you’re saying that the law doesn’t save but in fact is the instrument we employ toward sin, then is the law itself sin?”  Paul’s answer, of course, is an emphatic no.  The apostle has explained that we need liberation from the law not because it is the problem but because we are; our sin is.  The law remains the standard for our sanctification, but sin is our issue.  Paul wants to make clear to his readers that the nature of the law is our downfall when we seek to make it the avenue by which we receive God’s gift of salvation because it is the perfection of God’s character, something that in our sinful state we are incapable of keeping.  The problem is us, never God, and never His law.

Study/Meditation:  Look at 1 John 5:1-3.  How does the Apostle John further illustrate Paul’s point in his letter to the Romans regarding the law and salvation?

*Father, thank You that my salvation is all of You.  Thank You for giving me Your law so that I may see Your character so clearly.  Amen.