Our Blog

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:1-6

Romans 7:5-6 “For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.  But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.”

If we had not died to ourselves as Christ died for our sins, then we would not have died to being bound by the law.  It would have been, as in Paul’s comparison, “until death do us part.”  However, we have been released from the power and jurisdiction of the law through Christ’s sacrifice for us and our subsequent union with Him.  This freedom from the law, though, does not free us from rule, nor does it mean a freedom from standards.  God’s standards, just as His character, do not change.  Knowing that we are free from the jurisdiction of the law simply means that in Christ our relationship to the law has changed.  Now we seek to obey God’s standards out of love and adoration for Him as God, not out of an obligation to do so in order for Him to accept us as God.  The law cannot put us back into fellowship with God; only Christ can, but now we can sing with the psalmist, “O how I love your law!  It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)

Study/Meditation:  What is the difference between being subject to the law’s jurisdictions and obeying God’s standards and rules as His children?  Why is there a difference?

*Father, I love Your laws and Your Word!  It is balm to my soul and comfort to my mind.  Thank You for giving it to Your children.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:1-6

Romans 7:4 “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.”

The word “likewise” is there to bring us to the comparison Paul is making between marriage and what happened to us when we died to the law and were united to Christ.  Just as a wife is separated from her former husband in his death and united to a new husband afterward, so we died to the law and were united to our new Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, who defeated death.  The old relationship was replaced by the new one—a relationship that brings life and freedom instead of misery and bondage.  Paul is summing up the last of his three comparisons so that we might understand the immense and complete union we now have with our Eternal Bridegroom.  This union is life brought about by His death, a death we share in that we died to ourselves and any notion we may have had that we could commend ourselves to God by our own actions.  Once again, it is all in Christ and it is eternal.

Study/Meditation:  Does dying to the law mean that we do not aspire to keep it?  Why or why not?

*Father, help me in this life to know what it means to keep Your law while receiving Your grace.  Help me produce exactly the fruit in my life that demonstrates this great gift.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:1-6

Romans 7:2-3 “Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.  Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive.  But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.”

Now comes the warning about being sidetracked.  It may seem as if Paul has begun teaching on the permanence of marriage here, but he is not, though he will do so elsewhere.  As observed yesterday, he is giving the third of his illustrations regarding what it is to be under grace instead of the law.  His illustration is using the law’s dealing with one instance in marriage.  He is not making an absolute statement in verses 2-3 about any circumstances in which a marriage can be dissolved.  His point is to compare how the law binds us in this life and how it is lifelong.  Because it binds the one under it for as long as that person lives, it cannot be the avenue by which we try to find freedom when we violate it.  Paul’s point is that the law binds; it does not free, and he is making this comparison using marriage since everyone in his congregation would have understood his meaning.

Study/Meditation:  How can you see that living under the law is a lifelong binding?  Why is it true that the law does not allow for freedom when you break it?

*Father, thank You for freeing me in Your grace.  Help me understand Your Word as You bring me these great and freeing truths.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:1-6

Romans 7:1 “Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person as long as he lives?”

Sometimes it’s easy when studying Scripture to get side-tracked by the illustrations and lose sight of the central point.  In other words, sometimes we can “take our eyes off of the ball.”  There is a danger in that with these first verses of Chapter 7.  Paul has been writing in the previous two chapters about grace and how we who are in Christ are under grace and not the law.  So, the “ball” we need to keep our eyes on as we start Chapter 7 is grace.  He’s given two examples to illustrate this point, baptism and slavery, and now he is giving a third.  This third illustration is comparing our union with Christ to our earthly marriages.  His introduction to this illustration is the simple statement of his principle in the first verse—the law only serves to give permanent condemnation on those who violate it, which is everyone.  It is a lifelong binding instrument, offering no freedom, only judgment.  Consequently, it can’t be the place where we flee for hope.  Being good enough or following codes or laws or creeds cannot be our solace or refuge.  The eternal solace offered to those who are in Christ is Christ, and our freedom lies only in His grace.

Study/Meditation:  Christians can be just as guilty of trying to earn freedom as any other person.  How do you battle this tendency?  What do you need to do to defeat it?

*Father, thank You for Your grace.  Thank You that I am not living under the condemnation of my sin.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 6:15-23

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul makes a very startling contrast is this seemingly simple statement.  He has already been driving home the point that the end of sin is death and the end of righteousness is life.  He begins with a kind of “goods and services” analogy.  First he writes “the wages of sin.”  In other words, the payment one receives for a life devoted to sin is death.  Death is the just compensation one receives for a life of sin.  He follows that statement with the phrase “the free gift of God.”  No longer using the goods and services rendered analogy, he says that eternal life is given, free of charge, to the one who receives Jesus Christ as his/her Lord. There is no just payment received by God to merit this eternal life.  Since we all sin, our just payment for this service of sin would always be death.  But God, in His mercy and grace, offers the free gift of everlasting life with Him in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Nothing in us, but all in Him.

Study/Meditation:  Refer back to what Paul wrote earlier in Romans 5:6-8.  What wonderful truth is he repeating in different words throughout this letter?

*Father, thank You for the free gift of salvation, though I know it was not free to You or to Jesus.  Thank You for that sacrifice for me.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 6:15-23

Romans 6:22 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”

Paul doesn’t leave a lot of room for shifting in the points he makes in verses 21 and 22.   Basically he has told us that the fruit of slavery to sin is death and the fruit of slavery to God is eternal life and sanctification.  In other words, slavery to one or the other is inevitable.  In light of that, one of two ends or “fruits” is also inevitable.  Slavery to sin results in our bodies and our minds being used as instruments of unrighteousness, and that only leads to misery and pain.  On the other hand, slavery to righteousness in God results in our bodies and minds being used as instruments for His glory and holiness, which leads to joy and peace.  One leads to eternal death and the other to eternal life.  Let us rejoice this day and every day that in Christ we are no longer invariably destined for pain but inexorably destined for life everlasting.

Study/Meditation:  In what ways do you need to seek more fruit toward righteousness in your body and your mind?  What can you do to aid in this endeavor?

*Father, help me see the areas of my life where I need to bear fruit to righteousness instead of to sin.  Give me wisdom and discernment to distinguish those areas and the courage to make the changes I need to make.  Amen.