Category: Daily Devotionals

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.

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.