Category: Daily Devotionals

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.

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.

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.