Romans 7:24-8:2 (NIV)
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Yesterday, in the Second Half Challenge, we dug in deeper to the First Half reality. The necessity of fully embracing the first half of the gospel before forging into the territory of the Second Half cannot be overstated. And the truth? Most of us have not adequately grasped the first half. At least I know I didn’t for the longest time of trying to follow Jesus.
We were taught the gospel mostly at the level of the problem of “sins” rather than the problem of “sin.” As a result, we have mostly adopted what I call a “believe and behave” approach to faith. And the outcome is we have settled for a never-ending, rarely successful battle with our sins. I call it the Romans 7 doom loop.
19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
More sins . . . more forgiveness . . . more re-commitment . . . more sins . . . more forgiveness . . . more forgiveness.
Friends, this is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the slavery of sin management. Romans 7 describes “the old way.” But remember, the old has gone. Behold, the new has come. Romans 7 is not intended to describe the Christian life (a.k.a. “the life hid with God in Christ). In Romans 7 Paul shows us the utter futility of living at the level of trying to deal with our “sins” before letting Jesus deal with our “sin.”
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Then Paul, in the language of the ballpark, “goes yard.” (For those from other countries and cultures— “going yard” is a baseball reference which means he knocks the ball out of the ballpark.)
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 7 is straight up prison. Romans 8 is a 100% “Get out of jail free card.”
Romans 7 is the doom loop. Romans 8 is the fly wheel of freedom.
There are only two laws: The law of sin and death, and the law of the Spirit who gives life.
Which one are you living under? Which one do you want to live under? You have to choose. Not choosing is choosing, and I think you I know which one that means.
I’ve got good news. We are about to get free up in here.
Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I’m sorry for the way I get so stuck in my sins. I am ready for you to deal with my sin. I am ready to receive forgiveness for the problem that is bigger than my behavior. I want you to deal with my fundamental brokenness. Deliver me from the law of sin and death and into the law of the Spirit who gives life. Come Holy Spirit and make me ready for the second half of the Gospel—for my good, for others benefit, for your glory. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.
So have you thought of Romans 7 as a description of the Christian life? Are you ready for Romans 8 in a whole new way? Can you begin to picture what that might look like?
For the Awakening,