NT Fire Starters – Day 214: Romans 7:7-25
READ: Romans 7:7-25
THINK: Some feel that in this passage Paul is simply being candid about his ongoing struggle with sin. But this view often tends to justify some Christians’ habitual failures in regard to sin and temptation. Certainly Paul faced spiritual struggles. However, in light of what he said about dying to sin (ch. 6) and about the power Christ gives us over our sinful nature (ch. 8), it’s unlikely that Paul consistently gave in to sin (v. 19) or considered himself “unspiritual… a slave to sin” (v. 14). Phrases like, “nothing good lives in me” (v. 18) and “a prisoner to the law of sin” (v. 23) don’t seem to describe the Christian experience Paul conveys throughout this letter. It’s more likely that he’s speaking of his experience before encountering Christ (Acts 9), when he depended on strict adherence to God’s law to be “righteous” and to find favor with God. Ultimately, he found that pleasing God is impossible apart from Christ (v. 25).
RESPOND: What purposes does God’s law serve–both in relation to sin and in relation to following Jesus (cf. vv. 7, 13)? Why is it useless to attempt to live right and please God by our own efforts? (See 7:7-25 note.) Why can’t we gain right relationship with God by following His laws? What’s the only way to receive spiritual salvation? What does God’s law expose in our lives and how does it point us to Jesus? (See 7:7-25 note, sub-point 1.) What seem to be the implications of Paul’s statement, “Once I was alive apart from the law” (v. 9)? (See 7:9-11 note.) Though it “brought death” (v. 1), why is God’s law still “holy, righteous and good” (v. 12)? In what way does a personal relationship with Jesus provide power over sin that the law never could? (See 7:14 first note.) What condition does Paul describe by saying, “I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin”? (See 7:14 second note.) Why is it likely that chapter 7 describes a futile attempt to please God and overcome sin by personal efforts apart from Christ, rather than a Christian’s battle against sinful human nature? (See 7:14 second note and 7:15 note.) In what way is a Christian’s struggle with his or her sinful human nature different from someone who struggles to do right apart from a relationship with Jesus? (See 7:14 second note, sub-point 4.) Why is it impossible to find favor with God, overcome sin and live by God’s standard apart from a personal relationship with Jesus? (See 7:22 note.)
PRAY: Thank Jesus for the ongoing victory that is yours over sin as you continually rely on His power and obey His Word.
ACT: Are you trying to overcome a sin or temptation, or trying to do something for God, in your own strength– without completely relying on Him? Spend time listening to God and searching His Word for direction regarding this issue. Then take the action you feel He desires. Simply trust Jesus and aim to honor Him in what you do or don’t do.