There has been a theme embedded in the middle of this letter to the Romans. The first mention of it came in (Rom. 1:32) Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. As we have already discussed, unrighteousness is a death sentence for us. We wrestled with this problem and how we have an amazing gift of forgiveness and being counted righteous by faith in God’s Son. But I want to follow this theme of life and death because that’s what chapter 7 begins with.
This theme might be a little confusing. It should seem like foolishness to the world. Maybe one of my new favorite verses has emerged as I saw this. Check this one out: (Rom. 5:10) For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. It’s that astounding! If we were God’s enemy we were dead. But God made reconciliation not through our death but through the death of His Son. To have the Son’s death effectual, then we dead sinners needed to die that we might have life and shall be saved by Jesus’s life. Wow!
The way to life is through death. The way to death (I should say, eternal death) is to save your life now. In other words, we must humble ourselves now. We must agree with what God says about us. We must lay down our lives and live for Him. To live now is to die later. To die now is to live forever. Jesus died the death we deserved that we might live eternally with God! Can you imagine how much God loves us to reconcile His enemies to Himself through the death of His own Son? There is no other love like this. There is no other gift available. Repent and believe and you will be saved!
Chapter 7 makes clear that one must die to the law so that you can be joined to Christ. Our union with Adam, our father, must be seen and broken by the law. The law cannot save but it does reveal who we are in union with and that we are sinners.
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For 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. For 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.(Rom. 7:7-11)
The law says do not eat of that tree. Whatever the law says…whatever God says is not good for me is righteous and holy and good. But we say, “Oh, I believe that I know better than God and eating of any tree I want is good and right.” Therefore, we eat and we die. The law revealed our wicked desires and sin came forth and killed us. The very thing that is good and righteous and holy killed us. It said this is the right way but we didn’t want the right way. We want our way. If the law had not revealed that in us, we would not have known and would have remained enemies of God.
It leaves you asking as Paul did: (Rom. 7:24) Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? If you have seen this about yourself, a miracle has occurred. Notice this: (Col. 2:13-14) And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. What does this do to you? What will it result in?
Praise! (Rom. 7:25) Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. Can you say, “Thanks be to God?”
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
Is it well with your soul?