What The Law Couldn't Do
22 September 2015
Reading: Romans 7; Proverbs 14
9 At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, 10 and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. 11 Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. (Romans 7:9–11 NLT)
The Law couldn’t save a pagan sinner like me! When I didn’t know the requirements of the law, things seemed fine. But when I learned the demands of the law, I found myself guilty in God’s eyes, separated from him by my sin and sinfulness, and under a sentence of death! Thanks, Law!
15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. (Rom 7:15-19 NLT)
So, OK! I agree that the law is right and I was wrong. But I try to do what the law requires and I still can’t do all the right things and avoid all the wrong things. I’m still guilty in God’s eyes, and even worse, I’m guilty in my own eyes and can’t fix it! I simply cannot, in my own strength, keep the law that made me know how guilty I am! Thanks, Law!
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. (Romans 7:21–25 NLT)
The truth is, Jesus Christ gives me his Spirit, and through the Spirit I can do what self-effort can never achieve. Through the Spirit I can live to please the God who loves me and gave his Son to redeem me! Tomorrow, helpful thoughts from Romans 8!
Father, I am perhaps grudgingly thankful for the Law that at least shows me my sin, my lack, and my need for a Savior. I am frustrated by most of a lifetime of thinking that if I just tried hard enough, I could keep the Impossible Law! I am thankful that I’m beginning to see that it’s Christ and Christ alone, in me, who can live the life! Thanks for everything!