Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Better Way to Live

We know that the law is spiritual, but I a carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do no understand, for what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. But the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:14-25)
We no longer have to stay in the tragedy of Romans 7. Romans 8 shows us the way out. Romans 7 was our old address; Romans 8 is the new dwelling place we have in Jesus Christ.
  • Where there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. (v. 1)
  • Where we can walk according to the Spirit instead of according to the flesh. (v. 1)
  • Where we are free from the law of sin and death, to walk in the law of the Spirit of life. (v. 2)
  • Where the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us, because of the Lord Jesus Christ. (vv. 3-4)
  • Where we can set our minds on the things of the Spirit (v 5)
  • Where we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us--if we His, then He does; but if we do not belong to Him, then He doesn't. (v. 9)
  • Where the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, giving life to our mortal bodies. (v. 11)
  • Where by the Spirit we can put to death the deeds of the body (v. 13)
  • Where we can be led by the Spirit of God (v. 14)
  • Where we have received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out "Abba, Father." And we never have to go back to the spirit of bondage again to fear. (vv. 15-16)
  • Where we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. (v. 17)
  • Where the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God, and will be delivered from bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty we have as the children of God. (vv. 19-22)
  • Where we have the firstfruits of the Spirit (v. 23)
  • Where the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses and pulls together with us, making intercession for us with groans that cannot be uttered, and according to the will of God. (v. 26-27)
  • Where all these things work together for the good of all who love God and are called together according to His purpose. (v. 28)
  • Where we are being conformed to the image of the Son of God, justified in Him, and glorified in Him. (vv. 29-30)
  • Where God is for us, so nothing can stand against us (v. 31)
  • Where God, who did no spare His own Son, now also freely gives us all things (v. 32)
  • Where no charge can stand against us because it is God who justifies us (v. 33)
  • Where Christ has died for us, is risen for us, and is even at the right hand of God making intercession for us. (v. 34)
  • Where nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. (vv. 35-36)
  • Where we are more than conquerors through the Lord Jesus Christ who loved us. (v. 37)
  • Where neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (vv. 38-39)
Sadly, many people still remain in the frustration of Roman's 7. Paul, who wrote this letter, was there Himself. But he did not resign himself to stay there. He discovered there was something much better. What a bummer it would be if his letter had ended with chapter 7. However, where the last verse of chapter 7 hints at the answer, chapter 8 unpacks it for us — and it is overflowing with joy and glory. But it takes faith to make that transition from chapter 7 to chapter 8.

Romans 7 is about the law of performance — which turns out to be a law of sin and death for us. It is about me, what I do and what I don't do. It breeds a works-based, religious spirit. But Romans 8 brings us to a completely different place. It is about what God has done, and is doing, in us, though the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 7 — no way to live. Romans 8 — much better!