Late today because I hit the ground running and haven’t had a chance to write until now.
Psalm 66-67 Romans 7
“You might think I am saying that sin and the law are the same thing. That is not true. But the law was the only way I could learn what sin meant. I would never have known what it means to want to take something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, ‘You must not want to take your neighbor’s things.’” (Romans 7:7 NCV)
Romans 7 has some of the most confusing discussion in the Bible. Paul made the point that once we die to sin, sin no longer has control over us. He used the example of a married woman who became a widow. If she’s a widow, she’s free to marry another man. On the other hand, if she entered into a relationship while her husband was still living, she commits adultery. Once death occurred the former bonds no longer existed. We can’t commit to following Christ until we die to sin. Dying to sin includes dealing with the law, because the law revealed what was sin. The example Paul used related to coveting. He might not have considered wanting someone else’s stuff were it not for the law that told him he couldn’t even have that desire. The rest of the chapter deals with the problem of continued sin: in his spirit, Paul wanted to stay true to God, yet his body was drawn to sin. (This is where it really gets confusing.) His outcry is one that many have used: “What a terrible person I am! Who can free my from my sin?” The answer, of course, is Jesus.
As I read this chapter, I’m reminded of one of the funniest shows ever on TV: The Dick Van Dyck Show. In one of the episodes, Rob and Laura, the two stars of the show, are watching the comedy show that Rob writes for. In it, the star’s TV wife is depicted as being very snoopy and opening her husband’s mail, and then later, a package of an inflatable raft which traps the TV wife in the closet. When Laura’s friend comes over laughing about what Laura did to make Rob write that sketch, she read him the riot act about portraying her like that. Unbeknownst to Laura, and forgotten by Rob, is that he had ordered an inflatable raft that arrived that day. Laura is obsessed with the package. She left it on a table and walked in and out of the room. Then she placed it on the floor and continued watching the package. Finally, realizing it was a temptation, she put it in the closet. Whereupon she gave in to temptation and followed the exact same procedure the TV wife had to open the package and end up trapped in the closet. Sin has a way of drawing us like the package drew Laura. We look at the temptation, knowing that we’d never give in. We flirt with it by skirting past it in our everyday life. Finally, we give in and get trapped in its clutches. The only hope to get out of sin’s grip is Jesus Christ. As wretched as we may be when caught in sin’s deceit, God still loves us, forgives us, and breaks sin’s power. Whatever you may have done, God can and does forgive because He loves You to the end of the world and back.
Lord, it’s so easy to fall to sin’s temptations. Give me the power to resist. Help me to focus on You when temptation comes my way so that I won’t be sucked into sin.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved