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About-Him.Com Devotional 12-01-2012
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Thoughts on Romans 7
O Wretched Man That I Am, or Was

Last week in Romans 6, we spoke of our identify being established with Christ in the waters of baptism. We were buried with Him in the likeness of His death and raised to walk in the likeness of His resurrection.  It is believed that Paul was directing this chapter to the gentile members of the Roman church. They had come from a pagan society. They were just becoming acquainted with the eternal God of the bible. 

The Jewish members of the Roman church were in a different situation. They had been schooled in the law of the Old Testament. After accepting Jesus as their Messiah, it was difficult for them to realize that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament law. Where the law proscribed death for sin, Jesus died on our behalf. The law could convict us of sin, but it could never give us salvation. 

Paul addresses these Jewish members in Romans 7. Paul who described himself as being a Pharisee the son of a  Pharisees (Ac. 23:6), had been an astute keeper of the law. His desire was to do good, but sometimes he did just the opposite. He said that when he would do good, evil was always present to hinder him. He concluded that the law could only condemn him, it had no power to change the inherent sin that dwelled in his being. His heart's cry was, O wretched man that I am, who can deliver me? He tells us very plainly in chapter 8. Jesus is our deliverer! 

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 

Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
 

It’s easy to cherry pick scriptures such as this to excuse our laziness and lack of spirituality. We need to remember that Paul in Romans 7 is simply stating the condition he was in before he had an encounter with the living Christ. We were all in the same condition, but something happened. We’re changed! We are not the person we used to be! Why? Because Jesus lives inside! We are new creatures in Him. Old things have passed away, and all things have become new (2 Co. 5:17). The life that we now live, we live by the faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. 

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 

Galatians  2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
 

Now we come to Romans chapter 8. We note that the first phrase of   text contains the words, There is  therefore.  We’ve said many times that when we come to the word therefore, we need to backup and see what therefore is therefore. Paul is reflecting back to chapter 7 and continuing his discussion in chapter 8. 

Paul’s letter to the Romans was not written in chapters. Chapters 7 and 8 are a continuous discussion. It is unfortunate that the bible translators made a chapter break between them. Chapters 7 and 8 should not be read separately. To get the total context, they should be read together. 

Paul gives the answers that we all need in chapter 8. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 

Romans 8:1 ¶  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
 

So just what does it mean to be walking in the Spirit?   

To be continued next week, Lord willing.  

Somebody Has Said
It is only in proportion as the Christian manifests the fruit of a genuine conversion that he is entitled to regard himself and be regarded by others as one of the called and elect of God. It is just in proportion as we add to our faith the other Christian graces that we have solid ground on which to rest in the assurance we belong to the family of Christ. It is not those who are governed by self-will, but "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14) - A.W. Pink.

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Don and Marie Spooner
About Him! Ministries


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