Monday, March 31, 2008

Notes on Romans--Part Twenty Six

Here is my translation of Chapter 7--

"Now my family, those of you who know the Law, you need to understand that the law only applies to a person who is still living. Let me try to explain, when a woman marries, the Law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive, but if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. So, while her husband was alive, she would have been committing adultery if she married another man, but if her husband died, she is free from that law and is free to remarry without worrying about being charged with adultery.

Okay, this is my point: the Law no longer holds power over you because you died to its power when you died with Christ on the cross and now you are united with him in his resurrection. The result? You can fight for God, that is, do good things for God.

When we were controlled by our old selves, rebellious passions burned within us and evil used the Law to stoke those flames producing crimes against God deserving eternal punishment BUT now we have been released from the Law, for we died with our King and, so, we are no longer a prisoner to its power. You see, now we can truly fight for God but not in the old way by obeying the letter of the Law but in the new way--guided by His Spirit.

"Paul! Are you suggesting that the Law given by God Himself is evil?" HECK NO (see earlier notes!) The Law itself is not evil for it was the Law that showed me my sin. I would never have really known that coveting is wrong if the law had not stated, "Do not lust after what you do not have." But the darkness took advantage of the Law and pushed me to rebel. If there were no Law, there would be nothing specifically to rebel against!

You know, I felt pretty good before I understood what the Law demanded but when I learned the truth, I realized I had broken the law and was a criminal sentenced to death. So the Law, which is in itself good, did not give me life but helped condemn me to death! Evil seized the opportunity and seduced me--it took the good Law and and used it to sentence me to hell, but again, understand me, the Law, by itself, is perfect, just and good.

"Paul, I'm confused. This doesn't make sense! Is the Law, which is good, responsible for my death sentence?" HECK NO! The darkness used what was good to produce my guilty verdict, SO that we can see how disgusting rebellion against God really is. Evil used God's good commandments for its own dark purposes.

Okay, the Law is good, (we agree on that), so the problem is not with the Law but with me because I was sold to evil and it become my king.

You know, I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't. Instead, I end up doing the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong because my conscience tells me so (and it agrees with the good Law!) But I can't seem to help myself because of the evil within me that produces these actions.

It is a sad fact that when I want do what is right, I just end up doing what is wrong. I love God's Law with everything I have but there is another "law" within my very being doing battle with my conscience. Oh, what a depressed person I am! Who will free me from my prison of darkness?

Thank God! The answer is in King Jesus our teacher, deliverer and high priest!

So understand--In my mind I want to obey God's Law but because of my selfish nature I am a slave to evil.