October 9, 2014

Romans 7:24-25 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Christ Jesus our Lord.
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

This is one place I, and a lot of other people, wish Paul had been a little more clear. We understand that He was describing the common human condition, which is totally hopeless without Christ, but he could have said a little more than just, “Thanks be to God” in terms of the salvation that genuinely is available! The point of this chapter, in the context of all his other writing, is that it’s absolutely no use depending on our flesh, our “natural man,” in trying to please God. However, we do have victory available in Christ. There are legions of people who are still trying to be good enough for God by their own efforts, and that is indeed hopeless. The more they know of how to please God, legalistically speaking, the more hopeless they become. However, it is the experience of saints through the ages that when we cease our striving and receive by faith what Christ has already done for us, we discover that it is gloriously possible to live in harmony and fellowship with our heavenly Father. Righteousness by our own effort is a contradiction in terms, but righteousness by grace through faith is the inheritance of all who trust in Christ alone.

I’ve experienced both sides of this, and I can certainly say that faith is the better course! Even knowing that Jesus was the Savior, and even acknowledging Him as my Lord intellectually, didn’t give me all I needed to stand against my own flesh without a gut-level understanding that His cross was for me, for everything I had done and everything I ever would do that was against God’s law. Forgiveness is incredibly powerful, but it must be received to be effective. It is only when we receive God’s forgiveness with full understanding that we need it, that we are truly set free from what caused us to need it in the first place. That’s why the very next verse, Romans 8:1, says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Once I made the jump from Chapter 7 to Chapter 8, I had, and have, every reason to give thanks to God through Christ Jesus my Lord!

Father, thank You for Your grace, and for all You allow me to experience in order to grasp that grace more fully. At the moment I am in the middle of a computer hiccup that has more than stressed me out, as You well know, but You are teaching me to rejoice in You regardless of my circumstances. It’s not an easy lesson! Help me rest, relax, and rejoice in You whatever fix my”natural man” has gotten me into, so that I may grow as Your agent in all circumstances, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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