Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Romans 7:14-25 expands on the idea of God’s Law, which is good, moving us to condemnation. The heart of Paul’s argument here is that although God’s Law is good, God’s people, including Paul, are fallen. Because of our nature which so easily embraces sin, we are shown by the perfect law of God that we are sinners. We fail. We may know what is good, but we choose to ignore it. We realize our sin and are moved to sorrow and guilt, but then we enter into the same sin again.
In itself this is very discouraging. Our secular society tells people to change their lives and their attitudes, pushing them to fulfill a moral code which has some similarities to God’s Law, and tells them that they are supposed to be good people. However, it makes no attempt to explain why it is that we are selfish, why we want to cheat, why we are so willing to take advantage of others, why we prefer ourselves over the rest of our world. What is the result? Without any explanation of sin and salvation, we are left with the idea that we are hopelessly defective and that we must not be trying hard enough. This can easily lead to depression, evasion, substance abuse, and even suicide. That’s no good!
On the other hand, if we recognize that we are looking at a spiritual problem for which the answer is confession and forgiveness, we are going to do a little better. Then when we see that the forgiveness we need has been purchased for us by Jesus, we do even better. When we finally realize that our forgiveness is by God’s grace and is received through faith, not by any works we do, we begin to see the mighty power of the Gospel at work.
Open our eyes, Lord.
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