Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 32: Romans 7-8


Struggle seems to define our life. We all know the type of people that we want to be, but we can't seem to become that person. We have faults, experience failures, and remain frustrated with our inability to do the things we desire.

This struggle is not ours alone. It is not because we are "lesser" Christians who haven't figured it out yet. Paul himself confesses that he faces the same struggle. He knows what he wants to do, but can't do it. The things he doesn't want to do are the things that he does. Why? Because we all have an Achilles' heel; a character flaw that sets us up for failure. It is inherent in our bodies and thwarts our efforts to do what is right and please God. It is our sinful nature and it constantly wages war against us. When we see the things we want to do, this nature rises up and causes us to fail.

We need to be released, freed, rescued from this pitiful state. But who will do it? Paul says that Jesus has done it. He died so that we could be released from bondage to our sinful nature. He died so that we would no longer be condemned for our failures. He died so that we could receive God's Spirit and with that Spirit live a new life.

Rules and laws can't accomplish this. When we see something that we cannot do, our sinful nature is awakened by the limits. Any approach that depends on keeping guidelines and meeting regulations will fail. Our nature will never be conquered in this way.

Instead, our sinful nature has to die. God condemned our sinful nature on the cross. In its place, we were given the Spirit. Now, instead of depending on the keeping of rules, we rely on the Spirit of God and what Jesus has accomplished. Jesus died to take our condemnation. We are no longer condemned, we are now forgiven and free. We are not controlled by our sinful nature, now God lives within us to guide us. We are no longer seperated from God, now we belong to Him and nothing can change that. No one can accuse us, seperate us, or condemn us. Instead of opposing us, God is now on our side and if God is for us, who can be against us? He has given us the life we could not achieve on our own.

We are now free to live in God's love, experience His grace, and receive His forgiveness. We are no longer bound to sin. We've been released.

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