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Connecting The Dots

Sometimes I’m a little slow to connect the dots. I can’t count the times I’ve read Romans Chapters 7 and 8, but last week, it struck a new chord.

So, I was here, again, struggling with sin. If you know me, that’s no surprise, and you’re meeting me often in these conversations. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, and Paul’s words in Romans 7 kept running through my mind. You’re probably familiar. This is the ESV translation:

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7:15-25)

Now comes the big chapter, right? And, if you are like most of the Church, you have much of Romans 8 memorized. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us… And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies… And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

For some reason, I have always drawn a big, black line between Chapters 7 and 8. I have completely separated Paul’s words of struggling with sin with Paul’s words of hope that follow in 8. Last week, I connected the dots…

Now, let’s consider that our current struggles with sin are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Let us be aware that the sin struggles themselves may be groanings as we wait eagerly for adoption.

May we know that God will even work our sin struggles for our good, for those us who are called according to his purpose.

Especially, we must know that in our struggles against sin, God is for us.

I don’t think we can disconnect Romans 7 from Romans 8. The Apostle Paul speaks of struggling with sin, and without taking a break leads into “life in the Spirit”, “heirs with Christ” and “future glory” — all of which are freeing in our battle against sin.

 

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