January 20, 2019
DAY 22: JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
Focus Verse for Today: Romans 7: 1-6
The Apostle Paul understood the struggle Jewish Christians had with transitioning to a faith-based trust in Jesus Christ, and viewing the law, the basis of their former faith, through the eyes or their Messiah, Jesus Christ. Imagine if you were a middle-aged Jew when Jesus began his ministry; imagine the struggle you would encounter in adjusting, not forsaking, your past beliefs. The Apostle Paul was a good arbiter between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. It was a conflict between customs and traditions against those who were never bound by customs and traditions. It is unlikely the Gentile Christian truly understood Jewish customs and traditions. It is easy to understand that a Jew may find worship difficult without their former customs and traditions.
Chapters 7-8 of the Book of Romans explains the proper application of law to the Jewish people after Christ’s resurrection. Let’s start by taking a look at our focus verses for today; Romans 7:1-6.
Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.
4So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans:7:1-6, NIV)
You may be familiar with the saying, “it is time to put away the old and take up the new,” this may be what the Jewish Christian of that time felt like. It would have to be difficult to see the fulfillment of God’s plan through mercy if you were raised believing in obedience to the law was what made you righteous in God’s sight. The problem with this form of faith is that the law cannot save you. As Paul points out the law’s authority over you ceases at your death. The law may condemn you: it can never save you.
Christ fulfilled all the requirements of the law when He shed His blood, as our sacrificial lamb, at Calvary, washing away our sin that His Father, God Himself, sees us as the righteousness of Christ.
Where is the law, in a Christian’s life, in today’s world? As we journey through our faith life, which encompasses every part of life, the temptations and struggles that were all about the Apostle Paul that are with us today. The law reveals what sin is. Remember, back in the Garden of Eden, before the fall, Adam and Eve did not know what sin was. Sin was revealed to them when they succumbed to temptation and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At that moment, mankind became aware of good and evil. Mankind had to choose a path to follow: good or evil! Man’s struggle with sin had begun.
Shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, God sent the Holy Spirit to each of us to help us battle off temptations that led to sin when acted upon. Christ fulfilled the requirement of shed blood to cover our sins protecting us from the consequence of living a sinful life: Death!
Does Christ’s blood protect those who choose a lifestyle of sin? No! If you recall our journey through the book of Matthew, specifically chapter 7:13 and 14 about the narrow and wide gates. Jesus teaches you must choose who you will devote your life to: Me (Jesus), or Satan (sin). Do not get alarmed! Everyone sins. The law reminds us of our sinful state. Jesus warns us that we cannot have two masters for a person is only capable of serving one master. Matthew 6:24. This is what the Apostle Paul is sharing with us as we journey through the chapters 7 and 8 of the book of Romans.
It is obvious that a lot is being taught by the Apostle Paul in these two chapters. Take a moment to clear your mind and think about the law and the way it affects the way you live your life. What is the difference between being bound by the law and free from the law through Christ? What are the similarities? Free will is about choices. Free to live a life of bondage under the law. Free to live a life free from the bondage of the law through Jesus. The choice is all yours.
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