I was celebrating Romans 7 a few days ago on this spot. It’s one of my favorite chapters of Scripture. Well, not the whole chapter, I guess. I mean, it’s all good, but those verses I shared ~ really good stuff.
Just in case you missed them, here they are again:
“For what I am doing, I do not understand.
For what I will to do, that I do not practice;
but what I hate, that I do.
If, then, I do what I will not to do,
I agree with the law that it is good.
But now, it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh)
nothing good dwells;
for to will is present with me,
but how to perform what is good I do not find.
For the good that I will to do, I do not do;
but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
Now if I do what I will not to do,
it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me.”
I love these verses because they so accurately describe how I sometimes feel. And I love them because Paul wrote them, and I know Paul was a man to be admired.
But not perfect.
There are two reasons I have hope, when I look at these words. The first is that feeling this way is evidence of a struggle with sin. And I know as long as I’m struggling, sin hasn’t won.
Think about it. Everyone on the planet sins, but not everyone struggles with sin. Some just do it without even thinking they shouldn’t, or about what might happen if they do. But if you are trying not to do something, or wish you hadn’t, then you care. And that means you’re paying attention to the word of God that tells us not to.
It’s like they say…
As long as you’re coughing, you’re still getting oxygen.
As long as you’re treading water, you are still alive.
But the thing I love most about Romans chapter 7, is Romans chapter 8. The very first line, especially, which includes the word “therefore”. And just in case you don’t know, when you see the word “therefore” you need to ask yourself, “What’s it there for?” In other words, look back. All those words of frustration and struggle in chapter 7 are followed by these: “There is now, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
No condemnation. Despite our weaknesses and failures. The struggle is as good as a win.
Romans 8 is a wonderful chapter. This chapter has more than its share of gems, like
“the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”
“we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose”
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
These verses are breathtaking, awe-inspiring and mind-boggling to me. But with all that, the thing I love most about chapter 8, is that it follows chapter 7.