S (Scripture): Romans 7:4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God. 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 7:6 But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.
O (Observation): Over everything else, Paul lifts up the individual and communal relationship to Jesus Christ. This relationship takes us from death to life. The general idea of the Jews of the time was that if one worked hard enough, one could prove one’s worth to God. That sticking to the law made one righteous. That even in Christ, one had good standing by way of the law. But Paul says that the law was only good for pointing out where we went wrong, and does not bring life! (At least, the human made law…)
A life in Christ, though…now that brings life! Of course, a death would have to occur, first…death to the law. We can no longer rely solely upon the law, but upon Jesus Christ.
These were shocking words to the Jews who believed that Jesus was the Son of God. But these words also challenged Paul himself…for he once was a Pharisee.
A (Application): Saying something one way, in opposition to a former way of thinking is difficult. I think the term we use these days is “flip-flop” (at least in the political realm. Paul seems to have flip-flopped…as has every convert who has walked the face of the earth.
So, I’m on the last episode of season 3 of the House of Cards. (Don’t worry, no spoilers). I’m enthralled at the definition of “freedom” in this series.
Is freedom about doing what you want? Or is freedom about living with a conscience that calls you to do the “right” thing? This show certainly makes one struggle with terms like: freedom, truth, loyalty.
With Frank Underwood (main character), loyalty is lifted above all else. With our relationship with God, love is lifted up above all else. What is more freeing?
May we know true freedom in the fact that the law drives us to a need for the gospel. May we assume the Lord confronts us and sets us free, at the same time.
P (Prayer): Lord, you freed our ancestors of old from bondage to Egypt. You have now set us free from our bondage to sin. Call us to holy living, to glorify and magnify you. Amen.