Oh How I Love Your Law

rom 7Yesterday we looked at two possible misconceptions about God’s law and grace. One was this idea that if we have grace, we should just sin a lot so we can get a lot of grace. Romans 6 said no way. The second misconception was this struggle we face of believing we are on our own as we try to obey God. This feeling we get that God saves us, then sits in heaven watching us hoping we’ll figure out how to obey. We learned that God wants us to walk in his ways, and he teaches and empowers us to obey by his grace. Today’s reading is Romans 7. It brings up a third possible misconception. If we are under grace, maybe God’s law is a bad thing? At the very least, maybe it’s no longer useful to us in the New Testament? Paul helps us think through why God’s Law still has purpose for us today.

Paul starts by asking the question: “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’”

In other words, the Law isn’t sinful, it reveals our sinfulness to us! This leads him to say in verse 12: “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.”

The Law is good! It just doesn’t have the power to save us. I recently heard Paul Tripp say this on a podcast:

“I love God’s law it’s a source of life wisdom to me that is mind boggling. I need the conviction of God’s law. God’s law does a great job of exposing sin. It has no power whatsoever to alter my heart. That’s why we have God’s grace. If all we needed was theology and rules, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come!”

New Testament Christians don’t have to reject David’s words in Psalm 119, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” God’s Law is wonderful. It is wisdom to us and provides useful boundaries for our lives. It also points us to Jesus, the only one who ever perfectly obeyed the Law. This led Paul to close Romans 7 like this:

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. [22] For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, [23] 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. [24] Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? [25] 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 7:21-25 ESV)

Do you find yourself in this struggle? You want to obey God’s law, but you fail? Thanks be to God for the grace we have in Christ. Not only to cover our failures, but to inspire and empower our obedience.

Questions for Reflection:

What are some ways that God’s Law can “keep us between the ditches?” Paul says that if it wasn’t for God’s law, he wouldn’t have known that coveting (fixating on having something that belongs to someone else) was a sin. Have you ever discovered a sin that God’s Law corrected you from?

How does God’s law help you learn grace? What struggles do you have that you can trust Christ to forgive and help you overcome?

Pray that God would, through his Word, help you overcome sin by his grace.

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