“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Romans 7:14-20
We don’t have to be Romans 7 people. Romans 7 people are slaves to sin, and conquered by its power. Even when these people want to do good, they are powerless to do it because their hearts are shackled to the sin living in them. This is why the cross of Jesus is so crucial to our freedom. As Paul explained earlier in Romans 7, only through death can we be free from our former obligation to the sin/law cycle. By dying with Jesus in baptism and daily discipleship, you are no longer “unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin”. No, you’ve been redeemed and belong to a new master.
You are called to be a Romans 8 person, Disciple. You are called to live in the condemnation-free reality of God’s kingdom in which the Spirit of God empowers you to not only want to do the good things of God, but also to actually do them. You can now live in the Spirit of God rather than the flesh, and you can live in life and peace rather than death. By the Spirit, we are putting to death the misdeeds of the body and finding out what life truly is. Life in Christ is life full of hope and confidence that nothing – truly nothing in all of the seen and unseen creation – can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
There will likely be times, Disciple, that you feel like a Romans 7 person. You may feel like you’re shackled and powerless to do what God wants, like you’re bound to fail God and others. A sinister voice will invite you to believe that there’s nothing you can do about it – “You’re just a sinner after all”. Don’t listen to such a voice, and don’t trust those feelings. Come back to Romans 8 again and again, soaking in it’s rich and liberating promises. If you have been born from above and have received the Spirit of God – the Spirit of adoption into God’s family – then you are no longer powerless. No, you are an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ. If God gave His one and only Son to save you, why wouldn’t He also provide all that you need to become like Him, which is His ultimate purpose for you?
You’re not a sinner, Disciple; you’re a saint (literally, “holy one”). Yes, you will likely commit sins in the process of your discipleship to Jesus, but you are not living under the label of “sinner” anymore. That’s Romans 7. Now you’re living in the Spirit of righteousness, life, and adoption, and so you are a holy one. Abide in the Spirit’s power and your Master’s words. You’re a new person, and today is a fantastic day to live like it!
Learning to live the Romans 8 life with you,