Today in God’s Word
1 Samuel 9; Romans 7; Jeremiah 46; Psalm 22
In Romans 7 today Paul speaks of the legal binding of the marriage covenant and he uses a metaphor (really more of a parallel reality than a metaphor) to express the way the Jews go from being under the covenant of the law (Mosaic Covenant at Sinai) to being under the New Covenant (Atoning sacrifice of Christ). Not so different from how a Gentile also goes from being under sin (guilt of rebellion even without the specific Mosaic Covenant) to being under the New Covenant. Boiling down his talk of being released from obligation by death and the uniting to another so that we might serve in a new way, (i.e., in the Spirit rather than in the way of the written code), I see the following principle for us today:
We make ourselves an adulterer if we try to add Christ to our life while still depending on our own merit to please God and win his favor by the law or by our conformity to our conscience. We must die to the one in order to legally and rightfully be joined to the other in new life (baptism illustrates this). I must die to my allegiance to this world and to a system of merit if I am to enter a relationship with Christ and be under the grace of God. I cannot simply add Christ to my life! See Gal 2:20 for a better picture.
But before we throw out or condemn the law, Paul immediately defends its purpose as our teacher and guide and the righteousness of the law as perfect and holy. We cannot draw the conclusion that the law is meaningless to us and that we can ignore it, far from that Paul goes into a diatribe on how he wrestles with his inner man over following this law and over honoring God in his flesh. Seeing the battle of our new nature and our sin nature is critical. If we do not see that battle, this means we are not looking and if we are simply cruising, then we are losing. Paul’s main point in verses 14-25 is that sin is a foreign invader for the Christian and I am in a battle for my heart and mind and I must engage each day in this battle and it is by engaging my mind that I will find victory and where the real me will find joy in serving the Lord, rather than indulging the sin nature. And this victory is in Christ alone.
May we daily wake and reflect upon the Word of God and upon our hearts and may we seek God hotly for a renewing of our minds that we may know our real identity and walk in victory rather than in defeat or in ignorance of a battle that we are losing.
Soli Deo Gloria!