Published on
September 15, 2023

Romans 7

“The commandment that was meant for life resulted in death for me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment deceived me, and through it killed me.”

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
Romans 7
“The commandment that was meant for life resulted in death for me.  For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment deceived me, and through it killed me.  So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.”  Romans 7:10b-12 (HCSB)

Is there a problem with the Law and the Commandments? Absolutely not! They have done (and continue to do) what God intended them to do: they set the standard by which mankind will be judged. There is nothing faulty about the Law.

What is “faulty” is some men’s concept of the “Law,” what it will do for us, and what it means to walk in truth and please God. Far too often, what happens is that people can end up worshiping the Law rather than the Law Giver! Yes, it is possible to be so religious that your “piety” towards God takes the place of God in your life.

Children live by “rules,” and adults live by “principles.” For instance, I give my kids rules, like “Don’t play in the street.” That is because children lack the ability to conceptualize the abstract idea of “getting hit by a car.” They only think linearly, so we give them rules with consequences. Then, they think, “If I disobey the rule, I will get punished.” Adults do not need the rule “do not play in the street” because they understand the overriding principle: playing in the street sharply raises the probability of getting struck by a car.

Those who try to justify themselves by their personal works of the Law (i.e., “the RULE”) always live with the anxiety of being punished by God for not working hard enough or diligently enough. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 Different than having “childlike faith,” people trying to constantly appease God never move beyond “immature faith”; that cause & effect thinking.

The Law has become a “law of death” for the works-based people because deep down, they KNOW they could never do enough good works to justify themselves. Apart from Jesus’ atoning work, they will never fulfill the Law’s requirements. Rather, the more they work and check their tally, the more they recognize how much they are falling behind. This leads to comparing one’s piety against other men and women instead of weighing oneself against God’s revealed standard, the Bible.

Adults live by principles. I don’t play in the street because I know that I might get hit by a car. That said, if someone needs help on the other side of the road, I have the freedom to cross it. Neither my privileges nor prohibitions are motivated by fear of being punished for breaking the rules. I firmly grasp road safety principles and weigh them against the necessity of being a good citizen.

Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. He fulfilled the Law on my behalf, so my motivation for living by His Word has changed. No longer under the rules, I am free to live by the principles of the Law: Love God and love people. Therefore, it has become a Law of life to us who believe, but only because of Jesus’ works, not ours.

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