Sunday: Romans 7
We need only reflect for a moment on the central role played by the Torah in Judaism to realize how shocking Pauls comments about the Law must have been to his Jewish readers. Hes just said that the Law of Moses no longer governs believers and in fact must be removed from that authoritative position in a persons life if he or she is to be free from sin. Frankly, he couldnt say anything more controversial, and he knows it. The Torah (the first five books of the Bible, Genesis through Deuteronomy) is the biblical foundation upon which Judaism is built. Any suggestion that it was unnecessary would have been met with suspicion and raised many questions, if not angry accusations. This is why Paul inserts so many questions and arguments into the body of his letter. He anticipates the concerns that he raises and wants to answer them immediately.
Monday: Romans 7
His goal is to help Jews in particular accept the gospel of righteousness by faith and prevent those who have believed from sliding back into legalism. He repeatedly affirms that the Law is beautiful and holy and certainly has a continuing role to play in our lives, such as teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness (2Ti 3:16). But at the same time he wants them to understand that it cannot in any way save us. His goal is to move the Law out of the center of their spiritual lives and to replace it with Christ.
Tuesday: Romans 7:1
v1: Judaisms relationship with the Law of Moses began in a solemn covenantceremony performed at Mt. Sinai (Ex 24:1-8). In fact large sections of the Torah record the terms of this covenant. So for a Jew to walk away from the Torah was to violate the sacred vow they as a people had made with God. The result of that violation would be to bring upon themselves the curses contained in that covenant (Dt 28:15ff). No observant Jew could just decide to stop following the Law. To do so would make them nothing less than an infidel. This is the underlying issue Paul is addressing here. He wants his readers to see that following Christ is not a breach of covenant, and the way he does this is to compare the covenant made at Sinai with a marriage covenant. The central point of his argument is this: the vows of a covenant cease to be in force when one of the parties dies, and that is certainly true of marriage.
Wednesday: Romans 7:2-4
vs2-3: A woman who has entered into a marriage covenant cannot leave a husband who has been faithful to her and marry another man without committing the sin of adultery. Marriage is a solid, binding agreement that cannot be broken without bringing Gods judgment, unless the spouse dies, then a person is free to marry another. v4: Paul explains that just as death releases a spouse to remarry, the spiritual death that takes place when a believer dies with Christ (Ro 6:3, 4) frees a Jew from their obligation to the Law. At this point we must not overlook Pauls belief that our death with Christ is not a mere figure of speech, but as far as its spiritual impact is concerned, rises to the level of our own literal, physical death. For Paul dying with Christ is as substantial as our actual physical death. Nothing less than death could free a Jew from the authority of the Law, and that death took place when by faith they joined Christ in the grave.
Thursday: Romans 7:4
v4 (continued): Paul tells believing Jews,
you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead
. Continuing on with his marriage analogy, he compares Jews who believe in Christ to widows who by joining Him in His death have become free to enter into a new marriage. Their new groom is the resurrected Messiah, Jesus Christ. And just as marriage produces the fruit of children, so a believers marriage-like covenant with Christ will produce fruit for God, meaning such things as Christ-like character, acts of selfless service toward ones neighbor and worship. This is how believers who have been freed from the Law end up fulfilling its most central goals (Mk 12:28-34; Ro 2:14, 15).
Friday: Romans 7:5
v5: Paul reminds his readers of the negative influence the Law had on them before Christ set them free from it. He includes himself when he looks back to the days when they attempted to obey its commands while still enslaved to their flesh. Not only did they fail to obey, but their exposure to the Law actually ignited new passions that had never troubled them until they received the command not to feel such passions. If they thought of their covenant with the Law of Moses as a marriage, the fruit of that marriage was death. They had ended up condemned for their failures and more rebellious than ever. How different that old fruit was from the new fruit now being produced by their marriage to Christ.
Saturday: Romans 7:6
v6: Once these Jewish believers became righteous by faith they entered into an entirely new relationship with the Law. No longer were they forced to obey, down to the smallest detail, fearing the curses it threatened to send upon any who disobey. Now, because of the radical change that had taken place in their own spirits, they gladly devoted themselves to serve God as if they were His slaves. Set free from the Law, they had entered into a new relationship with the Holy Spirit who empowered them to fulfill the spirit of the Law.