Focal Passage: Romans 7:14-8:2
I recently watched a documentary on the U.S. Army 101st Airborne division that served during World War II. Part of the documentary series focused on the replacements that would join the division during the war. Many of the “replacements” were men fresh out of military training.
They would enter the war replacing the men who were wounded or killed in action. Most of these men entered the war enthusiastically, but it was just a matter of time before they realized the magnitude of the battle. In fact, if it were not for the veteran soldiers in their company, many of the replacements would not have survived their first encounter with the enemy.
In the same way, I like to think of Paul’s words in Romans 7:14-8:2 are like the veteran soldiers’ words were to the replacements.
Like Paul, they knew what it was like to be in the heat of battle. They saw many of their friends fall to the attacks of the enemy. I’m sure many struggled to remain steadfast amid the barrage of enemy fire.
They knew what it was like to be blindsided. They understood what could happen if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The war had a way of tearing down pretenses and helping the men realize they could not survive without each other.
Indeed, the veterans were trying to help their inexperienced brothers learn how to navigate the contours of war.
I think Paul is trying to help us understand the contours of a spiritual war. He wants us to know that believers will continually struggle with sin. He wants us to know that the battle with sin is real and extremely difficult. Paul also wants us to know we are not in the battle alone.
His very words – God’s words, are a source of comfort and strength to us. Most importantly, he wants us to know that though we battle with sin daily, the war has ultimately been won by the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.