Focal Passage: Romans 7:7-25
The title of this lesson seems a bit
misplaced when considering the bulk of the content of Romans 7. Paul describes
struggle, conflict and frustration. In fact, this struggle, conflict and
frustration apparently caused some to ask, “Is the law sin?” (v. 7) To this
question, Paul immediately responds, “Absolutely not!” What, then, is the
function of the Law of God?
One way of thinking about God’s Law is viewing it as a
spiritual thermometer given by the Great Physician. The standard by which the
thermometer (the Law) measures is nothing less than the character and nature of
God Himself; that is, divine perfection. When used to measure the spiritual
condition of a person, the thermometer always reads “sinful.” The only one who
measured up was the Son of God, who came “not to destroy, but to fulfill” the
Law (Matt. 5:17).
So the Law is a good tool from a good God, showing us our
sinfulness. If you have a fever, you do not fault the thermometer for telling
you that you are sick. You are thankful to have the tool to expose your
sickness. Herein, however, lies the problem. Rather than using the law as a
diagnostic tool, some tried to use it as a remedy. The Pharisees tried to use
the Law to show they were not (spiritually) sick. In fact, they not only sought
to walk according to the Law of God, but also added additional requirements.
Jesus’ diagnosis is that they were “whitewashed tombs,” looking good on the
outside, but dead on the inside (Matt. 23:27). They sought to use the
thermometer of the Law as the cure, showing themselves to be both spiritually
sick and blind.
Paul looked into the thermometer of the Law and read
“sinful.” In fact, his exclamation was, “What a wretched man that I am! Who
will rescue me from this dying body?” When he considered truthfully his
spiritual diagnosis, he was able to see the only remedy, “I thank God through
Jesus Christ our Lord!”
We experience spiritual victory today – both in coming to
salvation and growing in sanctification – not by trying harder to obey God’s
Law, but by acknowledging and surrendering to God’s Son who has delivered us
from bondage to sin and death.