Year A – Proper 9 – Romans 7:15-25a

Romans 7:15–25: I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Summary and Insight – How often have we known what was right, and desired to do it, but yet for some reason always fall into the trap of sin. Part of what Paul is doing here is describing times when believers fall into sin. This passage can be hard to understand, part of the reason for that is the different uses of the word “law.”  One of the Old Testament background to this passage i believe is Jeremiah 31 where God states that he will “put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.”  Outward conformity to the Law cannot save a person, the Law cannot deliver us from “this body of death.” Only through the death and resurrection of Christ can we be delivered from death.  And through his work, God will write the Law on our hearts and help us to serve him in righteousness.

Discussion – Can you relate to Paul’s statements, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Are there some practical ways to avoid doing the things you hate? Later Paul was write, “Make no provision for the flesh and its lusts” (Rom. 13).
Prayer – Holy Father, thank you for you’re son Jesus Christ, in whom the Old Testament is fulfilled. We thank you that Christ has completed the work that we could never accomplish ourselves.  We thank you, that you have called us from a kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. We ask that through you’re Son you would write you’re law on our hearts, that we would live in conformity with your will.  AMEN.

Contributed by Jared McNabb

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