Passage of the Day: Romans 7: 24 - 25 … 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
My Journal for Today: If you’ve read my devotional entry for yesterday, you read my exposition of Paul’s passage of self-deprecation in Romans 7 (i.e., vv. 14 – 24). As I said in yesterday’s journal entry, some have questioned why Paul would seem so down on himself when he was such a mature and victorious Christian at the stage in life when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans. I posited that it is likely that the Apostle was using a writer’s tactic, i.e., using himself – positioned at his worst (probably reflecting back to his early days as a Christian) – to help believers of lesser maturity to be able to identify with the reality of our sin nature. But I also believe that Paul was laying a foundation for the great victory chapter, which he then wrote to Christians in Rome and everywhere (i.e., Romans 8).
Paul’s rhetorical question in Rom. 8: 24, “Who will rescue me from the body of death,” is, I believe, the great fulcrum truth in the battle for all Christians; and that battlefield, of course, is our life. It is said, and I believe it’s true, that a sure sign of sanctification and maturity in a Christian is the degree to which he hates his own sin and then acts on that hatred to become more like Christ. But as much as we hate our own carnality, as Paul expresses in today’s passage, we also, in faith, must be able to revel in the realization that our bodily and fleshly transformation will one day be completed in a glorified Christlikeness (see Romans 8: 18 – 19 and 1st Corinthians 15: 53, 57 and Phil. 1: 6).
Therefore, knowing what our flesh (i.e., our sin nature) is predestined to become (i.e., see Romans 8: 29), we can – and should – empathize with Paul’s declaration of frustration, as he laments to be rescued from his human condition, that who we are now is merely a foreshadow of Whom we will become in Christ. And Paul’s cry, “rescue me” (or “set me free” in the NASB), is the Greek term “rhoumai,” which is another battle field word picture of a soldier, possibly wounded, being rescued from the battlefield by his comrades.
And you may have been reminded, as I was from today’s study, of Paul’s word pictures in Ephesians 6: 10 – 13, where the Apostle describes the battle in which we find ourselves everyday as Christians for our spiritual lives. Beloved, it is true that we are at war, every moment of everyday. But as Paul also states in Philippians 3: 20 – 21, we, who know Christ as Savior, will one day be rescued from the warfare of this life. Therefore, leaving the frustrations of Romans 7 behind, we must fight on in faith toward the realities of Romans 8 with the hope we have in Christ.
Hope is ours in Christ!!!
My Prayer Today: Amen and Amen!!!