Romans 7 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“The commandment that was meant for life resulted in death for me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment deceived me, and through it killed me. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just.” Romans 7:10b-12
Was there a problem with the “law and the commandments”? That is, the “Torah and the Mitzvahot”? Absolutely not! They have done (and continue to do) what G_d intended them to do: They set the standard by which mankind will be judged. There is nothing faulty about the “law”.
What is “faulty” is some men’s concept of what the “law” is, what it will do for us, and what it means to walk in truth and please G_d. What happens, far too often, is that people can end up worshipping the law, rather than the law Giver! Yes, it is possible to be so religious that your “piety” towards G_d takes the place of G_d in your life.
Children live by “rules” and adults live by “principles”. For instance, I give my kids rules, like “Don’t play in the street.” That is because children lack the capacity to conceptualize the abstract idea of “getting hit by a car”. They only think linearly, so we give them rules with consequences. Then, they think, “If I disobey the rule, I will get punished.” Adults do not need the rule “do not play in the street”, because they understand the overriding principle: Playing in the street sharply raises the probability of getting struck by a car.
Those who try to justify themselves by their personal works of the law (i.e., “the RULE”) always live with the anxiety of being punished by G_d for not working hard enough, or diligently enough. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of G_d.” Romans 3:23 Different than having “childlike faith”, people trying to constantly appease G_d never move beyond “immature faith”; that cause & effect thinking. For the works-based people, the law has become a “law of death”, because deep down, they KNOW they could never do enough good works in order to justify themselves. Apart from Yeshuah’s atoning work, they will never fulfill the law’s requirements. Rather, the more they work and check their tally, the more they recognize how much they are falling behind. This leads to a situation of comparing one’s piety against other men & women, instead of weighing oneself against G_d’s revealed standard, the Bible.
Adults live by principles. I don’t play in the street, because I know that I might get hit by a car. That said, if someone needs help on the other side of the road, I have the freedom to cross it. Neither my freedoms nor my prohibitions are motivated by fear of being punished for breaking the rules. I firmly grasp the principles of road safety and weigh them against the necessity of being a good citizen.
Yeshua didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. He fulfilled the law on my behalf, so my motivation for living by His Word has changed. No longer under the rules, I am free to live by the principles of the law: Love G_d and love people. Therefore, it has become a law of life to us who believe, but only because of Yeshua’s works…not ours.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Wednesday, August 21, 2013