SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- This chapter focuses on our relationship to the law. Paul is referring to the law that God gave Moses after bringing the Israelites out of Egypt (see the first 20 chapters of Exodus). The law includes the Ten Commandments.
- Paul writes that our relationship to the law is similar to the laws of marriage. You are married to your spouse until he or she dies. Similarly, we were married to the law until the death of Jesus. His death has freed us from sin. We no longer follow the law out of obligation or to earn God's acceptance, but, instead, out of gratitude for the gift of grace.
- The law is holy and good and exists to point out our sin and evil, but it doesn't help us to overcome it. The law should make us aware of our need to be saved, and God provides the saving we need through Jesus (see verses 24-25).
- Most people believe the way to be right with God and get into Heaven is by being "a good person" and doing "good deeds" but the Bible teaches that we absolutely cannot ever be good enough on our own. The only way to salvation and God is through Jesus and his sacrifice. As a result, our effort at living a "good life" is not an attempt to earn our way into heaven, but instead to thank God for the gift and sacrifice of Jesus.
- Paul shares his struggle of trying to overcome sin. He describes it almost like there's a civil war inside of him - one side wanting to live for God and another side pulling him toward sin. We can all relate. Paul discovered that the solution wasn't to defeat sin through his own will power, but rather to experience victory through Jesus.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- How do you approach God? Are you trying to do the right things and not do the wrong things so you can be acceptable to Him? Or have you put your faith in Jesus and now live a life of gratitude where everything you do is a "thank you" to God? There is far more freedom and power in living a life of gratitude!
- In your battle to overcome temptation and sin, are you gritting your teeth and trying to say no through your determination and will power? Or are you focused on Jesus and getting closer to him so you can have his power available to you? Ask God to help you to rely not on your power but on His power.