For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
In Romans 7, Paul discussed the struggle within every believer. He started by talking about a subject that seems off the wall: the Christian’s relationship to the Law of Moses. The Mosaic Law had over 600 commands. It also contained severe penalties for those who did not meet the requirements of the Law.
Paul asked, what is the relationship of a believer in Christ to the commands and penalties of the Old Testament Law? He said in Romans 7:1, “Do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?”
Why would Paul want to discuss this subject? Remember, a lot of people in the audience in Rome were Jews. Some of them were Christian Jews who had accepted Christ, and others were unbelieving Jews. But they all had this question: “If I am saved by grace, then what is my obligation to the Old Testament Law now?” The Jews believed that the Law was what made them holy with God.
The Mosaic Law demanded absolute perfection. Deuteronomy 27:26 says, “Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.” God does not grade on a curve. He does not demand 70 percent, 80 percent, or 90 percent–He demands 100 percent conformity to His Law. That is why Paul wrote in Romans 3:20, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight.” None of us can fulfill the Law. All of us deserve the punishment of the Law.
You may be wondering, “How can I ever meet the demands of the Law? How can I ever escape the penalty for breaking the Law?” The bad news is you can’t. The good news is Christ did. Jesus Christ did two things on our behalf. First of all, He lived a perfect life and fulfilled all the requirements of the Law. Second, He suffered the penalty we deserve for breaking the Law. He fulfilled all the Law; He suffered the penalty we deserve for breaking the Law. When you trust in Jesus as your Savior, you are placed in Jesus Christ. As a result, God looks at you the same way He looks at His Son, Jesus. When God looks at His Son, Jesus, He sees somebody who fulfilled the Law. So now He looks at you as somebody who has fulfilled the requirements of the Law. When God looks at Jesus, He sees the penalty Jesus paid for our sins. When God looks at us, He says our sin debt is paid in full. That is why it is so important that we be in Jesus Christ.
When we trust in Christ, we are joined together with Jesus, and God views us the same way He views Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus died, we die to our old way of living. We die to the requirements and the penalty of the Law. And we are raised to a new way of living.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Uncivil War” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.