Reading for Wednesday, Feb. 8: Romans 7
It would be easy to assume that Paul has a negative view of the OT Law based on some of his writings (especially Galatians!). I think we have to remember that Paul is arguing against those who have improperly elevated the Law onto the same plane as the atoning work of Christ. It’s not that Paul dislikes the Law; in fact, as a Torah-observant Jew, he would have much use for it. See v12: Paul argues that the Law is holy in that it comes from God and illuminates our sinfulness. But Paul’s concern is to make the Law subservient to Christ — and in the case of Gentile converts, to render the Law obsolete for their relationship with Jesus.
We’ll talk more about this in Galatians, but Paul’s “salvation equation” works something like this:
Faith in Christ = Salvation
Paul is arguing against those who would want to make this addition to the equation:
Mosaic Law + Faith in Christ = Salvation
For Paul, adding anything to the first equation is a violation of the Gospel.
We can see Paul’s understanding of this new relationship with God through some of his phrases in this chapter:
v4 – bearing fruit to God
v6 – released from the Law
v6 – the new way of the Spirit
The purpose of the Law is to make us cognizant of our sin.
The purpose of Christ is to liberate us from this sin into a new life, a new Way of being — the new way of the Spirit.