“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

A reflection on Romans 7:21-25

“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”

I love this statement, question and answer by Paul. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Paul knew something about himself that is true about all of us. As religious as his life had been, seeking to do the right and avoid the wrong – he knew that his own heart was full of wrong in the eyes of God, who knows all.

His wrong motivations and self-seeking heart were never far away. In fact he says elsewhere, ‘by works of the of law no one will be justified’. No person on earth will stand before God and be righteous – or right in God’s eyes – by their own performance. Not you, not me, not Paul, not the Pope. Our deeds are like a polluted garment in God’s eyes.

The problem for us is that God sees our heart and he knows all the actions, words and thoughts that we would not want repeated to our best friend. He knows everything about us. And so who will deliver us from this body of death? What hope is there for me if there is no hope for the most religious to be made right with God by all their ‘good’ works?

Paul answers his own question with the most beautiful words… “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”…. “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” The only hope that we have for full forgiveness and peace with God, for relationship and eternal joy in God. Our only hope is Jesus Christ.

Jesus died for our wrongdoing, our polluted garments. He died so that by faith in Him we are given His own perfect righteousness to put on. And now, even today, we can be called the children of God through Jesus Christ!

Is that not amazing?

God's Love

Only sinners can be saved, see God’s love, even for you!

A reflection on Romans 5:6-8

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

It is a wonderful thing to feel our weakness, because we see our need. In fact it is often our failures and mistakes that lead us to see that we are far from perfect. This is a truly amazing passage. God’s Word here tells us that it was not because God looked down upon us and thought we were so wonderful or godly – in fact quite the opposite.

We read here ‘while we were still weak’, and ‘while we were still sinners’ and he goes on to say ‘while we were enemies’. We have not done ourselves any favours with God. God’s Word rightly calls us out – as weak, as sinners, as enemies. We have turned away from the Holy One who made us to know and enjoy Him.

But here is the outrageous thing – here is the absolutely incredible thing – ‘Christ died for the ungodly’. God shows his love for us in that ‘while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’! I can’t get over this or even get my head around it! The God who I have continued to offend, the One who I have run from and wronged – not to mention the people I have wronged who are made in His image!

This God has shown love for me – profound, incredible, outrageous love. He has sent even His own Son – Jesus Christ – to die for my wrongdoing so that I could be at peace with Him. So that I, the guilty one, may go free! And more than that – that I can now call Him even my own Father in heaven through Jesus Christ my Lord.

Do you know this love of God? Are you enjoying it?

Only sinners can be saved, see God’s love, even for you!