Monday, March 11, 2013
Morning Psalm: 89:1-18 | Evening Psalm: 89:19-52
Jeremiah 16:10-21 | Romans 7:1-12 | John 6:1-15
For several years my family had enough car accidents that I was on a first name basis with the manager of a repair and body shop.
After one accident it seemed the car needed only minor work, but then we found it kept pulling to the side. We had the alignment checked, but it was fine. The problem turned out to be much deeper—the whole frame was bent.
In Romans 7 St. Paul diagnoses our sin problem. We have been given God’s law, which is “holy and righteous and good” (v. 12) and promises life (v. 10). But our twisted condition is too deep and we are not able to stay on the path of life.
Indeed, Paul says the knowledge of God’s commandments actually provides sin with an opportunity to go against God, bringing about deception and death (v. 8, 11). The word for “opportunity” in these verses, “aphorm ē,” is literally a base of operations, or a staging area for further advancement of an army or a group of explorers.
So God’s commandments, ironically, give us ways to rebel. They help us know sin (v. 7), but do not provide the power to resist sin and walk the path of life. For we live in an atmosphere which Paul calls “the flesh” (v. 5), that is, the world of death we have inhabited ever since the rebellion against God in the Garden. This environment keeps stimulating our “sinful passions” (v. 5), which are our desires that come down to “not Thy will, but mine be done.”
We still wrestle with these realities, but Paul’s point is that we are now in a new environment and have a new power of life within us (v. 4; ch. 8). Our rebellious spirit has been replaced by a humble, obedient spirit, the very spirit seen in Jesus and in which we share through the Holy Spirit.
Our transformation, however, is not yet complete. Daily we need to pray, as our Lord taught us, both “Thy kingdom come,” and “forgive us our trespasses.”
Father, this Lent as we see afresh our sin may we also encounter Your mercy in new and deeper ways and, by Your grace, yield ourselves more completely to the life of the Spirit.
The Rev. Dr. Rod Whitacre
Professor of Biblical Studies
Trinity School for Ministry
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