The Struggle to Do Right

KEY VERSE: “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” —Romans 7:24,25

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Romans 7:5, 6, 13-25

EVER since the disobedience and the fall of father Adam in the Garden of Eden, sin has thwarted man’s best efforts to lead righteous lives. Paul tells us that “by one man’s disobedience [the] many were made sinners.” (Rom. 5:19) In his letter to the church at Rome we conclude from the context that Paul is addressing both Jewish and Gentile brethren. To the Jews who were acquainted with the Law Covenant he writes, “By the Law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20) As for Gentiles, Paul says “their conscience … bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them.” (Rom. 2:15, RSV) Paul points out, therefore, that all, both Jew and Gentile, are without excuse, “for as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the Law shall be judged by the Law.”—Rom. 2:12

Then Paul says, “Do you not know, brethren—for I am speaking to those who know the Law—that the Law is binding on a person only during his life?” (Rom. 7:1, RSV) He then proceeds to reinforce his argument in the earlier part of his letter regarding justification by faith, and presents the example of a woman who may properly marry another man if her husband is dead. He then reasons, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the Law by the body of Christ; that he should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. … While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions … were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the Law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code, but in the new life of the Spirit.”—Rom. 7:4-6, RSV

Writing to the church of the Colossians Paul said, “Ye are … buried with … [Christ] in baptism; wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you … hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses: blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that were against us, … and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”—Col. 2:10-14

Anticipating the questions of his listeners, Paul asks, “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin?” By no means, says Paul “For by the Law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20) He continues, “God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the Law: for I had not known lust, except the Law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Rom. 7:7) An important purpose of the Law, Paul explains, was that “thereby sin [was] exposed [in] its true character” when compared with the perfect righteousness of the Law.—Rom. 7:13, NEB

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul points out another important purpose of the Law. There he asks, “Why then the Law? It was appointed on account of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise related; having been instituted by means of angels, in the hand of a mediator.” The Law, Paul here shows, pointed to the Messiah of promise, and “was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we [Jews, who could not gain life by the terms of the Law] might be justified by faith.”—Gal. 3:19,24, Diaglott

When “Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” establishes his millennial kingdom in the earth, all who during this Gospel Age have been justified by their faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, and have been faithful unto death, will live and reign with Jesus as kings and priests for the blessing of all the families of the earth. In the kingdom, evil will not be tolerated; Satan will be bound, and unable, henceforth, to deceive the people. All who are in the grave shall come forth, and the Lord will write his law in their hearts: “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” And whosoever will may take the water of life freely, and live forever in that glorious “new world, wherein dwellelth righteousness.” The struggle to do right will be forever finished when sin and evil have vanished away!—Heb. 12:24; Rev. 20:1,2,6; II Pet. 3:12; Jer. 31:33,34; Rev. 22:17; John 5:28,29

Dawn Bible Students Association
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