Romans 7:15-8:2 (The Message)
14-16 I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I
know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m
not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m
full of myself -- after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s
prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide
one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.
So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself
and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
17-20 But I need
something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep
it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions,
I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it
takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good,
but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then
I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result
in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the
better of me every time.
21-23 It happens
so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to
do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s
commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins
in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least
expect it, they take charge.
tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope.
Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the
25 The answer,
thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things
right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with
all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to
do something totally different.
1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful
dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us
no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.
A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like
a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from
a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work
with me -- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company
with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.