May 8, 2013
Reference: Romans 7:21
Topic: “Practice What You Preach”
Do you know anyone that practices the “law”? Attorneys, judges and other legal practitioners are expected to obey the very same law they have vowed to uphold. Those who practice or enforce the law, but disregard the same law are considered “hypocrites”. (hupokrites (hoop-ok-ree-tace'); an actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. (figuratively) a dissembler ("hypocrite"). Every medical professional has taken an oath to “practice medicine honestly”. The “Hippocratic oath - requires a new physician to swear upon a number of healing gods that he will uphold a number of professional ethical standards. Thus, we have adopted best practices that safeguard our commitment to do the right thing. However, how does this same commitment solidify our vow to obey God’s Word?
The lesson aim is to reaffirm and reevaluate our understanding of “the law of God”. More importantly, can we articulate with clarity the ongoing struggles we face as HIS “witnesses”? Paul’s experiences have brought him to this conclusion, “for I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not”. Paul goes a step further and describes his struggle as a war between his flesh and his mind. (7:23; Gal. 5:17-18)
Paul’s overall concern for the Roman congregation is that they hadn’t identified the biggest hindrance that impedes their progress and growth in the Lord. The presence of Evil! Rom 7:21: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (KJV) Rom 7:21-22 – “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. (NLT) Rom 7:21-22 –“It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.” (from THE MESSAGE)
As a result of their lack of understanding Paul testifies about his personal struggles and experience with the same issue. However, his confession serves as an bails bondsman to free him from the bondage sin creates for those that are “ignorant”.
(agnoeo (ag-no-eh'-o) - not to know (through lack of information or intelligence); by implication, to ignore (through disinclination)
There are several passages of scripture that connect Paul’s observation in verse 21 that provide clarity to the saints in
Corinth. (Is 6:5-8; Zech 3:1-4) In verses 24 and 25a the apostle presents a
solution to his personal struggle that can be adopted by current readers of
this epistle: “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this
life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus
Christ our Lord.” (NLT)
Paul’s final statement to the church focuses on the misunderstanding of how we struggle to maintain control of our thoughts.