Did you know it’s very possible to sincerely frustrated as a Christian? To be both sincere and frustrated at the same time? Did you know it’s possible to count yourself dead to sin and still find that sin is very much alive in you? Did you know it’s possible to be trying your hardest as a Christian and yet still fall flat as a Christian?
I know this is possible because I’ve lived this story. And I’ve spoken to others who have too. Beyond this, I know it’s possible because Romans 7 follows Romans 6.
I realize I may be sounding like Captain Obvious to say that Romans 7 follows Romans 6, but this is actually a very important observation.
You see, after working your way through Romans 6, you may conclude you are good to go when it comes to winning the battle with sin. Afterall, Romans 6 announces some incredibly good news. You’ve died to the slavery side of sin (6:6). You can count yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (6:11). You’ve been set free from sin and have become a slave of righteousness (6:18, 22). You don’t have to live like you used to live because you’re not who you used to be!
But then you run face-first into the spiritual wall known as Romans 7.
After Romans 6, Romans 7 comes as a big downshift in spiritual momentum. If Romans 6 is sunshine and blue skies, Romans 7 is overcast and stormy weather. Romans 7 throws cold water on the fires of spiritual passion ignited by Romans 6. If Romans 6 is about liberation, Romans 7 is about frustration.
In Romans 7, Paul makes a powerful, but painful point: finding freedom from the sins that trip us up and pull us down takes more than what we learned in Romans 6.
In the next few posts, we’ll take a closer look at what God wants us to know from Romans 7. I suspect you will find this chapter both depressing and comforting. Depressing because it dashes your hopes for easy spiritual breakthroughs and victories. Comforting, because it lets you know the struggle you live with is not unique to you. If you haven’t recently read through Romans 7, why not do that now. Then watch for the upcoming posts on “When You Struggle with Sin.”