Since being freed from the law to now serve in the newness of the spirit we are no longer in the oldness of the letter. After the Apostle Paul tells us about the wife/us being joined to Christ by way of being co-crucified with Him, he then proceeds to describe for us what life looked like when we/the wife attempted to please the first husband/the law in her/our own power.
Essentially the first six verses of Romans seven gives us a parable to describe us “believers” as a wife who has died with Christ in order to deliver us from the first husband represented by the Law. From verse seven through the rest of chapter Paul illustrates how the wife/we attempt to please the husband/the law and how the enemy/sin takes advantage of us by the very Law we are attempting to fulfill. He says the Law is holy, just and good therefore the problem isn’t with the law rather it’s us. We, the wife, even though having the best intentions, simply cannot live a life that is pleasing by way of the law.
The Apostle Paul’s struggle, and ours, is really about him not seeing himself as having been crucified, buried and raised back in Christ. He says, “The thing I want to do I can’t do, and the very thing I don’t want to do I keep on doing.” You see as long as we see ourselves as independent beings trying to obey the law we will be destined to sin and misery and this is how God wants it. What you say? Surely God doesn’t want me to sin does He?
Look with me at Romans 5:20 “The law entered, that the offence/sin might abound, or increase. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” The truth is without the law we would still have sin but God’s plan is that the law would expose the sin He already sees to us. Essentially the law is given so we would see ourselves as we really are and we might cry out for deliverance which is exactly what the Apostle Paul finally did at the end of Romans seven. He cried “O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
When it comes right down to it God’s plan is for us to finally be exposed to our true state and discover we have believed a lie our whole lives. Yes, we have lived our lives as if we, independent of God, can produce righteousness “for” God apart from God. This is what the parable of the wife is all about. We have absolutely no ability to produce what God is after in and of ourselves. The lesson then of Romans seven is really telling us we need a deliverer. We need someone besides ourselves to free us from the trap of seeing ourselves as independent, trying to keep the law, failing, trying and failing again. This would be the equivalent of a woman determining to get pregnant on her own. I can see her now; she goes to the pharmacy, gets a home pregnancy tests, goes into the bathroom to only come out minutes later saddened because it’s negative again. Well, I guess there’s always tomorrow she says as she gives herself a pep talk essentially saying I guess I just have to buckle down next time.
Thankfully the scriptures don’t leave us there. No, after the Apostle Paul cried out for deliverance at the end of Romans seven, he begins to describe how God’s plan is to live in and through us rather than having us perform for Him. The Spirit of God will produce all that He requires of us in our lives but first we have to come to the realization we can’t. He wants to produce love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance in us but it is the fruit of the Spirit not the work of the flesh.