Freed from our Bondage! Radical Grace from the Book of Romans (7:14-25)


The Berlin Wall

"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin." (Rom 7:14, NIV2)

This is the reality of many amongst us. As God's Spirit doesn't reside in them, they realize that they are in no way spiritual. Instead, they wonder: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Rom 7:15, NIV2) How many agree with that? This is from where the confusion stems.

"As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me." (Rom 7:17, NIV2) Notice that sin becomes personalized when it dominates us. That's what happens when we fall into temptation over and over, so much that we are now slaves of that same sin. It becomes our reality, and we feel we are completely dominated by it. No matter how hard we try to shake it off, it sticks to us closer than our families. It seems impossible to be free. It's truly eating us alive. We see this sin bigger than anything else, as it is now our reality.

"For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." (Rom 7:18, NIV2) We don't want to be that way. Still we cannot help but be bound to its demands. We cannot be who we want to be. We are completely dominated by the vicious, sticky, dirty secret. We are completely in despair.

"For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing." (Rom 7:19, NIV2) We have become a slave to the sin that seemed so innocent at first. Only too late do we realize that this very sin has robbed us of who we truly are. It has taken us over completely. We have no choice but to obey it.

"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?" (Rom 7:24, NIV2) How many come to that same conclusion? Living in total misery, with no hope in sight, we live like junkies. Oh, we have tried to break free, but it won't let us go! It has tied us in its vicious grasp!

Good news! "Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!." (Rom 7:25a, NIV2) Only He can give us hope. Only He can break this bondage from hell. He will make us victorious! His reality has to become greater than the reality of our bondage! After all, He paid the price for our freedom. He guarantees: "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36, NIV2)

Your bond to that vicious, personalized sin can be broken. After all, once you have invited Jesus to dwell in you, "The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1John 4:4, NIV2)

The people of Eastern Germany after World War 2 also lived in bondage. Their freedom had been taken by the Russians. No one was happy. The Berlin Wall was a heavy yoke for the many who wanted to see their loved ones in West Berlin.

Some did the impossible, however. Their dream to escape was bigger than their current bondage. Take, for example, the Strelzyks. They decided to build their own hot air balloon, using scraps of material and sewing it together. It took time, a lot of time!

Once it was finished, they were eager to try it. Within hours they would be in West Germany. Hurray! Their first try was a fiasco, however. Their balloon wouldn't even lift off.

They didn't give up. Their second try was somewhat of a success. The balloon lifted off; however, the wind changed directions, and it took them deeper into East Germany. Another bummer.

The third try was a complete success. They were free at last.

Imagine the joy of that freedom. No way would they ever want to go back to the bondage of East Germany. This can be our reality as well. No hot air balloon needed, unless we want one!

Rob Chaffart

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