每日诗歌: 愿你崇高 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1jaU7fI-qk)
Psalm 78 [Read]
Romans 7 [Read]
Who is the wretched man in Romans 7? This question is one of the hotly debated issues throughout the history of biblical study, and many admirable scholars have offered their views with various scriptural supports. To this day, the debate remains unsettled.
To regular disciples like us, our mind wants to believe that Paul was describing someone who was struggling with sin but had not known Christ yet. “For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death” (Rom 7:5), and “we know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin” (7:14). It sounds like the man was still under the control of flesh, and the promise of being set free by God’s grace had not happened yet. This confirms the power of sin in a person without God’s grace, and it is comforting to know that the situation should and will change drastically when the Holy Spirit comes into his heart in Romans 8.
But our heart wants to believe that Paul was referring to a Christian, or maybe even himself, because that is exactly what we are experiencing every day. Our personal struggles confirm repeatedly that “for what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing” (7:19), and “but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members” (7:23). We want to believe that we are already saved, and our struggles and those of the wretched man are just part of the sanctification process.
Perhaps the theological debate was never on Paul’s mind when he wrote this, and perhaps he was not too concerned about defining salvation here but more interested in depicting personal struggles with sin, saved and unsaved alike. God never meant for us to judge other people’s salvation, but he does want us to examine our own faith and to be sure who our Lord is. With that in mind, we may have peace in relating this to anyone who is sensitive about sin, saved and unsaved alike. Who can rescue such man then? “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord” (7:25).
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