Cover to Cover
Paul continues his teaching on grace verses works. In chapter 7, Paul is referring to the person who is under the Law but not yet born again.
Paul begins with comparing old and new covenants with remarrying after the first spouse dies. For a covenant to end, one of the covenant partners must die. In God’s covenant with Israel through the Law, Jesus came to fulfill it, die, and start a new one in His own blood. Verse 5 plainly states that the Jews also became dead to the Law and now married to Christ.
In verse 5, Paul writes, “WHEN WE WERE IN THE FLESH…” Paul is writing about what it was like BEFORE CHRIST.
In verse 7, Paul writes, “IS THE LAW SIN?” Again, speaking of the old covenant under the Law. One purpose for the Law was to reveal God’s character and holiness. Paul says, “I would not have known sin except through the law.”
In verse 8, Paul writes that sin was linked to evil desire, and because of the Law, there also came an understanding that the Law was impossible to keep and the human race needed a Savior. The Law prepared people for Jesus’ first coming as Savior.
The rest of this chapter describes Paul’s personal experience and struggle with the Law. The Law in itself, is good. The trouble isn’t in the Law; the Law was spiritual. The Law showed the Jews that the fault was inside of them – the fallen, sinful nature.
THIS CHAPTER IS NOT WRITTEN TO THE CHRISTIAN. In verse 15, Paul talks about those sinful desires of a fallen nature working against him. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT WE HAVE A NEW NATURE (REBORN SPIRIT)! Paul gets more into the new nature in chapter 8, but chapter 7 is not describing the Christian experience. We aren’t under the Law. We aren’t struggling with a fallen nature.
In verse 24, Paul, speaking as that old man says, “O wretched man that I am! Who would deliver me from this body of death?” He answers the question by saying in verse 25, “I thank God – THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!”
Written by Asaph, Psalm 78 is a psalm that tells the importance of passing on the knowledge and goodness of God in Israel’s history to future generations. In verse 3, he mentions hearing and knowing what their fathers have told them, and in verse 4, there is a declaration to repeat the stories of God’s miracles and love to their children, “telling the generation to come” the praises of the Lord. In verses 5 and 6, he says of the fathers and the law, “make them know to their children” and “that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born…declare them to their children.” Verse 7 tells us why, “that they may set their hope in God.” In order for godly values to continue, the Jews recognized the importance of raising up the generations to reverence God. The rest of the psalm is a summary of what God has done, possibly put to music, so generations would remember and surrender to Jehovah.
We even see Christ in Psalm 78. Matthew quotes verse 2 when speaking of Jesus and revelation knowledge of who God is (Matthew 13:35). It says, “I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old.” Jesus fulfilled this prophecy, always speaking in terms that required humility and revelation from the Holy Spirit to understand it.
We also need the Holy Spirit to uncover the Scriptures to us, so we can have accurate understanding of spiritual truth, be led to have a relationship with God, and know how to operate in matters that are spiritual. There is a difference between understanding what the Bible says with our head and understanding with our heart. There is a need for help when applying what we know. Thank God for the Holy Spirit!