I think the main theme of chapters 4 & 5 can be summed up with the two verses in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Our righteousness and salvation comes by grace apart from our works. This is what Romans 4:5 is speaking of when it says, “the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.” With this in mind, Paul asks and answers the question people are bound to ask in Romans 6:1-4: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” The story goes like this… We saw we were lost in sin and needed a Savior; we believed Jesus died and rose for our sins and we confessed Him as Lord. We couldn’t earn any part of our salvation, but if we don’t repent of the sin Jesus died to save us from, we don’t really have faith. Repentance isn’t earning our salvation; it is corresponding actions to our faith. When we were baptized into Christ, we became new creations with a new nature that has righteousness dwelling in it. As we renew our thinking, the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead will empower us to walk as He walks.
In chapter 7, we see a lot of different kinds of “laws.” There is “the law,” which refers to the written Law of God. In the other two uses of the word law, we could use the word “influence” or “controlling factor” to clarify the meaning of the word in context. There is the “law of the mind,” which refers to the influence our mind has when we have made a decision to live in a certain way. The law of sin will war against the law of our mind and we can find our self living in a way we had previously decided that we were not going to live. What hope do we have then? The answer is in Romans 8:2: “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Just making a right decision (the law of the mind) isn’t enough; it takes the power of His Spirit in our spirit empowering us to make us free from sin. Only the “law of the spirit,” not the “law of the mind,” can truly free us from sin.
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan