Have you noticed how draining political discussions can become after awhile? I’m tired of the presidential election already and we’ve got miles to go. Any continued controversy is like that, whether in a marriage, a business partnership, or, really, any relationship. Once the opinions are clear and the positions are set, it is detrimental to keep on hackling over it. I speak from experience!
Romans 7 is like that in Christian circles. The debate always gets back to “Who is the man in Romans 7?” Was it Paul’s experience as a non-Christian or as a Christian or somewhere in between? Then, as the debate heats up, the main point of the passage is totally overlooked, and we are tired of the whole thing.
I bring this up to show how “non-essential” this debate is. What are the main points of the passage? The discussion ought to be about the power and strength of sin, and how we’ve been set free from feeling like a slave to either sin or the law once we are “in Christ.” Or about how the function of the law is to show us our sin and our need of a Savior. A third main point is about how the law has its limits: it cannot save us nor sanctify us no matter how “moral” we think ourselves. Or we could talk about how Romans 7-8:4 is a cure for any spiritual depression we might slip into. Matters like these are essential, don’t you see?
That is why I bring this up. Thinking our way through the Bible requires making decisions about essentials. Enjoy your liberty to hold onto your view of which spiritual realm Paul was in at the time. Then we can focus on what really counts like, “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!” That is a wonderful essential we can agree upon.
One who is totally safe in her personal relationship with God is not captive to the sin within. She flourishes in her liberty, allowing her to grant that liberty to others. She knows how to use the law to expose her own wrong thinking or actions. She is, then, not going to stay long in spiritual depression. Now these are things worth discussing!
“Unity in essentials; Liberty in non-essentials; Charity in all virtues.”