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November 26 – Compelled by love

“For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” – Romans 7:5-6

Scripture reading: Romans 7

Sin is an attempt to be a better god. The deception of sin is this, “I am powerful.” Our flesh loves the law because we think the power to overcome resides in our hearts. This “power trip” leads many to invent even more laws, which God has not made. What is the power of temptation? “You can be like God.” Behind sin is self and the fruit of self is death.

Why do we love the gospel so much? Because it is the power of God unto sanctification. The gospel strengthens us to serve. Paul begins “But now” (vs.6). This is a famous Pauline “but now.” It is his way of contrasting our pre-Christian life with our Christian life. In that old life we were enslaved to the law, but now “in Christ” we are free. We are free not to do what we want, but to serve God.

Paul contrasts freedom with bondage, the old life was bondage. Notice, we still serve. We are enslaved to righteousness. Just because the law is powerless does not mean it has no place in Christianity. It has a place, not of power but of leading. The gospel sets us free and the law then shows us the way. The gospel leads the Christian in sanctification. Christian obedience follows Christ.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray the Lord would expose your secret and hidden sins that you might with godly sorrow turn more and more away from sin and love God more and more instead.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA.

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