Romans 7.18-25; Psalm 118; Luke 12.54-59
‘I am unspiritual; I have been sold as a slave to sin.’ [Romans 7.14b] Romans 7 is one of the frankest self-accusations in all literature. ‘I fail to carry out the things I want to do, and I find myself doing the very things I hate’ [7.15b] St Paul continues. Having in earlier writings shown the impotence of the Law to bring wholeness to human life, here he goes further, showing the unreliability of human reason and intention. The law, the knowledge of right and wrong is good, but it doesn’t have the power to keep us from sin. Even will power is inadequate to keep us from sin. The will of every one of us has been corrupted. Depending on our will to help us make the right choices ends in our frustration. The problem lies with our corrupt human nature.
Fortunately, there is help in the Spirit. That will be the theme of the 8th chapter of Romans. For today, our reading ends with Paul’s rhetorical question—‘Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?’—and its enthusiastic affirmation of the will of God for everyone’s salvation—‘Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!’