Live free (or die hard)
Our body (‘flesh’, v 5) is not evil, but (as with the Law) sin takes and twists what is good. To prepare for Romans 7, write a short prayer based on verses 13 and 19 from chapter 6. Learn it by heart.
For Paul’s Jewish readers, the Law was a force for good, helping God’s people avoid and deal with sin. But here he says (shockingly) that we have died to the Law (v 4) as to sin (6.2,11). For the Law is weakened by our ‘fleshiness’ and twisted by sin, which abuses it to arouse sinful passions (v 5). Is this something you recognise within yourself: the thrill of doing something you know you shouldn’t?
Paul’s negativity towards the Law led some Christians to reject it completely – yet in tomorrow’s passage he defends it (see v 12). And in verse 6 he says we are released from the Law ‘so that we can serve in the new way of the Spirit’. Christians must still serve God (or ‘bear fruit’, v 4) – but out of freedom, having been set free from the Law and given righteousness as a gift, not as an attempt to earn it for ourselves.
The question is, how do we serve? Or, to put it another way, where in the Bible has God shown and told us what a holy life looks like?
Reflect on who you are and what you have. Ask yourself: (1) Am I grateful for what God has given me, or frustrated about what he hasn’t? (2) How can I use what God has given me to serve him?