“For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:5-6
Does the law do more to provoke the flesh than to control it? According to what Paul writes in Romans, that seems to be the case. While this comes as a shocker, I know better than to argue. My own personal experience confirms this frightening fact. It’s true. Rules rouse me. They incite my flesh to do the forbidden.
Not long ago, I found myself in a high-end boot store. Just to browse, mind you. With my budget, buying wasn’t an option. I’m not sure I’d want to spend a thousand bucks on roach killers anyways. But it never hurts to look. Or touch for that matter. But there were those blasted signs on every wall and every boot-lined shelf from top to bottom. “Do not touch!”
Stinking rule! It made me want to touch those top-dollar, musky-scented boots all the more. You see, I know something about quality leather. It not only looks good, it also feels good. I sought to prove it. No sign could constrain me. My defiant flesh quickly rose to the occasion. I think I was cuddling with buffalo hide when a voice barked from behind, “Hands off, cowboy!”
Is this how it was for Eve in the garden? Without question, experience had taught her that there’s something especially enticing about fruit. It tastes pleasant, smells pleasant and, yes, even feels pleasant. Think about your own encounters of the scrumptious kind. Nothing in the grocery store rouses the flesh like fresh produce! Personally speaking, I don’t feel a need to handle packaged goods, but fruits and vegetables? No mango gets placed in the cart without an affectionate squeeze. Now, imagine holding the perfect mango and it has a sticker stating, “You can have any fruit except this one.” What could be more exotic? Ah, yes, the forbidden fruit alas! In the basket it goes.
The flesh wants what it can’t have and is resistant to rules, even those handed down by God Himself. As the law calls out sin, the flesh drools over the countless possibilities. In this respect, the law is powerless. It can’t calm the flesh. Neither can it keep quiet about that which the flesh craves. This results in an endless game of Rochambeau where sin is paper, flesh is scissors and the law is the rock, and each has an equal share of wins and losses.
The only thing that can end Rochambeau is death. The paper and scissors must die. God in His divine wisdom made a way for this to happen by introducing a living rock into the game – The Rock of Ages! This Rock became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. He died in the flesh so that we might also die to it. Once we die to the flesh, we die to sin, and once we die to sin we die to the law. In Christ we are new creatures who live unto God. Yielding to His Spirit is what keeps our eyes on the Rock and off the forbidden fruit. Instead we crave fruits of love.
Love is the fulfillment of the law. In Christ, the law wins, love wins and you win! Now, reach for the prize! And remember, nothing beats the Rock!
Sunday Morning at 9:30 & 11:30am
Wednesday Evening at 7:00
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Calvary Chapel of Austin Church
1601 Pecan St., Pflugerville, TX 78660