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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”—Romans 7:24–25a (NLT)
I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. The hopefulness, the relief, the optimism, the excitement . . . the school year is over! Yes, I’m sure a few of you can recall that feeling on the last day of school knowing summer had arrived. It meant no more 6:30am wake up calls, no more uniforms, no more pop quizzes, no more group projects—at least for the next two and a half months. For most of us, summer brought a feeling of freedom, rest, and hopeful anticipation.
When I read today’s verse, particularly in context of the rest of the passage and the Book of Romans as a whole, this is the kind of feeling I get from Paul. I can sense the relief, joy, and sense of true freedom the apostle had experienced in Christ. I can almost feel the chains of slavery coming off the former Pharisee and persecutor of the Church.
The contrast he creates here is amazing. He calls himself miserable (wretched, in most translations), which means “beaten down from continued strain, leaving a person literally full of callouses, with deep misery.” It describes a person with severe side effects from great, ongoing strain and significant hardships.
And what is it that beats us down? “Life that is dominated by sin and death.” It crushes us, it beats us down, it tramples us, leaving tread marks and scars all over us. Regarding this verse, Theologian Charles Ellicott wrote, “The words are a cry for deliverance from the whole of this mortal nature, in which carnal appetite and sin and death are inextricably mingled. To complete this deliverance, the triple resurrection—ethical, spiritual, and physical—is needed.”
When I read Paul’s words, I immediately am able to apply it to my life and my struggles. So often, I also feel like a miserable, wretched man, crushed under the weight of my sinful nature. And if you’re honest, you probably feel this way, too, from time to time. But every time my mind goes that way, I’m reminded of Romans 7:25 (NLT), “The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” He rescued me from this life of sin and death, and continues to do so every day! And I’m taken back to that feeling of freedom and relief I experienced every year on the last day of school . . . but dialed to a million, because the Son has set me free, indeed (John 8:36).
DIG: Read Romans 7.
DISCOVER: What has Christ freed you from?
DISPLAY: Write today’s verse down on a piece of paper and carry it with you everywhere you go. Whenever you feel the weight of sin bearing down, take it out and meditate on these words.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.