The Most Basic Freedom (Romans 7.14-25)

Have you ever felt powerless to overcome your long-time sins? Join the club! According to Romans 7.14-25, the Apostle Paul felt the same way. In verse 14, Paul contrasts God’s law and our sinfulness: “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.” Sin is a ruthless master. How ruthless? According to verses 15-20, sin drives a wedge between our desires and our deeds: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what … Continue reading The Most Basic Freedom (Romans 7.14-25)

Is the Law Sinful? (Romans 7.7-13)

Is the law of God sinful? Paul asks this question in Romans 7.7-13. It’s a very strange question. After all, since God is not sinful, nothing he says is sinful. The law is one of the things God says, so obviously, it cannot be sinful. Why, then, does Paul ask the question in the first place? Because the logic of his argument in Romans requires him to do so. Remember, the theme of Paul’s letter is justification by faith. In Romans 1.17, Paul puts it this way: “in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is … Continue reading Is the Law Sinful? (Romans 7.7-13)

“Explaining Hitler” by Ron Rosenbaum

I just finished re-reading Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum. Originally published in 1998, the book is a meditation on “the search for the origins of [Hitler’s] evil,” as the subtitle puts it. As the book unfolds, Rosenbaum interviews in person or interacts with the writings of nearly every prominent Hitler explainer of the post-war period, from Hugh Trevor-Roper and Alan Bullock to Christopher Browning and Daniel Goldhagen. As he does so, he critically interacts with the major explanations of Hitler’s evil: that it was the byproduct of genital malformation, sexual perversion, psychological projection, abstract historical forces, or Hitler’s own intention … Continue reading “Explaining Hitler” by Ron Rosenbaum

Dead to the Law (Romans 7.1-6)

In Romans 6.2, Paul writes, â..We died to sin.â. In Romans 7.4, he goes on to say, â also died to the law.â. I think we all understand what it means to die to sin, for the second half of Romans 6.2 asks, â can we live in it any longer?â. But what does it mean to die to the law? Does it mean we no longer have to obey the commandments? Was Paul an antinomian after all? To answer these questions, letâ..s take a closer look at Romans 7.1-6. Paul begins with a statement of legal principle in verse … Continue reading Dead to the Law (Romans 7.1-6)

The World Championship of Wife Carrying

This weekend, Finland will host the 11th annual World Championship of Wife Carrying. For a description of this championship and a meditation on its possible meaning, check out William R. Mattox Jr.’s essay in today’s Opinion Journal. Here’s his conclusion: Over the past half-century, our official gender debate has often forced people to choose between gender equality and gender-specific roles. You could be against misogyny. Or against androgyny. But you couldn’t be against both. At least not in the official debate. But in our private lives–especially in those leisure pursuits that often (unconsciously) reveal our deepest hopes and aspirations–I get … Continue reading The World Championship of Wife Carrying

The Law and the Believer (Romans 7.1-25)

What role does the Old Testament law play in the life of the believer? The church has argued about its answer to this question since the first century. Basically, three positions have emerged: legalism, antinomianism, and the orthodox consensus. Letâ..s briefly consider each one in turn. Legalism is the notion that our salvation is wrapped up with our obedience to the Old Testament law. We read about early Christian legalists in Acts 15.1: â..Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: â..Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be … Continue reading The Law and the Believer (Romans 7.1-25)