The Normal Christian Life and Romans 7 (Part 1)

Sue grew up in church. She never knew a day she did not know and trust Jesus.  Her testimony has always seemed, well, boring.  Throughout her Christian life Sue has wondered, “Am I missing something?”  She will tell you she does not struggle with “bad sins,” and what she does struggle with, a little extra self-discipline, will power, Bible study, and prayer can handle…which brings us to today and why she feels so spiritually desperate.  Those things are no longer working.  They are no longer restraining her anger, suppressing her rising romantic desires and fantasies, and helping her stress and anxiety. Sue pleads, “What’s wrong with me?”  “What’s happening to me?”  “What am I missing?” 

Sam was a dynamic leader in the largest ministry on campus; no one was surprised by his call to ministry.  Yet even during those times when God was using him greatly, Sam felt deep inside, “There must be something more to the Christian life.”  Fast forward ten years into his life as a pastor and someone says, “Hey Sam, you’ve got to read this.”  He did.  It changed his life.  What happened to Sam?  The book talked persuasively about something more to the Christian life.  The book addressed what is missing in the Christian life.  Sam learned how to get out of Romans 7 and into Romans 8.  Sam found the secret to something more in the Christian life, to what is missing in his Christian life. 

Samantha has always felt the weight of her sin.  Those closest to her would say, “Samantha is unhealthily introspective.  She’s constantly checking her spiritual pulse to see how she’s doing.”  So when Samantha did something far worse than anything she had ever done before, far worse than anything she ever dreamed she could do, it was terribly traumatic.  She did not know what to do.  She had no categories for what happened.  She had no categories for her new level of evil.  What does Samantha do?

Stewart believes everyone is basically good.  “So,” he reasoned, “if someone does something really evil, it must be because something bad happened to him.”  But then Stewart did something really bad when nothing bad had ever happened to him.  Stewart’s view of human nature was crushed.  Stewart’s view of himself was shattered.  What does Stewart do now?

Are you sure you are ready for Romans 7?  Romans 7 is so soaked with splendor that we are going to spend a couple of weeks looking at it.  Here is what we need to know at this point…everything in Romans 6 and 7 has been building to this moment, building specifically to Romans 7.24-25:  “Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  We are going to call Paul’s three cries the “Roman’s Renovation.” 

Where is God taking us in Romans 6 and 7?  What is God doing in Romans 6 and 7?  The answer is to the wonder of verses 24 and 25.  God wants us to feel deep in our bones the revolution of the “Roman’s Renovation.”

Part Two