May 21, 2018

The Example

Romans 7:1–3

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Released from the Law

Or do you not know, brothers1—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.2 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.


[1] 7:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 4
[2] 7:2 Greek law concerning the husband

The Example

Bio | Selena Thompson

Hi! My name is Selena, one-half of Team Thompson. My husband Michael and I have been married for 10 years. We hang out at Watermark Plano. Our youngest daughter is at KWU on a bowling scholarship. Cool, huh? Go, Yotes!

I find joy in being a mommy, training for half marathons, cooking healthy food, being called the "baby whisperer" in Starting Blocks & Training Ground, road trips, seeing marriages restored at re|engage, and, most importantly, sharing how God's love, grace, and forgiveness saved my life and my family from death and destruction.

Come hang out with us sometime.

Central Truth

The law states that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a). But, when we accept that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, we die with Him and are given a new, eternal life with Him; therefore, we are no longer bound by the law.

Devotional | Romans 7:1–3

In my life I have witnessed over and over this adulteress Paul talks about in verse 3, both literally and spiritually.  There were those who were married, but didn't act like it; and those...

In my life I have witnessed over and over this adulteress Paul talks about in verse 3, both literally and spiritually.  There were those who were married, but didn't act like it; and those who said they were Christians, but still lived in sin. In 2013, I became one of them! In my shame and guilt, I cried out to the Lord, and He showed me in my brokenness that I was a slave to sin. "[I]f you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey . . . ." (Romans 6:16)

Paul is talking about sin that has dominion over us, not about infidelity, although for me, that was the sin and worldly thinking that had authority over me. Paul is explaining the dissolution of a relationship through death in order to make a way for a new relationship. It's an example so we understand the finality of our sins with Jesus' death on the cross.

To understand this, we must accept that in order to have a new life we must have had an old life. Through re:generation, Watermark's 12-step biblical recovery ministry, I learned that my old life was full of shame, guilt, anger, and self-protection; and it was killing me. But God offers the free gift of life eternally with Him (Romans 6:23). We must also accept that we are "under the authority" of whom or what we obey just like a wife is under the authority of her husband, but a death ends that. We don't physically die to become a Christ follower, but our sinful life does (Romans 6:6). We are now "under the authority" of Christ as our new Husband, Head of our life, and Master of our heart.

I still have feelings of anger, guilt, and shame. When my flesh points toward self-protection, I must remind myself of truth: 

God loves me so much He sacrificed His Son for me;

I have a new life in Christ;

I am bound by righteousness;

Jesus paid the price on the cross;

I no longer have to carry the shame of being called an adulteress;

I am no longer a slave to sin.

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you believe you have a new life in a Savior named Jesus Christ? Why or why not?

2. We are slaves to the one whom we obey. To whom or what is your obedience directed? Are you under the authority of righteousness or sin?

3. How can community help you process what you allow to have authority in your life? Ask them to point out areas where you are vulnerable to straying back into an "old life" way of thinking.

4. If you understand this example and agree that Jesus died and was resurrected for your sins, what are you doing to tell others of this great news? How are you using your life as a living example that being bound to the Savior brings life eternal?

10 Comments available

Veronica Lisle 10 months ago

Selena, love your transparency and am so grateful for your faithfulness in Training Ground and how you use your gifts to serve others and point them to Jesus who loves us unconditionally and graciously redeems our lives! Thank you for sharing your story with us through His word!

greg jones 10 months ago

“To understand this, we must accept that in order to have a new life we must have had an old life.“

Thought this was an exceptional statement leading the explanation. We all own a ever past life, we all live a ever present life, and everyone has an ever after life ahead. If your ever after is going to be different than your ever past “dying” to the ever past in the ever present is what gives “birth” to the new, or different, ever after. Excellent devotional pointing out the difference in a past life, a future life, and the tension that is created in the ever present process of that change.

Sue Bohlin 10 months ago

I appreciate your sweet transparency, Selena the Baby Whisperer! Thank you for your devo.

I am struck by the subtext underscoring today’s reading: being freed from the law of sin and death means the Lord says, “You don’t have to live that way anymore.” We have new freedom to choose to honor God (and ourselves, and other people) with our choices and our actions.

Hope Harris 10 months ago

Thanks for sharing your story with us Selena.

I read this from the introduction to chapter 7 of the Voice Translation:

“Grace is no license to sin. As creatures, we are made to serve our Creator. In the absence of truth, we will serve somebody or something. It’s an essential part of our nature. Our only choice is this: whom will we serve? At one time, we all served sin and grew weak under its deadly power over us. Now, through God’s grace, we have become servants of obedience that sets us right with God, each other, and ourselves. We must daily decide whose servant we are and offer Him our hands, our feet, our hearts, our eyes.”

Lord I chose you today!

Jennifer Borgne 10 months ago

Great start to the week Selena! And bless you for being bold in sharing your story today. What sticks out today for me is a comment Dr. Constable made on this passage, which perfectly describes me: “Paul needed to explain the believer’s relationship to the Law because of people’s natural tendency to view keeping laws as a means of making progress.” Grateful He is faithful to rewire my brain… gradually exchanging the LIES for His TRUTH!! The struggle to live in between legalism and license is a daily journey with Him.

John Hill 10 months ago

Thanks Selena for your transparency and message… Ephesians 2:8-9 & Titus 3:5 come to mind for me.

Mike worley 10 months ago

Selena, Thank you for remind me there’s truth and there’s the lie. The truth is Gods love that keeps us from believing the lie. See you and Michael this evening at Re/engage.

Michael Scaman 10 months ago

In Romans 6 the word sin occurred 17 times. In Romans 7 the word law occurs 19 times.

We are bound to a law all our lives that can’t produce obedience, fruit or escape condemnation. But in Christ, because of His work on the cross we die to the law and with new life are united to Him and bear fruit.

Struggles not over. When we come in contact with the law it stirs up sinful desires. We struggle in this state of ‘grace’ as long as we live. Our spirits may be redeemed but in this life our bodies are not yet redeemed, not yet resurrected, and so the fight goes on as long as we live.

Two of my favorite Psalms on being united to Christ are are the side by side short blessed God psalm (Ps 111) leading into the short blessed Man psalm (Ps 112).

Lindsey Driscoll 10 months ago

Selena, thank you for sharing so openly about your old life before Christ. praise God for the beautiful creation he is making in you! 2Cor 5:17!

I’m so caught today by the idea of freedom and that it takes death to be free. In the metaphor of marriage v.3 “but if (he) dies, she is released. Only death brings freedom, freedom to remarry as the metaphor reads; and freedom from the law in life. Only one prefect death could release us from sin. Christ died in my place because of his great love Romans 5:8.

Hugh Stephenson 10 months ago

GM Selena. WOW. Really awesome devo.

Released from under the law. Hmm. Wiersbe edifies (paraphrasing) - Grace allows me to do what I want (License); Law guides me in order to please God, (Legalism).

The marriage analogy draws me into Genesis 2:24-25 and Ephesians 5:21-33. Dr C notes that in this passage - wife=believer and husband=law . The Hebrew word for “cleave” in Genesis is “dabaq” representing an incredibly strong bond.

How strongly I want to earn my salvation! The pull of “earned grace” is powerful. I struggle to live out the place between law and grace; between “license and legalism”.

One of my primary sin patterns is sloth / box checking. Colossians 3:23-24 is my verse for this. Work for the Lord but know that my reward is my inheritance. Reward is deserved. Inheritance is undeserved.

Legalism v License

Law v Grace

Reward v Inheritance

A perfect struggle

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