The apostle Paul makes an passionate plea in Romans 7:24: "O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?"
He makes that statement after pouring out his heart about the struggles he has had with sin, and how there had been times when he wanted to do the right thing only to fail miserably and be overtaken by the urge to commit sin.
Every human struggles at some point in their life. Whether remedied or continuing, unless a person is completely devoid of even a base conscience, they have been where Paul was.
I had a noted biblical scholar explain the choice of Paul's words to me once.
He claimed that Paul was using a physical example to explain a spiritual one. Since we know that Paul did that regularly (armor of God metaphorically linked to a Roman soldiers armor, etc.), and that Jesus did so as well throughout the gospels, it is feasible.
The example may be taken from Paul's observation of how the Romans treated their prisoners by "shackling" them together. Unfortunately, when one of the prisoners died, the Romans would often leave the body chained to the remaining live prisoner, hence the term "shackles of this body of death" that Paul uses.
When we contemplate the coincidence it makes perfect sense.
Sin is like a rotting corpse attached to us when we are consumed and overcome by it.
Maybe that's where the term "dead weight" comes from. We are carrying spiritual dead weight when living in sin. In fact, we ourselves become dead weight to those around us.
I think Paul was essentially volleying for effect here.
You see, there is a remedy and Paul sets us up nicely to receive the full effect of it.
Who will rescue us?
"O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord!" (vs.25)
Thank God indeed for Jesus Christ.
Many use it simply as an excuse to escape the flames of hell.
However, when we contemplate fully the effect the salvation of Christ has had upon us holistically, (physically, mentally and spiritually), the full impact of Paul's statement is enormous!
Yes, we escape the flames of hell in the stretch, but the impact upon us is immediate and translates us into better people now!
From useless to useful.
So how about you today?
In your mindset of thankfulness as Turkey Day approaches what are you really thankful for?
I am first and foremost thankful to Jesus Christ for releasing me from the chains of death.
Anything else I have or ever will have that is worthwhile for me to be thankful for all stems and flows from what Jesus did for me.
My prayer is that you share the same sentiment.
Be blessed my friends, and have a joyful gathering of thanks wherever you are tomorrow!
Keepin' it Real,
Pastor Kevin <><