|Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota|
Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection Year B, Lent 3, New Testament Lesson
Romans 7: 13-25 Did what is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
Reflection on Romans 7: 13-25 by Nan Stokes
This is the New Testament reading that strikes terror into the heart of the lay reader assigned for that Sunday! It means each syllable and word have to be correctly spoken, or it comes out all wrong! But in the calm of Saturday night when the lay reader is sitting in a favorite chair without distraction, suddenly it is possible to relate to what Paul is saying, "I do not understand my own actions." We've all been there – especially durintg Lent when we are trying so very hard to do extra good, or not do what we know is not good. So we are captive to the sin that dwells within us, and we certainly need to be rescued. Modern psychology may have a different theory about what goes on in our minds, but we Christians know that we need to say, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" And that is what we cling to during Lent and all the other times of our lives.
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