What does the law of Moses mean to a Christian? I think that is what Paul is trying to answer in Romans 7. And the text for today talked about the ditch to the right side of the road and the ditch to the left side of the road. On the right, you fall into legalism. You fall into the error that the law still has some role in your justification. Paul takes an analogy from marriage, but compared to Galatians, Paul is subdued in this response. He just reminds us that in Christ we are freed from the law, contrary to legalists everywhere. On the left side the ditch is antinominanism or the thought that the law itself has been banished. It is against this that Paul gets really tough. Boiled down he says – you need the law, you need it to show you just how lost and condemned you are.
Another way I thought about it this week is the right side is religious without being spiritual – the problem in the 16th century. The left is spiritual without being religious – the bigger problem today. Paul takes each in turn and says go back.
Next Sunday’s text looks at Paul’s via media on the law. But to stay out of the ditches both that law we can’t keep and the Spirit in us point toward Christ. Its His way that we walk.