Sermon Summary for Sunday, July 9th, 2017 | Respectfully Submitted by Mal Underwood
We were blessed to have Fr. Joe Herring as our visiting priest on Sunday. His message was based on the New Testament passage from the letter to the Romans, one of the Apostle Paul’s most deeply profound epistles in the Scripture. In Chapter 7:15-25a, Paul writes a thought-provoking (and possible puzzling) message about the nature of sin, the written Jewish law, and the ultimate solution to our sinful natures.
Fr. Joe related a story of a close friend of his who was a chief Rabbi in a Synagogue who once told him that he had no problem with Jesus, it was Paul he found difficult. One of his points was that Paul was conflicted through his simultaneous adherence to certain Jewish tradition and his criticism of Jewish law. In Sunday’s passage, Paul displays similar characteristics. He bemoans the fact that he is sinful, not doing the things he wants but doing the very things he hates. He says when this happens, the law is good as it provides the guidelines for life as offered in the Torah. In contrast, Paul writes that the sin in him, in his flesh, leads him to do the evil he does not want. He personifies sin as a competing law that dwells in him that is not corrected by Jewish law. Put another way, through the Torah he cannot escape damnation because he is unable to defeat the sin that dwells in him.
Paul concludes that the dilemma is a war between the law of God in which he delights and the law of the flesh which he cannot control. Therefore, how can we escape this captivity to sin? Christ Jesus our Lord, through whom we are reconciled to God, offers redemption and renewal of life for those who confess and repent of their sins. He is our rescue from the clutches of sin and death. Thanks be to God!