January 17. Romans 7:24-25. Who or What, Tidying Up, and Grace.

Romans 7:24-25. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

WHO will deliver me?

Not WHAT…WHO?

You see if he said “WHAT will deliver me from this body of death” he’d be right back where he started – trying, earning, and self-effort.

But instead, thank God, he asks WHO? Our trust has to be in the WHO. The person. Jesus Christ. Nothing else can rescue us from the despair of our own self-righteousness. Even good things like church attendance, bible reading, and prayer, if they do not turn us to our complete dependency upon Christ alone, will not bring relief from the law of sin and death. Victory comes from faith in Christ alone.

The important next step after Romans 7:24 is the question of 7:25. Paul refuses to stay trapped in the despair of 7:24. He asks the question, “WHO?” Who will deliver me?

What if we are spending way to much time asking the WHAT question instead of the WHO question? “What can I do differently today?” “What do I have to do to make God happy?” “What needs to change?” “What will happen if I don’t…?” “What do I need to add to my life?” Or if you’re into the Tidying Up craze, the question might be, “What can I live without?”

Marie Kondo’s religion (yes we can call it that) started with her bestselling book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class to the Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Today it is a hit show on Netflix. For Kondo, the “god of tidying up” is “always on our side as long as we are committed to getting it done.” She preaches a “gospel” (yes we can call it that) of doing with less, but this gospel is actually a veiled law. Of course there is nothing wrong with being tidy, and many of Kondo’s ideas are really helpful. But why? Why live with less? For sanity’s sake? To gain control over your life? Or as Kondo would put it, to have “your ideal life”? The problem is that our clutter isn’t often the source of our problems, it’s a reflection of a deeper problem.

We are in need of far more than just a tidying up of our lives. We are in need of someone to live life for us, and through us. We are in need of a Savior. We need a WHO not another WHAT.

Have you considered that you might be asking the wrong question everyday? Maybe it’s time to start asking the WHO question. “Who will deliver me?” “Who is at work?” “Who will transform my failures and sins?” “Who lives within me?” “Who is my Savior King?”

Think about how you were saved? Was it about WHAT you did, or WHO you met? WHO you trusted? Were you saved by your church attendance? Your baptism? Your giving? Your kind words and deeds? Of course not. You turned your eyes upon Jesus. You were saved by grace alone. So now what? What is my Christian life today? Or should I say “WHO is my Christian life today?”

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! It’s all him. It’s all his doing. Not mine. Not yours. His alone.

“To live is Christ” is total dependency on a Savior. It no mere tidying up of a little mess here and there. The mess is way to big for a tidy. It needs a complete deliverance from this body of death. And that is what Christ has done. Thanks be to God!

Thanks be to God, our wounded healer.

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