Working through Romans 7 this morning I observed something I had not seen previously – by the way that happens a lot. I have studied this book several times, each time I see more than I saw all of the times before.
The “new” observation was in Romans 7:25, the last verse. Paul states that he is serving with his mind the Law of God. That caught my attention because Romans 8 revolves around the Spirit in the believer’s life and experience. Further in Jeremiah 31:33 the Lord indicates that He will put the Law in the heart of His people. This in turn is a reiteration or better a reinforcement of Deuteronomy 30:11 – 20 where again the Lord says that the Law is in the hearts of the people. But here Paul seems to contrast that by focusing on the mind of the believer.
A Theme in Paul
This is not the only place he does this. I have written about what he says about the mind elsewhere in the New Testament here and here. In Romans 12:1 – 2 he reinforces this ideas telling us that we need to be renewed in our minds. Earlier in Romans Paul continually exhorts the reader to “consider,” “reckon,” or “credit” themselves as dead or righteous. Paul puts a lot of emphasis on how we think.
Think or Feel
This is important because in the Church it is not much emphasized. We are more interested in how we feel spiritually, or how the Spirit has moved us. We do not think hard about what we are seeing in the text. Not many times have I been challenged to do so.
God gave us our mind. He expects us to think. He expects us to think well. Thinking well is continually under assault. As a prime example think about the closing argument of the prosecution in the Zimmerman case last week. The prosecution exhorted the six women on the jury to follow their hearts rather than think through the evidence. Time after time we are told we need to follow our emotion rather than our reason. That happens not only in the culture but it has also gained a foothold in the Church.
Watch out for that…