I find it funny that Peter, an apostle, admits that Paul’s letters “contain some things that are hard to understand” 2 Peter 3:16. (So true!), but it’s not funny when he warns that “ignorant & unstable people distort his letters” 😳 That would be a good reason to read Paul’s letters in their full context and not be guilty of using some verses out of context. This is one benefit of reading through the whole New Testament in 90 days, it is easier to pick up the whole gist of the points being made!
We read some verses today where I have heard Christians, even a pastor once, apply them incorrectly.
Have you ever heard a fellow Christian describe themselves by quoting Romans 7:19? “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing.” “Good thing I am forgiven by Christ so I am forgiven for the things I keep doing!” “I have a desire to do what is good, but I can not carry it out”. (7:18) 😣
This is a prime example of using scripture out of context! A Christian (with a saving faith) cannot describe themselves like 7:18-19, because Paul was using this wording to describe one under the law (that is everyone that is not a Christ follower).
He goes to great lengths to describe how we are no longer under the law. He uses the illustration of a marriage, when a death occurs, the partner is no longer bound to the marriage. In the same way, “by dying to what bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit…” (7:6).
Paul expounds on that point by describing a pre-Christian man in verses 7:7-25, struggling with sin; that man is “wretched” (7:24). However, this is not us now!!!!!! The description of wanting to do good, but can’t, no longer applies to us (or Paul at the time)! “Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord! (7:25).
As Christians, we need to focus on this verse, “You however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Sprite of God lives in you.” (8:9).
Remember, we can do all things (do what is right) through him who gives us strength. (Phil 4:13) and we can say no to sin because “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (8:37)