Job 3 & Romans 7

Job 3

    After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job said:

    “Let the day perish on which I was born,
        and the night that said,
        ‘A man is conceived.’
    Let that day be darkness!
        May God above not seek it,
        nor light shine upon it.
    Let gloom and deep darkness claim it.
        Let clouds dwell upon it;
        let the blackness of the day terrify it.
    That night—let thick darkness seize it!
        Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;
        let it not come into the number of the months.
    Behold, let that night be barren;
        let no joyful cry enter it.
    Let those curse it who curse the day,
        who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.
    Let the stars of its dawn be dark;
        let it hope for light, but have none,
        nor see the eyelids of the morning,
    because it did not shut the doors of my mother's womb,
        nor hide trouble from my eyes.
    
    
    “Why did I not die at birth,
        come out from the womb and expire?
    Why did the knees receive me?
        Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?
    For then I would have lain down and been quiet;
        I would have slept; then I would have been at rest,
    with kings and counselors of the earth
        who rebuilt ruins for themselves,
    or with princes who had gold,
        who filled their houses with silver.
    Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child,
        as infants who never see the light?
    There the wicked cease from troubling,
        and there the weary are at rest.
    There the prisoners are at ease together;
        they hear not the voice of the taskmaster.
    The small and the great are there,
        and the slave is free from his master.
    
    
    “Why is light given to him who is in misery,
        and life to the bitter in soul,
    who long for death, but it comes not,
        and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
    who rejoice exceedingly
        and are glad when they find the grave?
    Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
        whom God has hedged in?
    For my sighing comes instead of my bread,
        and my groanings are poured out like water.
    For the thing that I fear comes upon me,
        and what I dread befalls me.
    I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;
        I have no rest, but trouble comes.”
    

(Job 3 ESV)

Romans 7

    Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

    Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

    What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

    Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

    So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 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.

(Romans 7 ESV)

Something to Consider

Romans 7: If someone was to ask you, “What is the purpose of the Christian life?” How would you answer? The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with essentially the same question and answers it this way, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” So, the purpose of the Christian life is to glorify God or as Paul puts it here in v. 4 of this passage, to ‘bear fruit for God’.   
 
In responding to potential questions concerning God’s Law, Paul provides an illustration from marriage to make His point. He starts by explaining how the death of a spouse releases someone from the marriage commitment. A death means the marriage is no longer binding. Likewise, we ‘in Christ’ have died to the law which releases us from any commitment to keep it and frees us to enjoy a new relationship ‘married’ to Christ. 

Why is this necessary? 

In order that we may bear fruit for God. We will never bear fruit for God by devoting ourselves to the law. We will only bear fruit for God by devoting ourselves to Christ.

Paul explains how God’s law was never intended to be the way of man’s justification or his sanctification. The law has never been a way to be saved but rather has always revealed that we need saving. The obligation to keep God’s law arouses the sin within us bringing it to life and placing us under our bondage to it. But ‘in Christ’ we have been set free from our captivity to sin and are free to serve God in a new way through the Spirit.

Therefore, there is no salvation in the law of God because the law of God lacks the power to save. It was never intended to save. Salvation has always been through faith alone in Christ alone. And it is this kind of faith that actually upholds the law because our faith in Christ is what ascribes the law with its intended purpose. 

We will never bear fruit for God by devoting ourselves to the law. We will only bear fruit for God by devoting ourselves to Christ. The Christian life is a devoted life of being a faithful bride to the risen Christ in the power of the Spirit.