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Devotion for February 11, 2006


Romper Room was a popular syndicated children’s television show from the mid 1950s to the 1980s. One of the show’s features was the “Do Bee Song,” a bouncy little ditty with the chorus: “I always do everything right. I never do anything wrong. I’m a Romper Room Do Bee—A Do Bee all day long!”

In reality, our natures are more inclined to be “Don’t Bees.” We may aspire to be “Do Bees” with our minds, but in practice we find that there is another principle at work that hinders our good intentions.

Thus far in the book of Romans Paul has been contrasting the principle of grace with the principle of the law. Concerned that some of his readers may have concluded that he was impugning God’s Law, Paul explains that the weakness lies with us. We are the trouble when it comes to God’s Law. In this section Paul describes two laws that are in opposition to one another. One is the Law of God. God’s Law is “holy, righteous and good” (v. 12). The other is the “law of sin” at work in our inner being (v. 25). The presence of the Law of sin creates a toxic environment for God’s law, and it actually stirs our desire for the very thing that the commandment forbids. This is why no one can be declared righteous by observing the law; (Rom. 3:20). God’s Law is perfect, but we are not.

Unfortunately, inability is no excuse when it comes to the law. The fact that we cannot comply does not free us from the law’s obligation or of its penalty. The only way to be released from its authority is through death. To illustrate this point, Paul uses the example of a married woman whose husband has died. As long as her husband lives, Paul explains, she is bound to him by the authority of the law. If he dies, she is freed from the law’s demand with respect to that particular marriage and may become the wife of another.

Apply the Word

One of Paul’s primary points in these verses is to show that our union with Christ in His death has changed our relationship to the law of God. Since Christ suffered as our representative, His death on the cross has released us from bondage to the law. Although this section is not intended as a treatise on the sanctity of marriage, it does have important implications for our view of marriage and divorce. God’s intention is that marriage be a commitment for life.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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