Paul, recorded in Romans 7 the struggle with sin and its effect on his life. As I studied this last week in preparation for my sermon Sunday, it emphasized to me that we all have struggles with certain sins in our lives, and we will have those struggles until we die. The battle against sin is a constant battle, and one in which we can never give up the fight.
Some commentators suggest that this passage was written by Paul, as he reminisced his life before he became a Christian. In other words, this was before he had the help of the Lord in fighting temptation. Others suggest that the passage is written in the present tense (and it does seem that it was) which means that even after becoming a Christian he still struggled with sin. For those of us who are striving to be like Christ, we can associate with what Paul said.
Paul writes to Jewish brethren, emphasizing that the old law (the old covenant) was done away with. He compares it to a woman who has lost her husband and is no longer bound to her husband’s authority. In like manner, the Jews were no longer bound to the Old Covenant, as Jesus “nailed it to the cross” (Ephesians 2; Colossians 2; Hebrews).
Paul points out that the law shows what sin is and clearly forbids certain things. Mankind has to know what offends a HOLY GOD. But as parents with children know, when you forbid something to a child, they will be more tempted to do what they know to be wrong. Perhaps it is the idea of getting away with something forbidden. Perhaps it is part of the power struggle in the home. Man has CONSTANTLY, and CONSISTENTLY been in a struggle with sin and against God since the Garden of Eden. When man gets so steeped in sin, God punishes the evildoers – his justice and truth demands such.
For the Christian who is trying to be transformed in the image of Jesus (Romans 12:1-2) the struggle against sin is real. I know what I need to be doing. I know I need to react with love to those who hurt and annoy me. I know that I need to love my enemies. I know that I need to set the example in my life of what a Christian should look like. I know what I need to do . . .
But because I live in a sinful world – a world steeped in sin; a world that glorifies every kind of debased and sinful behavior known to man, sometimes it is easier to act like the world and “go along to get along.”
AS A CHRISTIAN, however, I am called to a better life than that! I am . . .
CALLED TO WALK WITH A HOLY GOD. We sometimes ask God to walk with us – but God will not walk with us when we sin. His holiness forbids such. No, I must walk with him as he shows me how to live and be separate and different from this world. I must be transformed – not God.
CALLED TO LIVE MY LIFE WHERE OTHERS SEE JESUS IN ME. To be conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29) means that I cannot live like the world. I must live as Jesus lived, do what Jesus did, and love like Jesus loved.
CALLED TO SHARE THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS WITH OTHERS. If I live like the world, and then tell someone in the world that that they are engaged in sin and will be lost, they will dismiss the message that I bring. But if they can tell I live like Jesus (not perfectly, but I am trying); then they will listen as long as I am joyous and at peace in my life. This is what the world needs! This is what we need to be.
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Paul struggled in his life, and said, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION TO THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 7:24-8:1).
Thank God for his forgiveness – for his help and aid as we struggle in this world of sin. Beloved, walk with the Lord daily. Spend time in his word! PRAY. And trust his grace and love to forgive you.
May we be the Christians we need to be. Tommy