I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 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. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:15-25)
Yesterday (July 6) I preached on the above text. Actually…I am spending the summer in Romans with the congregation. I haven’t done a preaching series for a while, but after preaching in Romans the last couple weeks, I decided to look ahead and mapped out a plan that takes us through August. I taught an adult class on Romans a few years ago, but never spent this much time preaching in Romans. This is going to be fun.
In the above text I italicized a couple phrases that really hit home for me. The first one is Paul’s frustration that when he wants to do good, evil is always right there with us. Paul goes on to lament about what a wretched man he is…who will rescue us? “Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Paul’s frustration is also my frustration. But what really bothers me is when we take this “law” (as Paul states) and take it to heart a little too much. I mean…how many times have you said (or heard it said) “The devil made me do it“? We resign ourselves to the fact that we are wretched and sinful people and give up. We simply throw up our hands and go on sinning saying (or thinking) “I can’t help help it…I’m a sinner“. Does this “law” at work in us give us an excuse to keep on sinning? As Paul would say, “By no means! We have died to sin, why do you live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:2)
We have a powerful law working against us, but it doesn’t mean we just give in and give up. We have an awesome God that through Jesus Christ gives us eternal life. That right there should be motivation enough to fight this law at work in ourselves for the glory of God. God fought the hard fight for us so we may have life. I mean…the cross was not easy.
Our fight against sin is one we can not win on our own. We will lose many battles. We will grow frustrated. But “thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Thanks be to God that the war has been won. Thanks be to God that God does not abandon us. Thanks be to God that we are loved beyond measure. Thanks be to God!
Next week the Romans text is chapter 8 verses 1 – 11. This talks about living according to the Spirit verses living according to the flesh. This should prove to be a good follow up and hopefully a source of strength and encouragement for the fight against sin.
It is going to be an ugly day here in SW MN. The humidity is at 100% with a 73 degree dew point. That makes for a tropical day. With the early morning rain and the threat of severe weather looming, no work is being done on our ramp project today. Currently the forms are set for the deck to be poured; we just need some nice weather for that part to proceed. So because of that I don’t have any updated pictures. When they start pouring the cement I will post some more pictures. If you want to see some more pictures of the project, visit our church’s website at www.salemjackson.org and click on the “ramp construction” link. It has been fasination watching this project but people are starting to get a little anixous to get back into the sanctuary (and I am too). Another month or so and we will be back in.
So with that…God bless you and have a marvelous day 🙂