Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Romans, Chapter 7

Everyone struggles with sin, and we see that struggle illustrated by Paul here in the seventh chapter of Romans. To me sin is almost irrational. With Paul's explanation in this chapter it comes off as if it merely human nature, and that we cannot cleanse ourselves of this disgusting part of humanity. Even the most devout and righteous cannot totally escape from sin, and that is where the power of grace comes in. We learned yesterday that sin is a form of slavery, but once we accept Christ we enter in to slavery of a different kind. How then does sin still hold power over us if we become slaves to a different master?

"14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
19For 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. 20Now 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." – Romans 7:14-20

We cannot divorce ourselves from humanity and that is what makes us subject to sinful desire. Personally, I hate this part of me. It feels dirty and wrong, but I do know that I am forgiven for it. I am forgiven by the grace the Christ illustrated through His death on the cross. What we see here in these verses is even though we are slaves to a new master in righteousness it does not totally eliminate sin. This does not make the law or the need for grace sinful either.

This also gets into the realm of spiritual warfare, which we did discuss during our walk through Ephesians. In Ephesians 6 we are asked to put on the full armor of God in order to take our stand against the devil. Whether you choose to believe it or not spiritual warfare is real and the devil delights in tripping up believers in Christ. Is it right for a believer in Christ to feel like he is not good enough for something, or that he is wrong for making a certain decision based on a leading from Christ? Of course it isn't right, but I will tell you that these are issues I struggle with every day. Spiritual warfare comes in the form of that little voice whispering doubt in your ear, or that voice that tells you you don't deserve this or that. When this voice is heard enough it can lead to sin even in the heart of a believer trying to do the right thing.

"22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but 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. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" – Romans 7:22-25

We are soldiers in this war, and like most any war there are battles that are won and lost no matter what side you are on. If we have Christ in our hearts though it is like having the ultimate trump card in the battle. The ultimate victory has already been won in Him, and everything else is just a series of minor skirmishes. Yes we are to continue to try and live good lives as illustrated here, but the power of grace allows for times when we inevitable stumble. That is what makes God such an awesome and powerful God, because he allows for the mistakes that can and will happen.


  1. Is doing what we do not want to do a matter of control?
  2. Does this mean that God's grace is infinite and we have carte blanche to do what we want?
  3. How does Christ change our hearts in this struggle with sin?

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