Romans 7:14-25 NIV
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 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. For I know that good itself does not dwell 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 I do not do the good I want to do, but 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: Although 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 me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Romans 8:1-4 NIV Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
It sounds to me like Paul is sharing something that is so common to all of us. For many years I struggled with this, living in the law of sin that results in death rather than the law of the Spirit that gives life. At one point I began to wonder if I was even saved and then at another point wondered if maybe this is just the way it is. Maybe I need to just accept that there really isn't anything I can do but do what I do and just let God take care of everything. If that were so then why was it I always felt so rotten after doing the evil I really didn't want to do?
I'd like to share something I discovered a few years ago that has ended some serious struggles I've had. Not sure why it took so long to figure this out but I really struggled doing sinful things I didn't want to do and not doing good that I wanted to do and it was a continual on going thing. Whenever I would be convicted of my sin I would feel terrible shame and would decide I was going to change but change would never happen. I just kept on repeating the same old sins and wondering why I couldn't end The struggle. I finally decided to try something different. The next time I realized I was being tempted to sin I was going to pray in Jesus name and with the authority and power I was told He gave me. The very first time I tried this I soon felt the temptation begin to leave me and a warm peace came over me and that desire to sin was completely gone. A few days later I once again felt the desire to commit that same sin and I repeated what I had done before, praying in The power of Jesus name and once again that desire was gone. It's been years now and I have continued to try and be ready to do this when ever any temptation of any kind comes over me and the same great results always happen. So what had been happening and I think what Paul is trying to tell us is that I was trying to live by the law in my own strength and when ever I did anything sinful the law would only show me what I did but had no power in helping me to stop committing that sin. Now I live by the law of The Spirit and go to that Spirit that is within me as soon as I sense any temptation.
So the question is do I still sin? Yes I do. I still have that sin nature in me and when I get too busy with life and lose my focus on Jesus, I end up doing the things that are so common for my sin nature to do. Only now I've realized how to deal with sin and gradually, because of my real desire not to sin and relying on His power, sin is happening less and less and those sins that were such a continuous occurrence and such a struggle are gone. It all comes down to my choice, do I choose the law which has no power, trying to deal with the problem of sin after I've committed it and trying not to sin out of my own determination which never works, or do I choose the law of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the power He gives when I go to Him at the first hint of any temptation. The more I choose the second choice, the more I remember how much I hate what sin felt like, and enjoy that freedom of no longer being a slave to sin. Doing it all in the power that comes from the Spirit of life.
by Ken Edgerly
Photo: Mosaic of Jesus being lowered into Caiaphas' dungeon on the side of Caiaphas' house in Jerusalem