Romans 7:13-25 (NKJV)
Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 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.
Welcome back to Delving into the Scriptures! We certainly have a large section of scripture here today – but it is, if you like, the ‘final introduction’ to Romans 8 – the final discussion on sin, and we head into one of the most encouraging chapters in the Bible!
I don’t think I need to write a whole lot on these scriptures! The first thing though is that you have to come back for the next few installments – Romans 8 answers all of the questions we have been raising since we started Romans 6. I believe everyone can gain a great deal from the next chapter we will study – so don’t stop here and be discouraged that our flesh is apparently stuck in sin!
Obviously, Paul is talking here about the power of sin over our mortal body, or our ‘flesh’. We have all sinned – and we will all continue to sin. But here is a question – who is Paul?
Paul was an Apostle of Jesus. One of the ‘main guys’. His main area of focus was also the ‘Gentiles’ – if you are not of Jewish decent, then you are a Gentile like me. So Paul’s main ministry was talking to the people ‘outside’ of the first church.
Secondly, Paul himself was originally a strict Pharisee – he was known as someone with a great knowledge of the scriptures, and able to argue many points from them (see Acts 22:3). He was known also to be a great orator, and studied under some of the other well known names in Jewish History. In other words, even before he followed Christ, he was someone who was after God and His work.
And even then we come to his conversion – Paul met Jesus Himself on the road to Damascus. Not a smaller revelation, but God came down and ‘said hi’. He revealed Himself to Paul directly, after his ascension - Paul not only knew Jesus, he had met Him! That certainly would be a life changer for Jesus to appear directly to me, speak to me, and then leave me blind for a time!
Lastly, we know from the book of acts, the letters of Paul in the Bible and other history that he spent the rest of his life doing the work of Jesus – spreading the gospel as far and as wide as he could, and certainly with any opportunity.
So – what does this have to do with the passage above? The same guy who was a righteous as he could be as a Pharisee, met Jesus personally and did without doubt a great work for God, still struggled with the sin in his flesh. Despite the fact that he wanted to do God’s work all the time, he still had issues in his life.
This isn’t an excuse – see that his intention is to always serve God – it is a simple fact. And we can take encouragement from that! If this guy, an apostle himself, had issues with sin, then we are going to as well. If Paul was still successful in doing God’s will (and it certainly appears so) despite his sin, then we can be too. And as long as we continue to seek forgiveness, and continue to try and do everything God’s way with His strength, we are on the right track – we are doing the right thing. Sin will come against us, and we should always fight it, but on the occasion it does win we can pick up, seek God for forgiveness, and get on with our lives.
Just remember – this isn’t an excuse for sin! It is a simple fact that we will sometimes sin, but we need to do our best to seek God and His ways. Be encouraged!
Lord God, help us to always seek you. Help us to always see the way around or out of temptation that we might not sin against you. But also help us to get back right with you when we do sin, help us to leave sin behind and come back closer to you. In Jesus Name. Amen.