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 7:15-25 (NIV)
In Romans 7 Paul describes the struggle we all face in controlling the sinful nature. Paul differentiates between the ‘mind’ and the ‘sinful nature’. The language Paul uses is one of war and conflict, for there surely is often a conflict between what we want to do and what we actually do.
I’m sure that if you are like me, you will have had days where you are painfully aware of the sinful nature lurking just below the surface. You will probably have been surprised just how easily it rises to the surface and catches you unawares.
Yes, Christ has already won the victory over sin, but there is an inward struggle going on in our lives between us having ‘… delight in God’s law …’ that creates in us a desire to do good, while our sinful nature causes us to do the things we don’t want to do.
Is it all hopeless? Do you feel like Paul when he says:
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
Notice that Paul doesn’t stop there with a note of despair. He goes on to say:
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Remember that if you weren’t having this battle you would not be Christ’s child. Those who are not in Christ don’t have a struggle, because their whole being is given over to sin. It is only those who have committed their lives to Christ, who are conscious of the struggle between the mind and the sinful nature.
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