Father God, Spirit of Truth, Wisdom, and Power, I praise Your name and I gladly embrace Your gracious love.
Read Romans 7:7-25
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
In the light of your own struggles with sin, how do you feel about Paul’s conflict?
Verses 14-25 of today’s reading have been an interpretive battleground for hundreds of years. In particular, who or what does the “I” refer to? I take the view that Paul is writing with great honesty about those times in the Christian life when, acting out of character, we sin against what we know God wants us to do. These verses do not describe the experience of all believers all the time, but they do describe what all believers encounter some of the time. Paul is asking the honest question all of us should face: why is it, as Christians, we still have to contend with the power of sin in our lives? Hasn’t Paul said we have been delivered from sin’s control as our master (Rom. 6:17,18,22)?
Paul is clear that the battle we fight is not because of a fault in the Law. In itself, the Law is “holy, righteous and good” (12), but it cannot free us from spiritual death. Rather, part of its purpose is to make clear what sin actually is and to show its deceitfulness and power, our own helplessness and need for someone to liberate us (7,8,11,13).
Paul’s main point in vs. 14-25 seems to be that believers have an ongoing fight on their hands to put into practice the victory over sin that is ours in Christ (see also Gal. 5:17; Eph. 6:10-17). This language of conflict exists alongside the joy of living for Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a battle for the mind (23). The wretchedness of this conflict causes frustration (24), but rescue is available through the Lord Jesus Christ (25). Yet, this right relationship with God does not mean that sinful tendencies disappear. Sins are to be fought, and God has given us the power to overcome them.
What conflict or tension do you sense in your Christian life? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal why this is, and how he can help you in the battle.
Loving Father, help me to see that in the battle against sin, I do not fight for victory, but from victory. Thanks be to You for the victory You give.