The Struggle-July 6, 2014
“For apart from the law, sin is dead.” It is the law against sin that defines it for what it is and also with it brings then penalty which is death. Paul said that he was once alive apart from law, but when the commandment came, so did sin and death too. What was intended to bring life actually brought death. Sin seized the opportunity through the commandment to put do death. The law is holy, and the commandment is good is holy, righteous and good.
So Paul continues did this good thing become the death of me? In no way, but it is in order that sin would be recognized for what it really is. It is through this commandment or law, that the sin anywhere and everywhere would be recognized as such and the penalty thereof is death. This is true even when sin is found at work in us.
Paul continues with share about the struggle he is having and this struggle is not only a struggle for Paul, but for all who look at, understand, and accept the law, and then look at ourselves and what the law produces in us. It is good and brings about death in us because of the sin in our lives. To recognize it as such brings us to a place of struggle because we want to do good and right, but it is hard and sin has a hard grip on our lives and will not give up easily.
“I don’t do what I desire to do, but what I hate I do.” Have any of us ever been there? Sometimes we will continue to do the things that we do not wish to do. However, to say that we hate what we do, then it is at least a positive step, because if we hate what we are doing then we recognize it as in opposition to God. It means that we agree that the law is good, even if the sin is found in me. Although we struggle we recognize it as good and true coming into agreement that God is right. It also means that we are (because of the law) able to recognize sin as sin.
It is because sin is living in me that know that nothing good lives in me, my sinful nature that is. I have the desire to do what is good, but cannot still do it. Have you been there? We all have. Even if we have the desire to do good things, we in and of ourselves are powerless to the pull of our sinful nature upon our lives. This does not mean that all hope is lost but we must continue to remain faithful and vigilant. Sin will continue to work upon us day-by-day turning us from our desires to do good things, to our natures that lead to sin and death.
Paul describes the struggle this way, “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” We are sinners by both nature and choice, and so we must remain focused on what can rescue us from our sin. Sin is a daily struggle and we must remain vigilant.
If there is one thing this passage clearly communicates is there is a struggle between, flesh and spirit, between sin and God’s law. I know that many would think, “Since I am a Christian why have I not been delivered from sin?” “Why is Paul mentioning this?”
We have been delivered from the penalty of sin but the reality of sin is as close as our own DNA. It (sin) does not take a day off but is in pursuit of us trying to get us to forsake the one who gave all putting our trust in lesser things, lesser people, and even ourselves. I am sure we have all been let down at times by things, people, and we have even let ourselves down too. We must take up our cross daily, daily crucify our desires, daily follow Christ, and daily demonstrate our love for Him.
“Are you and I in the daily struggle with sin for our hearts, or are we only weekend warriors?” Which one of these will have a greater result within the battle?” When Jesus asks His disciples to come and follow Him, He was not asking them to take a class or learn facts, but was asking them to forsake all and follow Him. Jesus didn’t just want their hearts or their empty promises, He wanted their lives and He wants our too.
In any war we must keep in mind the struggle. During the time for our nations struggle for independence there were some who believed that the United States should be independent and free from the rule of the British Crown. This view was not shared by everyone who lived in the colonies. There were also many Loyalists who were faithful to the crown and wanted to remain British citizens. There was a clash of ideology long before the soldiers and militia ever picked up arms and the real battles came.
Although these struggles are well documented just like in any struggle there are also some who would just prefer to sit things out. Perhaps they didn’t want to choose sides so they could wait and see who wins, or they were afraid of the cost and sacrifice it might take to win, or worse what if they chose the losing side possibly facing treason and death. Sitting on the fence is also a dangerous place to be.
My friends there is no sitting on the fence when it comes to sin. Failure to engage will cause you to lose everything you thought you were not risking by sitting still. Sin does not take a day off and so we must remain aware of it and its control of our lives. Sin will win some battles from time to time but we should be aware that just because we have pledged ourselves to Christ that other things won’t still try to woo our hearts.
Paul says, “My inner being delights in God’s law, but another law is at work in my flesh, waging war against the law of my mind making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my body.” This struggle is mental, physical, and spiritual. It is a bad place to be caught between my desire to do good, and recognizing goodness as good, but being powerless in and of ourselves to do anything about it.
If I can’t do anything about my condition, then what hope do I have? Paul asks it this way, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” If I can’t do it, is there someone who can rescue us, and if so who? The answer is we can thank God because we have been saved through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Jesus Christ can and does save, but there still is the struggle day by day to trust Him with our very lives, to crucify our desires, and give our whole selves over to Him it is not a one time commitment, or a short-term commitment for “weekend warriors”, but is a daily struggle to live for Him who died for us.