Paul is talking about sin in these chapters and, somehow, the more he talks the more questions I had. On one hand, he teaches that we who are united with Christ are no longer slaves to sin, we are freed from sin, and sin cannot master us. Instead we become slaves to righteousness.
On the other hand, he confesses that he is “not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (7:15) He tells us sin actually dwells in him “for the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” (7:19)
Then he goes so far as to say this war within him between good and evil is making him a “prisoner of the law of sin.” So which is it, Paul? A slave to sin or a slave to righteousness?
Thank you for making that clear, Paul. I mean that sincerely.
Sometimes we Christians believe that as those redeemed by the blood, we cannot sin. Then we do. So we beat ourselves up, or give up.
Sometimes we Christians find it hard to share our struggles and failures, our sins, with others because somehow we think other Christians are doing it right. I certainly don’t want them to think I’m the only one who isn’t.
I’m so glad Paul was honest. God’s gift of grace does not come with a bubble we live in where Satan’s arrows can’t penetrate. We are at war. And Satan is a powerful enemy. He knows exactly which temptations to throw my way, when to throw them, and how often. He’s never one and done.
And sometimes I am as weak as Paul was. I end up doing the thing I hate. And, if left unconfessed, I can become a slave to that sin.
But I can also have victory! God promises that. And I’ve experienced it over and over. There is forgiveness when we ask. There is strength when we walk close to our Lord. There is power over sin through the precious blood of Jesus.
Let’s be honest. Christians sin. The difference between us and the unredeemed is what we do with that sin. My prayer is that we all, including me, will be quick to confess, repent, and flee from the temptation. We don’t have to let that sin continue to the point where it controls us.
And may I suggest that we learn to be as honest as Paul was concerning his struggles. Someone might identify with your testimony, and be encouraged to claim their own victory over a sin in their life. May we be sensitive to God’s prompting to share with just the right people at just the right time.
I’m thinking if we are honest, we can help each other. I know Paul helped me today with his honesty.