Are we feeling ‘OVERWHELMED’ by SIN every day? "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!" (Romans 7:22-25)
In Romans chapter 7, Apostle Paul gives us a picture of the internal strife caused by the law of sin against the law of the Spirit. Paul is speaking of himself in a regenerate state as one progressing in sanctification, while in the process becoming more and more aware of the depth and gravity of indwelling sin. He does not suggest that we should live a divided life because that is impossible. However, we must choose our Master (6:15–23) and be true to our Lord Jesus Christ (7:1–6).
Paul communicates a paradox common to believers who are growing in grace. Like all believers, Paul has been delivered from the guilt and penalty of sin. Yet he must await the return of Jesus for rescue from the presence of sin. Consequently, he finds a continuing struggle against the onslaught of sin, even as he grows to be like Christ. The human body is not sinful unlike the human nature. “The mind” refers to the new nature from God and “the body of death” the old nature from Adam. George Cutting in his booklet "The Old Nature and the New Birth" explains in this way:
"The law, though he delights in it after the inward man, gives him no power. In other words, he is trying to accomplish what God has declared to be an utter impossibility—namely, making the flesh subject to God’s holy law. He finds that the flesh minds the things of the flesh, and is very enmity itself to the law of God, and even to God Himself."
On the one hand we struggle with the anguish of sin, and yet on the other we have the present hope of God’s deliverance in Christ Jesus. The more we seek to live in grace and under the cross, the more sensitive we become to the reality that even one’s best actions are in some sense tainted by sin. We cannot serve God with an old nature that is sinful (7:18), but the Holy Spirit enables us to do His will as we yield to Him. It should be our desire to love and obey the law of God. As long as we are alive there will be a constant warfare between the old sinful nature and our delight in the law of God. Unfortunately, when we attempt to win this battle without outside help, we will be always defeated. Only Jesus Christ can enable us to live a sanctified life!
Are we feeling overwhelmed by sin every day? The only answer to Paul’s wretched condition—and to our own—is Jesus Christ (7:25). Only Jesus makes it possible to fulfill the righteous requirements of a holy God (8:3–4). Thus Paul’s honesty led to hope and the same is true for us. In confession alone we can find God’s forgiveness. In admitting our weakness we can find His strength. If we deny our true condition, we deceive ourselves, and doom ourselves to lives enslaved to sin (1 John 1:8–10).
To live a sanctified life we must know well what Christ has accomplished for us in our justification, daily reckon that we have died with Him and are alive unto righteousness, and yield ourselves completely to Him. We will never escape this battle with temptation in this life. The solution to this dilemma is not escape from temptation, but victory over it through Jesus Christ!
"The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Cor 15:56-58)