Romans 7:14-19 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
I love the honesty in Scripture. I’m glad the Bible doesn’t just portray “picture perfect” Christians with no flaws, blemishes, or struggles. In my opinion, the apostle Paul was one of the greatest Christians in the New Testament. But if I read this chapter correctly, Paul is using most of it to give the inner struggle – almost turmoil – between his desire to do right after the spirit, and his war against sin after the flesh. I can know this: if Paul had this kind of struggle, I will (do) too. Here are some thoughts we observe from this chapter:
- Everyone in this flesh will struggle with sin (vs 19). Even the great apostle Paul struggled with the sinful nature of his flesh. We will never come to a point on this side of eternity where the struggle won’t be real. Might we remain sober and vigilant against sin. Let us not think that we’ve arrived. No one is above stumbling or falling (1 Cor 9:27, 1 Cor 10:12).
- Even in the midst of doing good, sin can be present with us (vs 21). Even in the midst of serving, ministering, and sacrificing, sin and temptation may be present. I had a conversation with someone recently who said “even on the mission field, sacrificing and serving, there’s temptation”.
- Delighting in God’s law will help us in this struggle (vs22, ps 119:9). The fact that the struggle was real didn’t stop Paul from delighting in God’s law.
- Be willing to fight/struggle (vs 23) – I’ve often times heard young men say in my office “I’m just struggling with this”. I’ve said before and wanted to say at other times – no you’re not. A struggle involves two sides. You’re surrendering. Paul was willing to fight. And a fight/struggle it will be. Let’s be willing to “fight the good fight”.
- Realize my wretchedness (vs 18, 24) – Paul realized that in his flesh there was “no good thing”. Jeremiah realized the same when he said his heart was desperately wicked. If I realize my wretched leanings being in this flesh, I will be more vigilant.
- Seek deliverance from Christ (vs 25, Heb 4:15-16) – Paul understood that his victory over the flesh and sin would be in and through Jesus Christ. He is the One that gives us the grace and strength to defeat the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Romans 7:24-25 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!