“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
This is the human condition. Is there actually anyone who has not walked in the dilemma that Paul describes here? And so many become stuck in an endless cycle of failure and discouragement.
Hopelessly lost in their old ways. But justified by believing in Jesus – they stand in His grace, forgiveness, and atonement at Calvary.
And greatly encouraged, they commit to follow Jesus … but in a way similar to most new year’s resolutions.
Then to the best of their ability they press on towards positive change. Unfortunately, in one’s own strength this leads to futility — failure and sin, confession, forgiveness, sin, forgiveness, failure, more sin, frustration, confession, forgiveness … and on and on it goes.
And relying on one’s old knowledge, habits, ways, and abilities in an attempt to live righteously is futile. Failure is inevitable, since the ways of the world only lead to failure and death. Why? Because the old man of the world is still in bondage to pride and lust and incapable of doing anything acceptable to God spiritually apart from Christ.
So how might a disciple of Jesus ever gain victory in the struggle with self? God has provided the solution, but there is only one way. Human effort is futile. — “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Romans 7:24-25
You see the problem is revealed in one small word. It’s all about the “I” in “I do not understand.” And the “I” can no longer be the god of your life.
“I” am powerless against the evil one in my old worldly ways. Apart from Christ, the results will all burn up. But God promises certain victory for those who love Christ, and are called according to His purpose — “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
“I” is a certain loser. And much like the flower that withers and dies – all that is in the world withers and dies – and death is a certainty. “I” is not the solution; but rather the problem — continually stepping up to do, what “I” can never do.
Only Jesus gained victory over sin and the world forces of evil and death. “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” And praise be to Jesus because His death on the cross at Calvary was not only forgiveness for our sins. But His death was also victory over sin. And standing with Him, we are emancipated and free from the power of sin. Our old slave master has been defeated.
And we are now bondservants to the King of life. We have been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. We were once lost to eternal death; but we have now forever been won over to eternal life. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:1-2
And our enemy, our old human nature and the power it had over our old man was nailed to the cross as well. We must reckon, (believe it to be true) that our old self died long ago on the cross with Jesus. Call him out; “you have no power over me, in the name of Christ begone.” And always remember; “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Sound difficult? Well, yes, and it’s impossible the old way. But Jesus provided a way of escape. “Then Jesus told his disciples, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
The paradox here is that life in Christ springs from death to self. But our mind is programmed to love and protect self, and our old self will never cast itself out. But not to worry, just believe and trust.
And righteousness comes by His grace. That which we cannot do, the helper will do for us, when we ask. And Jesus said; “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth,” John 14:16
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” Galatians 2:20
Once and for all. Believe the old “I” can never, never, ever, ever do it. Only believe God’s truth and stand upon it. Jesus didn’t save us and forgive us, and then leave us all by ourselves to follow our old ways to victory.
The victory over sin and death has already been won. And the old “I” only leads away from that victory, and to certain defeat. But the new you standing with Christ is assured certain victory. Be of good courage … the Helper, the Holy Spirit will guide you every step of the way.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
Grace and Peace to you my friends,
Bob West – Geezerdust©2020