Daily Reading: 6-30-16
Romans 7:14-25 The Living Bible (TLB)
When I was a child, I played outside a lot. It was a great time as there were many children around my age in the neighborhood. One of the games we used to play was tug-o-war. I was never picked for the team until the very end, because I brought very little mass and strength for victory.
For the Christian, every day can be an inner battle or tug-o-war between choosing to do that which is good before God and choosing to do that which is evil. Even though we are born again to new life and have the indwelling Spirit, evil still lurks within our old nature. Just becoming a Christian does not eliminate sin and temptation from our lives.
The Apostle Paul teaches us this morning that when we get into the Word, it begins to show us the Truth of our lower natures that have yet to be transformed into the image of Christ. Knowledge of residing sin cannot save us; knowledge just reveals to us we have a problem. Trying to change ourselves cannot save us, we will always fail the tug-o-war and fall into frustration. We need the work of the Spirit; we must take hold of the tremendous power provided by Grace to deliver us from evil. Christ has made the power available to us, but we must choose to let the Spirit lead us into freedom. Becoming like Christ takes a lifetime of appropriating Grace.
14 The law is good, then, and the trouble is not there but with me because I am sold into slavery with Sin as my owner.
15 I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to-what I hate. 16 I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience proves that I agree with these laws I am breaking. 17 But I can’t help myself because I’m no longer doing it. It is sin inside me that is stronger than I am that makes me do these evil things.
18 I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t. 19 When I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. 20 Now if I am doing what I don’t want to, it is plain where the trouble is: sin still has me in its evil grasp.
21 It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; 23-25 but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin.
So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done[a] by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.
Prayer: Father, because of Your Word and the work of Messiah I have the knowledge of good and evil. Your law of love is written on my heart, but my lower nature is still tempted to take control. Thank You for the work of Christ to set me free and thank You for the work of the Spirit who understands my weak ability to pull toward eternal life. Holy Spirit, please grab ahold of my life rope and pull me to victory despite anything that tries to pull me in the wrong direction. I need Your power to win. In Jesus’ name. Amen.