Most Christians understand that God is holy. He is sinless perfection.
But most Christians also believe that we are not… holy, or sinless – or anything resembling God, in His holiness.
It is this gap between who God is (in His Godliness)… and who we are (in our humanness) that becomes the source of our struggles with sin and sinning. We look at us (and all our struggles), compare ourselves to a holy and perfect God, and conclude that there is just no hope to ever be holy, or sinless, or perfect.
Then we run to Romans 7:14-25 to confirm our conclusion. “See… the apostle Paul also struggled with sin and sinning – even he couldn’t help himself – what hope is there for us?”
But here’s the problem. The apostle Paul spends all of Romans 6 talking about how we have overcome sin (nine times he mentions being set free from sin’s ability to enslave us); and most of Romans 8 talking about how this happened – and how we can live in this wonderful truth. Why would he stop in the middle of teaching victory over sin/sinning, and contradict his own message? I mean, which is it, Paul? Are we victorious over sin (Romans 6, 8) – or are we destined to struggle with sin all of our lives (Romans 7)??
The answer is… both. The truth is: we ARE victorious over sin and sinning – that IS the provision of God for His people. BUT, if we don’t live (every moment of every day) in God’s provision, we will certainly struggle with sin.
Which of these is true for us depends on what we believe. The reality of our Christian faith is that if we do not walk in what God has provided for us – then, we cannot know (or experience) the fullness what He has enabled us to do… and be.
And if we hold to Romans 7 as the way things ARE, then we will always struggle with sin/sinning. But if we will hold to Romans 6 and 8, we will be able to consistently answer the apostle’s question: “Are we to continue in sin…?” with a resounding , “NO!” (as the apostle goes on to teach us).
Romans 7 is simply the apostle telling us what our lives will be like if we continue to live by our own thoughts and desires (in connection with our old sinful nature [the old you!]). If we don’t live as free from sin… we will never be free from sinning.
But, if we will understand that the work of Jesus was all about providing a way for the old (sinful) you to die (permanently) – then we will live in the victory that Jesus provided for us (and gives freely to us).
Once again… Jesus did not come just to provide for the forgiveness of our sins – He came to provide that we can leave our sinful ways behind us. Every day. Forever.
Truly, the work of Jesus is a complete and amazing work.
So how can we walk in this truth, consistently?
That is the topic of tomorrow’s thoughts…
Prayer focus: God, fix my heart and mind on living in Your full provision for me.