There is one struggle that all of us as Christians have. It is the struggle between knowing what is right and doing what is right. In other words it is the conflict between good and evil. Believers have the ability to sin because of the legacy from Adam that we can’t do anything right.
The conflict Paul is talking about in Romans 7:15-25 is a form of spiritual warfare. It is like the game of tug-of-war. As we learn to say no to sin and yes to God, we are given a renewed spirit, vigor and understanding. Paul talks about this struggle by talking about his own personal struggle with good versus evil. In his eyes, he failed to do any good and he could not completely comply with God’s law. God’s Old Testament law demanded perfection. The law does not save us from sin, but it does show us the character of the giver of the law-God. The problem with the law is that is reveals human weakness when compared to the law’s perfect standard. The Pharisees tried to compensate for this by coming up with a list of 612 do’s and don’ts, but they only reinforced the point that we can’t completely obey the law. God’s law pulls us heavenward, whereas the law of sin pulls us toward hell. Jesus gives us eternal life through him, and escape from the flesh is also through him. Jesus dealt with sin through his death and resurrection.
Paul’s situation is similar to that of a drug addict who quits “cold turkey.” Many times the addict relapses and starts using drugs again because the problems that encouraged the addict to start using drugs are still present. The key to lifelong recovery lies in treating the mind. Paul was “addicted” to his past, sinful life, and we as Christians can become “addicted” to our past sinful lives without a strong faith in Christ. Only Christ can rescue us from our “cravings.”
Like Paul, we have a constant struggle when it comes to doing the right thing. We know what is right, but when it comes to doing what is right, we often fail, and the harder we try, the more likely we are to fail. The alternative is to give in to sin, but the result is eternal damnation. There is a third alternative-one that was provided by Jesus’ death and resurrection. What is impossible for us to solve on our own has been solved by God’s grace. Jesus has freed us from the damages caused by this inner war. If we genuinely seek to do God’s work in our world, we become better people of faith.
Jesus explains this in Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30. He explains that we do not need to follow man-made rules such as the 612 rules the Pharisees made to make certain that the people did not break any of God’s laws. Jesus even replaced the Ten Commandments with the two Great Commandments-love God and love people. God’s grace gives us the freedom to enjoy the rights and privileges of being out from the bondage of sin and man-made laws. Everyone is different, and God loves variety because he loves each and every one us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us on the cross. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we are restored to God.
Our daily decisions, no matter how small, usually shape a lifetime, and wisdom is found in making the most of each and every opportunity. All of our decisions matter to God because they impact our lives and the lives of others.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013)
- Swindoll, Charles R.: Swindoll’s New Testament Insights on Romans (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; 2010)
- Pastor Steve Molin, “Conundrum: (n.) A Puzzling Question or a Problem.” Retrieved from www.lectionary.org
- Charles R. Swindoll, “Defining Liberty, Part Two.” Retrieved from www.insightforliving.ca
- Pastor Ed Young, “Decision Effect.” Retrieved from www.edyoung.com
- Exegesis for Romans 7:15-25. Retrieved from www.lectionary.org
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, NASV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 2005)