Reaching inward.. the struggle with sin.
by, Feb 25th 2010 at 04:38 PM (2170 Views)
Reaching inward.. the struggle with sin.
Romans 7 (New Living Translation)
15 I donít really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I donít do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I canít. 19 I want to do what is good, but I donít. I donít want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I donít want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
I think at some point in all our lives we can relate to what Paul has written here. We want to do what is right, but do what we hate instead. Its a battle raging inside of us. If we were to stop reading here we would be left feeling pretty hopeless but Paul continues on this same topic in the next chapter.
We must always remember the most important thing of all, Jesus freed us from being slaves to sin. We can overcome through Him. He didn't just die to pay for our sins..He gives us the power, through Him, to set us free from our habitual lifestyle sins. Paul shows the struggle we were all going through before our salvation..now he goes on in Romans 8 to show us how we are free from this struggle.
Life in the Spirit
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sinís control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey Godís laws, and it never will. 8 Thatís why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received Godís Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ďAbba, Father.Ē 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are Godís children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of Godís glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
(read the rest of Romans 8)
This does not mean we won't continue to struggle with our flesh or sinful desires but we are no longer bound to it..no longer helpless in fighting against it. This is when we need to turn to God..having His Spirit that convicts of us some sin in our lives, to have Him help us overcome these. We no longer are alone in our struggles in this life. Isn't it wonderful and comforting to call Him, Father. He loves us inspite of our imperfections.
It can be very painful to 'reaching inward' and taking a good hard look at ourselves. Many people find it easier to look at what others are doing and say, "ĎI thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else...'"
Luke 18: 9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 ďTwo men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ĎI thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I donít cheat, I donít sin, and I donít commit adultery. Iím certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.í
13 ďBut the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ĎO God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.í 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.Ē
A little historical note here. The Jewish tax collectors in this time were considered the worse of the worse sinners because they betrayed their own people by first working for Rome in collecting these taxes without mercy..not caring if taking a Jewish families money left them hungry or homeless and they usually took more then needed to pocket some of it for themselves. So they were considered not just betrayers of their own people but also thieves and liars. Yet in this beautiful example Jesus gave here He admired the tax collector who humbled himself before God and admitted his sins, where the Pharisee only bragged to God how great he was and admitted no sins..though his obvious sin here was pride, self righteousness and looking down on others..seeing their sins, but not his own.
The sin of pride is one of the worse types of sins and the most common too actually. Its incredible hard for people to see pride in themselves. Pride is not the same as self confidences or assurances of our salvation. Though some Christians seem to become prideful about their salvation and actually put down others who are nonbelievers AS IF they earned it. Are somehow special to God and picked over others to be saved. Nothing does more damage to the kingdom then this since we know no one earns their salvation.
27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
Some look down on other Christians thinking they have more knowledge or understanding about God then they do.
Without humility before God, He cannot help us. Pride is one of the most difficult things for us to overcome. To first admit we have a sin problem, then to humble ourselves enough to ask God for help.