Thanks Be to God

“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” —Romans 7:25

The second half of Romans 7 deals with the struggle of the mature Christian, which we examined in the last two doctrinal articles. Though my soul is alive in Christ, when before my soul was dead in trespasses and sins, I still have a nature that is flesh, gets sick, has all the evidences of the curse that came from Adam’s original sin, and will eventually die unless the Lord Jesus returns before that. Therefore, there is a constant battle, between the natural flesh that I have, that exists in me, and the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit that has made me a new person in Christ (Romans 7:18-19). We know that this is a saved man, because (as mentioned previously) a saved soul looks at the sin he commits and recognizes it as sin, realizes it’s an offense to a holy God, and desires repentance that it will not happen again. Even the best of our good deeds performed by the grace of God are imperfect, and fall short of God’s glory. The more we mature as Christians, the more sin is illuminated by the brightness of God’s presence, and we become increasingly aware of our wretchedness as individuals, crying out together with Paul, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

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O Wretched Man That I Am!

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” —Romans 7:24

When Paul speaks of a desire to do that which is pleasing before God, but instead, doing that which is sin against God, e.g., “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Romans 7:19), he is expressing in the portions of Romans 7:15-24 that which is taking place in every true disciple of Christ: a struggle between the corruptions of humanity in my fallen nature, which I still have, and the renewed and continually renewing understanding of His Word that cleanses my mind because I have been regenerated as a new creature in Christ. This is certainly not speaking of willful sin. “Why not?” someone may object in horror, “Do you mean to say that someone who is saved by God’s grace does not sin willfully?” God forbid, I answer, using the language of Romans.

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