“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
Because of my wrestlings, that struggle within me between flesh and spirit, and because of my wretchedness as one who desires to do good in order to please God, yet, fails miserably again and again, I cry out with the apostle, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24).
Who is my Deliverer? “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25). There is my answer! Immediate. Clear. True and full of life.
It is My Reality, My Wrestlings, and My Wretchedness that bring me back to where I need to be: at the cross, clinging to God’s grace alone. Nothing else matters if I have not grace of God in the love of Christ Jesus. When we are at the cross, when we live by God’s grace and my redemption is the blessing from which all other blessings flow, I read the law of God (the scriptures) unto the renewing of my mind. And though my flesh continues to serve sin, and though I hate that sin, I rejoice because I begin to realize that it is God’s grace alone, and the flesh has nothing to glory in— nothing to boast about.
Christ’s precious blood is sufficient. There is a serious danger in not viewing Romans 7:14-25 as that of a mature Christian being sanctified by the Spirit of God:
First, if this is what I was as an unsaved sinner, then I will say that there is no reality, no wrestling, and no wretchedness now in my life; and therefore, I will either become self-righteous in my own conceits and deception, or else I will become frustrated and doubtful wondering whether I am saved at all. In the former I will not rely upon the truth of God’s Word because I trust in the strength of my flesh. In the latter I will not rely in the truth of God’s Word because I am confused about God’s Word since it seems to be in error about so many things.
Second, if this passage reflects the progress of a “carnal Christian” that does not know the resurrected life FOUND ONLY IN THE SUFFICIENT SACRIFICE OF CHRIST OFFERED BY HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD, then I will be prone to experiment with every fad, gimmick, and new thing that comes my way; I will wander from the truth of scripture chasing after an experience of euphoria that doesn’t exist.
Because of the reality of my frail humanity, as I wrestle with sin and am wretched because of the sin in my flesh, the only source of love, joy, peace, &etc. is found in God’s grace alone, from the complete, sufficient and finished work of Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection and ascended glory. Unless it flows from the throne of grace, what I experience in my daily situations and circumstances is an imitation of genuine love, joy, and peace… because what I am feeling and experiencing apart form the cross of Christ are merely temporal emotions, and not eternal graces.
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” Galatians (6:14).
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Read the previous article in this series, “O Wretched Man That I Am!” (Romans 7:24).