So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Romans 6 and 7 are amazing chapters! Paul writes about the reality of grace and the reality of sin. Sin is even personified as being an entity.
For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Sin is a constant companion. Paul describes his own spiritual schizophrenia here in Romans 7, which is quite famous. (Every Bible student who has ever grappled with sin and addiction has resonated with Paul’s words in Romans 7.) For Paul the schizophrenia is not okay. Our struggle in the flesh with sin is horrible and ugly and deserving of judgment. Paul feels this to the extent of saying “What a wretched man I am!”
Paul’s the wretch. He’s the sinner. He’s the one who sins in the flesh. He’s the one with the propensity for evil. He’s the one who needs a Savior. “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
Can any of us deny this spiritual reality? We could, but then we wouldn’t be biblical. We are spiritual being created in the image of God who are housed in bodies of corrupted flesh. “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” The only way to avoid this is by not wanting to do good. Yikes! If you give yourself to sin and pursue nothing of God, understand, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). We don’t want to go there.
If Paul could ‘fess up’ to this spiritual reality, I’m encouraged to do the same. I’m the wretch in need of a Savior too. I have a constant companion that is with me all the time.
What’s liberating about the Gospel is that this constant companion is mute and has no strength. Because of the cross of Jesus and the grace I’ve received, the companion is constant, but has been stripped of his power. He cannot speak into my life because I am dead to him. I am no longer his slave (read Romans 6). I am dead to sin but alive to Christ! (Romans 6:11) So, who can rescue me?
Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Father, I worship You today. You alone have the power and love to save wretched people like me. Thank You! I choose to live this day in the reality of Your Gospel. I am alive because of You. Live through me this day…