15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing. 20 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. 21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 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. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 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.
Several things we learn from this passage:
1. Every Christian has struggled with a sinful nature.
Even Paul struggled.
Many scholars see in this passage a picture of the cruel Roman form of punishment of binding a living person to a corpse. We are bound up with the remnants of our old sinful nature. Only through Jesus Christ do we have the victory.
2. Telling people these things are sin doesn't help.
9 Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
3. Trying harder does not work
Paul couldn't do what he wanted to do. Neither can we. We may succeed for a while. But when we try to fight this fight in our own strength we inevitably weaken and give in to sin.
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing.
4. Victory over a sinful nature comes only through Jesus Christ.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Two ways in which Jesus Christ gives us the victory.
1. Through His atonement. Our sin has been paid for, covered by the blood.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
2. Through His indwelling in us through the Holy Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
We struggle until we learn to surrender fully and walk in the Spirit.
We seek God's help, He sends it and things are good for a while. Then we think the problem is licked, and we go back to doing thing's our way and in our strength, and soon we fall into the sins again.
We must daily walk in the Spirit. This is a lesson we need to learn over and over.
What Must we do?
We must live in dependence on Christ, seeking His help every day.
"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
We must be in the Word of God.
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
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