“I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things that I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious to me that God’s commands are necessary.
”It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
“I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?”
—Romans 7:14-24, ( The Message)
In the passage above, the apostle Paul, writing to believers in the 1st century church in Rome, is describing the insidious, arresting power of our Sin-nature. I am persuaded that what Paul describes here in Romans chapter 7 accurately reflects the battle that every born again Christian experiences as he or she strives to follow the Good Shepherd, Christ the Lord, on The Way.
I also believe that those who would deny this very real inner conflict…in fact, this inner reality… should pause and honestly reflect upon their spiritual condition and upon their relationship with the true, merciful and holy God who has graciously revealed himself to us through the Spirit-breathed word of scripture (Genesis to Revelation). And, too, through the Word made flesh in Christ Jesus.
As the apostle John wrote:
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” –1 John 1:8-10
Coming to grips with the uncomfortable, dark reality of sin in our hearts and minds and lives, is always ….ALWAYS… the most important ”next step” on the truth-seeking journey that ought to characterize every honest person’s life….believer and non-believer alike. True conviction and true confession are essential ingredients if one is ever to discover true Charity and true Hope. And, too, conviction and confession… (and eventual repentance)… ought to breed in us increasing humility AND an ever-increasing attitude of thanksgiving.
“Here It Is, My Friend….The Mirror”
(Let me tell you what I see…)
Here it is, my friend…The Mirror,
God’s Just Law for you and me;
When I gaze intently in it,
Let me tell you what I see….
I see Herod’s heart within me,
And a Pontius Pilate Pride….
I detect a rebel Adam
Who still feels the need to hide.
There’s a hesitating Moses,
There’s a lost and wayward son…
There’s a Peter in denial,
And a Jonah on the run.
There’s a fool that’s looking forward,
To the riches he’ll unpack;
There’s a lusting heart of David,
And Lot’s wife who’s looking back.
There’s a Judas trading silver…
For a plan that’s ill-advised;
There’s a fence too often straddled,
Truth too often compromised.
There’s a Mama too ambitious,
Seeking favor for her sons
There’s a Gomer who’s unfaithful,
And a Gadarene undone.
There’s a pilgrim without progress,
There’s a lukewarm, timid fool…
There’s a follower of Jesus,
Balking at his Sov’reign’s rule.
There’s a way too busy Martha,
Who is never finding peace;
She’s invited to the banquet,
But she can’t enjoy the feast.
There’s a murderer…a felon!
An adulterer and thief!
There’s a wicked Saul of Tarsus…
Someone help my unbelief!
I’m that running scared Elijah,
And I sometimes follow Baal!
Lord, I helped that Roman soldier,
Hammer home those nine-inch nails.
Who can save me?....Who can help me?
Who can pay the ransom cost?
Who’ll forgive this wretched sinner?....
Thank you, Jesus on the Cross!
....”Therefore there is 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. 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.” (Romans 7: 25-Romans 8:1-3)
“Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals---one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” –Luke 23: 32-34
“…whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave---just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20: 26…28)