“For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do.” Romans 7:19 (CSB)
As the sun is rising and casting its light over the waters of the Bass River, I cross over the bridge by Chestnut Neck Marina. I take a slight gaze over the bridge’s rail to catch the brilliance of the beginning of yet another one of God’s glorious morning’s when this thought pops into mind… “Keep your sin list short today.” Huh? Where’d that come from? Great! Gonna be one of those days. Oh goodie. Well, see how this goes after I clock in, after all, where I work ain’t no Mister Roger’s neighborhood. Maybe I shoulda worn a helmet (of salvation, of course) instead of a baseball cap. Hmm…
Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “You can tell what a man is concern with by the deduction in which he draws.” I guess I could conclude that if I wasn’t concerned with keeping a short sin list, I could just conduct myself in any manner in which I chose and that my baseball cap will do just fine. After all, who needs all this “Armor of God” stuff getting in the way of trying to make a living. “Eat! Or be eaten. Strike! Or be stricken I say and to the devil with the rest of them!!” Now show up for Sunday service trying to keep that under wraps Mr. Christian.
It’s an every day battle with trying to handle life with same amount of grace that was extended to me from God and trying to deal with the challenge of living in a world where it doesn’t appreciate the common grace it gets from God, let alone understands that apart from Him they can do NO GOOD THING!! (Almost sounds like a social media rant doesn’t it?) Anyway…
When you dive into the middle of Romans 7 you get the sense that the apostle Paul is also struggling. In actuality this is the best display proving that Jesus Christ is at work in Paul’s life because he is taking on the internal quarrel of the believing Christian. He comes right out and says that there are two things battling it out within him. The man and his personality versus the man that is able to recognize the spiritual character of the Law. Simply put…
“So, the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.” — Romans 7:14-17
Now I could just hang my hat on that, be about my business and go believing that change isn’t possible but admitting a problem only solves half of the issue. To not come to the conclusion that sin complicates everything is like admitting that you’re really an unregenerated person who is unaware and unashamed of the effects of sin in your life. What a wretched person you would be. Who could save you from your spiritual death? That is an easy answer.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” — Romans 8:1
Abiding in Jesus means that stuff gets cleaned up as you continue on in this life. He pretty much summed it up, one night before He was to be nailed to a Roman Cross. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) He tells us that unfruitful branches will be pruned for the sole purpose of bearing more fruit. So the question is do you wanna be a fruit bearer or would you prefer the wretched person stuff? As for me, even though I’m not a fruit eatin’ kinda guy, I’m not exactly one to be comfortable with feeling like a wretch either. My choice is clear.
Many of us will wake up and find it easier to put on a baseball cap then that helmet of salvation. We’ll think it’s a lighter load on our heads to carry but we’re actually fooling ourselves. Charles Spurgeon says that the most important daily habit any of us could have is to remind ourselves of the Gospel. That’s putting on the helmet and preparing yourself to cast down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. It helps bring every thought in captivity to the obedience of Christ, who prefers us to be fruit bearers and not wretched people. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Think About This: “A man by his sin may waste himself, which is to waste that which on earth is most like God. This is man’s greatest tragedy and God’s heaviest grief.” — A. W. Tozer