For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. (Romans 7:15)
Today’s big question: what is the harsh reality of the Christian life now?
Have you ever looked at a Christian whom you highly respect and thought he or she would never sin? Well here is a little secret for you . . . they do . . . every day.
The Apostle Paul was a giant of the faith, and God’s awesome power was on display in the miraculous transformation of his life. God used Paul to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. Paul was also a great shepherd of the church (under Christ, the Good Shepherd) and his epistles serve as pastoral instruction to us. God used Paul as an instrument to bring us His Word. It might be a great shock to learn of sin in Paul’s life, and yet we do—from his own pen.
In Romans 6 Paul taught about how the Christian life is marked by being dead to sin, and in the next chapter he wrote that the law shows us the reality of our sinfulness because we cannot keep the law. The law highlights our nature contrasted to God’s holiness. In Romans 7:6 Paul reveals that we are delivered from the law to serve in the Spirit (through Christ). Because we are in Christ, our life of sin has died with Christ and He has conquered death and sin for us. So our new life is not about obedience to the law but obedience to Christ who has fulfilled it. Even so, Paul displayed the glory of a changed life in Christ by confessing his struggle with sin.
Paul sinned, as does every believer on earth—we fall short every day. He explained the believer’s frustration with sin, but read carefully and you will see that it is a wonderful frustration. When Jesus turned our heart of stone into a heart of flesh, He turned our desire away from the things of this world and toward Him. Every Christian living in these sin-affected bodies in this sin-cursed world will have a great struggle with sin because we constantly fight against the old sinful nature. But now we have a new desire in our life—we live to please our Savior.
The harsh reality of the Christian life is that we live in a constant battle against sin. From Paul to the pew-sitter, our aim is to please our Savior and fight against self until that day when we are perfected in glory. To say we have our best life now is to reject the future glory Christ is yet to bestow upon us when the internal battle against sin will be over.
Today’s big idea: true Christians are in a fight against sin.
What to pray: seek Christ for strength in the battle.