14 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. 15 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. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power[b] within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Occasionally, when we darken the doors of a building where His church gathers, we hear a convicting sermon that points to the obvious sins in our life. But what about those sins that are 6 feet deep, just like the bodies that lie in the cemetery next to those beautiful sanctuaries? How on earth do we recognize those hidden sins that live in the darkness of our souls?
We ask the Holy Spirit to use a shovel, or a backhoe, or whatever earth mover He needs to remove the layers of dirt so that His light will illuminate the sinful nature that continues to reek havoc- and bring death to our daily lives.
Every time I read this passage that Paul penned so very long ago I realize that no matter how holy I think I am or how worthy I believe my call from Him is, I am faced with the dilemma that there is another power within me that is at war. When the Holy Spirit brings conviction to the things I’ve done wrong they always, always, always reflect the sin that was committed in the garden at the dawn of creation:
-lust of the eyes (I see it)
-lust of the flesh (I want it)
-the pride of life (I justify why I should have it)
Even though I think I love Gods law with all my heart, there are still places that are not yet fully submitted to His lordship. Places where I’ve been hurt because of my wrong expectations of Him- or others. Places where I’ve sinned and not repented. Places where I’ve failed to trust Him completely and subsequently decided to taste the fruit for myself.
It all sounds terribly defeating – this cycle of wanting to do what is right, but inevitably choosing wrong. But there is HOPE….. a Savior, who is Christ the Lord! Who was born of a virgin, suffered and died for our sake, so that we could live a life free from the slavery of sin. Free from spiritual and emotional death. Free from everlasting torment.
Do you want a relationship with this Savior? Do you want to experience the freedom He offers? Then I implore you to read the following passage, and do what it says. If you already have a relationship with Jesus, but find yourself feeling 6 feet deep, retreat to your secret place and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any area of hidden sin. Then confess, repent and forgive, as He leads. If, however, the dirt is not easily lifted, ask a godly mentor to bring a shovel over to help you dig!
9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.
11 The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed.
12 [No one] for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The same Lord is Lord over all [of us] and He generously bestows His riches upon all who call upon Him [in faith].