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War on the Inside

War on the Inside

In my last post, we looked at putting God’s Word into our hearts. This is the first step toward a change in our lifestyle. Let’s continue with Paul’s teaching in Romans.

For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 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.

Romans 7:22-23

So far we’ve been talking about following God’s law. Now I’m looking at a different law in my body. It’s not God’s law. It’s the law of sin and death.

According to this verse, it’s on an aggressive, active military campaign with two objectives. The first purpose is to destroy the law of God in my mind and heart. It wants to totally wipe out God’s law from my inner man.

The second objective is to make me a prisoner of war to the law of sin in my body. That’s why the flesh – the desires of the body – is our greatest weakness.

Please remember that Paul is talking from the perspective of a baby, carnal Christian. He describes this phase of the Christian experience.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7:24-25a

Wretched, now that’s an interesting word! In the Greek language it’s a compound word. It combines a money balance and a severe trial. The word picture is of a balance that’s overloaded on both sides and is in danger of breaking.

That’s what the war between the flesh and the spirit feels like sometimes. It prompts the cry of the baby Christian who’s intent on growing up. “Who will rescue me from this?”

Notice that it’s not the complacent, “I Don’t want to grow up.” Instead, it’s a cry for deliverance from this body that’s aligned itself with death.

Even the word used for, deliver, is important. It means to flow like river sweeping us away from the problem. It doesn’t ask for the strength to endure, but a total escape from situation.

The good news is that the Lord has the answer.

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:18

The condition we face is an attack of the flesh. But, thank God, we have the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Paul concludes this section by summarizing.

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.

Romans 7:25b

With my mind, I serve God’s law. But my flesh is in slavery to sin’s law. It’s just like an overloaded balance. But, there is deliverance. This situation can be stopped, not just endured, or will-powered through. Jesus Christ can bring deliverance from this mess.

In my next post we’ll begin looking at Romans, chapter 8. There, Paul will show us the way to freedom. You won’t want to miss it.

Question: How have you experienced this battle between your flesh and your spirit?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Internal War

The Internal War

We’re continuing our walk through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. He’s been explaining the battle with sin experienced by immature believers.

These Christians are at the point where they believe God’s law is right. They’ve determined to live for God habitually, but very often find themselves failing.

As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.

Romans 7:17

This is another important verse to understand. The context gives us the prerequisites for this. The verses just before this one show that I’ve determined to stop doing those things I now hate. This verse gives me hope for my future.

It lets me know that even if I fail, my sin is not going to drag me down. It’s covered by God’s grace. God does not count it as my fault. It’s no longer me that accomplishes it, but the sin that occupies the house in me.

This is actually the basis for Paul’s teaching in chapter 8, which we’ll get to at some point. It’s hard to preach this because people want to turn God’s grace into a doormat. That’s not the case here.

If you determine to continue in sin, this verse doesn’t cover you. But, if all the conditions are met – my desire is to serve God completely – then I don’t blame myself.

Why can I say this? Paul explains it in the next verse.

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.

Romans 7:18

The first sentence of this verse literally says I know by experience that nothing good lives in the house of my flesh. Nothing good at all.

The Holy Spirit lives in my spirit. The Word of God lives in my soul (my mind). But in my flesh there’s nothing good, only sin.

The next sentence reads, the intention or desire to do good is present with me, but I cannot find how to fully accomplish it. As a baby Christian, I haven’t figured out yet, how to fully live for Christ.

Now Paul summarizes everything he’s said so far.

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. 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.

Romans 7:19-20

Because of the sin living in my flesh, I see myself doing evil again and again. Remember, this is not the norm for a mature believer. Paul is speaking from the perspective of immaturity.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law…

Romans 7:21-22

Paul explains that there’s a law at work here. When I determine to do right, evil is present with me. The determination of my soul is different than the desire of my evil flesh. This is a tension that even the Apostle Peter wrote about.

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

1 Peter 2:11

Your soul and your flesh want two different things for your life. Your soul rejoices in God’s law, and that’s the foundation for the next step in your growth.

Question: How have you seen this war between your soul and your flesh play out in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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