I was challenged the other day to think more deeply about this passage. I’ve always loved it just because I can relate to it. However, reflecting on the fact that God’s chosen apostle to the Gentiles wrote this, the man who wrote half the New Testament; the half which frequently focusses on how to live the Christian life, opened up a number of questions. This is the man who also, in several places, encouraged his readers to follow his examples of how to live (2 Thessalonians 3:7).
So was Paul just a hypocrite saying one thing and doing another? I don’t think so. In John 3:19-20 Jesus said, `God`s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed`. Paul was seeking to walk in the light of Jesus, so therefore his sins were being exposed. The closer we come to the bright light the more the imperfections show up.
Remember too that, when Jesus came, the Jews were seeking to live by the Law that said: don’t murder, don’t commit adultery. But Jesus said that if you think your brother is a fool, it`s the same as murder. If you look at another person with wrong sexual thoughts, that`s the same as adultery. Jesus was saying that we need to keep the Law with our whole body, soul and spirit. It`s a far higher standard than they thought in God`s Kingdom.
The other thing to consider is that Satan wants us to sin, and we wouldn’t do it if it was obvious and unpleasant. So he makes it seem harmless and pleasant. My friend said, "If he wants to tempt me to gluttony he doesn’t use tapioca pudding, because I hate it. He tempts me with curry and chocolate cake".
It got me thinking about the kind of things which tempt me; the temptation to join in the whinging conversation about someone or something. The temptation, when at a function where free champagne is flowing, to drink too much of it.
Don’t forget the answer to these problems is in verses 24 and 25 of Romans 7: `Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord`.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus to set us free from a life dominated by sin. Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin. Today I am choosing to walk in the light of Jesus. Amen.
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