The Conflict inside Every Christian

Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

–Romans 7:24–25

Let me ask you something: Are you a Christian? If so, do you still sin?

You might think that’s a silly question. Every Christian I know still sins! But if our old sin nature has been “crucified with [Jesus],” as Romans 6:6 tells us, then why do we keep sinning?

Christ’s death separated us from the consequences of sin and the power of sin. But the reason we keep sinning even as Christians is that there’s one separation yet to be accomplished: we are yet to be separated from our body of sin.

The moment you became a Christian, a great renovation took place in your heart. But even though you’ve been changed internally, you haven’t been changed externally–you are still inhabiting a physical body that is infected with sin. There’s a new you in your old self. The result is a civil war between the old you who was opposed to God and the new you who wants to please God.

Paul talked about this conflict going on inside every Christian in Romans 7:18–19: “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”

Haven’t we all experienced that? The very thing we say we’ll never do again, we end up doing in the next ten minutes. And the thing we so badly want to do, we just can’t bring ourselves to do. That was Paul’s testimony as well. He continued, “But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good” (vv. 20–21).

That’s the conflict inside each of us: I want to do good, but I’m trapped in a body that doesn’t want to do good. Paul concluded, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (vv. 24–25). One day, God is going to set us free from our old bodies and give us brand-new bodies that are free from sinful desires.

That’s what spiritual circumcision is: a separation from the consequences of sin, the power of sin, and, ultimately, the body of sin.

***

Today’s devotion is adapted from “Radical Surgery” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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