Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
What is the remedy for our struggle with sin? Paul gave us the answer in Romans 7.
First of all, if you are going to have victory over the struggle, realize that the struggle is inevitable. Some Christians say if you can learn a secret formula for a victorious Christian life, then you can be rid of your struggle with sin. Other Christians say that you need to have a special deliverance experience with the Holy Spirit, and He will remove all your sinful desires. But there is no secret formula, there is no second-time experience with the Holy Spirit, and there is no kind of therapy that will ever rid you of sinful desires. The Christian life is a struggle. It always has been; it always will be. Paul talked about his struggle in Romans 7:24: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” If you are struggling between the desire to please yourself and your desire to please God, that is evidence you are a child of God.
Second, realize that the struggle is winnable. Some Christians rationalize their sin by coming up with excuses based on Romans 7:20: “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.” Some Christians teach that if you are involved in adultery, then it is not you who is committing adultery; it is the old man inside you. If you embezzle money from your company, then you are not guilty; the old sin nature inside of you is doing it. But Paul is not relieving us of our responsibility. He said that for a Christian to disobey is inconsistent with his new position in Christ. If you are in Christ, then sin has no more power over you than you allow it to have.
Third, realize that the struggle is only temporary. Paul said, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (7:24). Paul longed to be released from the body of this death. Notice that he asked, “Who will set me free?” He was looking to the future. He did not say, “Who has already set me free?” Then he answered his own question in verse 25: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul was looking forward to the day when he would finally be separated from his sinful body.
The moment you trust in Jesus, God declares you not guilty. You are delivered from the penalty of sin. Not only that, but Jesus Christ also delivers you from the power of sin. You do not have to say yes to sin any longer. And one day when Jesus returns, He will deliver you from the presence of sin. At the Rapture of the Church, God will separate us from this old body and give us a brand-new, resurrection body–one that is forever free from the presence of sin.
The Christian life is a struggle, but thanks be to God through Christ Jesus that it is only a temporary struggle. One day we will experience our final deliverance.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Victory in the War Within” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.