I am still thinking through this morning’s sermon from Pastor Pat. He preached through Romans 7:13-25. This used to be a confusing text for me until I understood that humans do not really do anything good or righteous. Even those folks who might call themselves “Christian”, think they are good now, but that is such a false assumption on their part. As the Apostle Paul states in the Romans 7, he does the very things that he desires not to do, and hates those things, and yet still does them. He has the desire to do what is right but not the ability to carry it out.
Now, come on, this is the Apostle Paul writing here. Surely if anyone had the ability to do good, it was him right? Not so, says the Apostle himself. For he states in verse 23 of chapter 7 that there is a war going on between the law of his mind (doing good) and the law of sin within his body. In the next verse he even refers to himself as a wretched man. Even as a follower of Christ.
He then poses the question that I did not totally grasp until later in life because I thought that since I became a Christian, I should now be doing righteous things. The question is this:
Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Or, who can save this wretched man that I am. The answer comes on the heels of the question in the form of gratitiude.
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
It is only through the finished work of Christ, his life, his death, and resurrection that good things happen through man. Try as he might, he cannot do the good on his own. It is work of the spirit of Christ in him. As Christians we should never, ever boast about the good that happens through us. It is only Christ Jesus doing that good through us. We have no righteousness of our own.
If you’d like to listen to the enlightening sermon online go here. If you’d like to download it and listen to it later go here.
Soli Deo Gloria!
June 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm
I think it is good to be reminded often how Paul say himself. Thanks.
June 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm
Some legalistic churches and theologians believe Paul was talking about his life before Christ–and that this does not happen within a christian mind.
But we all know through experience that it does.The gift of freewill has produced this conundrum. We can think anything we want. This freedom produces the choice to Love instead of the compulsion to love. Our love has real meaning because we dont have to do it.
However it also enables us to be selfish. Paul understood this very well. What is basically saying is something all christians have experienced. It goes something like this….
God, if I could relinquish this freewill, I would. Make me sinless..make it not possible to sin. That is my wish. When that wish is made it becomes quite clear that our condition is not of our choosing. It highlights, with great emphasis, that we are a prisoner to our flesh. We actually do what we dont want to do–and thats why we should not weep over our sinfulness. We should not hate ourselves–only hate what we do against our will.
Its not an excuse to engage in premeditated sin..like a Gay lifestyle. But someone who is gay and wants to obey God, swears he/she will never do it again, and then slips up is no worse than any of us slipping up time and again. Its people who have no intention of changing that may, in fact, not be real christians.
Everyone of us will be carried into heaven on the back of Jesus. We could never get through the gate on our own because salvation does not, in any way, depend on us. This is the message that world doesnt actually get because of the legalistic churches. People have actually been bewitched into thinking that they are not good enough–that they actually have to earn their way in by good deeds–and this makes them not even want to try
June 17, 2009 at 2:47 pm
Thanks for the comment John. You are spot-on.
June 19, 2009 at 6:23 am
Hi Barry, how wonderful in heaven when we can’t and/or won’t sin. I like to think of the March of the Penguins (the documentory about the Emperor Penguins that came out 2-3 years ago). There are these penguins huddled together in a storm in the dark at -60 degrees below zero, and in the theater I’m thinking man! how awful. But the penguins don’t know any better. Sometimes I think the angels look at us on earth and think the same thing 🙂