So you see, I hate myself, because even though I really want to do what is right, I often find myself doing what is wrong, no matter how hard I try . . .
“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am slave to sin.”
Romans 7:25 (NLT)
Can you relate? If you’ve felt so frustrated with your sin that you even came to hate yourself for doing the very things you hate, you are not alone. Paul speaks right to us on this topic in Romans 7.
If you haven’t yet, first read Romans 7.
Part 1: ‘Til death do us part
Let’s take a look at the first part of Romans 7, of which scholars have come to label “An Illustration from Marriage.” Paul explains first that he is speaking to “those who understand the law,” (vs. 1), or those who are Jewish. This is pivotal, because it means that what comes later is also spoken not to unbelievers, but to redeemed believers. Keep this filed away for right now . . .
The illustration from marriage is this: ‘Til death do us part.
In the same way, if (God forbid it) a spouse is left a widower or widow, they are no longer bound by the law of marriage, as the Bible speaks of. In the same way, the death we have to sin (we talked about this in our Romans 6 study, remember?), the death we join in with the crucified Jesus on the cross, this death releases us from the law binding us to death as payment for our sins. We are released from that law and free to “remarry” if you will, the resurrected Christ. We are no longer dead, but alive! So now, truly, we can live to bear all the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control), live fully for Jesus, and have no fear of the law, of death, or of sin. Praise Yeshua!
Part 2: I hate myself (for sinning)
The final part of Romans 7 is one of the most important to understand, and to relate to as Christians. Remember that tidbit above that I asked you to remember? Well, recall it now: Paul is speaking to other believers, people who know the law. He is not talking to sinful pagans who go about galavanting around, getting themselves in trouble. He is talking to believers.
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good [or I wouldn’t think what I was doing was wrong at all]. . . . I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.”
Can I get an “Amen?” Anybody?
I would be hard pressed to find a Christian today who can’t relate to this passage about being stuck in sin and it’s grip on us. Just when I think I’m good to go on one sin in my life, another takes off in me without me realizing it. But it does!
What sins are you struggling with today? Is it smoking, drinking, sex, lust of the flesh, coveting or desiring another’s goods, pride, jealousy? It could be anything! Are you letting sin tear you down and rule over you? If you are, and you are a Christian, don’t let it! Sin has no power over you!
For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
Romans 6:7 (NLT)
Are you feeling like sin has gripped you and you cannot stop sinning, no matter how hard you try? You are not alone! Are you stuck in the frustration of an old life and old habits haunting you, following you, or holding you back? Thankfully, we can bring those things to Jesus in prayer, and He will work them out for us. It might not be easy, and it might take a lot of time, but He will work them out.
Speaking to the Philippians, Paul said,
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
Heavenly Father, I pray for all who read this study and are struggling with sin of any type. For any who are stuck in addiction, who do not see themselves how you see them, who are angry, proud, embarrassed, jealous, fearful, untrusting or complacent. We know you don’t want us to listen to the lie that we are a slave to sin when we have been born anew in Jesus Christ, dead to sin, and alive in Christ! Help us not to listen to that lie. Help us to hear the truth. And help us to forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead. Help us to press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize you are calling us to.
We thank you, Jesus, for dying for us, for saving us, and for never leaving or forsaking us. I pray that you would bring all who read this to salvation in Christ, each and all their households.
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