Excerpts from Romans 7:21 – 8:16
It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? 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 a slave to sin.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you…. So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family — calling him “Father, dear Father”. For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children.
Truths from this that I want to highlight (and remember):
- I have a sinful nature. It’s part of the package I got when I was born, due to the Adam & Eve thing… I will not be rid of this sinful nature until heaven. It will continue to be a factor in my life until then. Sometimes I feel that God blames me for not being perfect – for being born with this sinful nature. But God doesn’t condemn me for having that sinful nature. In fact, he sent Jesus to free me from the obligations to it.
- When I get lazy and revert to my “natural state”, my sinful nature emerges and my thinking drifts to sinful things, I fall into doing sinful things, and I feel “hostile to God”.
- That state of hostility is not irreversable. I have “no obligation whatsoever to do what my sinful nature urges [me] to do”. Once again I’m reminded that I have the power to choose. I often feel like I am a slave to my feelings. I get tired of fighting against the fear, worry, anger, frustration that I feel. But Jesus did what he did so that I have a choice.
- As I am reading in “The 4:8 Principle”, I have to exercise that choice, consciously, to think about things that please the Spirit.
So, that’s my goal today….to be conscious of my thoughts. To move them onto God, and things that please Him.