Romans 7 NIV is for me, the clearest description of the internal battle that we all face. And I am so thankful that God through His Holy Spirit, had Paul put his thoughts about this reality into his letter to the Christians at Rome.
And I don’t now how many times I have read through Romans but it has to be a whole bunch, many times. And as always, each time that I do, I see things that I haven’t really taken to heart or things that I haven’t comprehended in the manner that I am comprehending it now.
It would appear that my comprehension keeps changing because in effect, my understanding about me and my understanding about Christ through His Holy Spirit, that lives in me, keeps changing.
Did you ever have a series of events bring you to a conclusion or understanding that you never would have realized had the series of events not taken place? I’m sure you have. A lot of times God uses things that happen to us and issues around us and within us to bring us to a point of understanding that He needs us to at least, begin to comprehend.
I use the old onion skin analogy a lot because for me, it helps me understand what is happening within me and around me. There are those darn layers, layers of awareness, layers of comprehension, layers of gratitude.
I was in Costco the other day, standing near the front of a very long line, to get to one of the cashiers, to process my order. A tall man with white hair butted into the line in front of a woman, who has just ahead of me. A man ahead of the woman that was ahead of me and the woman herself both told the tall man with white hair that the line formed to the rear but he didn’t care. He just told the woman, “Let me in!” and he literally pushed his cart in between the woman’s cart and the man ahead of her.
It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut. I did try to make eye contact with him and show him my displeasure non-verbally but it never happened, he just kept looking straight ahead and he did end up getting his order processed ahead of us.
No big deal, right? In reality, that’s right, it happens all the time. But me ….. where did all of that resentment well up from? Why did I want to make eye contact so that I could show him my displeasure?
I don’t usually have any problem with getting to sleep (I’ll tie this together shortly). But, the other night, I had a heck of a time getting to sleep, literally all night long. My personality literally changes somewhat when I don’t get the sleep that I normally get. So the following day, although I thought I handled it pretty well, my “norm” was a little off. Nothing off the wall, just a tad less patient, just a tad less aware of others. My wife brought it to my attention that evening. She noticed the change. I still did things for others and didn’t complain etc, but there was a noticeable slight change. I apologized and we hugged. We think others don’t notice but they do. We also have a tendency to make excuses for ourselves at times
We seem to think that the “old” us isn’t there any more. That we’ve become better, that we’ve matured and moved beyond that. And that can be true in part but it doesn’t mean that it’s still not there. It is there, it’s always been there and as long as we live in these bodies, it will continue to remain there. Like the Apostle Paul says in Romans 7, the reality of the situation is that it is our sinful or fleshly nature. It’s not going to die until this body dies. And just when we think we have come along so well, God in His wisdom opens the door a little (the old onion skin analogy) to show us the reality of our plight. Notice I said God opens the door “a little”. He doesn’t over whelm us by opening the door as wide as He could and trust me, the door can be opened in all of us, myself included, a whole lot wider.
Consider realities such as vanity, selfishness, pride, to name but a few.
The long and the short of it is that we just don’t fully comprehend the darkness of sin, the totality of sin, especially in ourselves, primarily in ourselves. The Apostle Paul knew, he cries out in Romans 7:24 “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”
And then there is Paul’s answer, the Holy Spirit’s answer, the answer that stems from spiritual eyes to see through the new birth, that has taken place within us, as indicated in Romans 7:25 “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
That’s yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus did and does for us what we in ourselves can not do, can never do. That’s the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross, but not only did He pay the price that our sins deserve, He also literally delivers us from the sin that lives within us. That’s past tense, present tense and future tense. Jesus delivers us.
It is the righteousness of Jesus that justifies us before our Heavenly Father God. It is the righteousness of Jesus that ensures we can come before God’s throne in prayer. And it is the righteousness of Jesus that ensures our resurrection.
It’s Jesus who delivers us, through faith in what He has and is doing in us, his righteousness is given to us.
Romans 3:21-23 NIV “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
John 14:19 NIV “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”
Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Read that last scripture in Ephesians again, then read it again and again. We don’t look within ourselves as our own source, we look to Jesus, who lives and works within us, He is our source. One source brings death, the other eternal life. Recognize it, own it and that door keeps opening. The awareness of sin, the awareness of His love and the awareness of gratitude.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!