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Showing posts from October, 2019

Romans 8:24: For In This Hope We Were Saved.

Romans 8:24 [24] For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? (ESV) Do you have hope? I hope you do. That play on words was intentional. We have a notion about hope that is basically a wish for something that we do not have much faith in actually happening. A person might say, "I hope it doesn't rain today." "I hope I win the lottery." One might even say, "I hope things get better." Paul is talking about hope in a different way. The biblical view of hope is not a wish that something would happen, but rather a confidence that it will happen, it just has not happened yet. This is the kind of hope that we were saved in. We placed our faith in Jesus Christ. His promise was eternal life. Have we experienced eternity yet? No. Yet, real hope has confidence in God's promise. We could complain that we are not experiencing all that God has promised. We could be prone to feel hopeless. Paul addre

Romans 8:22-23: For We Know That The Whole Creation Has Been Groaning Together In The Pains Of Childbirth

Romans 8:22–23 [22] For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. [23] And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (ESV) We serve an amazing God. We see his Creation and we are rightfully in awe of him. We have come to him for the forgiveness of sin, placing our faith in Jesus Christ, and we are in awe of him. This is right for us to do. As great as our salvation is, and as great as God's Creation is we haven't even begun to imagine how great things will be in the future. Our Creation is full of mountains, deserts, oceans, forests, creatures of all sizes, colors, and varieties. Paul says that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. In other words, there are bigger and better things coming. God will restore and renew all things. Creation itself long

Romans 8:20-21: For The Creation Was Subjected To Futility

Romans 8:20–21 [20] For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope [21] that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (ESV) We have a wonderful revelation of God in the Word of God that has been faithfully written down by men who were led by the Holy Spirit. Our Bible shows us exactly who God is. His holy and perfect essence is described in the pages of Scripture. We know of the salvation that is found in Jesus Christ through the holy words of Scripture. Additionally, we know that Creation has a role to play in revealing the divine nature and character of God. Psalm 19 tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God. Even Jesus said in Luke 19 that if the disciples did not give him glory the very stones would cry out. Creation plays a significant role in showing forth the glories of God. Sadly, Creation is somewhat handicapped in h

Romans 8:19: For The Creation Waits With Eager Longing For The Revealing Of The Sons Of God.

Romans 8:19 [19] For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. (ESV) Mankind has always had a relationship with God's creation. In the first chapter of Romans Paul describes Creation as being the very thing that declares God's glory. Man saw God's glory revealed in Creation, but instead of worshiping the Creator, man worshiped the Creation. As a result man is under God's judgement and without excuse. To this day we have an issue with mankind treating the Creation as if it is the thing to be worshiped. Many godless people who want nothing to do with serving and worshiping a Creator are consumed with serving and even worshiping the Earth. The fact that they are missing is that Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Creation longs for God. Man should follow. Creation was subjected to frustration as man fell into sin in the Garden. Earth's first couple, Adam and Eve, were in a place of paradise

Romans 8:18: For I Consider That The Sufferings Of This Present Time Are Not Worth Comparing

Romans 8:18 [18] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV) Perspective. What an important word. Let's be honest. We do not like the idea of suffering. We will do almost anything to avoid any kind of suffering. Some churches have gone so far as to preach against the idea of suffering, declaring it to not be a part of the true believer's life. Paul is not shy about the topic. Paul uses the sufferings of this present time as a means to consider the greater glory that awaits us. Perspective. Paul is not in any way attempting to diminish our suffering. A view toward eternity puts our suffering in a proper understanding. Yes, our suffering is terrible. In the grand scheme of eternity it is not even worth comparison. Maybe you are thinking that Paul does not know what he is talking about when it comes to suffering. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul describes countless beatings, often near death,

Romans 8:17: And If Children, Then heirs--Heirs of God And Fellow Heirs With Christ

Romans 8:17 [17] and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (ESV) Do you know who you are? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ you might simply say, "I am a Christian." Or, you may say, "I am born again." I have heard people say that they are "Christ-followers." These are all helpful descriptions of what it means to be a new creation in Christ Jesus. In this verse we learn more details concerning our identity. We are children. We are not just any children, but we are God's children. That fact should never cease to amaze us. In our sin, we were without God and without hope. If God were to choose children to adopt why would he adopt us? We were in complete rebellion to him. Yet, God called us unto himself, and sacrificed his own Son to purchase us. Truly amazing. We are God's children. Paul takes things a step further. We are not only

Romans 8:16: The Spirit Himself Bears Witness With Our Spirit That We Are Children Of God

Romans 8:16 [16] The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (ESV) Those whom the Lord has called unto himself are adopted as sons and daughters. Adoption was a big deal in the Roman culture. Dr. John MacArthur writes the following:  "In Roman culture, for an adoption to be legally binding, seven reputable witnesses had to be present, attesting to its validity. (MacArthur Online Study Bible Notes)" What is the witness that we have been adopted by God? Paul tells us that the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Many people have taken this verse and insisted that we will experience some sort of mystical or emotional feeling if we are truly adopted. The problem is that is not verified anywhere in Scripture. We do have passages in Scripture which help us to understand what happens to truly adopted children of God. In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul describes the "fruit of the Spirit." If the Holy Sp

Romans 8:15: You Have Received The Spirit Of Adoption As Sons, By Whom We Cry, "Abba! Father!"

Romans 8:15 [15] For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV) We have been learning in this chapter the difference the Holy Spirit makes in our lives. Before we met the Savior we were in slavery to sin and could not please God. Now, we are forgiven of our sins and are now led by the Holy Spirit of God who lives within us and enables us to put to death the sinful nature in our lives. Paul informs us that there is going to be the temptation to fall back into that slavery and bondage to sin. Where does that come from? Not the Holy Spirit! The Spirit you received is the Spirit of adoption, not slavery. It is the voice of the enemy that attempts to convince you that you are still a slave to sin. That is not who you are anymore. Who are you really? I have wonderful news for you. You are a child of God. You have been adopted. I know my earthly father. He is a great an

Romans 8:14: For All Who Are Led By The Spirit Of God Are Sons Of God.

Romans 8:14 [14] For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (ESV) Have you ever played, "Follow the leader?" For the believer in Jesus Christ that is a daily experience and far more than a game. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of a true Christian is that they are no longer trying to lead their own life according to the flesh, but rather they have now submitted to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in their lives. In verse 13 Paul made it clear that one of the things that a believer is to do is to put to death the deeds of the flesh. How are we to do that? By the Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers us to put sin to death. As you can clearly see the Holy Spirit wants to be in charge. Our victory as a believer in Jesus Christ depends on our dependence on the Spirit. So, how are we led by the Spirit? There are some who are waiting for emotional promptings. We do not find that kind of Spirit leading in Scripture. Rather, the primary way that the

Romans 8:13: For If You Live According To The Flesh You Will Die

Romans 8:13 [13] For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (ESV) We know that there is a radical difference that takes place when one comes to faith in Jesus Christ. We become a completely new creation. The old has gone, the new has come. What happens with our sinful nature? Do we become perfect instantaneously at salvation? What do we do with our sin nature? Will it ever go away? There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that we will struggle with sin for the rest of our lives. This sinful nature is what Paul described in detail in Romans Chapter 7. Paul himself, although he was an Apostle, struggled with his flesh. In his spiritually renewed mind he desired to do what was right, but his flesh did not cooperate. The good news is that we have been given a helper in the midst of our struggle. Paul tells us in our verse today that it is by the Spirit that we are to put to death the dee

Romans 8:12: So Then, Brothers, We Are Debtors, Not To The Flesh, To Live According To The Flesh.

Romans 8:12 [12] So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. (ESV) Most of us have grown up with the wise saying, "Be a debtor to no man." I can think of many a person who would do well to heed this wise saying. The average person owes an incredible amount of debt to a credit card company, a mortgage company, or some other kind of store credit. Being in debt can be a crippling thing. It restricts your freedom. Paul reminds the believer in Jesus Christ that we are not debtors to the flesh. This begs the question, "Why would someone be a debtor to the flesh?" Remember, we were all in complete bondage to all of our fleshly desires. We lusted after things of the world. Whatever the flesh craved, we were indebted to it to try to satisfy the flesh with what the world offered. Friend, if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, you are no longer a debtor to the flesh. This is a fundamentally important truth for you to g

Romans 8:11: If The Spirit Of Him Who Raised Jesus From The Dead Dwells In You, He Who Raised Christ Jesus From The Dead Will Also Give Life

Romans 8:11 [11] If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (ESV) It can be very discouraging to walk this Christian walk and find ourselves failing as often as we do. The mind of the believer has been transformed by the power of God. We now have a desire to do what is right that was not possible when we were still in our unregenerate, sinful state. We have the desire in our minds, but our bodies are still prone to sin and destruction. Paul has good news for us. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to give our mortal bodies life. If you have been following along through all the previous verses you will know that the Apostle Paul's struggle was that he had a physical body that did not cooperate with carrying out the godly things that the renewed mind wanted to do. The Holy Spirit is our lifeline when it comes to having victory ove

Romans 8:10: But If Christ Is In You, Although The Body Is Dead Because Of Sin, The Spirit Is Life Because Of Righteousness

Romans 8:10 [10] But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (ESV) At first glance, it seems as if Paul is talking about physical death. He says, "although the body is dead." We need to understand the context of this verse to fully understand it. Paul has been talking in the previous verses of how it is our body that is prone to acts of death, i.e. sin. In our minds we want to do what is right, but our bodies are prone to sin. At the end of chapter 7 Paul cries out, "Who will rescue me from this body of death?" Jesus Christ will rescue us! If Christ is in us, we are alive, but we have a continual struggle with the body of death. One of the differences between those who are Christians and those who are unbelievers is how they attempt to control their sinful body. The unbeliever tries to control his body in his own strength. He does not have Christ dwelling within him. He is completely incap

Romans 8:9: You, However, Are Not In The Flesh, But In The Spirit

Romans 8:9 [9] You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (ESV) There are times that believers in Jesus Christ can become discouraged. The enemy of our souls, Satan himself, uses discouragement as one of his greatest weapons to hinder the work of God's people. Have you ever questioned whether or not you even belong to the Lord even though you know that He has redeemed you and forgiven your sin? You are not alone. Paul has a reminder for his readers, which includes you and me, that we are not in the flesh if the Spirit of God lives in us. This is a wonderful truth. Sometimes our struggle with the sinful nature causes us to despair. We feel as if we are all alone in our battle with temptation. That is just what the enemy wants. Have you given your life to Jesus Christ? You are in the Spirit. There are those in the body of Christ who will tell you that

Romans 8:7-8: For The Mind That Is Set On The Flesh Is Hostile To God

Romans 8:7–8 [7] For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. [8] Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (ESV) I have heard many people over the years refer to people whom they know as being good people. They will say that these "good people" as not being Christians, but they are good people. Have you ever used similar words to describe people who do not know Christ as Savior? Is it possible for someone who does not belong to God to be "good?" These verses are going to shed some light on the true condition of mankind. In verse 6 Paul has made a very clear distinction between those who set their minds on the flesh and those who set their minds on the Spirit of God. Rather than the Apostle Paul giving us a middle ground he makes it clear that the two kinds of people are very different. What is the problem? Why can't a non-believing person be good? Paul says the reason is their

Romans 8:6: For To Set The Mind On The Flesh Is Death, But To Set The Mind On The Spirit Is Life And Peace.

Romans 8:6 [6] For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (ESV) It is fascinating how those who are engaged in the works of the flesh will often refer to what they are doing as "living it up." The Apostle Paul describes it a bit differently. To set your mind on the flesh is death. This describes every unbeliever in Jesus Christ. Their mind is set on the flesh. What is the end result of such a life? Death. Paul has made clear previously in the book of Romans that the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). A sinful mind does not recognize that the path that they are on is leading them to death. They chase after sensual pleasures. They fight and struggle and even kill to get what they want. Their focus is only earthly. They do not see anything beyond what the world offers. Death awaits them. The stark contrast we see in this verse is with those who set the mind on the Spirit. What is the result? Life and peace. This is

Romans 8:5: For Those Who Live According To The Flesh Set Their Minds On The Things Of The Flesh

Romans 8:5 [5] For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (ESV) There are many people who do not like the idea of people being different. They will say that there are no good people and bad people. Sin is too strong of a word. People do not sin they just make mistakes. The standard of righteousness in people's minds who think like this has been brought down to their level so that everyone can feel good about themselves. The Scriptures refute such nonsense. Paul is not afraid to state for us that their are two very different ways that we can live. He sets up for us a very stark contrast. There are those who live according to the flesh and there are those who live according to the Spirit. He would be making a case for those who belong to Satan and those who belong to God. This is the distinction of flesh and Spirit. Let's consider the one wh

Romans 8:4: In Order That The Righteous Requirement Of The Law Might Be Fulfilled In Us

Romans 8:4 [4] in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (ESV) If you plan on eating a piece of bacon today you should thank the Lord Jesus for what he did for you on the cross. Perhaps, an explanation would be necessary. Paul tells us in today's verse that Christ condemned sin in the flesh, "in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us. What righteous requirements is he talking about? The Old Testament Law had restrictions regarding what a person could eat. In that list of foods was the pig. I have a hard time imagining a diet that does not include my favorite things like bacon, roast pork, ham, sausage, etc. I like to eat just about everything from the pig except the oink. All of the dietary and other ceremonial requirements were fulfilled in Christ. Thank God! There are many other requirements that a reading of the book of Leviticus wo

Romans 8:3: For God Has Done What The Law, Weakened By The Flesh, Could Not Do.

Romans 8:3 [3] For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (ESV) God had to do what the law could not do. What does that mean? The Apostle Paul is talking here about the Old Testament Law that the Jews had followed since it was received by Moses himself. The Law was perfect. It was a revelation of God's holy requirements of his called people, the Jews. The Law itself was perfect. Man's flesh was not. The perfect Law of God was weakened by the flesh. From the time of Moses to the time of the Apostle Paul men and women tried to live according to the Law of God. Every single one of them failed. While some performed better than others no one was perfect in fulfilling the Law of God. What was God's standard in the Law? Absolute flawless perfection. The Law could not make mankind right with God. It could only show mankind just how unholy he was. Som

Romans 8:2: For The Law Of The Spirit Of Life Has Set You Free In Christ Jesus

Romans 8:2 [2] For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (ESV) In today's verse the Apostle Paul introduces someone who will be a prominent player in the rest of the Chapter. Who am I talking about? The Holy Spirit! He refers to him as the "Spirit of life." In verse 1 Paul declares that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This is because of the law of the Spirit of Life, not because of our following of God's Old Testament Law. The Old Testament Law is referred to as the law of sin and death. Does this mean that Paul has a negative view of the Law? No. Paul has made very clear that God's Law is perfect. In the Old Testament God established a perfect standard that represented his holy and righteous requirements. Unfortunately, that Law could not be lived up to. The consequences for sin was death. We know that we are in a constant struggle with sin. As Paul made clear in Cha

Romans 8:1: There Is Therefore Now No Condemnation For Those Who Are In Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1 [1] There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (ESV) The courtroom was well attended. As you are brought in to stand before the judge you are full of fear. Your accusers are all sitting in the room with a smug look on their faces. They know you are guilty. The reality is, you also know that you are guilty. It is only going to be a matter of minutes before the judge declares it so in front of all who are present in the courtroom. You are in the courtroom of eternity. The judge is none other than God himself. You are thinking of ways that you can defend yourself, but as you look into his eyes you feel more naked than you have ever felt. All of your sins are read before the court. Lying. Stealing. Deceit. Dishonesty. Hatred. Jealousy. Rage. Malice. Lust. Laziness. Perversion. The list goes on for what seems hours. The moment you have dreaded has now come. The judge is about to rule. There are tears in your eyes as you prepare for his bli

Romans 7:25: Thanks Be To God Through Jesus Christ Our Lord!

Romans 7:25 [25] Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (ESV) This verse begins the way every day ought to begin. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! There are so many things that we can and should be thankful for. Maybe you can pause for just a moment and give thanks to him right now. As we look at this verse we need to know that Paul's specific statement of thanks is in response to what he said in the previous verse. In verse 24 Paul talked about the war waging in himself. In his mind, he wanted to follow God's law. Yet, the members of his body were prone to wander off into sin. This war caused him to cry out in anguish, "Who will rescue me from this body of death?" In today's verse Paul answers his own question. Who will rescue me? Jesus Christ our Lord! Paul knows that there is a day coming for him and for every other believer where we

Romans 7:24: Wretched Man That I Am! Who Will Deliver Me From This Body Of Death?

Romans 7:24 [24] Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (ESV) I am convinced that one of the greatest challenges that the church faces in every generation is men who are convinced of their own goodness. It is very difficult to convince people of their need for a Savior who think that they are inherently good. Scripture teaches us that mankind has been completely corrupted with a sinful nature. I love the Apostle Paul's description of himself. He calls himself a wretched man struggling with a body of death. What does he mean? Paul is saying that even in his position as a believer in Jesus Christ he still struggles with this sinful nature. The body of death is the "members" of his body he described in the previous verses that lead him right into sin. Charles Spurgeon, arguably the greatest preacher of the nineteenth century, and maybe of all time, said, "I groan daily under a body of sin and corruption. Oh for the time when I sha

Romans 7:22-23: I See In My Members Another Law Waging War Against The Law Of My Mind

Romans 7:22–23 [22] For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, [23] but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. (ESV) Did you know that there is a war going on and you are involved in it? There are many people who think that becoming a Christian is simply signing your name on the dotted line of eternal life and we just coast our way to eternity. The Apostle Paul knew something very different. He describes for us in these verses a very real war going on within him. This war is going on inside of you as well. Paul begins by saying that in his inner being, he delights in the law of God. In verse 23 he refers to his inner being as the "law of my mind." This law within him delights in God's Law. This is because the Apostle Paul is a believer in Jesus Christ. He has been transformed by the power of God and been made a new creation in Christ Jesus. As Paul told the

Romans 7:21: So I Find It To Be A Law That When I Want To Do Right, Evil Lies Close At Hand.

Romans 7:21 [21] So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. (ESV) Paul has spent a lot of time explaining the doctrine of grace and how that relates to the Old Testament Law. We have discovered that the Law of God is perfect. It is a standard of God's perfect holiness that none of us are able to attain to. Jesus Christ comes into the picture and lives a perfect life for us, fulfilling God's law flawlessly. Our new way of righteousness is through Christ, not the Law. Now, Paul is talking again about the law. This law is not the same as the Old Testament Law. He is using the word law as a principle that is consistent in our lives. Perhaps you have heard of "Murphy's Law." Murphy's Law says, "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." This "law" is establishing that some people seem to always have things go wrong. It doesn't mean they have to. So, Paul introduces this principle that when he w

Romans 7:20: Now If I Do What I Do Not Want, It Is No Longer I Who Do It, But Sin That Dwells Within Me.

Romans 7:20 [20] Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (ESV) What excites you about heaven? Is it the streets of gold? Perhaps you are looking forward to seeing loved ones who have gone on before you. Maybe you are anxious to talk to heroes of the faith that you have read about in the pages of Scripture. Certainly, we can all look forward to being with our savior, Jesus Christ. I am sure that one of the things that Paul would tell us he was excited about when it comes to heaven was the reality that he would no longer have to deal with this sin that dwelt within him. The Apostle Paul found himself doing the very things he did not want to do. His sin was constant reminder of his need for the Savior. Are you a believer in Jesus Christ, yet you find yourself continuing to do the very things that you do not want to do? You are in good company. You and the Apostle Paul have the same struggle. This is not a time for you to wallow

Romans 7:18-19: For I Know That Nothing Good Dwells In Me, That Is, In My Flesh.

Romans 7:18–19 [18] For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. [19] For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (ESV) Let's have a frank discussion. You and I have a problem. The problem is our flesh is completely corrupt. What makes it worse is that we rarely acknowledge just how bad this problem is. One of the greatest hindrances to living a godly life is believing the false notion that our flesh isn't really that bad after all. Paul helps us to understand just how bad the problem is. There is nothing good in our flesh. Did you catch that? Nothing. That word in the original language means, "nothing." How often have we made the assumption that we are not so bad after all, and then we fall headlong into some prevailing sin. What happened? We underestimated the sinfulness of our flesh. Paul presents a conundrum for us.

Romans 7:17: So Now It Is No Longer I Who Do It, But Sin That Dwells Within Me.

Romans 7:17 [17] So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (ESV) I remember discipling a man who had given his life to Jesus Christ. He had a very real struggle with addictions and struggles with sin. He would often say that he was looking through Scripture for a loophole. We would laugh together and I would assure him that I had read the Bible cover to cover and there was no such loophole. We might find that notion laughable, but how often do we live as if we think there is a loophole for our favorite sinful behavior. I have known people who were very consistent in their Sunday morning church attendance who could not make it to the parking lot of the church without their hateful gossip destroying another believer. It is as if they thought there was a loophole. At first glance, many critics of Paul's teaching would look at this verse as Paul's doctrine of a loophole. He says "it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.&quo

Romans 7:16: Now If I Do What I Do Not Want, I Agree With The Law, That It Is Good.

Romans 7:16 [16] Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. (ESV) Have you ever been in a situation where you fell into a particular sin that you thought you had gained victory over? It can seem hard to understand how you could fail when the very thing you did repulses you. You know you should not have done it. You have even told others that they should not do it, and yet, here you are, guilty. Paul says, "If I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good." What does that mean? First of all, consider that when we fail in our fight over a particular sin, we tend to immediately condemn ourselves. It is natural that we feel shame. That is a byproduct of all sin. But the fact that we can recognize that the sin we did is not what we want to do is actually a positive thing. Our old sinful self would have just done the sin. Now, since we belong to Jesus Christ, when we do the same sin, we find that we are repulsed by it. We recog

Romans 7:15: For I Do Not Understand My Own Actions. For I Do Not Do What I Want, But I Do The Very Thing I Hate.

Romans 7:15 [15] For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (ESV) If you claim to be a believer in Jesus Christ and you still struggle with sin there is a segment of Christianity that will judge you and call into question the genuineness of your faith. They will argue that if you truly loved the Lord you would not fall into temptation. Sadly, it is often these very same people who judge others that are hiding their own struggle with sin. Paul was an Apostle. He was called by God to declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations. He was radically saved from his sin and had a powerful encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. So, was Paul exempt from struggling with sin? As we read today's verse we can say that Paul was certainly not exempt from temptation. The things that Paul hated are the things that he found himself doing. Have you ever felt like Paul? I think of the man who was verbally abused as a child.

Romans 7:14: For We Know That The Law Is Spiritual, But I Am Of The Flesh, Sold Under Sin.

Romans 7:14 [14] For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. (ESV) One of the things that I love about the Bible is that it does not sugar coat things. If you look at all of the heroes of the faith you will find men and women with serious flaws. Many people think that men fabricated the words of Scripture. If that were so, then the likelihood is you would not make the superstars of the faith to have such terrible weaknesses. Consider some of the great heroes of Scripture. David was known as the apple of God's eye. He also committed adultery and murder. Moses led the people of Israel through the desert. His disobedience kept him out of the Promised Land. Jonah had to be punished by being eaten by a large fish before delivering a message to the land of Ninevah. The heroes of our faith are real. They are flawed. The Apostle Paul is probably my favorite biblical figure, other than God of course! Paul was used by God to proclaim the Gospel all