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The Struggle is Real

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  ROMANS 7:21-25
Need a little good news?  Perfection is impossible, but victory is possible.  Everybody take a deep breath with me and stop faking it.  You are not perfect.  I'm not perfect.  None of us are perfect.  Even for the most committed Christ follower, perfection this side of heaven is not going to happen.  Victory yes – perfection never.   It is clear from this passage:

18 ...For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  ROMANS 7:18  

In pointing this out, let me tell you two things that Paul is not saying.  He is not saying that we should make peace with our sin.  Don’t take the fact that struggle is required as an opportunity to throw in the towel or as an excuse to sin.  In fact, it is just the opposite, we should be at war with the sin within us.  He is also not saying that we will continually be defeated by sin.  We will have some victories, but we will never be perfect or sinless short of Christ’s return.

19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  ROMANS 7:19  

ROMANS 7:20 is sin living in me that does it.

ROMANS 7:21   ...evil is right there with me.

The struggle that we see here and the struggle that we see in our own lives is caused by what theologians call “indwelling sin.”  Here’s what that means:  Even though you and I have been completely forgiven and are righteous in God’s sight,  and yet sin still lives in our body.  This is one of the tensions of knowing Christ.  I know Christ and am completely forgiven and yet sin still has an influence over my body.

What we have in Romans 7 is the problem defined – we all have a sin problem both before we know Christ and after we know Christ that only Jesus himself can solve.  Next, we are going to move on to Romans 8 where we learn how we can trust Christ as we go to war with the sin in our lives.

See Yourself the Way God Sees You
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  ROMANS 8:1-2  

In the terms “no condemnation” we find not only freedom from the guilt but also freedom from the enslaving power of sin.  Yes, sin is still active in our lives, but we are no longer sin’s slaves.  

Go to War with the Sin Inside of You
Let me tell you a secret:  the war with sin only intensifies the more we fall in love with God.  It’s a fact:  people that love God hate sin and not just any sin.  They hate their own sin.  That is why in Romans 6, we are commanded to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to Christ!

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.  ROMANS 6:11-14  

Trust That, in Christ, Victory is Yours
The key is trust Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  It all comes back to trust.  I could leave it on try, but that won’t work.  We must trust Jesus.  Our challenge is to trust the Spirit instead of trusting ourselves and simply trying to be good.

11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
Trust that the spirit is working on Christ’s behalf in your life and that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.  ROMANS 8:11 

You don’t have enough “will power” or “won’t power” to overcome the sin in your life.  You have got to trust that the Spirit is working in your life and that Jesus is the only solution to your sin problem.
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