In my last post, I talked about Paul’s writing about the inner struggle that happens between the sinful nature and the Spirit in us. I also wrote that when we are living in the Spirit, we have been released from the law (Romans 7:6). Paul was not saying that the law was insignificant to us; rather, he was saying that when we allow the Spirit to guide our actions we do not need the law to tells us what not to do because the Spirit will always lead us in the way God desires. The law still allows us to know what sin is so we will not fall into its trap. Paul wrote in Romans 7:7-8a, “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’ But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire.”
Can you relate to that statement? I certainly can! There have been times in my life that I didn’t think twice about something until I was told I couldn’t do it. I then found myself wondering why and wishing I could. That is the sinful nature. The law convicts us and points out our flawed thinking. Please look at Galatians 5:19-21 so we can see what our sinful nature would have us do. The list is convicting for each one of us in different ways. We each have something that is a greater temptation than it is for others. The good thing is the Spirit will point out to us when we are heading in that direction and will empower us to overcome the temptation. I Cor. 10:13 says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” That is encouraging to know that we have God on our side!
Paul words the inner battle so well in Romans 7:21-25 with the encouraging finish in verses 24-25a, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Praise God that He provided us salvation from our sinful nature and gave us someone who can relate to our temptations! Please look up Hebrews 4:14-16 and see how Christ understands our struggles. Jesus has been right where we are and understands the temptations that our humanness brings, but He was able to withstand the temptation and is without sin. Please look up Hebrews 2:14-18 and be encouraged by verse 18, “Because He Himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” We serve a God who truly understands and gives us help!
We now can identify the sinful nature and the temptations that we are under. We also know that knowing what sin is can help us withstand the temptations with Christ’s help. I am excited to begin studying the Fruit of the Spirit so we can identify God’s nature and begin to live a life that reflects Christ in us.
Do you use the help that Christ offers to withstand the sinful nature?