I love scripture. It is something that I feed on and that enriches my life. I love how it weaves its way through my life, my mind and my heart. I love that I can read a piece of scripture one day, and days later, or even weeks or months later it will pop into my head and I will have something of a eureka moment. I’ll read something over and over and it seems that the Holy Spirit will wait until just the right moment to reveal the true meaning of it to me. I am reminded of how the scriptures really are living and breathing within the Christ follower.
It happened to me today as I was sleeping. I woke up for just a second and for some reason, Paul’s discussion on his own sinful nature in Romans 7:14-25 came to mind. As I laid in bed with the fog of sleep still in my eyes, this small piece of scripture just came to life for me. He is discussing his struggle with sin. He is talking about how even though he desires to do what is right, he continually does what is wrong. He talks about how he almost cannot help but do exactly what he does not want to do. Paul goes on to say that since the things that he does are not what he desires to do, that it is the sinful nature that lives within him that is doing them and not himself who has been transformed and that delights in Gods law.
Have you ever felt like this? I know that I have. I strive to do what is right, I long to be righteous to the point that I often forget that it is not my doing that makes me righteous but the blood of Christ that does so. I cannot help but sin. Like Paul says, “evil is right there with me”. There is a war raging inside me between the sinful body and the transformed mind. I know what I want to do, and yet I find myself in the midst of doing just the opposite and go “whoa, what am I doing?”.
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and savior we are transformed by the Holy Spirit. We are created new. The old ways that we lived with pass away and we are a new being. This new being no longer desires to sin but desires to do what is right. Even so, sin is so intertwined into everything in this world that it is impossible to avoid. Thankfully, there is freedom to be found as a follower of Christ. We learn that it is no longer us who sins, but our sinful nature that pulls at our bodies in a constant battle. We have been washed clean from all the filth and dirt that sin has, does, and will bring into our lives. We are forgiven for all time. Psalm 103:12 says that he has removed us from our sin “as far as the east is from the west”. Even so, we live in a cursed world, in cursed bodies, that are plagued with sinful natures that are constantly at war within us. We cannot cut it out, it is ingrained in us. We are incapable of keeping it in check on our own which is evidenced by the sin in our lives. But with Christ, it can be overcome.
One day we will be given a new body, one that is free from the shackles of sin, free from the sinful nature that lives inside all of us. And until that time, we can rest easy knowing that we are constantly being cleaned of our sin by the forgiveness of Christ who loves us. It is a process of love that is never ending. It is a cleanness not only from the stain of sin, but from the guilt, shame, and pain that sin carries with it.
To quote Paul one last time “What a wretched man am I! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”.