Romans 7:21-25  “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 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. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

     When I was younger I didn’t really ‘get’ what Paul was talking about when he despaired of wanting to do the right thing and ending up doing the wrong thing.  Sadly, too many harsh retorts from a high horse, too many compromises with the way of the world, too many actions motivated by the fear of man and pride gradually imprint Paul’s desperate realization on the fabric of our flawed lives.  We read it  in the hurt and disappointed eyes of loved ones and friends.  The memories haunt us! And we ask; “Is this all it adds up to?”

     The pull of selfishness perplexes us as it destroys us; “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)  And so a battle rages in our mind; “For in my inner being; I delight in God’s law; 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.”  (Romans 7:22,23)  Our mind is the battleground between the spirit and the flesh.  Following the flesh doesn’t end well; “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”  (Romans 2:8)

    Without Jesus, life is just cruel chance.  Events unfold into two equally likely outcomes – one works out to please us and the other works out badly; “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”(Ecclesiastes 9:11)  Without the outworking of God’s law and His inner call upon us the law of chance degrades our life to empty random events governed by ‘the pull of flesh’.  Life becomes wretched and more wretched as every year goes by until a very desperate old age is reached.

       King Solomon, for all his riches and wisdom summed up a life without Jesus as; “I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:18,19)  And Paul cries out; “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”

     The rescue is as simple as it is profound. Is it   a work any man can do?  Is it  an action that any person is capable of; “‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’” (John 6:28,29)  We can step out of the dim, darkened world of chance and death.  We can walk in the light and see our way to life; “The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:45,46)

     Our own minds are accomplices to the thief that would steal a life of meaning and joy from us. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand – one decision away; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

     Praise the Lord!
     

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