“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25a)
We all struggle with sin at various times in our lives. We all wish we would be free of the nagging temptations we encounter in our culture, particularly the media. We can find comfort in the midst of our struggle from the words of the Apostle Paul who outlined for us his own struggle with sin. He was a righteous and holy man who knew that he was free from sin, death, and law in Christ, but he still felt the pull of sin and the flesh. He knew that in his own strength he could not overcome sin. He was still corrupted by sinful flesh and its evil desires even though he knew better. He needed help even as a Christian for he was still living as a human being in the world. The only solution was to depend on the Lord Jesus Christ who not only helped him walk in obedience but actually declared him to be righteous and holy.
All human beings feel the temptations of the flesh. Most humans also feel the need to try to balance sin out by doing good deeds or by obeying the Law, God’s Law or human ethical laws and values as laid down by governments, society, culture and family. Most know the struggle of trying to keep those laws in the face of temptations, desires, and social pressure to compromise. Many succumb and decide they cannot obey at all. Therefore they just disregard the whole system of values and laws in favor of obeying their own wills and their own appetites. They make up their own values and do what is right in their own eyes without considering God or the consequences for themselves or others. And there will be consequences as we see in our society today. Countless physical illnesses result from overindulgence in sexual and fleshly appetites, even from overindulgence in adrenaline producing experiences. Emotional illnesses run rampant resulting in violence, hatred, bitterness, alienation of affection, divorce and suicide. The only solution is to come to faith in Christ Jesus. Only He can make us righteous and holy, not by our works or our willful desires, but by His death on the cross on our behalf. How sad it is for our fellow human beings when the solution to all the world’s ills is so plain and obvious and yet they ignore it.