“So I find this law at work: Allthough 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 at work within me. 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!
“So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:21-25, NIV)
Have you ever felt the way Paul said that he felt? I’ve always admired Paul’s honesty. After the church was founded, Paul did more than anyone else to move the church forward, make new disciples, convert Jews and Gentiles to be followers of Christ Jesus. Yet he was a sinner and willing to admit it: “What a wretched man I am!” Rather than acting as though we are above sin in our own self-righteousness, a little more honesty today about our sinful nature just might cause others to notice Christ and his church.
After admitting his own sin, Paul finished with a stirring declaration of what it means to be in Christ Jesus. It means that the law of the Spirit sets us free from the law of sin and death.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8: 1-4)
We are free because God offered his son on our behalf and then sent his Spirit to give us life and keep us free. We aren’t free because of anything we have done. We are free because of the outpouring of God’s grace.