“Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” vss. 24-25a
As a faithful Jew Paul was fully aware of God’s commandments as contained in the law…and he believed these commandments to be holy and just and true. He was determined to live in obedience to them…but he couldn’t do all the good that he wanted to do. Simply put, his spirit was willing but his flesh was weak. And ultimately his efforts to overcome evil with good wore him out and left him depressed and discouraged. He felt like a failure, a real wretch of a person! Most of us know that feeling well! We’re plagued by fleshly desires and are frustrated by our inability to do the good that we want so badly to do. Paul found his consolation in faith…and so do we. Our hope is built on the righteousness of Jesus and not our own. We remain sinners–that is a part of our identity–but we are also redeemed and righteous children of God, and it’s in that identity that we find our hope and salvation. As we daily die to our sin we are daily raised up to be wonderfully free and beautiful saints. And, as saints we are capable of the most sacrificial and loving behavior imaginable. And so we live on, always conscious of the sin at our core, but always rejoicing at the surprising goodness that is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Thought for the Day: When can I expect to be free of sin?