“But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” Romans 7:17-25
I was on my way up to my church for early Saturday morning nursery duty. My car has no radio antenna to speak of, so I usually have some fun seeing just which stations it will pick up and for how long.
What I came across that morning made me sad. Very, very sad.
It was a program put on by a small country church which is part of the same denomination as the church where I attend. The pastor had apparently come back from a vacation, and was speaking on the subject of what salvation should mean to us.
He told his congregation that he’d had many opportunities to sin while on his trip, and because he was so far from home that no one would have known about it. I expected him to say that the Holy Spirit would have called him out on his behavior, but he took a decidedly different turn.
“I have no desire to do the worldly things now, because when I got saved, I really got saved,” he said. “When you get saved, and I mean, REALLY saved, you have no desire to do sinful things any more.”
Wow. I guess I must not be really saved then, because I do find myself tempted to do wrong!
I hate to think that people were tuning in that morning hoping for some encouragement in their journey, and were left with a load of holy hogwash. Because, let’s face it, folks. There is no one, and I mean NO ONE of us who is above sin. Not the unsaved, and not the saved. Just because we asked Jesus to be Lord of our lives does not take all desire for things of this world away! Not by a long shot!
I’m so glad that Paul felt this same way, and was inspired by the Holy Spirit to put this dilemma into words. I’m also glad that just because I’m tempted, and I fall, that doesn’t mean that I’m washed up as a Christian. It means I’m human, and that God’s grace still applies to me.
So, don’t let someone feed you a load of holy hogwash. Don’t believe the hype that only if you’re no longer desiring to do wrong are you really, truly saved. Don’t buy into that lie, my friends! God wants us to do right, but He loves us even when we do wrong – and that’s some good news for sure!