A Sinner and a Saint

good_vs__evil_by_raptorkraine“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do good, but I cannot carry it out” Romans 7:18

One of the biggest challenges of being a Bible teacher is the tension between expressing what the Bible says about sin and recognizing my own sinful nature.  How can I stand before a class or post something I’ve written that tells other “how to live” when I fail so often in my own walk?  Who do I think I am?

That’s why I find great comfort in Paul’s letters.  Paul addresses every kind of sin we can imagine – sexual sin, lying, stealing, hate, laziness, idolatry, marital unfaithfulness, abuse, self-centeredness, drunkenness, and yes even gluttony (Ouch!).  He is very outspoken about sin and points a finger wherever he sees it.  But he also points a finger back at himself.  Paul frequently admits his own human failure to walk the walk of which he talks.  In Romans 7, he laments this all too common push-and-pull of righteousness vs. sin.  “What I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (v. 15). “The evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing” (v. 19).  From Paul’s words we realize that the sinful nature we inherited from Adam constantly “wages war” against out new nature in Christ (v. 23). 

So what do we – as those called to share the gospel and the truth of righteousness – do with that conflict?  First, we stop focusing on ourselves.  That’s a guarantee to keep failing.  Instead we follow Paul’s example and shift our focus upward.  He wrapped up his lament, by recognizing his failure: “What a wretched man I am!” He admitted his need for a savior: “Who will rescue me from the body of death?”  Then he rejoiced in the goodness and faithfulness of God: “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (vv. 24-25).

Beloved, you and I are part of the fallen human race, and even though we have trusted in Christ as our Savior, we still fall to our sinful nature.  Satan would have us languish there in self-hatred.  But we are no longer under the sentence of condemnation (Romans 8:1).  We have been rescued and redeemed.  When we focus on who we are because of Jesus, we live more in the freedom of our new nature and less in the bondage of our sin. Yes, I still fail – but thanks be to God – through Christ Jesus my Lord!


5 thoughts on “A Sinner and a Saint

  1. Beth, yes we must trust in Christ, and His grace through our trials… And I post this for your readers, not for U… But we must spend time in the Word (the Sword of the Spirit) to put on all 6 pieces of God’s spiritual armor…Ephesians 6:10-20…

    And then we must submit our life to God, to allow the Holy Spirit to protect us…

    James 4:7-8… Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (NKJV)

    I call these 2 ways to keep Satan in check…”God’s Duo”…and spent a day writing about how to defeat Satan, and hopefully keep our carnal flesh in check, in the link below…

    Blessings in Christ, bruce


  2. I’m like Paul, I want to do good but I fail to carry it out. Keeps me awake sometimes praying for God to forgive me for my failed good intentions.

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