The very foundation of Salvation is grounded in the realization that God’s unmerited love toward us is greater than any other power—Including death!! Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 3:14-21
The Christian’s Struggle
I titled today’s devotional, “The Christian’s Struggle,” because the nonbeliever doesn’t have the struggle that the Christian has. The unconverted man doesn’t have the Spirit of God and is controlled only by his carnal mind. According to Paul, the carnal mind is “enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). The non-Christian obeys for personal, selfish reasons, because of social pressure, etc. Or perhaps he was raised in a principled home and has a conscience that leads him to live a respectable life.
The Christian, on the other hand, obeys God because the Spirit of God has put the desire to obey in his heart:
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Rom. 6:17).
The born-again individual very much wants to carry out God’s will in his life. Paul calls this delighting “in the law of God according to the inward man” (Rom. 7:22). Under the new covenant promise, the Holy Spirit begins writing God’s law in his heart and mind (Heb. 8:8-10 and 2 Cor. 3:3).
However, the new believer discovers very quickly that there is another very strong desire in him – the desire for sin. Now that he has the Spirit of God, he is aware of his sinful desires, whereas before, many of those desires didn’t really concern him. So the Christian discovers that there are now two natures residing in him: one that desires to follow sin, and the other that desires to obey God. Paul very clearly describes this intense conflict, experienced by every Christian, in Romans 7:14-25:
“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Every Christian can identify with the struggle Paul describes. Christians often experience this struggle day after day, month after month, and year after year, and never obtain the victory they want to have over sin. Every Christian is well aware of the fact that there is a “law of sin” dwelling within them that is waging war against the God-given desire to obey His law. As Paul states, he delighted in God’s law. He very much wanted to obey God in all things; however, he found that it was impossible for him to do so. His sinful nature constantly sought to make him a slave to the law of sin.
Recognizing the impossibility of obeying God because of the power of sin in his life, Paul cries out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” He then declares that deliverance from the law of sin can happen “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verses 24, 25, NIV).
In Romans 8:1-4, Paul gives the solution to this problem in the believer’s life. The solution to the Christian’s dilemma is to allow Christ Jesus, through the law of the Spirit of life, to set us free from the law of sin and death. Put another way, we must let Jesus live out His life in us through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is what Paul calls “walking in the Spirit.” He further elaborates on this in his letter to the Galatians:
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:16, 17).
Paul tells us that the righteous requirements of the law will be fulfilled “in us” when we have Jesus living in us through the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
“That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).
We have the “assurance” of salvation when we “trust” Jesus with our lives, that’s it. Once we trust Jesus, He, our great Heavenly Physician, will perfectly heal and restore us, thus our assurance is in Jesus, not in ourselves or our future. Salvation is Now!! 1John 5:11-13, 1 John 3:2, John 17:3