The Good & the Bad within the Christian

The text for today is Romans 7:15-8:1. Romans 7:19 says, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

R. C. Sproul said on this passage: “Paul is describing a conflict between rival goods. The most difficult decisions are not just those between good and evil but those between two goods. Such decisions can paralyze us. The desire to be perfectly obedient Christians is an inclination in our wills. The new man in our heart has the desire to please God, but there still lives in our members the vestigial remnants of the old men of the flesh, which has declared war on the leanings of the spirit. When the conflict comes, many times we would rather follow the old man than the new man. In the moment, it is more desirable to sin than to obey Christ. Part of us wants to obey Christ, but not all. We have evil inclinations and desires that bump up against our good intentions.” (The Righteous Shall Live by Faith by R. C. Sproul)

How many times have you done things you wish you had not done? You make a remark that you wish you had not said only to be unable to take it back. You went someplace you wish you hadn’t gone, committed some sin you wish you had not done. Whether you get caught or not, you are deeply sorrowful over what you have done. You know it did not honor God.

Then there is the good we wish we had done. We wish that we would develop a deeper prayer life. How many times have we determined to learn the Scriptures or to be more involved in the church’s life such as Sunday school and worship?

We realize the battle that takes place in us but though we are saved we still sin. There is one thing we should remember. As Christian people who are born of the Spirit, the bondage is broken. We are set free.  We experience a liberty that man has not had since the fall. We are changed people and even though that is true, all the impulses of sin do not disappear overnight. Although sin still dwells in us, it lacks the same captivating power it had before our conversion.

So the apostle Paul in Verse 23-25 tells us that though with our flesh we serve sin in our minds we serve the law of God. That is we know what we ought to do and pray for God to give us mastery over our desires. How is this done? I think the answer is in Psalm 1:2: “But his (the godly man’s) delight is in the law of the Lord.” What does this mean? What we have just learned from Romans; that as the Spirit sanctifies us, we come to see more and more the freedom that is ours from the bondage of sin because of the finished work of Christ. “And in His law He meditates day and night.” What does it mean to meditate? The Hebrew meaning is in reference to a cow chewing its cud. It may chew the same grass over and over again for a long period of time. That’s what it means to spend time meditating on God’s word.

Psalm 1:3: “He shall be planted like a tree planted by the rivers of water.” When we think of rivers of waters, we should think of Jesus who said in John 7:37, 38: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Psalm 1:3 continues: “That brings forth its fruits in its season whose leaf also shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper.” The psalmist shows us here in what respect those who fear God are to be happy. We are secure and cultivated from an uprooting by the hand of God in our lives. As unbelievers wither because of the sin in their life we should prosper because of God’s blessing in ours.

Let us then learn to concentrate more on doing those things that we should be doing for the glory of God.