Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Romans 7:25, NIV
Little Audie has for some time wanted to stay alone with us overnight, but wasn’t sure she could be away from her parents that long. Being four is a learning curve, and, until very recently, she always changed her mind at the last minute and went home with them, disappointed at not realising her wish. The day came that that struggle ended, and she was free to discover a new, exciting facet of life with her doting playmates. As Cinderella’s side-kick, I can assure you that Pinocchio’s lessons from four-year-old Geppetto are invaluable!
Aren’t we always wrestling with something? We feel anxiety because our choices impact on our life - something that young Audie is becoming aware of. Learning to discern good or evil, right or wrong, truth or lie, is essential in life but doesn’t mean that we will easily understand everything and always make the right choice; it’s a challenge we live with daily because we’re human, and have a lurking enemy. Ultimately all wisdom lies with God and we need his living Word.
Paul also struggled with this tension, recognising that his sinful nature was constantly warring against what he chose to surrender to – God’s law. He expressed his dilemma: “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:22-24)
Our verse today shows the answer to Paul’s cry: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
As a Pharisee, outwardly, Paul knew God’s Law and had practised it so fervently that he’d persecuted the new church; because, inwardly, he didn’t know God’s heart, to understand his will or his love – until Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Overwhelmed, “for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” (Acts 9:9) While Paul was fasting and praying, Jesus showed him, “how much he must suffer for the sake of [his] name.” (Acts 9:16, ESV)
Paul chose to serve Jesus knowing it wouldn’t be easy, but possibly didn’t still expect to grapple with sin. Yet, he found in Jesus a “High Priest (who) is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Jesus removed his blindness – physically and spiritually. Saul, as a Pharisee, who’d self-righteously thought that he was serving God, actually only got in step with God once he’d met Jesus – the only way to God (John 14:6) –ecognised his own sinfulness and repented; the Holy Spirit then empowered Paul to daily win the battle against the enemy.
He will do the same for us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, without you in my life, my plans are futile and my ‘righteousness’ like filthy rags. Thank you that walking with you empowers me to live victoriously as you save me from the power of the enemy. I am forever grateful. Amen