Are You Wretched?
Last night God gave me the answer to a prayer I've been seeking for a while. It regards sin in the life of a Christian. I have written about this subject before, specifically when I wrote "This Matter of Sin" but until now there was something missing in my understanding. Reading that two part article first will get you in my frame of mind here.
What I've been seeking God on is habitual sin in the life of a Christian, something that few are willing to even admit to let alone come to terms with. I see it in others all the time, and I see it in myself. In the back of my mind I always thought that I could eliminate sin from my life completely if I just worked hard enough on it and prayed. But I am seeing now that this is not the case.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and
all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf;
and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Before you get all self righteous on me and say we should not have any sin in our lives, I want to tell you I agree 100 percent. But what I am saying here is that we will never get to a place on this side of Heaven where we have completely conquered all the sin in our lives. Let me be clear though; we should not let this fact hinder us in any way from trying to be sinless.
I remember visiting an aunt as a kid and dropping a tuna sandwich she gave me on the floor. Boy, what I mess it made! Instead of trying to clean it up or showing it to her I pulled a chair over to cover it. Why do we do things like this? We want to hide our sins from God when we should be running to Him with them! This is why Adam and Eve hid in the garden.
Why do we have this awful sin nature anyway? Doesn't it seem sadistic on some level? But our God is not sadistic. He has a purpose in everything He does.
For I delight in the law of God
after 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 shall deliver me from the
body of this 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.
What I am going to tell you now is a powerful truth, and I ask that you seriously consider it and pray. He has shown me that it is foolishness to think we can 'be good' and somehow completely avoid sin in our lives and the accompanying guilt. This isn't about accepting sin, but owning it. It is about accepting the fact that no matter how hard we try, we remain sinners.
Speaking of myself, I understood that we are all born under the curse of sin, but I thought that through my own monumental efforts at controlling my flesh I could deftly glide past my sin nature and into some suspended state of sinlessness. I thought that I could get to a place where God's grace would surround me like a bubble and somehow insulate me from my sin nature. Well that bubble has burst!
For this thing I
besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me,
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in
weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that
the power of Christ may rest upon me.
After seeking God for the thousandth time about the sins I struggle with He gave me this passage. Folks, I believe that for each of us some sins are always going to be a struggle. This was the 'thorn in the flesh' that Paul so earnestly sought God to be removed (2 Corinthians 12:7 KJV). This is what he was referring to when he admitted to us what a wretched man he was (Romans 7:22-25 KJV).
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are
whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners to repentance.
God forbid we could ever get past feeling like sinners, because if we believe we are sinless or could ever reach a sinless state on this earth Christ has nothing to offer us. Struggle with your sin, hate your sin! But own it; take it to Jesus even after you've stumbled for the thousandth time in it. Are you a wretched man like me? God says His grace is sufficient for us.
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