Summary: Who has not done war with their own desires in contrast to what God desires?
Who has not set out living in the Spirit only to be confronted by your own fleshly desires? I think each of us at one time or another, in one way or another, has battled the flesh.
In Romans 8:1-3, Paul states There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.
Paul states there are two laws at work in this world. There is the law of the Spirit which is the ruling influence and control of the Holy Spirit, and there is another law, the law of sin and death which works in the flesh to bring spiritual death and defeat. And both of these laws are presently at work, or should I saw, at war, in the lives of every Christian.
Paul understood this war well. He said in Romans 7:18-20, For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very things I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
Paul is saying, there is this battle going on, and I have come to realize, I can’t call on my flesh to help me win because my unredeemed flesh is causing all the problems. He is saying, I have the right desire, but to often I do the wrong action. He is saying the sin principle is at work in my life.
Now how many of you can relate to what Paul is getting across? The sin principle is something we all have, it is that part that rears its ugly head every now and then that wants us to rebel against the Word and will of God. There is a part within us that wants to do what God hates because sin still dwells within us. It sort of hangs out and we can’t get rid of it because it has attached itself to our flesh.
Perhaps this explains why God will dispose of these old corruptible bodies and give us new ones which are made like His glorious body one day. Now lets look back at Romans 7:22-25: For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
Understand, Paul is a saved man, he is a Christian here. He is saying basically, there is a part of me that wants to shout on Sunday, but there is another part of me that wants to be independent on Monday. In my heart I know I want to please God, but in my body, I want to please myself, to feed my own passions. Paul calls this the conflict of a war. He is not saying that he is living in a war zone, but rather he is the war zone and that until he does something about the problem, it is just going to continue because the problem is sin in him.