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Summary: Tell me: why do Christians behave they way they do? Hmmm? I mean, less-than-holy behavior at times. It’s because they are "human." Human! An incalculable gift from God!

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Author: Dr. Neal Gray

Passage: Romans 7:18 - 8:1, KJV

Purpose: Tell me: why do Christians behave they way they do? Hmmm? I mean, less-than-holy behavior at times. It’s because they are "human." Human! An incalculable gift from God!



Have you stopped to think about the reality that you are a "human"? I mean, this is getting down to the absolute fundamentals here. As a human, all sorts of incredible and even unknowable things surround your existence. Today, I want to talk about--actually I need to talk about for my own good--why we behave the way we do.

I have been struggling for a number of years, about a phenomenon I see in Christian people, (including myself). It happens in unsaved people, too; if this phenomenon happened only in unsaved persons, then the dilemma would be easily solved. But it happens in Christian persons, in saved-and-sanctified Christian persons; and it’s there that I find the great mystery.

Before we get to the Scripture focus for the sermon, (a Scripture that explains the situation to my satisfaction), I’ll give you a brief idea of this phenomenon, this dilemma, this mystery.


I’m talking about behavior. While WE ARE INGENIOUSLY GOOD AT HIDING IT from one another, I have noted that from time-to-time we Christians behave in ways that are...well, less than what we might think is within normal bounds for a good-and-godly person.

And because of such behavior there is a perplexing of our minds, of our hearts--a perplexing of our spirits when we behave in these less-than-holy ways. Questions understandably arise within us when our behavior sinks to low levels, questions such as:

"Why did I just do that? What caused me to behave in a way that I know my God would prefer me not to do? Am I really a holy person? Or have I been fooling myself all these years?"

These questions come. Even worse than evaluating our ownselves, I find that church folk are very ready to evaluate the less-than-optimal behavior of their fellow church-goers. Observing Brother Berfert or Sister Gertrude, (purely fictional names!), behaving somewhat outside of the norm for Christian persons makes us think: "Well, they certainly are not spiritual. Not as spiritual as they think, anyway!"

==> Are our observations themselves even within the bounds of good Christian behavior? While Jesus clearly teaches us to not judge others, "judge not, that ye be not judged," (Matthew 7:1); He also tells us that "you shall know them by their fruits," (Matthew 7:16a). What’s right? What’s best?

The message today attempts to give some understanding of why good-and-godly Christians sometimes "misbehave."


Our Scripture spans from the last part of Romans chapter 7 to the first verse in chapter 8. The great Apostle Paul is speaking. Let’s look together now:

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

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