Summary: PENTECOST 7(A) - I know that nothing good lives in me because sin is alive and well but sin is also to be defeated.
Romans 7:15-25a - July 18, 2004 – Pentecost 7
15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
As we look around in our nation we may notice that there are people that are different from us. There are all kinds of people, different nationalities, different religions, and different backgrounds, different occupations, which yields all kinds of diversity. Yet as we also look around at our nation and the people we see, in the midst of all these differences and diversity there are many things that make us alike with everyone else. When we look deeper, we find that most of us look about the same. We walk around on two legs. Each one of us has the same kind of human feelings, human failings, and human desires. Then as Paul reminds us this morning, each one of us still has sin. Sin unites us all of us. We cannot escape it. The fact is the Lord reminds us that just as no one can escape physical death here on earth, it means that sin is still alive and well. The prophet Ezekiel describes it this way: "For every living soul be-longs to me, the father as well as the son--both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die" (EZEKIEL 18:4). Since people still die, Ezekiel reminds us that people are still sinning generation after generation, person by person until the very end of time. So we have that in common with everyone, and everyone has that in common with us.
Today, we have to agree and confess with the Apostle Paul when he says, "I know that nothing good lives in me." With that confession, we make that our theme for our sermon—
I Know that Nothing Good Lives in Me.
I. We discover that sin is alive and well.
II. Also we learn that sin is to be defeated.
I. SIN IS ALIVE AND WELL
We know the apostle Paul quite well. The Lord had called him from darkness into light by his grace. Paul realized that it was only by that grace of God that he was saved. We also realize that now because God had shown him such great love, Paul had a responsibility--a re-sponsibility to try and walk in the way that God had laid out for him. But Paul also realized that sin interfered with that perfect walk in the way of the Lord.
Paul says as our text begins: 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Paul is not saying, "I don’t know what I am doing," but he is saying, "I want to do good, but I don’t. Instead that which I hate I do. The sin that I hate and want to try to stay away from, I end up doing. I don’t understand why I do that." Because Paul knows what is right and wrong, he also knows the difference between good and bad. Still, Paul does that which is sinful.
We have heard that over and over in the various verses of today’s text. Paul writes; 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. As you notice the struggle that Paul faces, it is a strug-gle whenever he really puts the emphasis on himself when he says: "I can’t do it. I can’t do the good I want instead that which I hate." He says: 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. It would be a struggle for Paul.