Summary: This is the fourth message in a series over Romans 6-11. The series examine how we now life under God's grace. This message looks at the resources God has made available to help us in this new life.
When we last left off in Romans, Paul had painted a dismal picture of the reality we all face. Although we want so badly to do the right thing, each time we try we fail miserably. At the end of verse 24, Paul desperately cries out for freedom. The question is, “What is freedom and how do we achieve it?” I venture to say that freedom for Paul was an entirely different concept than that of our society. To our society, freedom is the ability to do whatever you want to. It means they are free to do drugs, drink, have sex with whoever or whatever they want, it means that kids are free to do whatever they want, and it means adults can do whatever is necessary to get ahead. To Paul freedom meant to be set free from the very things society considers to be freedom. If we are really honest we can admit that each of these exercises of freedom are really a sign of slavery, those very things that are at the root of the vicious struggle in which we are engaged. To Paul freedom was being set free from the power of sin so he could live the way that he truly desired. In our text Paul shows that although the picture is dismal there is still hope. We have been provided all of the spiritual resources that we need to enjoy the freedom that has been provided by God’s grace. Today, we want to examine the dangers of this struggle and the resources that have been provided to enable us to be free.
I. The negative effects produced by our struggle.
A. Physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion.
1. The Greek word translated wretched is talaipōros which reflects the idea of being pulled in two different directions at the same time. The term describes Paul’s frustration.
2. He has tried everything possible to gain victory over his situation now he is left feeling miserable and hopeless.
3. Paul’s efforts have brought him nothing but exhaustion and now he realizes that there is nothing that he alone can do to change his situation.
4. The words written in verse 24 is a desperate cry which shows that he has reached the end of his rope.
B. A sense of hopelessness.
1. Like us Paul realized that his attempts at living a righteous life has fallen far short and he wonders if there is any hope for change.
2. More than anything Paul wanted to rid himself of his sinful nature and his hopelessness is revealed in the cry, “Who can save me?”
3. Whenever we attempt to live a Godly life on our own the result will be failure and ultimately hopelessness.
4. Nothing can make a person feel more hopeless than being defeated time and time again.
C. Belief that there is absolutely no escape.
1. The body we now live in is doomed to death through our union with Adam and along with that the sinful nature is doomed to death.
2. The question “Who will save me?” also reveals the sense that Paul was feeling like he was trapped.
3. If you cannot find the answer to that question, you most definitely will resign yourself to the fact that there is no escape.
4. The truth is that we can exhaust all human efforts and still never find an escape from the struggle.
D. The feeling of condemnation.
1. Paul realized that if he could not find a way of escape that he was condemned to continue to fruitlessly struggle and ultimately lose the struggle with sin.
2. Undoubtedly an image of a common Roman penalty for murder came to his mind. The murderer would have the body of the one whose life he had taken strapped to him face to face, being forced to carry it with him until his life would end.
3. Paul felt like the sinful nature was like having a corpse hung around him. Doomed to walk through his life a condemned man.
4. Although he wanted to obey the higher nature, the weight of the sinful nature condemned him to defeat.
E. Paul offsets the negative effects with a brief word of hope.
1. As you reach verse 25, Paul loudly exclaims that the Gospel is the remedy for our situation.
2. Jesus is presented as the source of our rescue from the struggle that consumes our lives.
3. Paul leaves no doubt that the plight he is describing is that of a Christian. The struggle is hopeless if we try to face it through our own power.
4. Each of the resources that he presents in chapter eight are gifts given by the resurrected and exalted Christ.
II. The Spiritual resources that God provides for our aid.