Summary: The only way to win the war with sin is to allow Jesus to be the Lord of our lives.
THE GREAT PARADOX AND THE ULTIMATE VICTORY
Text: Rom. 7:14-25
1. Illustration: I love the story of Charles Spurgeon when he was a speaker at a conference along with another man, who publicly proclaimed that Christians could reach a place of sinless perfection where they no longer struggled with sin because they were perfected in the love of God. The speaker went on to suggest modestly that he had realized this in his own life. Spurgeon said nothing, but the next morning, at breakfast time, he crept up behind the man and poured a jug of milk on his head. He quickly discovered that the man still had his sinful nature!” (Gary Inrig. Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay, 158)
2. If I were to ask you today to raise your hand if you no longer struggle with sin in your life, most likely no one would raise their hand. But what if someone did? If someone did, one of two things would take place; 1) they should come up here and I should sit down, or, 2) they are a habitual liar and we need to lay hands on them and pray for their soul.
3. You see, in our text this morning the Apostle Paul admits that he struggles with sin, and if Paul struggles with it then we all do!
4. In this text, Paul talks about the great paradox and the ultimate victory. He talks about…
a. The Feeling Of Uselessness
b. The Feeling Within
c. The Feeling Of Victory
5. Let’s stand together this morning as we read Rom. 7:14-25.
Proposition: The only way to win the war with sin is to allow Jesus to be the Lord of our lives.
Transition: First, Paul talks about…
I. FEELING OF USELESSNESS (14-17).
A. I Don’t Understand Myself
1. In the first four verses of this section, Paul talks about the uselessness of trying to do good when fighting against the power of sin.
2. In v. 14 Paul says, "So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin."
a. Paul here is referring back to the idea that the law is not the problem.
b. In fact, the law itself is holy, righteous, good and spiritual! What this means is that it comes from God and not humans.
c. Moreover, Paul says, the problem is with me! The is the first of six times in this section that Paul uses I or me, and in doing so he is making a reference to his own humanity.
d. What he is doing here is drawing a contrast between the law, which is spiritual, and his own unspiritual nature which leads him, and us, to choose sin.
e. It shows us how we belong to this world and are under the power of sin and death.
f. Paul makes reference to this by saying that he is too human and a slave to sin.
g. You can almost see the picture with Paul in chains on the selling block and being handed over to his new master.
h. Furthermore, it describes our continuing sinfulness, that our very best acts are not good enough because we are enslaved to the power within us.
i. We have been set free from sin, but sin uses our own sinful tendencies against us to make a counterattack and gain a stronghold once more in our lives.
j. The slavery metaphor that Paul is using is designed to emphasize the control of sin in our lives.
k. He is demonstrating what happens when we try to live for Christ in our own strength.
l. He is demonstrating how powerful this vicious force is that is at war against us.
3. Paul takes this idea a step further in v. 15 where he says, "I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate."
a. Paul neither understands nor approves of what he is doing. There is a single concept that is running through theses verses - conflict and self-guilt.
b. He wants to do what is right but can't. This is the heart of the paradox of the struggle between living for God and living for self; what I want to do I don't do, but what I hate that's what I do.
c. There are actually three different Greek words that are translated "do" in this verse. They refer to the human actions of the individual who wants to do good but can't.
d. It all comes down to the will which is a part of the human mind.
e. Here Paul distinguishes his actual desire from the actions he carries out.