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Summary: Why do we do what we don't want to do? Etc, etc. In this message we look at the why and how of the sinful nature

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Wow that was depressing. I would have expected more from Paul, but this just sounds like whining. I half expected him to check himself into a rehab centre by the time I got to the end of this section.

But at some time in our Christian life most of us could probably identify with what Paul is saying, we want to do good things and we don’t want to do bad things, but that isn’t the way it always ends up. It seems like it is a constant struggle and we end up berating ourselves for blowing it yet again.

Really, wouldn’t it be great if it was as easy to do the right thing as it was to know the right thing to do? And wouldn’t it be great if it was as easy to the do the right thing as it was to resolve to do the right thing?

I’m not going to ask for a show of hands but how many of you have experienced this struggle in your Christian life? You do something, and then you hate yourself because you did it? Kind of feel like that old Roger Miller song that said “Dang me, dang me they oughta take a rope and hang me.” In each verse of the song he talks about the rotten things he does and in the chorus he talks about how sorry he is for what he did, but he keeps on doing them in the next verse.

Different people take different views of this scripture, some take the view that Paul was writing about his present situation and that he is describing a flawed Christian experience, something that he struggled with on a daily basis. I don’t take that view.

Instead I like what Adam Clarke wrote about this passage of scripture almost 200 years ago. “It is difficult to conceive how the opinion could have crept into the Church, or prevailed there, that "the apostle speaks here of his regenerate state; and that what was, in such a state, true of himself, must be true of all others in the same state." This opinion has, most pitifully and most shamefully, not only lowered the standard of Christianity, but destroyed its influence and disgraced its character.”

Others like Clark challenge that assumption, saying that Chapter 7 finishes with the distress of the sinner and that chapter 8 begins with the joy of the saved. That Paul was talking about the past, what he had been like before meeting Jesus or early in his Christian walk.

That it is not just the turning of a page but the turning of a life. It is the description of a man struggling to live under the law of Moses and then the victory of the man who has discovered the grace of God described throughout the first part of this letter. And that of course would be reflected in what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: 2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

And so to properly understand the struggle that Paul describes in these verses we need to understand that Paul’s thought line does not end at the conclusion of Chapter 7. Chapters and verses are arbitrary division put in by men to make it easier to find specific points in the scripture.


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