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Summary: Who will rescue us from the downward spiral of sin?

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Romans 7:15-25a

“The Spiral of Sin”

As many of you know, I went back ‘home’ this past week to my parent’s house in Syracuse, New York to bring back some things.

My parents are moving from the town I grew up in, from the town I have loved to call home, from the place we visit once or twice a year, from a place with a lot of memories…a lot of old friends.

On Tuesday, a very good friend of my family and her son stopped by the house to bring us lunch.

I’ve known these wonderful folks for years, and I noticed something starkly different in the son of my family’s friend.

You see I had always had a hard time getting close to this person because he was so shy and withdrawn.

He had always appeared to be carrying a very heavy load, and although I hadn’t been quite sure what this load was…I knew that it was ruining his life…

…causing him to be miserable…

…making it painful for him to interact with other human beings…

…and difficult to hold down a job or have meaningful relationships.

Then, sometime in the past year or so my father had mentioned that this forty something man had really hit ‘rock bottom’.

My dad told me that he had been living, for six months, in an alcohol rehabilitation center run by the Salvation Army.

My dad had even loaned him some money to live on.

Around the table, this man, his name is Tom, began to talk and talk and talk.

I was shocked by the change.

I don’t think I had ever heard him speak more than one sentence at a time.

He did not appear to be self-conscious in the least.

What he was talking about was a battle, a battle that has been raging in him for a very long time…

…a battle he had been losing for a very long time, but now the tide has turned—although the battle continues and will continue for the rest of his life.

As I listened to his story and took in the transformation that I was seeing right before my eyes, I tried to conceal tears of joy welling up.

I had never before seen him happy.

I had never before seen him look as if he were comfortable in his own skin.

He was talking about alcoholism.

He was talking about addiction.

He was talking about a spiral of sin that had nearly ruined his life completely.

During the conversation he told us that he had been over at a friend’s home, not too long ago, and they were having a conversation about Christianity.

She (his friend) told Tom that she did not believe in the existence of the devil.

Tom, who does believe in the existence to the devil, was telling her that he has felt the power of the devil in his life and knows he is real, but she was trying to dissuade him.

Just then, as they were ‘speaking of the devil’ Tom’s friend went to the refrigerator to get a grape wine cooler.

She called out to Tom, “Do you want one?”

At that moment, Tom felt the devil trying, in a very real way to pull him back down.

He said, “My favorite flavor is even grape. I felt it was more than coincidence that while having a conversation on the existence or non-existence of the devil that I was tempted in this way.”

Tom is now a very active member of his church.


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