Summary: Fighting the war of spirit vs. flesh
Why Do I do what I don’t want to do?
You only have to be a Christian for five seconds to realize that even though Jesus takes away the penalty for your sin and its power over you, you will still struggle to live the right way.
Why is that?
Why - even though you have given your life to Christ – why do you continue to do what you don’t want to do - - and more importantly, what can you do about it?"
Listen, even Paul, probably the greatest Apostle of all, is saying that he struggles with doing what he don’t want to do…it is a battle that was waging then and still wages today in us all.
There are a number of reasons why this is so and we will look at them this morning.
Read Romans 7:14-25 / Pray
TRANS: One of the first reasons that this happens is because…
1. YOU’VE NEVER ACKNOWLEDGED JESUS’ POWER TO HELP
For many people Romans 7 is the story of their lives.
Struggle, struggle, struggle – on my own.
We try the 12 step process…do these and VIOLA! Doesn’t work…
We listen to this person or that person and because they are so-called famous, surely they know – Doesn’t’ work
Have you truly accepted that Jesus is the only one who has power over the sin in your life?
But Jesus said …
“… take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33 NIV)
On your own, you have no power over sin in your life.
Only Jesus has that power to overcome all that is worldly about you.
Phil 1:6 “ being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Have you truly surrendered your struggle against sin to Jesus?
TRANS: Second, we all have to realize that…
2. BEING SET FREE FROM SIN IS A PROCESS
Some people still struggle with the fact that they continue to sin because they haven’t understood that salvation is a process.
In fact salvation is a three stage process.
1. When you accepted Christ, you were saved from the PENALTY of sin.
2. Right now, you are being saved from the POWER of sin.
3. Later, when you go to heaven, you will be saved from the PRESENCE of sin.
And the reason why there’s still some tension in your life is because right now, you’re living out that second stage.
If you believe then you are now being saved from the power of sin – you are a work in progress.
There’s a conflict inside you between the old sinful nature you were born with, and the new nature you were given when you accepted Christ.
That’s why Galatians 5:17 says: For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want:
"Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ"
(1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV)
And when you try to fight the battle in your own strength, it leads to three results.
"We know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do"
(Romans 7:14-15 NIV)
Sometimes you feel like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde.
One minute you’re this wonderful Christian that wants to love the Lord, and please God in everything you do.
But then there’s this old “you” from years ago.
The one who thinks he can do everything himself.
In the book, “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” Dr Jekyll says, “Of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could be rightly said to be either, it was only because I was radically both.’
When you try to overcome sin in your own strength, confusion reigns.
The second reaction we have when we try to follow the law of God in our own strength is that we get frustrated.
"For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out!" (Romans 7:18 NIV)
Struggling with sin is frustrating…You want to change…But you just can’t.
You have the motivation…But you don’t have the determination.
You have the desire to do what is right…But for some reason, you can’t do it
“…no one will be declared righteous by observing the law, rather, through the law, we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20 NIV)
But it won’t do you any good just to get confused and frustrated over sin.