As I mentioned before in my last blog, I do believe there is room for hope in our fight against sin.
The main problem Christians fight in their struggle against sin is despair. And the question that most people ask is, “Am I really a Christian? How can a Christian possibly do the things that I do? I want to do what’s right, and I keep failing time and again.”
But here is something important that Paul brings up.
For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good…For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does. (15-16, 19-20).
What is the key thing to notice here? One word: struggle.
The non-Christian, at least one not yet touched by the grace of God, does not struggle against sin. They don’t even notice there is a problem. A Christian does.
Now if a Christian were making a practice of sin despite knowing what God has said (and this is a key point because young Christians don’t always know), and telling me, “What do you mean I’m doing something wrong? I’m not doing anything wrong,” that would be a warning sign to me that something is wrong. Either they are not really a Christian, or they have so hardened their hearts to God that they can’t hear him anymore.
But a Christian that is struggling is a Christian that I have confidence God is working in. And if God is working in you, he will complete his work.
Paul put it this way,
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy, 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. (Philippians 1:4,6)
Rest assured, if God is bringing into your life conviction of sin, he will not leave you there in the pig sty. He will bring you victory. That’s the hope that we have.
That’s why one minute Paul could cry out,
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (24)
And the next minute cry out even more loudly,
Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!
We cannot make ourselves better. We cannot change ourselves. But God can. That’s the hope that we have. How does he do it? How do we change? Through the Holy Spirit whom he has given us. But that’s another blog. Stay tuned.