Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that this reading finds you well, and that God's mercy is new to you every day of this year, and the next, and so on. It seems this time of year everyone wishes and desires to do better for themselves, they imagine an ideal version of themselves, and seek to, at least in part, try and make that ideal vision come in to being. The Majority of us fail, and I have to wonder if all of us do, because the ideal most of us strive for existed only once in the History of humanity. We constantly seek to fill the gaps in our lives, look for things to make us feel better about choices made in the past, we seek to make up for past wrongs, and mostly end up falling short. Why? I think it is because we are naturally, by our sinful nature, drawn to things that harm us. For all the good we attempt to do, we can never make up for the wrong we have done. We are told from an early age "don't eat that, it's for later," and yet we find ourselves with our hands in the cookie jar. While our temporary fix is met, the feelings of failure and wrong don't ever really go away. We keep putting our foot in the bear trap, because the promise of what is on the other side is so much better, and when we get stuck, and we feel the pain and agony of our choices, we try and rationalize that "this is what I want," in the middle of destroying ourselves. How will we ever get out? Romans 7 has a great answer:
Romans 7:13-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
The Problem of Sin in Us
13 Therefore, did what is good cause my death?[a] Absolutely not! On the contrary, sin, in order to be recognized as sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment, sin might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am made out of flesh,[b] sold into sin’s power. 15 For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. 19 For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. 21 So I discover this principle:[c] When I want to do what is good, evil is with me. 22 For in my inner self[d] I joyfully agree with God’s law. 23 But I see a different law in the parts of my body,[e] waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.[f] 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord![g] So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.
a. Romans 7:13 Lit good become death to me?
b. Romans 7:14 Other mss read I am carnal
c. Romans 7:21 Or law
d. Romans 7:22 Lit inner man
e. Romans 7:23 Lit my members
f. Romans 7:23 Lit my members
g. Romans 7:25 Or Thanks be to God—(it is done) through Jesus Christ our Lord!