Background: I recently heard a message by Dr. Rick Flanders. At the end he said it would be life-changing, revolutionary in your life if you apply it, and I believe that to be true. This message meant so much to me that I thought I would share what I got from it with you. The sermon was based off of Romans 6:1-14 and 7:14-25, if you would like to read it on your own.
Have you ever been discouraged? (Okay, I know we all have!) Does it seem like you simply cannot live a good Christian life? Are you constantly sinning, and asking forgiveness? Well, me too! And for a while, I almost thought it had to be that way. But last night I learned something new.
I am free! When I became born again, Jesus Christ broke the chains of sin. Romans 6:1-2 says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (emphasis added) Did you catch that? We are dead to sin! This is a glorious truth.
However, you may ask, “So why do I keep sinning? If I am free from sin, why can’t I stop?” Here’s the thing: we cannot stop from sinning. Romans 7:18 says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” That verse is confusing sometimes, but we can understand the part that says, “In me… dwelleth no good thing,” right? We cannot do anything good by ourselves.
Wow! So after telling you that we are free from sin (which is still true, by the way), I tell you that we can’t do anything good? Yes, that’s right. To learn more, we need to read more of Romans 7.
“21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
This says that there are two laws in us: the law of sin, and the law of God. In verse 19, Paul writes, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Basically, we as Christians want to serve the Lord, but the law of sin which is in us does not allow us to. Note that these are laws. Laws cannot be changed.
Are you even more discouraged yet? Well, we’re getting close to the exciting part now. Remember when I said that we are free from sin? That is still true! But we cannot stop sinning in our own strength. We need Someone’s help.
Now I have to tell you something else; this is the really exciting part!! If you are a Christian, you have that Someone living inside you- the Holy Spirit! John 16:7 says, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” The Comforter is the Holy Spirit. And guess what? Comforter, in this case, means Helper! The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He will help us not to sin.
Dr. Flanders said that he daily asks the Holy Spirit to help him, because he knows that he can not do anything good by himself. I think this is a good plan. The more mature you are as a Christian, the more you will realize that you are simply helpless; our strength comes from Christ.
Isn’t this amazing?!? We will try and try to be a good Christian, but we will always fail. Just as we have depended on Christ for salvation, we must depend on the Holy Spirit for daily sanctification. This is a blessed hope! We do not need to always fail; we can ask for help.
As I listened to this message, tears welled in my eyes. I have been struggling lately in my walk with Christ, and I, like Paul, can say, “…The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:19) But praise the Lord, that is not the end of the story! This message is changing my life, like Dr. Flanders said, and I pray that it will do the same in yours. ♥