Struggling With Sin

In my quiet time this morning I read Matthew 26, and I really keyed in on Peter's denial of Jesus. Of course my first thought was (like it always is after I read this passage), After spending that much time with Jesus, after seeing all He did, knowing He is the Messiah--how could Peter deny Him three times? Fortunately, God brought me down to reality by revealing all the times I've denied Jesus: ignoring clear opportunities to share the gospel, giving into sinful desires, making deliberate decisions to live in a way that is not glorifying to God...I was feeling pretty crappy after this.

Then I flipped over to Romans 7 and 8 and read about Paul's struggle with sin (7:14-8-3). For some reason I always take comfort in reading about Paul's war with sin--the battle between right and wrong. It makes me feel human. Paul was an incredible warrior for God who is a testament of His matchless grace, and even he struggled with sin. Our struggle with sin is a war; Paul states:

"I have discovered the principle of life--that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?" (Romans 7:21-24)

Sin is waging a war within me. Just because I'm a believer and know and love God's word doesn't mean I'm immune to sin.

"Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord [...] So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins" (Romans 7:25, 8:1-3).

I cannot win the war over sin on my own; God knew that, so He sent His son to become flesh--to endure temptations and suffering and die a bloody death in order to redeem us. Later, in the book of Hebrews, Paul declares:

"So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most" (Hebrews 4:14-16).

As long as I'm on this earth, I will battle against sin. It's a consequence of Adam and Eve's decision back in the garden. But...there is hope. I can take comfort in knowing that (though I don't deserve it) because I've made a decision to follow Christ, I am redeemed. In the moment of struggle I can reflect on God's sacrifice and go boldly and with intentionality to Him in prayer for assistance in helping me to make right decisions.

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