An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

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?”
(Romans 6:1-2)

Today’s verse hits us all “where we live.” Those of us who have been studying the Bible and walking with the Lord for some time understand something about God’s moral commands and ethical standards. Ironically, the closer we move to God, His unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16) reveals more imperfection in us than we knew existed. On this side of glory, it seems, we are confined to a life of struggle against personal sin. The good news is that absolutely nothing can change our saved and accepted standing before God (John 10:29-30; Romans 8:38-39; Colossians 3:4; Jude 1:24). Though personal sin can change our state before God, even calling for the Lord’s chastening (Hebrews 12:6-11), we nevertheless remain His children. We have His guarantee therefore, as a faithful and merciful Father who knows and cares for His children (Psalm 103:13-14) that if we confess our sins He will forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). It is encouraging to know that we have not only forgiveness, but a Personal Divine Advocate interceding with God on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2). Nevertheless, how much better would it be if we didn’t need to ask forgiveness quite so often, especially for the sins we find ourselves repeating? The problem of persistent, personal sin is common to all Christians. Even the great apostle Paul struggled. “For what I am doing, I do not understand” he wrote, “For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:15, NKJV). If Paul couldn’t get to the bottom of why he persisted in sinning, then what hope do we have? Even though the problem of persistent personal sin remains mysterious, there are a few facts we can “nail down.” First, it is obvious that the locus of sin in the life of a believer is not in his spiritual nature, his born-again heart and mind. Paul writes, If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. . .Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Romans 7:16-17, 20). The entire passage (7:15-25) makes it clear that in some sense, the born-again person is not the sinner, but the one contending with sin in the flesh. Nevertheless, we are not passive victims either; we are called to make real progress in our personal war with sin (1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 1 Timothy 4:7-8). Though it may sound trite, I have found prayer to be the rock solid defense against sin and temptation. Asking the Lord for help must be efficacious or we would never have been commanded to do so (Matthew 6:13; 26:41). Just as Peter called out to the Lord as he began to sink but, before he found himself completely underwater (Matthew 14:30), we too ought to call out to the Lord the moment we feel the downward draw of temptation, before we are submerged in sin completely.

God bless you and make you to walk strong today, dear saints,

pastor john