7 Minute Read + Scripture readings

(If you want to listen to an audio version of today’s blog post, simply go to https://anchor.fm/mattellis1997, or search for “Reflections on Truth” by Matt Ellis wherever you download your favorite podcasts.)

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Samuel 9
Romans 7
Jeremiah 46
Psalms 22

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Romans 7:20 (CSB): “Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Sin is a present reality in our life as we live in this world.

What is sin? It is any lack of conformity to God’s perfect law. This lack of complying with God’s directives happens in either of the three following ways:

  1. we do something that God says not to do, or
  2. we fail to do something that God says to do, or
  3. we comply with God’s law but with wrong motives or a sinful attitude.

If God tells us not to use our eyes and mind to lust and we do it anyway, then we are sinning. 

If God tells us to love our enemies and we fail to do it, then we are sinning.

If God tells us to help those in need but we obey in a way that tries to gain the attention and applause of onlookers, it is sin.

Trying to abstain from sin is a slippery slope. No matter who you are, you are going to violate God’s laws … everyday.

For the Christian, this becomes particularly frustrating. Why? Because deep down we don’t want to violate God’s commands. We want to enjoy Him and obey Him. Yet, we sin and then feel guilty inside.

Well, friend, just realize that you aren’t alone. As you continue to make war against sin in yourself, realize that the Apostle Paul felt this frustration, too.

Romans 7:15 “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.”

Do you hear his frustration? He wanted to live for Jesus but his struggle with sin was real and he often lost the battle.

Ultimately, the answer to this dilemma is found in Romans 8 – the Holy Spirit-filled life. But, I want you to see something really important as we continue to camp out in Romans 7.

Here’s a powerful principle: If you are a Jesus-follower, you are no longer a sinner. You sin because “sin” still resides inside of you but it’s not you.

It would be like getting a splinter in your finger. That splinter would be in you … but it’s not you. That is the way we are to look at sin in ourselves.

Notice that the Apostle Paul was clearly making this point…

Romans 7:17 “So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me.”

Romans 7:20 “Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me.”

Notice that Paul said that when he sinned, it was not him who was doing it – it was “sin” that camped out in his body.

If you have been saved from God’s wrath and judgment by trusting in Jesus, then you have been born again. The “old you” died with Jesus and there is a “new you.”

Yet, even though you now have desires to love the Lord and obey Him, “sin” still camps out in your body and will not leave until you reside in Heaven.

That’s why you sin. It’s not who you are anymore. You continue to struggle with sin because “sin” still resides inside of you making war against the “new you” but it’s not you anymore.

Why is this so important to understand?

Because, among other reasons, who you see yourself to be will greatly determine your success or failure.

If you see yourself as a loser, you’ll be a loser. If you see yourself as dumb, you will find it difficult to learn anything new. If you see yourself as sickly, you’ll always have the symptoms of illness.

If you see yourself as a dirty, rotten sinner, don’t be surprised if you act accordingly. You will typically act consistently with who you see yourself to be.

On the other hand, if you see yourself as a righteous person, who is fully pleasing to God because of Jesus, but who sins every now and then, not because you are sinful, but because “the sin principle” is camping out in your body and warring against you, then you will tend to sin less and less.

Friend, if you are saved, you are no longer a sinner. It’s not who you are. You have been credited with the righteousness of Jesus.

Will you sin each day? Yep. But, you will feel horribly guilty after doing it because it’s not who you are anymore.

You sin because you have that nasty thing called “sin” that will not be eradicated from your body until you arrive in Heaven.

So make war against sin. See it as a disease, a toxin in your body that seeks to harm you and rob you of a soul-satisfying relationship with God. While it is inside of you, it’s not who you are. So fight against it. In fact, determine to do everything you can to kill it (Romans 8:13).

… and read Romans 8 to understand how you can get the victory over it!

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, help me to see myself as who You say I am. As I come to understand more clearly who I am, let me embrace that truth and allow my new perspectives to influence how I live. I want to live for You and demonstrate my love for You in how I obey Your Word. I want to be even more victorious over sin and Romans 7 gives me the information I need to get the upper hand. Thank You! Amen.

Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on Unsplash