Romans 7:19, 24 (ESV)

Romans 7:19, 24 (ESV)

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Romans 7:19, 24 (ESV)

Every true believer in Jesus Christ will face this dilemma of failure. I want to do what is right and I don’t want to sin—and yet I sin anyway, again and again.. Paul describes this problem exquisitely in his personal testimony in Romans 7:14-25. This section is written entirely in the first person and tells his story of failure. And if we are truly honest with ourselves, it tells our story, too.

We know this is not a description of Paul before he was saved for a number of reasons. Before his dramatic conversion, he was a proud Pharisee who believed that he was blameless when it came to the Law of Moses. But his testimony is not one of a haughty Pharisee, but of a humble, saved sinner with a tender conscience. He admits he fails again and again, and yet he has the new values and the new affections of a true believer. He treasures the Law in a new way and he has holy desires to do what it says.

Paul verbalizes the essential principle that holy desires and willpower alone do not give us the ability to do what is right. Success in the Christian life depends upon admitting own weaknesses and abiding in Christ. “Without Me,” Jesus said, “you can do nothing.”

There are at least two positive results of failure. First, it humbles us and reminds us of our weaknesses. And secondly, it gives us a fresh appreciation and thankfulness for the forgiveness purchased by the precious blood of Jesus.

Tom Day