Perhaps it would be good to spend a bit of time considering the struggles and groans of the justified.
How can we be made holy is a question ever before us. Paul presented it to us in a ‘back and forth’ dissertation
not easy to follow, but well worth the effort. Check it out.
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not:
for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 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. 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. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it
is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present
with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But 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. O
wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I 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” (Romans 7:14-25).
In an almost frustrated verbal hand-wringing expression he cries, “O wretched man that I am! who shall
deliver me from the body of this death?” It is only when he departs from the asking of the How and the Why,
and flings himself fully into the gracious arms of the Who that we hear him thankfully breathe a sigh of
revelation and relief, saying, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Now, for our purposes of devotion and growth, let’s talk about some of the struggles and groans we encounter.
First, why the conflict? Simply put, it is when two natures collide. These two natures can be traced in
part all the way back to Eden where our Mother and our Father trespassed simply by listening to the wrong
voice. From that original two-part disobedience sprang forth a waywardness and a faithfulness manifested by
name from early on in Genesis. In Cain and Abel, in Jacob and Esau are manifested individually the two
natures; one representing the Spirit of God, and the other representing the will of the flesh.
The Battle Ground. It is not surprising that the battleground upon which the war for supremacy is fought
is manifest early on. Notice how Paul ends his groaning in chapter seven: “So then with the mind I myself serve
the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” So it is and always has been with unregenerate man. His fleshly
nature pushes him to do battle against righteousness, with the first blows being struck in the imaginations of the
mind. Righteous King David becomes the lust-driven adulterer with Bathsheba. From a probable Upper Room
experience on Pentecost, Annanias and Sapphira are slain on the battlefield of avaricious greed. From the amazing
companionship of the apostle Paul, Demas became a nomad wandering in the wastelands of spiritual barrenness,
having forsaken his mentor and friend in the faith, “having loved this present world.”
Our hope, indeed our salvation is found in the comforting message of regeneration. “Therefore if any
man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”
(2 Corinthians 5:17). How to get the victory? In Christ.
This chapter is one of the most ancient of battle grounds. Observe: In the main, Paul has dealt with ‘you’
and ‘us;’ now he speaks of ‘I,’ ‘me,’ and ‘mine.’ ‘I’ is found 30 times in this chapter. This is the key. No
wonder there is such an unhappy experience when it is merely ‘I’!
“Old Adam is too strong for young Melanchthon,” said the 15 th century Reformer; “but, thank God, he is
not too strong for Christ. He gives us the victory, day by day, and all the days.”