The book of Romans Chapter Seven presents to us the true paradox of the Christian life. The super apostle (though he wouldn’t appreciate such tagging) Paul is using himself as an example of the reality of battling sin in his life. The reality, he does not understand his actions. For he does not do what he wants but finds himself doing the very thing he hates (Romans 7:15). From his mind, he serves the law of God but still in his members (body parts, he finds another law waging war against the law of his mind and evil lies close (Romans 7:21). In a hapless way, Paul cries out that what can save him from this body of death? But answers it with assurance- thanks be to God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24)
A saint is not a perfectly sinless person, yet he is the one who loathes sin. He sins and still finds ways to overcome that sin. The reality of Christian life is that it is a life of constant war with sin. The Puritan John Owen terms it as the mortification of sin. The effects of living casually and not acknowledging this reality of the Christian life are dire. One of the most prominent of all is the constant doubt of whether you are a child of God or not. Any sober Christian is aware of how clinging sin can be and how much it has made him question his salvation whether he is a son of God or not.
In his famous book, John Bunyan puts it so well in the pilgrim’s progress; The place where the Christian and Hopefull fall asleep is on the grounds of a Giant named Despair, whose home, Doubting Castle, is nearby. Early the next morning, Giant Despair discovers them and forces them into a stinking dungeon for trespassing on his property.
Paul takes to himself to give confidence and remove us from the dungeon and homestead of the giant despair in chapter eight. He uses the work of the trinity to affirm to us that we are God’s sons. He begins by reminding us that there is, therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus because the law of Spirit and life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
God has done it all.
The first thing God has done is to set us free from the condemnation of sin. But his Spirit, which is life, taking us all the way in Christ. Without the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of life, we would still be slave of sin condemned to death (Romans 8:1-2).
The second thing God did was to send his son to do what the law weakened by the flesh could not do (Romans 8:3-4). Had God not send his son Jesus, there would never be a sacrifice like his (Hebrews 7:1-14). We would be now candidates for eternal damnation. The law could not atone for the sins of men; the law could not propitiate the wrath of God. It only requires one hundred per cent performance. No man could do that—That’s why God sent his son, to fulfil that law to the latter. Look at how the holy trinity is working to take you out of the condemnation of sin? Isn’t that a wonder of wonders?
Paul, therefore, mentions a critical responsibility that we should have because of what God in his triune way has secured us from condemnation should be; walking in the Spirit. By doing so, we are mortifying sin. In such a way, we are now able to please God. He considers that now we are in debt to God. The only way we may pay that debt is by living holy and righteous lives by putting to death the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:9-12).
This righteous lifestyle is an assurance to you that you are a son of God. But he further says specifically that we are sure we are sons since we have the Holy Spirit in us by who, we cry abba father! (Romans 8:15)- this is the cry a toddler makes when he has touched a hot pot in the kitchen. In pain, he calls daddy for help. He knows daddy and mamma warned him not to touch the pot, but he did. Instead of hiding, the toddler knows that he is a son and his father loves him so much that he will come to his rescue. In light of the Christian life’s reality that involves a battle with sin, even those sins we find ourselves doing knowing very well God instructs contrary to it. We still should run to him, not away from him, because he won’t condemn us. In him, we do not have fear but have perfect love (1 John 4:18).
Paul says that the creation also groans with child baring pains, eagerly longing for the revelations of sons (Christians). The creation includes all flora and fauna, hills and valleys, mountains and plains, seas and deserts, planets and stars, everything ever created. They are longing for that day of the redemption of our bodies. When all things will be made new again. The creation knows who beautiful and perfect it was before sin. They long for that. In other words, the world is more than ready to wind up for the sons of God to be revealed. We, too, groan, waiting for that day of the actual union with our father (Romans 8:22-24).
Lastly, The Holy Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. For the Holy Spirit searches our hearts and finds many sins in there. The ugly sin of despair, desperation and doubt. And he knows what is in our minds. We would want to be with the lord, yet we find our members waging war against that inner desire to live by the Spirit. Because he knows us better than we know ourselves, and he knows God better than any of us. He prays for us according to the will of God in light of all that is happening in our hearts and minds.
To be a Christian is always to live, acknowledging you are still in the presence of sin. But you are saved from the oppression of evil sin. God has made you his son. Jesus, when he was about to leave, he told the disciples two things. One is not to leave them as orphans (John 14:15), and two is to be with them until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). God is our father, and he is eternal. He will be with us. Because he loves us, and he has shown us how lavish his love is by making us his sons (1John 3:1-2). Don’t despair but cry out to God, and if you are not a Christian and would love to be, please click the receive Jesus button.