All Scripture verses are taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.
Paul’s testimony concerning who he was or is may very well define your daily walk as a Believer in Jesus Christ. But Why?
From the outset, we must understand what Paul tells us about himself. The argument that we have, not Paul, is whether or not the Apostle is speaking of himself as a lost person or as a Believer when he writes, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” Romans 7:18 ESV. and the KJV agrees, “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.” The question is simple, “Does Christ live in the Believer or NOT?” If not, Paul is a liar when he writes concerning the Saints, you and me, “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:27-29.
We have a new identity in Christ
We have found in our lives that this small portion of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome has given us one of two identities which say: 1) that sin is our constant companion with whom we wrestle with on a daily basis AND Jesus Christ is both our Lord and Savior. Or 2) “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Romans 6:6. Because Christ now lives in us as Lord as defined by the Holy Spirit we are now enslaved to Him.
Jesus said concerning wealth in Matthew 6:24, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” And in that same body of thought in 6:33 He tells us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Our instruction is to be faithful to Him alone. Money, just as this dead body of sin, is NOT a part of who we are for both tempt us to avoid righteousness but to absorb ourselves in the things of evil. Neither lives in us, but Satan uses them to deliver powerful forces of temptation to avoid God. However, what we know is that Holy Spirit is the indwelling presence of God in our lives. We live for Him for we are in HIm.
Is Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit All-Powerful or Powerless?
The NT record tells the account of not only ‘how,’ but the fact is, Jesus lives in the fleshly body of everyone who trusts Him as Lord and Savior in the Person of the Holy Spirit. “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:17-20.
We once sang powerful in our churches and two of them are, “He Lives” and “I Serve a Risen Savior” both of which speak to the fact Believers are indwelt by the living Savior. My point is simple because Christ lives within the heart of every Believer, why would Paul ask or suggest in Romans 7:18, “that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” when he also writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?”
Is God Truth?
Here, then is the question, “If Paul writes as a Believer in Romans 7:18, ‘For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.’ ‘Why?’” The Apostle implores all Believers to “be filled with the Holy Spirit” and to “be crucified with Christ” and to “put on the whole armor of God,” and a multitude of other encouraging words. Why would He suggest such things if He does not have the ability to do what is right in the first place? Is God not as strong as He suggests that He is? Is He not the Standard of all that is true? The Bible tells us that God is truth, “He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.” John 3:31-33.
Just how difficult is this truth to believe? We cannot serve two masters for, indeed, we will love one and hate the other. For this reason the old man was crucified the moment Jesus took up residence in the heart of every new Believer; never to leave. This is His truth.
A choice to be made
Everyone must make this choice. We must choose to believe that two distinct personalities are alive and well in your person: sin and Jesus Christ or Jesus Christ alone.
If one decides that the old sin nature continues to live side by side in life; yes, indeed, there will always be a terrible civil war enacted each and every day. That person must decide each and every moment of every day who will sit on the throne of life. There is no victory in Jesus, but once in a while. There is no joy in the heart. There is no peace like a river and no amazing grace.
However, for the new Believer who chooses to believe that Paul speaks of his life before Christ in Romans 7:14-25 there is knowledge of the fact that Jesus Lives and there is a melody in life each and every day because of what He did on the Cross!! We now know that we are, indeed, in Christ each and every moment of each and every day!! Amazing grace rules and How Great our God is!! Jesus empowers us each day because when we are crucified with Him daily and filled with His Spirit we can rest assured that His armor protects us from the darts of fire coming from Satan’s defeated armies of deception and lies!!
We Can Know
Paul wrote to his precious friend Timothy, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” 2 Timothy 1:8-14. Please note carefully this phrase from within what Timothy read concerning the power of God, “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light the gospel” v. 10b.
You see, if one chooses to think that two personalities live in our lives, the old sinful man and Jesus Christ, these two will be scrapping in our hearts for superiority. That then leaves God to be truly impotent and powerless to our personal struggles.
God is all-powerful and His victory over sin and death at the Cross and the Tomb provides truth to the Risen Savior living in the Believer that the old man is dead and defeated as well!! Jesus lives “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18.
Jesus is Lord!!