Today, I received this admission that is really a confession: “I read in your article the following: ‘Believers will not continue practicing sin as a way of life. There will be a difference between the old life without Christ and the new life in Christ.’ But here’s my problem: Right now I think I’m backsliding but I want to come back. I think I’m dealing with depression, I need to stop procrastinating, find a way to stop the bad thoughts that I hate, stop with the pornography, etc. Honestly, my life is a mess. I hate myself. But before I think there was a time in my life that I read the Bible and prayed almost everyday, I really tried to improve.”
The honesty here is quite revealing of a person wanting to be better, but cannot no matter the efforts put forth. This is what we see in Paul’s statement in Romans 7:12-25 HCSB, “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. Therefore, did what is good cause my death? Absolutely not! On the contrary, sin, in order to be recognized as sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment, sin might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am made out of flesh, sold into sin’s power. 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. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. So I discover this principle: When I want to do what is good, evil is with me. For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.” (I understand that the Apostle is addressing his life before he became a Follower of Jesus Christ in these statements.) These statements in verses 12-25 factually describe what you are saying about yourself and you seem to be asking the very same question that Paul asks, “Who will rescue me from this dying body?”
Here is the answer Paul gives, “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-5. In my opinion, you are attempting to be spiritual but cannot because you are not spiritual. In short you have NEVER been born-again by the blood of Jesus Christ. You are living in sin because this is all that you can do.
Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:16-18, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.”
Jesus’ statement is clear: 1. God loves you. 2. He provided salvation through His Risen Son, Jesus Christ. 3. You MUST trust in Him in order to know His gift of salvation. 4. You cannot reject Him and think you will be okay for you will not be so.
The follow is God’s solution for you, “2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:2-10.
Please be reminded that the words of Paul in Ephesians 2:2-10 are directed to the local church in Ephesians and this is the reason he writes, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world…” In reality God is speaking directly to you for you have admitted that you are dead in your sins and are walking in “the ways of this world.” Actually this is your admission of guilt to God and NOW you must do what Paul has said that the Christians in Ephesus have already done, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10. Salvation comes by God’s grace established by faith in Jesus Christ both of which are gifts from Him to you.
Your life is miserable now because you have attempted to live a life that is impossible to be accomplished apart from life in Christ Jesus. My friend, you Must confess your sin to Christ, turn from your sin and then express your faith in Him alone thereby receiving His gift of salvation established by His grace.
I am praying for you as I write this. Jesus is Lord.