Wretched Man that I Am
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom. 7:24)
Why is the Christian life so difficult? Why is doing the right thing, living a life that is pleasing to God, so incredibly hard? Sin. The old person dies hard. And sin, temptation, is a powerful attraction. I am not just referring to the big grievous sins, but to the subtle sins we battle with, the emotions and thoughts we struggle with that cause us to treat people in ways we inevitably regret. Why is it so hard to not be selfish, to not be self-centered, to not think what we want is more important than what others want? Why is it so difficult to place ourselves in other people’s shoes and see things from their perspective? Sin is blinding. It is debilitating, paralyzing, and causes us to think and behave irrationally. This is what Paul describes in Romans 7:15-19. “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 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. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” How many believers experience this almost constantly? The very thing they don’t want to do, the way they no longer want to treat people, the very thoughts they no longer want to entertain, are the very things, behavior, and thoughts they keep on doing. They want to live for God and yet they keep doing the very things they do not want to do. So what do we do about this? We keep doing all we can to mortify the sin that indwells us and we remember the words of Paul: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (vv.24-25). In the end, we thank and praise God that Christ has done it all for us! He earned the perfect righteousness for us which God’s law demands and he died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins which God’s justice demands. And in that we find great comfort and peace.
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