13Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.
14For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
15For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
16But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.
17So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
19For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
20But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
22For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,
23but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
Today we see Paul’s struggle as a believer. While he wants to do good, exemplified by the Law, he continues to sin, exposed by the Law. As we discussed earlier, the Law defines what is Holy in God’s eyes and anything outside of that is a sin.
This represents the battle between our fleshly being (our bodies, being born into sin) and our spiritual being (our rebirth through Christ). I love how this passage progresses. Paul describes his struggle and frustration. He articulates the battle well and pretty much explains how he’s hopeless…until we read the last verse. We are saved and made righteous to God by Jesus.
When I struggle like this, I try to remember to call on His name. There’s a song we sing occasionally on Sunday mornings that ends in an almost mantra-like recitation of “Jesus”. No music, no beat, just an entire congregation softly singing the name of their Savior. I tell you what, I’m most at peace when I do that. Regardless of my struggles, worries, fears, or anything else, the name of our Christ covers it all.
Why is it so peaceful? Because Christ takes away our shame, our guilt, our imperfection. Paul here tells us that while he wants to follow the Law, a by letter explanation of what God sees as righteous, he acknowledges that he is powerless to do so, and he feels guilty about it. Have you ever felt guilty about something you’ve done? I know I have. How did I get rid of that guilt? I called on Jesus.
Try it next time you are burdened, frustrated, angry, helpless. Just recite His name. It’s amazing how much power His name has.