We are working through the book of Romans right now and we just finished up chapter 7. The last verse of chapter 7 seams a little out of place at first. In verse 25 Paul says, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Now that does not seem out of place unless you consider the first 24 verses. Paul has spent the chapter explaining the problems he has with sin and the constant battle with the old man, his flesh. Then he gets to verse 25 and thanks God. This is typically the opposite of our thought process. Context matters. Paul made an extremely important statement in 6:14 that is carrying through the context. He said, “For sin shall not have dominion over you”. I believe the point Paul is making for us is that we should be THANKFUL FOR THE STRUGGLE OVER OUR SIN. Do you realize where you would be without the struggle? You would be dominated by sin as unsaved people are. The fact that you have the ability to struggle against the flesh and the old man is something to be thankful for. I realize we don’t think about it this way, but Paul was thankful he could struggle over the flesh and is in the position to win this fight. Here is where I believe this chapter should motivate us in an amazing way. Paul struggled with sin every day and still accomplished amazing things for God. Why? Because he made the decision to MOVE FORWARD while in the midst of struggling over his sin. I can tell you this, if I would have waited to be perfect before starting our church, I would still be waiting. I will tell you this also; if you keep waiting to be perfect and you no longer struggle with sin to do something for God, you will NEVER accomplish anything for him. If you think you are not in a position to be used of God because you are struggling over some things, I challenge you to study Romans chapter 7 and its context closely. Paul is not saying that you should live in immorality and try to serve God at the same time. He IS SAYING, it’s important to keep “pressing towards the mark” while you are constantly fighting off the old man. If you feel like you are in a constant battel with sin, then you are in the fight just like Paul is describing in detail. Paul did not just focus on the struggle, he said he was thankful for it. Paul pressed ahead while in this battle and accomplished great things for God. YOU CAN TOO! Do you seriously think the preachers and teachers you have looked up to were perfect? They weren’t, and neither are you or I. We need to be thankful we can battle the flesh, and then get engaged in accomplishing something while we are here on the earth. The struggle should not stop you from serving, it should enable you to serve. Maybe if we would have heard a little less DO’S and DON’TS constantly in church and were told the struggle is normal, then we might have been engaged a long time ago. Proper doctrine matters! Understanding Paul’s doctrine about this struggle is a vital part of the Christian walk. Are you walking and working while in this struggle? You should be!
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul