“We had a question in our Bible study several weeks ago that led me to a verse in Romans, and when I read that verse I spent some time mulling it over in my mind because it wasn’t completely clear to me and I wanted to understand it better. I asked the Lord to give me clarity, and ladies, We can know that when we ask the Lord to give us understanding of His Word, He is always faithful to help us understand. He often uses our everyday lives and experiences to help bring that clarity. This is what He did for me on my way home from church that same week. I passed by an old house that was clearly past its’ glory days.
As I looked at that old house I began to wonder how many hours must have been spent trying to maintain that old building. At one point in time this house was new. But over time the repair list grew. Have you ever had a home like that, with an ongoing list of home-improvements? As one task gets checked off the list it seems two more appear in its’ place? As I looked at the condition of that old house, the Lord whispered this thought into my heart… He said, “ YOU are a bit like that old house… worn down over time by your sinful nature.” Sometimes, I admit, I have felt worn down by my sinful nature. Frustrated with my inability to live the way I know I’m called to live. But I’m encouraged by the fact that Paul had this same struggle, and he talks about it in his letter to the Romans.
Romans 7:15,16 (NLT) “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, then I agree that the law is good.”
When we know that something is wrong in a home we can agree that it is good to call in a home- inspector. Their job is to walk through the house to search for and assess the problems. The law is a lot like that for us. The law, God’s written Word, can search our hearts and point out to us those areas of our lives that need to be repaired. For example, just as the inspector can point out if there are cracks in the foundation of a home, God’s law can point out the cracks in our foundations. Foundations that are not laid on the truth of God’s Word are cracked foundations and they can cause us to become unbalanced and lose our stability. The law can also point out our faulty wiring. Power that is misdirected or coming from any other source than the Holy Spirit, is faulty wiring. What’s interesting about faulty wiring is that it’s usually hidden behind plaster and paint. Just like we often cover up our faulty wiring, plastering over it with self-effort or painting a facade of having it all together.? The law will convict us in these areas. The law will also help us to recognize a mold, called sin, that is growing within our walls, spread by the lies of our enemy who seeks to gain access to every hidden space within our lives. In Romans 7:17 Paul explains his struggle “…it is sin living in me.”
No matter how good we are at maintaining our lives, we can’t eliminate sin completely. Our enemy continues to spread his lies throughout our lives. We can see that the law is good, in that it reveals our sin nature and helps us to recognize these lies, like the inspector recognizes the problems in a decaying home. But an inspector does not get rid of the problem or provide you with a new home, and the law does not have the power to destroy our sin nature or offer us new life.
But, “What the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own son… . The next part of this verse is what I had been mulling over that week, Romans 8:3 continues by saying “he condemned sin in sinful man.” Condemned. Do you know what happens to an old house that is beyond repair? It’s condemned.
The definition of condemned is “To express a strong disapproval of. To judge or pronounce to be unfit for use.” And finally, “to acquire ownership of, for a public purpose and desired result.”
When the county disapproves of the condition of a home and they judge it to be unfit for use, they acquire ownership of that home. They warn the inhabitants that it is time to move out, then they take that house into their own possession, and recognizing the danger of a house that is beyond repair, they destroy it. In the same way, Jesus recognized the danger of our irreparable sin nature and so He took possession of it and destroyed it upon the cross. He condemned sin in sinful man. When we take our sins to the cross and hand our old lives over to Jesus’ possession, he warns us that it is time to move out. In fact, He tells us to flee. Flee from that building called sin because you don’t want to still be lingering inside when He completes the destruction.
But be assured that there is hope, because this old building cannot compare to the incredible new lifethat he has begun to build in you. “He who has begun a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” Philippians 1:6
Christ has laid his life down as our new, solid foundation. 1Corinthians 3:11: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
And The Holy Spirit is at work in us, building up his new life in us, transforming us into the image of Christ, making it possible for us to live the way we are called to live. It’s the reason He came.
In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
I pray that we would be reminded when we start to feel worn down by our sinful nature, that we are not called to maintain an old life, we are called to flee from it, and to choose instead to dwell in the abundant life and love of Christ.“