“I thank God
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
For that which I do I allow not: for that which I would, that I do not; but what I hate, that I do. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that , when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
As I have said in the past, there are some very wrong teachings concerning the spiritual condition of the apostle Paul when he wrote these words. The condition that he speaks of here is not one that is simply in the past but one that is present and very real to his mind in the moment that he is writing these words. If you will pay attention, it is very simple to understand that he is writing in the present tense. And this text was written around twenty five years after his Damascus Road experience, twenty five years after he became a Christian. This was not a lost man speaking the word of God, nor was this a saved man testifying of his sinful past. It was a present and real problem in the life of Paul at the time that he wrote it down. This is a problem, a present problem that Paul felt the urgent need to address and he did not in any way make it a complicated message. The words here are very simple and to the point. Paul was an apostle and a Christian of twenty five years who still had a sin nature to battle and deal with on a daily basis. Those who feel that we are beyond or above sin after we become Christians are likely to teach that Paul is writing about being lost. There are those who believe that once you become a Christian you cease sinning. That would mean that we have no need for the Advocacy of Christ with God: It would mean that we would have no need of repentance after the initial repentance of salvation: No need of forgiveness when we trespass against a brother or neighbor: No need to apologize because we would never do any wrong. Oh, what a blessing it would be to be that sinlessly perfect. I am thankful that God is God enough to save sinners because I would have no hope. I thank God for His forgiveness. As I examine myself by these words of the Apostle Paul, I too can say, “O wretched man that I am!” I am a sinner and still, PRAISE GOD! I am a sinner saved by GRACE! Looking at the words of the apostle Paul I want to say that “I thank God”.
I thank God, first of all, for the deliverance from the penalty of sin. I am free by the Grace of God from the guilt that I once carried. I will never again have to worry about going to hell without God because of my sins. He saved me and took that sin debt out of the way. Praise God for that precious Sacrifice that was made once for all, by Jesus Christ, for me. There may be those who try and put me back under the penalty that Christ delivered me from but God has promised me forever, and forever is what I have. Look at Romans 8:1…
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
What a wonderful thought, “no condemnation”! There is no condemning those that God has made righteous. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” Notice Paul’s words in Rom. 8:35-39…
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
You can’t get more secure than that. But look also at Ephesians 2:1-13…
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are madenigh by the blood of Christ.”
And even better is the fact that we did not deserve it but…
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
I am thankful to God for loving me enough that He came to where I was and opened my heart to receive the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then saved me by His Grace; And all that because He loved me.
Secondly I would like to thank God for the deliverance from the power of sin. In the passage that we have just examined from Ephesians chapter two, we will note that we really had no choice in life. A child of God can see this. You had no real hope against your sin nature before you got saved. Now, if you are a child of God you have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God to strengthen you and help you to do right. We no longer have any reason to sin, other than our weak and fallen nature, which is at enmity with the new nature that God imparts when He saves a soul. Until you got saved you were spiritually dead.
In looking at this fact, imagine, DEAD! A dead man does not know what is going on around him; he doesn’t hear what is being said about him; he doesn’t see those that are gathered about him; he doesn’t have any control over where he may go but is at the mercy of those who are still living to be carried where he is supposed to go. Until you got saved you were at the mercy of sin, your old nature. Your old self, your flesh, loved it’s sin. The old you loved to do those things that might have been considered foolish or irresponsible. As lost, we walked or lived our lives, “according to the prince of the power of the air.” We did not have any choice, as dead men we were carried away by our sins. But now, by the Grace of God we have a choice. And we can not be tempted above that which we are able to overcome. We have God’s word on that. Look at 1Corinthians 10:13…
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
That tells us very simply that we do not have to sin, but we do. God has provided us with all that we need to keep us from sin, and still we choose to be sinners on a daily basis. We do not have to sin. And this knowledge should make us all the more thankful to God for His wonderful work of Grace. Sin no longer has the power over us that it had when we were lost and praise God, by His Grace we can overcome much of what once had us bound and enslaved. And I thank God for the deliverance from the power of sin. I now have a choice.
And thirdly, I thank God for the promise of future deliverance from the presence of sin. We are bombarded daily by temptations and trials that we would much rather avoid. There is no way to list all of the temptations that we face and fight. Often we are exhausted from the battle and long for relief and one day we will find just that. We will enter Heaven one day never to be tempted again. What a glorious day that we will be free from the very presence of sin. No more temptation, no more failure, no more sin! Praises be to God we have so much to be thankful for! So much to look forward too!
O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”