Thursday, November 10

Struggling Against Sin

But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! --Romans 5:8-9

Anne Frank, who witnessed first-hand the horrifying reality of fleeing for her life in the midst of the Holocaust, believed that "in spite of everything, people deep down are really good." When asked whether man's basic nature is good or evil, many people would agree with Miss Frank's sentiment and would argue that "deep down", humans are decent and kind. As much as we all would like to live in a world where that is the reality, as Christians we know that man's basic nature is less than admirable. In truth, mankind is not good. Only God is good.

The prophet Jeremiah says that the heart is deceitful above all things. Our hearts can deceive us into thinking that we aren't "that bad." When we claim to be without sin, we fool ourselves and essentially call God a liar! Because of the sin of our first father, Adam, each of us is cursed to remain inherently evil. Without the influence of the Holy Spirit, we will never be capable of anything except that. Every though, every action, every aspect of our basic nature is constantly in direct opposition to the nature of the holy God who created us. To think any differently is foolish, although it is very common.

In fact, this type of thinking is especially easy to fall into for those of us who have already repented of our sins and accepted God's forgiveness and gift of grace. Christ's work on the cross offers us complete freedom from our sins; however, I don't believe for a moment that it means our human nature is extracted from us in the moment that we decide to follow Christ. Many of us would like to say that because we are forgiven, we are no longer sinners. As long as we draw breath, we are sinners. This is exactly why we need a Savior--to save us from ourselves and the punishment that awaits us when our earthly vessels fail us.

The good news is, our lifespan as sinners is nothing compared to the eternity we will spend as justified, sanctified creatures in God's presence. There will be a day when we will no longer struggle, groaning as we climb ever onward, pressing toward that final goal. Our basic nature makes us want to give up. Although giving in to temptation is often far easier than fighting against it, the lasting reward of striving to be godly in spite of our fallen nature, far outweighs anything that the world has to offer.

No matter how hard I try to be obedient, I will inevitably fall short of God's command to me to be holy. My day to day battles against my sinful nature may run me ragged, but I know that I have ultimate victory in Christ who is my strength and salvation for ever and ever. Amen.



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