(Romans 7:18) “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.”
You are a Regenerated / Converted person, a Christian; for you are a follower of Jesus Christ in body, soul, and spirit. You have made a commitment to follow the Lamb of God whithersoever He goeth. You attend church at a God-fearing, Bible-preaching, Bible-practicing church. But, when you sin against God, you ask, ‘What is wrong with me? I know better; but, I find myself following my flesh sometimes. When I do follow the flesh; I know that I am not in-step with Christ; that is, I am not walking in faith, or by faith, or as Christ walked (1 Jn. 2:6); for Christ is the Faith Who lives and abides in the believer.’
You may ask, ‘Pastor, what is my problem? I love Christ, or I say I do; but, sometimes I act and talk like an unsaved person.’
The answer to your problem is simple. The Apostle Paul explains this very situation in his own life as a Christian (Rom. 7:14-24); then the Apostle answers his own dilemma in (Rom 7:24-25) “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Paul said that he was in the body of death, or in the flesh.) Then, Paul gives the answer; (25) “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” The problem is the flesh in the Christian; and the answer is Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Apostle further explains his own question, and gives the answer to your question as to how you will be delivered:
(Rom 8:1-4) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
So, the answer is in “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” That is, the regenerated child of God is free from the control of the law of sin and death. That is, the child of God has been given life, and raised to walk in the newness of this life in Christ.
Notice very closely Christian, you were initially born into this world, “dead in trespasses and sin” (Eph. 2:1). You were being ruled or controlled by the “old man” (Eph. 2:1-3). The old man is described in (Eph. 4:22); the Apostle Paul called it his “flesh”; for sin dwelled in his flesh. When you are quickened by Christ from your spiritual dead condition (Eph. 2:1; Jn. 6:63) – you are given life; and Christ comes to live in you, the believer (Gal. 2:20). Then you have a “new man” (Eph. 4:24); or you are now a “new creature” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).
However, the problem is explained, as the Apostle Paul reveals in (Rom. 7:14-24) that the “old man,” or the “flesh,” (the seat of sin in a man) is “crucified” (Rom. 6:6) – but Paul added a statement that must be studied – “...that henceforth we should not serve sin.” The key phrase is “not serve sin.” Paul never stated that the old man was completely gone; but, that the old man had been crucified, and now the believer did not have to serve sin; but rather, he would serve Righteousness (Rom. 6:6-23). The word “crucified” means that the old man is not in control any longer after regeneration and conversion of a person. Christ separated the soul and spirit in regeneration (Heb. 4:12). Now, after regeneration, the spirit is indwelt by Christ (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20); and thus, his spirit is controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. But, the “flesh,” or the “old man,” is still in the regenerated man until he dies. This is what the Apostle Paul was explaining in (Rom. 7:14-24). This explanation was not given as an excuse for the child of God to sin in his flesh (as if he could not help but to sin, no); but, rather, for the child of God to learn of the Power of Christ living in him to overcome sin daily in his life. Paul pointed the believer to know and learn that the deceiver, the “flesh,” is still around, trying to get the believer to follow his flesh, and not to follow the Spirit of God.
However, Believer, there is a solution for all believers who are in a constant battle with the indwelling “flesh.” Of course, the first solution is to know that you are “in Christ” and Christ is in you. Christ is the sufficiency for the believer; and not of the believer (Phi. 4:13, 19; 2 Cor. 3:5). The believer is to study (2 Tim. 2:15) to learn of the Promises that God has made to believer in Christ; and then, learn to stand and rest in the Power of God to perform these promises to the believer. Believer, God knows our weakness; He knows we are but dust, and without Him, the believer could do nothing.
The second solution is not only to know Who God is in Power and Grace and Love; but, also, the believer is responsible to submit to the Will of God, to obey the Word of God, and to endure in the same. The believer is to be “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18); to walk in the Spirit; to be led of the Spirit; and to live in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16;18, 25).
But, then comes the question by the believer, ‘How do I do this?’ Again, the answer is simple – make Christ first in your attitude, actions and attire. That is, your thought pattern must be like Christ’s; and your motive must be the love of God. You must desire to please Christ above anyone or anything in your life. Your outside (your outward testimony) must match the inside love of God. He is your First Love; and He is to remain so your entire Christian journey.
But, you say, ‘How do I do this?’ First, begin everyday with prayer and Bible Study. Talk to Christ, pray and confess any hidden sin, and endeavor to practice (Prov. 3:5-6). Receive your daily instructions from Him and not the morning news service. When you study God’s Written Word, the Teacher, the Holy Spirit (I Jn. 2:20, 27), will feed you your necessary food to live in Christ and to please Him for the day.
Secondly, as you begin your day, continue to “praise” His Holy Name for Salvation and meeting your daily needs.
Thirdly, take Christ with you in your daily Actions. Everything you do must be regulated by the Written Word of God. Believer, God has not left His child in the dark. No, a thousand times no; God has detailed every action of the believer in one word: Love. We are to Love God and the brethren (Mt. 22:37-40; 1 Jn. 3:14-24; 4:7-21).
Fourthly, don’t fight the events of the day; rest in the Sovereignty of God for your life (Rom. 8:28). Every day is not going to be rosy and full of light; for there will be many valleys past the mountain tops. You must determine in your spirit that God is in control of your life and events. You must believe that God has good for you – no matter what situation the day brings into your life – knowing that God loves you, and has a plan to conform you to His image, and cause you to bring Him glory and honor. Believer, it is not what is happening in your life at any given moment; but, it is are you glorifying Christ in it all? Is your hope in Him; is your joy in Him; is your peace in Him? Are you resting in His Promises, and walking in Holiness? When you do the four above things; then, daily victory will be yours over your flesh.
Remember, the child of God does not have to sin; he chooses to sin. Why does he not have to sin? Because, Christ, Who has all power in heaven and on earth (Mt. 28:18), now lives in the believer. There is nothing impossible for Christ to perform (Lk. 1:37; 18:37); even in the believer’s own life. He is God and God alone; for there is no other beside Him. And The One and True and Living God lives in you; Hallelujah! Yes, you may sin again. But, remember, you don’t have to sin any longer; and if you do, (1Jn 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1Jn 2:1) “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
What is Wrong with Me? The Answer: Me is in The Way of Him!