“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
– Romans 7:18-20 (NIV)
by Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org
Remember that this passage is not written by a pagan, but by the apostle Paul. He is trapped in the dilemma of trying to live a religious life; Paul knows the rules, yet he is painfully aware that he can’t keep the rules. Our religious tendency is to keep looking for rules that please God, but that only leads to the anxiety that we see in these verses. The pathway toward God is for those who see their spiritual lack and pray for a way out. That is why Jesus Christ came and challenged our hearts, because rules are not enough.