The Christian does not find her life is easy just because she now has peace with God through Jesus Christ.
[Romans 7:21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.]
Though the biggest problem for a person, namely that a person is an enemy of God, is solved through Jesus Christ, the Christian life has difficulties. The rule that Paul discovered is that when he wants to do right, evil is close by. (vs. 21) God changed his heart, so he now likes God’s righteous law, but he is unable to do it. In fact, his body is still strongly attracted to sin! (vs. 22-23)
Paul is divided. He wants to do right in his mind. He thinks about doing right, but his body has the desire for sin. This is not only about thinking and desiring, it is about real actions. Paul serves the law of God, the law of grace, with his mind. He also serves the law of sin with his flesh, or his body. He still sins!
One implication I draw from this is that Paul, or St. Paul, was not different than us today. He was a man who needed Jesus Christ. Jesus saved him from his sins and justified him before God. Additionally, he continued to sin as a Christian because he still lived in his body.
Another conclusion I draw is that we Christians don’t have to hide our sin. It’s a characteristic of the Christian life. We will be delivered from this “body of death” by Jesus in the future (vs. 24-25), but in the present we struggle with sin. Think of the message we have for others. Is it that we no longer sin? No way! Rather it is that we are forgiven for our sin and we have peace with God through Jesus Christ. We also have the hope that we will be with God after we die.
Let us as Christians not communicate our sinlessness to others, but rather our true struggle with sin. Honesty in this acknowledges what people around us already know anyway. Being authentic with them will encourage the Christian you know in their struggle with sin and will draw the non-Christian you know to the gospel of Jesus.
Image credit: http://www.ephesus.us/ephesus/st_paul_in_ephesus.htm