By Elizabeth Prata
Sin is a torture. There is no avoiding it. There is no getting away from it. I hate the sin in me, and I hate that the older I grow in Christ, the sadder and more disappointed about my sin I become. Why? The more I’m sanctified the more sin I see. The more sin I see the more I realize that, blessedly, Jesus is the only One who can catch me up. He will glorify me on His Day. The most I can do is run the race. Persevere. (1 Corinthians 9:24)
I love the bible. My Savior, who I really love, sent His Spirit to inspire an entire book which reveals God to us. I love that. It encourages us with words of life. In this book are common men, men and women who were living lives and worshiping or not worshiping, or in Apostle Saul/Paul’s case, killing. One day, Jesus broke the veil and converted Paul. Hallelujah!
However, even with a direct confrontation with a glorified risen Jesus, and even with the Spirit as fully on Paul as He was, Paul still did what he didn’t want to and didn’t do what he wanted. That old flesh.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (Romans 7:15-20)
In other words, Paul struggled. The flesh certainly has a grip on us, doesn’t it? I’m grateful again that the people who are written down in the book are regular people, saints of grace, but not saintly. At least I can relate to the passage there in Romans.
When Jesus came, and some disciples told John the Baptist that people were going over to Jesus, John replied.
He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)
O, Lord, please increase the Spirit in me! Please, more each day. Yes, I know that’s sanctification, but it is all right to long for the glorification, is it not? When there be no more sin in me, when I can worship Jesus properly? O happy day. I know I am not the only one to feel this way.
There is then…there is then sort of an ongoing sadness in the Christian life, isn’t there? And the longer you’re a Christian, the sadder you are over your sin. And what makes you sadder than you used to be is you keep assuming that you ought to grow out of this. There’s a place in life for fun and there’s a place in life for joy. And the Lord wants us to rejoice, all of that. But there’s always that nagging reality in the life of a true Christian, that deep-felt grief and sorrow over sin until it is repentant of. ~John MacArthur, The Only Way to Happiness is to Mourn Over Sin
There is the joy that we know we don’t have to increase by ourselves. We can’t. We have joy in knowing the Holy Spirit in us is the One who will increase us to Christ-Likeness.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
He is a glorious, wonderful Savior to save us from wallowing for an eternity in our sins. What a blessed relief that is coming, final and eternal release from the sinful flesh.
New Heavens and a New Earth
17“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
18But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. 19I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. (Isaiah 65:17-20)
What a Creator. We brought sin into the world, but He will finally banish it. No more distressing flesh-battles…only peace- and purity.