Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
In Romans 7, Paul talks about his struggle against sin. Talking of the saddening reality of how one who is freed from sin, he still often finds himself entertaining and indulging in what he was saved from. Although much of these sounds discouraging, as one might protest, ‘if that was Paul, the apostle of Christ, who am I’. It is not written to discourage the Christian whatsoever. In fact, by contrast, there is enormous ground for genuine encouragement in what he says.
In chapter 5 we were reminded of the triumph of God’s grace: “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:20– 21). “Through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That is exactly the place to which we come at the end of chapter 7, and the point is the same. Victory is ours through Jesus Christ. The living presence of Jesus Christ is the answer to the problem of sin in one’s life. He saves once and for all to reconcile man with God, and he lives to cleanse man from every stain of sin to make man pure.
The triumph of grace is assured, regardless of how badly we may think we are doing now or how near despair we may be due to the intensity or duration of the struggle. Apart from Jesus, not one of us can prevail for a moment. But united to him, we not only can prevail but will prevail. The Bible promises that “he who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Oh, what a promise! Therefore, we make it our aim to abide in Christ, being renewed in our mind by his word and availing our hearts to be conformed and transformed by his word. Christ truly saves! Christ truly changes! Christ truly keeps us even in the midst of the struggle against sin.