For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 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. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
(Rom. 7: 22– 25)
Jesus, though I’m conflict avoidant by nature and choice, this is one conflict about which I am actually excited. The very fact that there’s a war going on inside of me is a good thing, especially since the combatants are the gospel and my sinful nature. For this means that the outcome of this war has already been decided. The gospel will prevail! Yet I’m not naïve about the “mop-up” operation. Growing in grace is great, but it sure gets messy and intense.
The only reason I now delight in God’s law, in my heart of hearts, is because the demands of the law drove me to you, Jesus. I needed a substitute and a Savior, not a model and a coach. You perfectly met all the requirements of God’s law for me, and you’ve exhausted his judgment against all my law breaking. This is the good news, indeed.
The messy part of knowing you comes from your commitment to make me like yourself. You’re more committed to getting “heaven” in me than getting me into heaven. Why couldn’t you have just glorified me after justifying me? It would’ve been so much easier. Why couldn’t we have just skipped over the whole sanctification process?
Silly questions, indeed. I’m just very thankful to know that one day I will be as loving and as lovely as you, for the Father will complete his work in each of his children, including me. Until that day, here’s my prayer . . .
Jesus, allow me to grieve the sinfulness of sin— the sinfulness of my sins. Now that I’m no longer guilty or condemned, let me fearlessly see my sins, ruthlessly hate my sins, and relentlessly repent of my sins. Increase my love for holiness and decrease my self-contempt. Only the gospel can bring me such freedom. Only by seeing more of you, Jesus, will I delight in this journey.
Jesus, you’re the end of all my wretchedness. You’re the one who’s rescuing me from this “body of death”— all the effects and residue of the fall, all the trappings of my graveclothes, every semblance of every way I’m not like you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I pray in your most powerful and loving name. Amen.