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 in 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, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  Romans 7:15-20 ESV

Paul is, of course, speaking of the reason why God had provided the Law.  It’s not the Law that saves, but grace.  Many scholars believe Paul wrote the above after maturing in the faith and coming to grips with his sin.  It’s helpful for us to know Paul’s background – an arrogant, blasphemous, murderer who meets Christ on the road toward more persecution.  In the blink of an eye, Paul is transformed.  He goes on to write 2/3 of our New Testament and is considered the Apostle of Grace.

That gives me hope.  After reading Paul’s confession above, I see myself time and time again.  Yet if God transformed Paul to do what Paul did, maybe there’s hope for me as well.  Need hope today?  Look towards the God who transformed Paul.  He can do the same for you!

4 Responses to “Hope”

  1. Tammy Haskell Says:

    Wait, Wait, Wait! I thought Paul was describing me in this passage. Sometimes it seems that no matter what, I still seem to struggle with my own desires and not always looking to what God wants. And yes Praise God for GRACE! There is HOPE for me!

  2. I feel the same when I think about how much Paul was forgiven – but you know – I struggle with this: There have been times that my past stares me in the face and all I can do is tell myself “I am forgiven” – but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to face the consequences of my sin. I do wish that it did… and I wonder if Paul ever dealt with the same. Did he meet some of the people’s families that he killed and did they say awful things to him and did he say “I’m sorry” then feel awful and go and pray and God comforted him and told him “Your forgiven”… ? I wonder.

    • Maria,
      Great point in distinguishing between grace and the consequences of sin. I’m on board. I too believe Paul had to experience the consequences of his past. As for your valid question, I’m not sure. Perhaps as time went by, those around Paul came to believe more and more of his transformation. But surely there were those who remembered his threats let alone murders. Hmmm.

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