Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yet I Sin

I'm wrestling with something today.

Several months ago I began to slowly and deliberately work through the book of Romans, today I focused on Romans 5:6-11

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Like so many other passages I've studied thus far, this passage reminds me of what I was without X, what God has accomplished for me through X, and what that means (should mean) for my life in X. But like Paul, I'm troubled by the continuing struggle within me!

Here's how Paul put it in Romans 7:15-25,

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate...For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my
members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

I understand that just struggling with this is a "good" sign and evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work, but it just gets so hard sometimes. Shouldn't my life always reflect my love for my Saviour? As a verse in my favorite hymn says, "I find, I walk, I love; but O, the whole of love is but my answer, Lord, to Thee!" Shouldn't "my answer" to the Lord always be "yes, I'll obey"?

I know I'm not alone in this struggle. I recently enjoyed a wonderful brunch (lovingly prepared and beautifully presented by a relatively new friend) with several other Xian ladies where we discussed this and shared our confidence that the Lord was indeed at work in and through us--sanctifying us for His glory! And, today as I searched for and wrestled to gain a Biblical perspective, I found the following Puritan prayer in the book, "The Valley of Vision". Perhaps it will encourage you, too.
Yet I Sin

Eternal Father,
Thou are good beyond all thought,
But I am vile, wretched, miserable, blind;
My lips are ready to confess, but my heart is slow to feel, and my ways reluctant to amend.
I bring my soul to thee; break it, wound it, bend it, mould it.
Unmask to me sin's deformity, that I may hate it, abhor it, flee from it.
My faculties have been a weapon of revolt against thee; as a rebel I have misused my strenght, and served the foul adversary of they kingdom.
Give me grace to bewail my insensate folly,
Grant me to know that the way of transgressors is hard, that evil paths are wretched paths, that to depart from thee is to lose all good.
I have seen the purity and beauty of they perfect law, the happiness of those in whose heart it reigns, the calm dignity of the walk to which it calls, yet I daily violate and contemn its precepts.
Thy loving Spirit strives within me, brings me Scripture warnings, speaks in startling providences, allures by secret whispers, yet I choose devices and desires to my own hurt, impiously resent, grieve, and provoke him to abandon me.
All these sins I mourn, lament, and for them cry pardon.
Work in me more profound and abiding repentence;
Give me the fullness of a godly grief that trembles and fears, yet ever trusts and loves, which is ever powerful, and ever confident;
Grant that through the tears of repentance I may see more clearly the brightness and glories of the saving cross.


Anonymous said...

Hi Connie~

I popped in here from my 'League of Reformed Bloggers' blogroll. Just thought I'd go through it...

So much of what you have to say here really resonates with me. Let's see, first off I am an adopted child myself. I've also been to Russia on a mission tour, it holds a special place in my own heart.

I read your post on women and theology. I guess I'm one of the 'weird' ones. :) I'm very much into studying theology, and having a right view of God.

He introduced me to His sovereignty a little over 2 years ago. I completely embrace the doctrines of grace, and my walk with the Lord hasn't been the same! Thankfully!

I won't ramble on too much~ Just wanted to let you know I've enjoyed what I've read here. You have a great blog.

Connie said...

Gayla: Thanks so much for letting me know you dropped by--and about the things we have in common through God's providence!

I don't know about you, but God has used adoption to teach me much about Him!!

4given said...

Hey fellow weird ones,
This post so blessed me. And thanks for the phone call on Thursday. It was such a joy to hear your voice and much-appreciated words of encouragement.
Much love,

Surrender to the will of God is the path to true happiness. --Elizabeth Prentiss

A Christian's "more happy moments are those in which he is enabled to lie abased before God and in which he has increasing desires to be kept humble to the end of his days." --Gardiner Spring