for I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not (Rom. 7:18).
Most Christians think that when a person comes to Christ, the Lord gives them an extra strong willpower. Consequently, they now have, they think, the power to say “No!” to sin.
None of that is correct!
It may come as a shock and a surprise to most Christians, but the Devil can easily override the willpower of a person. The only “willpower” that the Lord gives a person is the will to say “Yes!” to Christ, which is, in fact, very important. This means that the worst sinner in the world, for example, one totally bound by alcohol or drugs, who cannot say “No!” to those vices, can, if he so desires, say “Yes!” to Christ. It is the same principle with the Believer.
The Lord doesn’t really give the Believer the capacity to say “No!” to sin, because we are “dead to sin.” A dead man doesn’t say anything. In this “newness of life,” however, we are given the capacity to say “Yes!” to Christ and His Way, which is the Way of the Cross. That is where the will of man begins and ends.
The Believer does not overcome by willpower; he overcomes by Faith. This means, as we have repeatedly stated, Faith in Christ and the Cross (Gal. 6:14).
If one studies the life of the Apostle Paul, one must come to the conclusion that he was a man with a strong constitution. I personally believe Paul had extremely strong willpower; however, he very clearly states in Romans 7:18 that he had the will to live the life he knew he ought to live, but “how to perform that which is good he found not.” His willpower, in other words, simply was not good enough. And neither is yours!
Law, as a barrier to the will, excites it; and the consciousness of sin thereby awakened produces in the Presence of God a conscience under sentence of death. Thus, the Commandment ordained unto life becomes, in fact, the instrument of death. “This do and you shall live” became death to man because his sinful nature refused to obey; and in so refusing his own conscience, it condemned him to death.
Thus, the Law was holy and each of its Commandments just and good, but it condemned to death all who failed to render to it a perfect obedience, as condemn it must! Such is the effect of Divine Law upon man’s carnal nature; the rest of this Seventh Chapter illustrates the doctrine by showing how fruitless is the effort of the “old man” to live as the “new man.” There is simply no such thing as moral evolution, i.e., self cannot control self; the flesh cannot control the flesh.
If the Believer is trying to live for God by any means other than Faith in Christ and the Cross, no matter how hard he tries, he will find himself sinking deeper and deeper into the morass of sin. That means the situation will become worse and worse.
There is no victory in “trying harder.” There is victory only in Christ and the Cross!
The Whole Bible
Read Jeremiah 40:1 through 42:22; 2 Timothy 3:1–17
From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15).
The apostle Paul wrote these words to a young minister that he mentored and loved as a son. Timothy’s mother was a Jew, and apparently she made sure her son was given a firm foundation through exposure to the Law and the Prophets, our Old Testament.
The New Testament we have today was not yet recognized as Scripture or even complete when Paul wrote to Timothy. The Scriptures that could make one “wise for salvation” that Paul was referring to was the Old Testament.
Sometimes Christians bypass Old Testament books as though they have little importance for today. However, these books point to Christ and His salvation. Having a solid Old Testament foundation paves the way for a better understanding of the New.
How is your knowledge of the Old Testament? Do you know what it has to say about Christ? Have you searched the prophets in order to apply their wisdom and truths to your walk with God?
Prayer Suggestion: Lord, help me to study all of Your Word in a balanced way.
--Quicklook: 2 Timothy 3:10–16 --
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