Romans 7:21-25 (NLT)
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
In these verses Paul says that he has identified a key principle in life. He says, “when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.” Then Paul goes on to describe the struggle of trying to accomplishing the law, but finding that he fails because of the sin within him. He states a rhetorical question, “who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death” and then he gives his answer, “Jesus Christ”.
The key principle Paul learned uses the word “I” twice: when “I” try to do what is right; “I” inevitably do what is wrong. Paul has identified when he relies only on his own will, his own mind, his own body, his own power that he is not able to accomplish the good he desires to do. There is a power indwelling within him that makes him follow sin. He refers to this struggle as a war, as a battle that takes place in his mind. This battle is the desire to be what God intended for him to be versus the sin that compels him to do what he desires instead of what God desires. He really wants to be what God called him to be, but he finds his life is a struggle. But Paul has hope because he knows that while he is unable to keep all of the law, Jesus Christ did. And because of his belief, his faith in Jesus Christ he knows his life will not be dominated by sin. Note that he does not say his life will be free from sin, but that it will not be dominated by sin. People will continue to sin, but those who follow Christ, who hold tight to God cannot continue in their sins. Their life is not a habit of sin. Habits are formed after repeating things over and over again until it is no long a conscious action. Those who are of God the Holy Spirit speaks to them and convicts them of their sin. Like Paul he knows the sins he has committed. He has been convicted of them, but he has not made them a habit because he has learned to turn to Jesus Christ in his time of need. Pray we all depend on Our Savior Jesus Christ to get us through the sinful times in our life. Pray the Holy Spirit will continue to convict you and let you know Jesus Christ is there to help you overcome your sin.