Romans 7:15-19 (NLT)
15 I don�t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don�t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can�t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don�t. I don�t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
In these verses the apostle describes his struggle with sin. He does not understand how he could want to do what is right, but doesn�t do it. The apostle knows there is a battle taking place within him � on one side he wants to do what is right and on the other side he is pulled towards sin. Verse 19 sums it up well, �I want to do what is good, but I don�t. I don�t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.�
How many of you feel like the apostle? I know personally I do. I cannot number the times I have told myself I want to obey the Lord and then did the complete opposite. I remember telling my mother as a child �I didn�t want to be a teenager because they grew up and get into trouble.� She said she couldn�t stop me from being a teenager - and she was right. I eventually turned 13 and in those teen years I often sinned. Even as an adult I tell myself I want to do what is right, but I still catch myself committing the sins I so much wanted to avoid.
The apostle tells us in verses 9-13, �At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law�s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.�
As we begin to understand the Lord we find ourselves in a battle. I am aware God does not want me to covet and yet what do I do? I find myself desiring those things I do not need or do not belong to me. The laws made me realize those desires are present and against what God wants for me.
In the Old Testament God made covenants between Himself and man. These covenants were agreements mediated between God and man that said if you followed His laws God would bring blessings into your life, but if you disobeyed His laws there would be curses you must recon with.
The New Testament brought about a New Covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-34 gave us a preview of this covenant. The day is coming,� says the Lord, �when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,� says the Lord. �But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,� says the Lord. �I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, �You should know the Lord.� For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,� says the Lord. �And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.�
In the Old Testament the people did not always follow God�s word so they had to deal with the curses brought against them. In the New Testament Jesus mediated a New Covenant with God for Man. Jesus paid the debt for sin for all time through his death on the cross. There was no longer a need for a system of curses and blessing. Instead God put the law on the hearts of man so they would know what is right and wrong. They would continue to battle against sin in their lives, but when we they failed it was not a permanent failure. They could ask for and receive God�s forgiveness and the sin was never remembered again. Jesus blessed us in a tremendous way. We were freed from the slavery of sin that we might live to please God without fear of retribution when we slipped and fell. The laws were not removed, but the law no long had a grip on us that said one failure meant condemnation. There may be consequences from our own actions, but the curses of God would no longer be upon us.