The life that Paul describes in Romans chapter 7 is one of confusion, guilt, shame, addictions, self-condemnation, frustration, despair and ultimately failure and defeat. All of us are familiar with those emotions and have all had our share of them. Paul is not commending them to us. He is exposing them along with the antidote which he explains in Romans Chapter 8. It begins with by affirming our standing with Christ; “there is now no condemnation” for us. He affirms our childhood: we are all children of God. He affirms God’s positive attitude toward us: “All things work together for good.” He affirms God’s love: “Nothing can separate us from the Love that’s in Christ Jesus.” It’s all about how we see ourselves. The Chapter 7 Christian is the one living “according to the flesh” experiencing failure at every moment. The Chapter 8 believer, on the other hand, is the one living by faith in His proclaimed righteousness in Christ. Unfortunately, I find myself in Chapter 7 more often than I do in chapter 8. It’s an invisible war! One that is waged over control of the way I think.

In addition to Romans Chapter 8, 2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us that we are not poised for a defeated lifestyle, but for a victorious lifestyle. He tells us that we’ve got what it takes. He writes, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”

I like the way Steve McVey puts it. He says, “But it is not our nature to sin anymore. If you believe, at the core of your being, that you possess an evil nature that seeks to rise up and take control of you, that lie will empower the enemy to deceive you into thinking you are helpless to consistently live a righteous lifestyle. Over the long haul, none of us will act in a way that contradicts what we believe about ourselves. So if you believe you are wicked in the deep, hidden places of your life, that deception will become a catalyst for sinful behavior. However, understanding the truth that you are not wicked but have, in fact, received the very nature of Jesus Christ will enable you to rise up and live like the godly person you are!” (See “52 Lies We Hear in Church Every Sunday”) He goes on to summarize his position, “The truth of the Bible is that you have the nature of Jesus Christ, and that is your one, single nature. Refuse to believe that, and you’ll set yourself up for constant internal conflict. Believe it, and you’ll be equipped to live life out of the truth of your authentic self.”