Lord we confess our many faults
And how great our guilt has been
Foolish and vain were all of our thoughts
No good could come from within
But by the mercy of our God
All our hopes begin
And by the water and the blood
Our souls are washed from sin
It’s not by the works of righteousness
Which our own hands have done
But we are saved by our Father’s grace
Abounding through His Son
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7:18-19
I’ve had this song set on replay this week. The first part of the week I felt like I was living in the last part of Romans 7. The things that I didn’t want to do were the things I kept on doing and the things that I wanted to do…well, I just couldn’t seem to make them happen. It was horrible. I felt so defeated, frustrated and hopeless. Satan is not called “the Accuser” for nothing. He continued to pile guilt on my already burdened heart even after my confession to the Lord of my sin. I found myself saying in frustration, “Wretched (wo)man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:24).
I was feeling the despair of trying to live in my own strength. I knew the standards for my behavior and thoughts (i.e., the commands of Scripture)…and also how miserably I was missing the mark. I just couldn’t do it. I kept on trying but failing completely. I still can’t do it…and neither can you. But thankfully, by the grace and faithful love of God, there is Someone who has already done it for us.
I love the book of Romans. It was one of the first books of the Bible that I actually studied through (really studied, not just a read through) when I began to dig into the Word for myself. I have a general knowledge of the flow of the book so when I found myself wallowing in Romans 7, I was incredibly grateful to know that chapter 8 (one of my favorite chapters in Scripture) was next.
Romans 8 begins:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”
We (I) couldn’t keep the standards of the Law because of our innate, sin-weakened flesh. But God has done what the Law could not do (because of our (my) sinfulness). Through Jesus’ perfect obedience to the Law, His death in my place, and His blood to cover me, I am set free from the Law of sin and death. I am set free to obey from my heart with the help of the Holy Spirit. I am forgiven. I am clean. I am in Christ. My sin is washed away by the Water and the Blood. The good news of the Gospel is still the answer.
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8: 33-34
*The Water and the Blood/Written by: Isaac Watts, Neil Robbins and David LaChance/© Sojourn Community Church 2011