A “sinning Christian” is almost an oxymoron. Almost. I think one of the main truths we have to keep repeating to ourselves when it comes to our relationship with sin is that “while sin no longer reigns, it nevertheless remains”. Sin will remain with every believer until his final breath is expired on this earth. He (sin) no longer has mastery. He has been knocked off his throne and confined to the dungeons of our heart. Christ has broken his power over our lives, but he crawls around in those dungeons trying to regain strength and recapture the throne. For a true believer this sin prisoner will never finally succeed but he will make some vicious attempts that, at times, might rock us a bit.
This is the struggle that Paul is describing in Romans 7:13-25. Some do not think that this is referring to believers but it seems that the bulk of textual evidence would lead us to think that Paul is indeed referring to believers. Here are a few clues that lead us to that conclusion
· Paul shifts to the present tense here (and he is presently a believer when he writes)
· Unbelievers do not so intensely desire to keep God’s law (v.21) Believers do.
· There is distinction made between “I” and “the flesh” (v.18)
· Deliverance from the sinful body is though future, yet certain (v.24)
· The tension of v.25 coheres with experience.
· This best fits the Biblical “already/not yet” pattern.
We have already been delivered from the penalty of sin. We will one day be delivered from the presence of sin. Now, though we are being saved from the power of sin. It is a struggle. We are promised victory, and it will not come without our effort, but we are promised a certain victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Thanks be to Him (v.25)!