Still a Man In Need of a Savior

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, June 10, 2015 0 comments
by Logan Ames

“I keep trying to find a life on my own apart from You. I am the king of excuses, I’ve got one for every selfish thing I do. Tell me, what’s going on inside of me? I despise my own behavior. This only serves to confirm my suspicions that I’m still a man in need of a Savior” (DC Talk).

These words are the lyrics at the beginning of the song “In The Light” by DC Talk. The lyrics to this song have always spoken volumes to me about the fact that every day I wake up is another day that I need my Savior, Jesus Christ. This does not mean that I need Christ to die for me every day. The beauty of the gospel message is that, as 1 Peter 3:18 says, Christ suffered and died once for our sins and reconciled us to God. His one act, and all the pain that came with it, was enough to cover all sins for all people for all times. When I say that I need my Savior every single day, I’m referring to the fact that his power and grace are needed for me to do anything good or right.

Later in the DC Talk song, the lyrics mention a “disease of self” that has become like a “cancer." The song continues, “Every attempt on my behalf has failed to bring this sickness under control." This leaves the believer desperate for an answer, a way out of the hopelessness that he feels as he tries to do good but fails over and over again. I think the Apostle Paul can relate. In Romans 7:14-25, his words seem to indicate an equally desperate mood. Take some time to read through this section on your own. If you consider yourself a follower of Christ, you should be able to sympathize with Paul. As a born again Christian, he desires to do what is good and right, yet finds himself failing constantly. As he tries to find a way within himself to overcome his flesh (aka “sinful nature”), he is unsuccessful. Eventually, after referring to himself in some way roughly 40 times in this passage, he finally decides to look beyond his own power.

How are you doing at overcoming your sinful desires? If the answer is “not well,” what’s the reason? Is it about YOUR willpower and YOUR righteousness? I can assure you that even if you have a good day in that regard, it will not last. In the passage, Paul has tried to bring his “sickness” of the flesh under control but everything he has tried has failed. I’m sure he had some good days, moments where he really felt like he was really on fire for the Lord and nothing could stop him. Then out of nowhere he’d find himself in a battle with his own flesh. Paul was formerly “Saul,” a Pharisee who believed he could earn God’s favor in his life through his own righteousness. If you had lived your whole life believing God approved of you because of your obedience to the law and then suddenly realized you’re just as much a sinner as those you used to mock, you’d be feeling kind of desperate as well. The good news for Paul was that he had no doubt he was saved. The bad news was that being saved and coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ revealed to him just how wicked he really was.

C.S. Lewis said, “No man knows how bad he is until he has tried to be good." Knowing Christ made Paul want to be good, but he had to come to the realization that this was not possible by his power. Paul used to rely on the law to reveal his righteousness, but now he understands that the law has no power to help him. He refers to the law as “spiritual” (v. 14) and “good” (v. 16), but realizes that it cannot help him overcome the disease of his sinful flesh. The law tells Paul what to do and he both knows it and desires to follow it. However, he is a sinner and the law can only argue AGAINST him because he is guilty. Martin Luther said that “the proof of a wise and spiritual man” is that he is displeased with himself because he recognizes the law of God and still cannot follow it, while the “proof of a foolish, carnal man” is that he sees himself as spiritual and is pleased with himself. Do you recognize your need every day for a Savior no matter how long you’ve been a Christian? I certainly do.

Paul finally finds freedom and peace in knowing that, when he was completely unable to will himself to do as he knows he should, God rescued him through the Lord Jesus Christ (vv. 24-25). This freedom cannot be obtained any other way. Paul clearly has attempted to find it within himself and has been unsuccessful. Is that you? Are you still trying to figure out a “plan” to stop sinning? Many people, including some who have been in the news very recently, have simply folded to their sinful desires and now publicly praise them. Some are even called “heroes” or “courageous” for not rejecting these desires.

The world has it backwards, but those of you who follow Jesus Christ are called to a different standard. As born again believers, we no longer have the luxury of accepting or even becoming complacent with our struggles with sin simply because it’s our “sinful nature” and we “just can’t help it." That’s slavery, not freedom. The truth is that we don’t really have two natures. Paul recognizes that he is a “new creation” in Christ and that the old man is gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). A “good” nature wasn’t simply added to an existing sinful nature. Rather, Christ replaced the old with the new. Paul demonstrated recognition of this work of Christ when he said, “It is no longer I myself who do it” (Romans 7:17). Therefore, any of us who calls himself a Christ follower is mistaken if he says there is no way he can stop living in a particular sin.

The truth of this passage and of the power and grace of Christ is that continuing in a sin after being born again is going AGAINST your true nature. Christ has already rescued you from that body of death and ALL of you is redeemed in him! It’s time to begin living and walking in that freedom! The great news is that it is an ongoing process. Jesus didn’t just die for us and then leave us on our own to figure out how to walk in freedom. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us EVERY DAY. When you wake up tomorrow and realize how much you still need Jesus and his power over the flesh, he will be right there to guide you. I encourage you to take advantage of this precious gift.

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