I especially love the Book of Romans, because it explains so much about the grace of God and all it accomplishes for us as believers in Jesus. We know we cannot measure up to the law, because we have tried so often and utterly failed. Religious rules and regulations, no matter how virtuous they may sound, are utterly ineffective in bringing us to God because we can’t keep them–no matter how much we may want to. If Paul couldn’t do it on his own, I am certain I can’t.
Paul writes in Romans that he does the things he hates: For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. -Romans 7:15-17 (HCSB)
So how do we claim victory over this?
Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you. So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. -Romans 8:1-13 (HCSB)
We see from the preceding verses that, even if we wanted to, we cannot obey the law from strictly the perspective of the flesh. We know that, since the days of Adam and Eve, the body dies as a result of sin. This is an inescapable fact of life on this earth in our present form. Try as they might, the people of Israel were unable to attain sin-free living by keeping the law as God gave it to them. Knowing this, he had no choice but to send His only-begotten Son for us as a sacrifice for our sin, which he took upon Himself at Calvary. The Bible makes it clear that, in so doing, the requirement of the law was met and we now live in accordance with the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit constantly intercedes for us and prays for us when we are unable. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness: In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. -Romans 8:26-27 (HCSB)