The Good and the Bad

The Good and the Bad from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

(Jeremiah 29:11–14 NKJV)  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity;

God is a Deliverer, and He sets people free from bondage. He brings them back from captivity once they return to Him in their hearts. Captivity can come in so many different forms today, but they typically begin with sin. The Apostle Paul wrote it this way:

(Romans 7:14 NKJV)  For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

In Roman times, slaves were sold on an auction block under a spear. When a spear was held out over their head, it signified this person was a slave for sale. Paul wrote that he was a slave, sold under a spear. Sin was the spear being held over him, the cause of him being a slave. Sin was essentially his slave master. Everyone reading then knew what he was talking about.

(Romans 7:15 NKJV) For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

Paul was conflicted. His spirit wanted to live right, but his body wanted to live wrong. His body was a slave to sin. Slaves have no say about what they will do with their lives. They are told what to do. It is up to the slave master to decide. One may be a cook, and another a prostitute. One may appear more respectable than another, but really they are all just serving the wishes of their master. Anyone unredeemed lives in this state of existence. They are used by satan in whatever way he wishes to use them. Paul continues:

(Romans 7:16–19 NKJV)  If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

Paul's problem isn't his knowledge. He knows what he should do. He just can't seem to do it. C.S. Lewis said, "No man knows how bad he is until he has tried to be good." The old sinful nature was in direct conflict with the new life in Paul.

(Galatians 5:16–18 NIV)  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Every Christian has this twin nature within them, just like Paul. John wrote that those who say they have no sin are liars (1 John 1:10). Paul finally shares the answer:

(Romans 7:24–25 NASB)  Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

The word translated as "wretched" in ancient Greek literally means: "wretched through the exhaustion of hard labor." Paul had struggled in his own strength until he had worn himself out. A believer who tries to please God in their own power will always meet frustration.

The gospel's message is that there is victory over sin, hate, death, and all evil as we surrender our lives to Jesus and let Him live through us. Redeemed literally means: "To Buy Back." Jesus bought us slaves back from the devil with His own blood, and now we are free people. The devil can no longer make you do anything. His power over you is now broken. When Jesus is your Savior, you are no longer a slave to sin.

Jesus bought us back from the enemy. We are set free from condemnation (John 3:18), free from judgment (John 5:24), free from the power of death (John 8:51). Our alienation from God ended because God adopted us into His own family (John 1:12). If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36). Truly no one could have said it better.

We have been redeemed. Yet, what you feed in your life will continue to grow, and what you starve will die. Each time you resist temptation, you will grow stronger against it, and it will become easier to resist. The opposite is true, as well. Each time you yield to temptation, you become weaker, and it becomes easier to do it the next time.

With the precious blood of His only Son Jesus, God bought us back from slavery. No longer are we in bondage unless we choose to be by our own actions. Yet even when God opens our cell door, some of us remain in the cell. For it is all we know. We can get out. Through the Blood of Jesus, we are redeemed out of the hand of the devil. We are set free from bondage.

(Isaiah 53:5–6 NKJV)  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

You can pray this with me if you like:

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for saving me and setting me apart. I long for more of You in my life. Thank You for redeeming me from the curse of the law. Please set me free from the things that hold me back and guide my steps. Take away the desires that are not from You, in the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!

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