Every born again believer experiences the discomfiting reality of being truly committed to the good of God's will, while having conflicting thoughts, emotions and physical sensations present with us.
This was the Apostle Paul's experience. "When I would do good, evil is present with me" (Romans 7:21). This godly man, arguably the most important Christian who ever lived, did not achieve in his earthly lifetime the eradication of the law of sin in his earthly members and faculties. Paul did, however, come to the understanding that we must receive and embrace. He realized that we must expect contrary impulses and sensibilities to be present within us, even in times of our most ardent faithfulness to God. These thoughts, feelings and sensations are not in and of themselves sin, but they can lead to sin if we submit to them through unbelief and failure to "through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body" (Romans 8:13). As mentioned in previous considerations, godliness in our present lives does not involve the elimination of the law of sin in our flesh, but rather the overcoming of it by "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2).
Knowing who the Lord Jesus is, and who we are as spiritually united to Him provides the dynamic means whereby we walk in the Spirit. We must believe in His powerful working within us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). And we must believe that such grace constitutes delight for the will of God as our truest yearning and desire. Indeed, it is not enough to simply believe the truth about Christ if we are to overcome temptation. We must also believe the Bible's clear declarations about our selves in Christ. We must believe that in our innermost Christ-inhabited being, His delight is our delight, notwithstanding contrary feeling, thought, or physical sensation. Throughout the pages of the New Testament epistles, this dual theme of properly understanding both ourselves and the Lord Jesus shines forth as necessary truth we must believe.
"Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:9-11).
Could not such a dual emphasis on the Lord Jesus and ourselves lead to an inordinate self emphasis, and even exaltation? The answer is yes, it certainly can. Our spiritual enemies are not above using even God's truth as a means to mislead and deceive us. We will address this matter in tomorrow's consideration of Christ's delight for His Father's will, and our delight for the same, imparted to us by our Lord's presence in the very heart of who we most deeply are.
"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."