Some two thousand years ago, there was a man named Saul who was a devout Jew. He was trained as a Pharisee and was, by his own account, flawless in regard to righteousness. This meant, he was very observant of the various ceremonial washings, and other rituals that the Pharisees went through to attain righteousness. Yet later, he said, he counted it all rubbish.
If you have read the book of Acts, you will be familiar with this man’s adventures, it started when Jesus met with him on the road to Damascus. A life changing encounter for Saul, who became Paul. He was tireless in his service to God, no matter what the world threw at him, and it threw a lot at him, he carried on working. One time, they stoned him and left him for dead outside the city…He got up and went back in…What kind of man was this? Shipwrecks, flogging…You name it, he got it, and still he carried on.
We can be tempted to look on Paul as some kind of super hero, but he wasn’t. His own words tell us that he came with trembling, not with confidence. A true man of God, and an inspiration to all of us who strive to follow our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Paul wrote a sizeable chunk of the New Testament and eventually gave his life for his love of God. What a man and would that I were more like him.
Well, the truth is, I am like him, though not in ways that I can shout about. There is a passage in Romans that identifies Paul with ‘the rest of us.’ Read on.
Romans 7, 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but that I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.
24 What a reached man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Hard to believe that this mighty man of God went through all this stuff, just as we also go through it. You see, I am like him, and probably, you are too. So let’s all praise God for this next verse…
Romans 8, 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Wow, what a God we serve. If, like me, you find yourself doing stuff you hate, and not doing stuff that is good, take heart, you are in good company. Paul also struggled with sin.
Praise be to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.