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Life is War (Part 2) – But the Enemy Within is Defeating Us

April 19, 2013

We win by doing good, but our pride has kept us from doing good. Everyone knows this, even non believers.

“When I want to do good, evil lies close at hand. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:21-24).

So the coming of grace to our lives is a victory twice over; first for our forgiveness, and second, for our empowerment to get back to doing good. The nature of God Himself is good:

“And God saw that what He made was good.” “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” “Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!” (Psalm 135:3).

God has put goodness in our hearts. When we hear the Golden Rule, we feel that this is right at a very deep level of our being: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” God has put goodness in our hearts, but we are painfully aware of how bad we are, what bad thoughts we think, and what bad things we have said and done. The confession of the historic Church of England is true:

The Beast Within

Even for believers, self-evaluation can render unsavory revelations.

ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind In Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

Doing wicked things; thinking wicked things; wanting wicked things; knowing better and finding ourselves unable to do the good that we want to do, ah, that is the human condition.

That is the misery within. This is the war within. All of the great novels and movies and stories re-tell the story that life is war. All the great authors—Mark Twain, Fyodor Dostoevsky, the rest, are telling the story of how we became sad, how far short of goodness we all fall, how great is the gap between the good we want and how it ever got to be this crazy.

Man, by nature, does not want to know God. “There is no one who seeks after God,” as the above Scripture says. As Dr. Michael Horton noted, “We cannot find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a police officer.” (Pastor John Samson)

But thanks be to God for His saving grace. He saves us from our sins by forgiveness, and He saves us from our human condition, but restoring to us the power to do good. Life is war, but we are twice victors, once within and again with others. We win because of the new way we treat others, with humility where once there was pride. We humbly join a new community of the redeemed.

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