The Lifelong War Between Flesh and Spirit

Romans 7 verses 14 to 25.

I wrote an essay about what the Bible says concerning homosexuals. There were a lot of responses and many people couldn't understand how this could happen to them and members of their families. Large segments of our society claim that "they" can't help "it" and that it's genetic. I clearly explained that if this were true, then that would be a path to extinction for all homosexuals because male/male and female/female unions can't reproduce themselves. Some of them call us (heterosexuals) their "breeders" and we somehow magically reproduce the genes we don't have, for them. If common sense and logic exists in your world, it is obvious that this just doesn't compute. So if this lifestyle is by choice, what is the mechanism or reason many people make this choice? The answer is found in Romans 7; Not just for homosexuals, but all the "sins", errors, and mistakes we all make in this life

(Whether or not you believe that the whole Bible is literal, or maybe some of it is metaphorical, that doesn't change the basic lessons that we derive from God's Word. So bear with me here)

14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am made out of flesh, sold into sin's power.

There are about seven definitions for the word "Spiritual". Many people claim that they don't believe in all that spiritual stuff. Those same people understand that the United States is a fictitious entity, and the individual States are fictitious entities, and that Corporations are also fictitious entities. They each contain property, things and people but are not corporal entities or made solely out of flesh and blood. So if they're fictitious, can you ignore them? No you can't, because they are all held together by laws and rules that are enforced with the authority they posses. In the same way, God's Laws are spiritual, enforced by His ultimate authority. The laws of God and mankind work best if they are fully understood and voluntarily obeyed by a conscious choice. I, on the other hand, am a creature of flesh and blood. I must inhabit this corporal body as long as I live on this world. This body of mine possesses an entirely different set of laws and rules that "it" wants and, sometimes, demands. A good example of this is found in the account of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where He asked His Disciples to watch and wait with Him. In Matthew 26:41 He asked Peter to "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak!" Jesus' Disciples were following the demands of their bodies and kept falling asleep even though they surely had the conscious desire to "watch and pray" with Jesus as He had asked them to do. "Sold into sin's power" refers to the original Sins of Adam and Eve (which I won't go into here).

In 1st Corinthians 15:56 it says that "the power of sin is the law". In other words; There is no trespass or wrongdoing without the law. Spitting on the sidewalk is OK until "they" pass a law that says it isn't. Then, if you are a horrible person that breaks the law by spitting on the sidewalk, you will be punished according to the provisions of that law. Sin's power is in the act of trespassing against God's Law. "Sin" is defined as anything that acts against God's Will as specified in His Laws.

15 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

Every sane person has a set of morals and ethics! You know what is right and wrong according to what you were taught as a child and chose for yourself as an adult. Social and peer pressure had a lot of influence on what you have decided is right and wrong for you personally so you can successfully function in society. This can be greatly modified during your life. When you join the Army, a different set of rules are imposed on you, and you will comply if you want to succeed in the military. It requires conduct that will win the approval of your military leaders. There is not a lot of personal choices involved. Christians have made a conscious decision to follow what God has already decided is right and wrong according to His Word, the Bible. But, whether your ethics are based on Christianity or just complying with the consensus of opinion around you, all of us have acted contrary to what we knew was right from time to time. Nobody follows what they know to be right all of the time. Do you understand why you do that? Why don't you always practice what you know is right? Why do you do the wrong thing when you really don't want to do what is wrong? Don't you hate that? Certainly, it is hard to understand your own self sometimes!

16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

When you do something that you know is wrong, and you regret having done it, that is an acknowledgement that the law you violated is valid, applicable, and good. If that weren't so, you wouldn't feel any regret for your wrongdoing. That regret, or remorse, is an acknowledgement that the law is good and therefore what you did was bad, or in violation of the law (any law).

17 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me.

This is the heart of the problem with sin. I am a man divided into two parts; Intellectual me and Physical me. You must accept this point of view if you believe that you possess a soul. Your soul is obviously not a physical thing or else it would die when you die. Your "heart" and "soul" is then an intellectual reality, separate from the physical body. That is why physical me can be in conflict with intellectual me. So, I know, intellectually, the right things to do according to God's Will, but I find that my physical self leads me into trouble, over and over again. My true self is intellectual and spiritual, but "I" reside in this body that responds to the laws of sin.

18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it.

In the book of Romans it also says; ",for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,". Yes, this is taken out of context, but the truth of it stands alone. We all "blow it" on a regular basis because we all inhabit these bodies as long as we live on this earth. That is what is meant by the expression; "born in sin". We enter this condition at birth.

19 For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do.

This is the result of this condition; A life-long conflict of knowing the right thing to do but too often doing the opposite.

20 Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me.

Remember? The real me is intellectual and spiritual and "I" am not the source of wrongdoing. The problem is with this physical animal body that "I" inhabit that leads me around from one mischief to another.

21 So I discover this principle: when I want to do good, evil is with me.

Most folks believe that all people everywhere are basically "good". The opposite is true! Small children all misbehave from time to time, and as they get older, their capacity to do worse than just misbehave grows right along with their bodies. Adults, as everyone knows, are capable of doing some really bad things. "Evil" has the same definition as "sin": Anything that goes against God's Will as revealed in His Word, the Bible.

22 For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God's law.

This is the natural desire of my spiritual self to always do the right thing which "I" know is pleasing to my God.

23 But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.

This should be clear to you by now!

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

This life-long conflict between my intellectual self, that clearly knows right from wrong, and the physical desires of my body, which leads me into so many blunders and mistakes in my life, is truly a wretched condition. Who indeed can rescue us all from this dilemma?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.

P.S.  I was very tempted to now go into God's salvation plan through my Lord Jesus the Christ. But the intention of this essay is to explain the life-long war that goes on between our spiritual selves and our physical selves. This applies to everyone, whether you're a Christian or not. This is not science fiction or fantasy. This internal controversy is a very real problem and it explains how and why many people turn over their lives to their physical desires and suppress their intellectual knowledge of right and wrong. If you believe in God, you should also believe that there is a being called Satan! God definitely has your best interests at heart, but Satan never gives up trying to drag you down to his level. Guess where that is? It's your life and it's your choice of what direction you want to take. God has a plan for you, and Satan is the default choice. There is no fence to sit on!-Other articles by Brother Graham: Martial Law