“So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Rom. 7:17, ESV).
Have you ever been mad at your body? Does it sometimes seem to have a mind of its own, which contradicts your noblest aspirations? If so, you are in good company. The Apostle Paul expressed this same dilemma:
“For I delight in the law of God in my inner being. But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members” (Rom. 7:22-23, NET).
Sometimes, there is literally a war happening on the inside of us. We inherited a sinful nature, and it fights hard against our inner being. Paul, with no hyperbole involved, states that this makes for sheer misery (v. 24).
The point of this chapter, however, is not simply so we can all commiserate together about how painful it is to be in these dire straits. Chapter 7 is setting us up for Chapter 8, where Holy Spirit lies out for us the solution. In short, “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live” (8:13b).
My point is this. Daddy is holding forth to us a supernatural remedy for our misery. He is offering to us His own Spirit. If we invite Him to, Holy Spirit will empower us in our desire to live in victory. He will be the instrument through which the sinful nature progressively dies within us. He will crucify us with Jesus, that more and more life might come forth in and through our inner being.
I see an important distinction needing emphasis as we seek to cooperate with Holy Spirit’s sanctifying process in our lives. It’s this: while we come to hate sin more and more, we need to make sure we are not hating our body. Not despising it. Not resenting it. Not being mentally cruel to it. Not treating it harshly.
Paul also points out the difference. He carefully asserts, “But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me” (7:17). It’s not your body that’s the problem. It’s the sinful nature that is warring against your body. Your body is not the enemy. Sin is.
In fact, your body is one of God’s most precious creations. He likes it so much, He’s planning on keeping it forever. He’s going to resurrect it and charge it with so much power that it becomes incorruptible. He looks at your body, and His whole being smiles at His stunning artistry. He delights to think that He will enjoy this masterpiece He created, for all of eternity!
Yes, He treasures your body. It’s one of the most essential parts of you. He longs for you to partner with Him in treasuring it too. As you draw near to Him and ask, He will pour out His Spirit on you. His Spirit will “also give life to your mortal bodies,” energizing your spirit to triumph over sin (8:11, NIV). The wonderful news is, you win this war, in and through Him.
Daddy loves you. He loves your body. He knit every one of its intricate members together with exquisite love in your mother’s womb. He will generously provide what it needs to live in victory!
If God says that your body is His temple, His holy habitation, do you think of it as sacred?