Romans 7:20. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
“To live is Christ” means that you have had an identity transformation. This is why Paul can say that when he sins it is no longer I who do it.
Sin is in us, and it is powerful and even controlling at times. But it is not your identity. You are dead to sin (go back to chapter 6).
The problem is we can spend a lot of time wondering “who is the real me?” In a world where we are constantly told to “be yourself,” the Christian is left wondering “which self?” “The old self or the new self?”
I recently watched the critically acclaimed movie Eighth Grade. The movie peers into the life of an eighth grade girl as she tries to understand who she is in this social media driven age. It is truly one of the saddest movies I’ve seen. Nothing really tragic happens in the movie. Just life. As I was watching it I kept thinking “this isn’t just eighth graders, this is all of us. It’s humanity.” It’s a story of what life looks like when we don’t know who we are because we don’t know who God says we are.
This is why what Paul is showing us is so important. When you sin it’s not the real you. It’s not who God says you are.
Romans 7 proves the doctrine of imputation. Imputation occurs when God declares us to be something that we are not. We are imputed righteousness (Romans 3-5). But we are so far from righteous (Romans 7). And yet this imputed righteousness has created a new self. How? Because God’s word creates something out of nothing.
Now the real you loves obedience. And holiness. And righteousness. And the real you loves love. There is a real you. And the real you loves God.
Romans 7:22. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being
Do you see it? Paul has distinguished between the indwelling sin and his true self. He knows who his true self is even when he doesn’t “be himself.”
So when it feels like you have many selves, and you have no idea which one is the real you, remember that God has declared who the real you is. And the real you delights in God and his law. The real you has imputed righteousness.
But remember, and this is very important, this doesn’t mean that you can now keep the law. You still can’t. And won’t. Until you die and go to Heaven you will love the law while disobeying it. You will do what you hate and hate what you do.
Romans 7:15-17. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
But now we are in a position to let the law do its work – drive us to the cross. Now we can learn to rely on the indwelling life of Christ and the fulfilled law in us. And who knows, we might even have a weekend where, by grace and faith, we actually do what we love. Delight in God and love others.
One last offering from Andrew Peterson. Listen and be encouraged today.