Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
- Romans 7.24, 25
Why do we not flee the foul? Surely because we are senseless and because we are not clean? Thus the unclean seeks uncleanness, the infamous infamy, the dishonourable dishonour; and because we are blind and dishonourable, therefore we avoid naught that is immodest.
- Columbanus, Sermon VII, Irish, 7th century
Columbanus was bearing witness to the law of sin that operates even in the souls of the redeemed. Though we are forgiven and saved, yet this sore of wickedness oozes its poison continuously into our souls, and will until the day we die.
Thus we should not be surprised to find ourselves, from time to time, prone to wickedness in thought, feeling, word, or deed. The struggle to become sanctified continues day by day, and it is a mighty struggle, indeed.
But thanks be to God, for Jesus has secured us to Himself, so that He will ultimately overcome every last trace of evil in us and make us pure and holy, as He is pure and holy.
Moreover, His power at work within us fights against the remnants of sin to bring more of God’s grace and truth to bear on the reformation of our souls and the transformation of our lives.
Jesus is our Champion in the struggle against sin. In Him we are clean, in Him we are honorable, in Him we see the beauty of goodness and truth and reach for it with all our strength.
We are wretched men, all; nevertheless, we are Jesus’ wretched men, and He is transforming us daily, from glory to glory, into His own image. The enemy of our souls will daily chide and mock us, to discourage us from our confidence in the Lord (Ps. 3). But we do not languish amid his accusations; we look to the One Who lifts our heads and envelops in His glory to reassure and renew us daily.
Let us not feed the foul or clamor for the unclean. Instead, let us cherish our Champion as He carries us above the muck and slime into the heights of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit.
It is a daily struggle, and we must engage it with the strength of the indwelling Spirit. For only thereby can we make progress in the salvation which is ours through Jesus Christ.
Psalm 116.10-14 (Mit Freuden Zart: “All Praise to God Who Reigns Above”)
Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the Lord for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
And pay my vows most truly.
Equip me today, O Lord, to strive against those who would undermine my faith, sap my strength, and rob me of the joy of Your salvation.