Romans 7:14-19

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Who Does God Help?

Ah yes, there’s nothing like selecting a controversial, though fruitful passage of God’s eternal, infallible and inerrant Word. There are many different ways the Holy Spirit can lead us here, but for this devotional teaching we focus in on the struggle described within these sacred words. You will often hear this saying: “God helps those who help themselves.” It plays very well to our sinful pride, doesn’t it? That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as those words were uttered by Benjamin Franklin–perhaps a brilliant man–but an unbeliever and such was stillborn in the ways of God.

When we are born into this world we are arrive as infants, and so it is when someone is born again, he is but a babe in Christ and must learn about the ways of our Lord. This is what we see in the normal course of our lives, for instance children aren’t born and then immediately go off to college. So as impressive as those words from Ben Franklin may seem: “God helps those who help themselves,” and as ingrained in our sorry culture as they undoubtedly are, the truth is exactly the opposite–thus proving their true satanic origin.

And Christ Jesus clearly said – He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad (Matthew 12:30, KJV). I am under the conviction that this particular Scripture simply cannot be quoted too often in this tepid generation of timid tolerance. O when will these seeker sensitive fools of the “Evangelical” purpose driven emerging word faith postchurch movement in our narcissistic nation finally see that there just is no middle ground in this spiritual war?

For all mankind there is the war the Devil is waging against his own Creator Christ Jesus, but for the true Christian there is also the war against our old nature as we grow older in Christ. And this is what Paul is talking about in Romans 7:18 – I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. The great Apostle then goes on talking about how he can now see the struggle between the flesh (his human nature) and the spirit (the part of man made alive in Christ). In fact, if you claim to be a Christian, and you aren’t experiencing this your own life then you have very good reason to wonder if you even are a Christian! (see–2 Corinthians 13:5).

Now there are those who persist in saying that Paul is describing himself before His conversion to Christ, but this can’t be the case because before one comes to Jesus he has no idea of the grievousness of sin. Only after the Holy Spirit regenerates a man will he begin to sense how God truly feels about sin. What Paul is talking about here is that we are like a bowl of extremely muddy water and, just like when clean water is continually being poured into the bowl until it overflows, eventually making the water in the bowl clearer, so it is with the Holy Spirit. As He continues to fill us through our lifetime, we also become cleaner within, which we call sanctification. The “cleaner” Paul became inside as he grew in Christ, the more his sinful nature would bother him, and it should bother us as well as we grow in the Lord. This is what is so missing in the contempoary Evangelical preaching we are forced to endure in America today as more and more of our leaders succumbing to the myths of the man-pleasers.

God Helps Those Who Realize They Cannot Help Themselves

Christ Jesus makes an interesting statement that is the polar opposite of that from Ben Franklin when the Master says – Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3-4) We can see here that as usual Jesus cuts right on through useless human wisdom and shows that it is actually the opposite of God’s wisdom. O that those trapped in that satanic seeker sensitive “Evangelical” purpose driven emerging word faith postchurch movement will finally see this!

As you think about what the Master is trying to tell us for a moment, you realize that you wouldn’t expect your child to have to just fend for himself in this world and you’d never think of leaving your own precious baby on his own when he called, would you? Well, how much more do you think God will be ready when His children come to Him in prayer? Isaiah 58:9 tells us that when you give your life to Christ and fully trust Him as your Lord and Savior – Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: “Here am I.” And just as a mother has a special bond with her children–no matter how that child may treat her our Lord reminds each of us – surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

So you see, the truth is that God helps those who finally come to realize they cannot help themselves; and as always our Lord stands exactly in opposition to mankind. And it is when you come to accept this that you are in position to trust Him to guide you as you grow in Christ and you will also come to understand the intimate relationship that your loving Heavenly Father wishes to have with His children. Let’s take a quick look at Moses, a man who not only had an intimate walk with God, but he was also graciously granted a relationship where he and the Lord would actually converse with one another face to face as we see from Exodus 33:11.

Then in verse 12 we read – Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me. I’d like to draw your attention to the b part of the verse – [Lord] You have said, “I know you by name and you have found favor with me.” The King James Version says, “I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in My sight.” Now to us, the phrase “I know you by name” may sound a little odd, but to the Hebrew people, to know someone “by name” signifies an intimate personal relationship. As Professor of Semitic Languages and Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Dr. Walter Kaiser, points out, “I know you by name” (v.12) is tantamount to saying, “I have singled you out” or “I have chosen/selected you.”

Moses is a type for the relationship that we as Christians also have with God, Who knows each of us by name, having singled us out from the world. Ephesians 1:4 says – For [God] chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. So even though sometimes Christians think: I’m not that important; God is too big, and too remote, to really hear my prayers, the Scripture we read in Ephesians clearly tells us that every Christian has been specifically chosen by God because He knows each of us by name. Why even the very hairs of your head are all numbered Jesus tells us in Luke 12:7. Beloved, always remember how precious you are to the Lord–so much so–as we see in Isaiah 49:16 that He wrote your name on His palms at his crucifixion.

Run–Don’t Walk–Home Today

Let me close this out with some words of encouragement to someone who may have drifted away from the Lord. Years ago Harry A. Ironside–that great Bible teacher–told a story about an older Christian who was asked to give his testimony. He told how God had sought him out and found him, how God had loved him, called him, saved him, delivered him, cleansed him, and healed him–a great witness to the grace–power and glory of God! But after the meeting, Dr. Ironside said that a rather legalistic brother took the man aside and criticized his testimony as certain of us like to do unfortunately.

He said – “I appreciated all you said about what God did for you. But you didn’t mention anything about your part in it; salvation is really part us and part God, and you should have mentioned something about your part.”

“Oh yes,” the older Christian said. “I apologize for that. I’m sorry, I really should have said something about my part. My part was running away, and His part was running after me until He caught me.”

And all of us have run away from Him at times. But remember, God is faithful and the Bible says – He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). We who are called as His children can place our complete trust in the Lord – I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day ( 2 Timothy 1:12). Dear Christian, we are totally secure in God’s hands, evidenced by those nail-pierced engravings, as He is sovereign, and Satan and his evil minions can only do what the Lord permits. And in this absolute Truth we find our comfort in our times of need, and even in these perilous times of growing apostasy. The Lord has set His love on us, predestined us to become like Jesus Christ, called us to faith and repentance, justified us–and has even glorified us in Him–so certain is the completion of our Father’s plan.

May God alone be praised!