For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not keep doing what I want. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 But now it is no longer I who am doing it, but it is sin living in me. 18 Indeed, I know that good does not live in me, that is, in my sinful flesh. The desire to do good is present with me, but I am not able to carry it out. 19 So I fail to do the good I want to do. Instead, the evil I do not want to do, that is what I keep doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who am doing it, but it is sin living in me.
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is present with me. 22 I certainly delight in God’s law according to my inner self, 23 but I see a different law at work in my members, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me captive to the law of sin, which is present in my members. 24 What a miserable wretch I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:15-25a11 (EHV)
Everyone loves a “Good Vs. Evil” story. There are countless movies or books dedicated to the theme: Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, any of the Batman movies, and many more. We love to see the two sides duke it out. Of course, we cheer for the good and we are happy when the good side wins in the end. It’s always nice when the good side is always good and the evil side is always bad—complexity muddies the waters about who we are rooting for. But in some stories it’s not always clear who is the good and who is the evil; and frankly such stories mimic real-life.
Paul wrote this letter decades after his conversion. By this time he had spent countless hours writing his letters (13 of which were inspired by the Holy Spirit and are preserved for us in the bible); he had traveled thousands of miles spreading the gospel, often putting his life at risk for the sake of Christ. He was one of the leaders of the early Christian Church—many look at him as a great man of faith—and they would be right.
But Paul, like the rest of us wasn’t perfect. Look at how Paul describes himself above in verse 15, I do not keep doing what I want. Instead, I do what I hate. Or in verses 18 and 19,The desire to do good is present with me, but I am not able to carry it out. So I fail to do the good I want to do. Instead, the evil I do not want to do, that is what I keep doing. Every day Paul struggled to do the good that he wanted to do—the good according to God and his Word. But instead of doing what is good and right, Paul admits that he ended up doing the evil that he didn’t want to do.
That’s because Paul was born into sin, conceived by sinful parents, and thus Paul had a sinful nature, an Old Adam that is inclined toward evil—it doesn’t submit to God’s law. But ever since Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and he was baptized by Ananias, Paul was also given a new man, he was made a new creation. And the New Man obeys God’s will, the new man wants nothing other than to please God and do what is right.
We are the same—we have the Old Adam and the New Man inside of both of us—a sinful nature set on evil and a new heart that desires God and obeying his Word. And there is that constant battle going on between the two—at times our New Man stands strong, but far too often the Old Adam wins out and we succumb to our sinful nature. We must admit that it’s a battle that we often lose and a battle that will be ongoing throughout our lives.
Sounds disheartening, doesn’t it? It would be if it wasn’t for Christ! One of the greatest examples of law and gospel can be found in verses 24 and 25, What a miserable wretch I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Jesus, of course, is the answer. Jesus is the one who lived a perfect life that we could not, he is the one who paid for our sins on the cross. He is also the one who credited us with his perfect life, making us pure and holy in the eyes of the Lord. He is the one who rescues us from our wretched state and our bodies of death! And he’ll take us to heaven where there is no sin, to Old Man to tempt us, no falling into sin. In heaven, because of Christ, we will be victorious.
But the Lord didn’t just cover over our offenses for us, he also gives us strength to fight our daily battles. Through the gospel the Lord strengthens our faith, he helps us in our lives of sanctification. So as we hear his Word in our worship services, read the Bible at home, and kneel before his altar to receive his true body and blood, he is strengthening our faith, and thus our New Man becomes stronger; able to beat-back that Old Adam more and more. Will the New Man always be victorious? Of course not; we are sinners. But in Christ we are victorious!
— Pastor Frey
Called Home To Heaven:
Elaine Jentz was called home to heaven on Sunday October 7 at the age of 93. Her funeral will be on Friday October 26 at 11:00 am.
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:25)
Adult Bible Class:
Everyone is invited to join us for our new Bible Classes that have started. Pastor Frey is leading the Sunday morning class on Prayer. Pastor Gartner is leading the Monday morning class at 8:00am and Tuesday night at 5:30pm on the book of Ephesians. May the Lord lead all of us to grow in our faith through the use of these Bible class opportunities.
We have a few members that walk during confirmation class on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. with the exception of October 3. We walk in the church parking lot or the mall depending on weather conditions. If you are looking for some fellowship and exercise, please join us. No sign up is necessary. If you have any questions, contact Amy Helmrick at 920-833-7525 or Wendy Raschka at 920-560-2193.
Men's Bible Study:
All the men of the congregation are welcome to a Bible study and felllowship on Tuesday, October 16 at 9:00 in the lower level of church.
Bible Information Class (BIC):
Jesus says to each of us “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Here again is an opportunity to invite a friend, neighbor, co-worker or family member to hear the Good News of forgiveness and life through Jesus Christ. This class is for everyone but especially for those who are not members but would like to know what we teach. Classes will begin Thursday, October 11 at 6:30 p.m. Go and invite! Come yourself! Talk to Pastor Gartner if you will be attending or if you have questions.
Quarterly Voter's Meeting:
The quarterly congregational meeting was held this past Tuesday. If you were not able to attend there are documents by the T.V. in the narthex.