Benefit of Sin
You see that this terrible pain that sin causes God is by the separation from Him that is created when we sin, not just during the time that we are sinning but forever. You know what I mean. How close to God do you feel when you really mess up? We’re like Adam and Eve and we are ashamed before Him. We are ashamed at the nakedness of our souls before the Holy One. We need to cover up the ugliness of our actions, the darkness of our hearts before our loving Heavenly Father. We try and hide from Him, but He asks us, “where are you?” Where are you today? Are you hiding in a bush, wishing you had something to cover yourself?
Paul asks this question in Romans chapter six, verse twenty one, “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” What benefit did we reap? What good did it do? The sin that seemed like the easy way out or the most enjoyable, where is the pleasure when we are covered in shame? Those actions, those thoughts, those words, they bring us shame, they result in death. Man, I stink.
But even on our best days, when we are firmly set to do what is right and to live for God we struggle. Read what Paul says in Romans chapter seven. We’ll go slowly through verses 15 through 25. “I do not understand what I do.” Ok, so far so good. There are sooo many times when I wonder to myself, “why did I just do that?
“For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Another thing I can relate to. Someone once gave a demonstration as to how the human mind worked. He said all I want you do is to NOT think about elephants. Do not think of their long noses and big ears and big round feet. Do not think of elephants. So, what do you do when you try and try NOT to think about something? You think about it. It seems to be the same way with sin, that, the very thing we focus on NOT doing becomes the thing that we do.
Paul continues, “And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.” What I think he is saying here is that when he does what he doesn’t want to do, and remember, he’s trying to do good, so he’s saying when he fails at doing good, when he sins, that the law is good. The law Paul refers to is God’s law. The Ten Commandments, the rules and expectations that are laid out in the Old Testament. So when Paul’s darkness is expressed through his sin, the rightness of God’s law stands out as light. A light that Paul or any other person can’t live to, but a light in sharp contrast to our darkness.
“As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.” What’s he talking about here? He’s saying that by nature, by genetic influence, by his very DNA Paul knows that nothing good is a part of him. This is true for every one of us since the fall of Adam and Eve, our great great great (you fill in the rest of the greats) grand parents from whom we have inherited sin.
“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Why do we have this desire to do good? Because good is good. Even in our sinful state we can see and understand what good is, we just can’t do it.
“For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” Have you ever asked your toddler or teenager “why can’t you just be good?” Do you think God ever asks us that? Do you ever ask yourself that? Well, ask it or not, it’s true, the things we don’t want to do, we keep on doing them.
“Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” There it is again, our sinful nature. Why do you think Paul keeps repeating this thought? I tell you why, it’s an eternally important concept. If we believe that somehow we can be good enough on our own then we don’t need a savior. If we realize and really confess that on our own we are sinful and without hope of doing good, then we have a chance.
“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” How perfectly said is that? Maybe we don’t think of it this way, but my friend, it’s true. There is evil in this world that we confront every day and it is right there with us whenever we want to do good. And, the more that we want to do good the more evil is interested in us. If we’re just pretty well set on doing bad things all the time, evil doesn’t need to worry about us much, we’re already doing what evil wants us to do.
“For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” This is so good. For most of us we can understand the goodness, the absolute goodness of God’s instruction. Paul, in fact, delights in this goodness, but there is a battle going on, a battle in the body for the soul of each and every one of us. A battle of doing what God instructs us to do versus the evil that tempts us constantly. This is tough and it can wear us out. It can bring us down and cause our hearts and minds to say, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Am I the only one who can relate to this? It seems like the older I get the more wretched I become. What hope do we have? Who can rescue us from ourselves? “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
Sin doesn’t make us abnormal. Sin is the most universal trait of all of us who consider ourselves human. Sin separates us from God. He will not be in the presence of un-holiness. God’s love is the only thing that can save us from ourselves. God’s love is the only thing that can heal the gap of separation from creation to Creator, from child to Father. And we don’t have to wait until we are sin-free to live in the love, to live in the presence of our Father because, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8