What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
I do enjoy picking a scab. I have no idea why. I know that the best thing to do would be to leave it, and then the wound will recover quickly. Sometimes I find myself thinking that actually, perhaps I’d prefer it if the wound didn’t recover, because then I’ll get another scab that I can pick off. I know, I know, I’m disgusting. But admit it, you’re the same, aren’t you? We all do things that we know we shouldn’t because they’re bad for us, whether it’s picking a scab, eating at McDonald’s, or teasing the dog. We just can’t help ourselves.
Today’s verse, taken from a very complicated passage in Paul’s letter to the Romans, applies this same principle to the idea of sin, or wrong doing. We all do things that we know that we shouldn’t because they dishonour Christ. Despite this, we go on doing them. Earlier in this chapter, Paul says that this is partly because we know that we’re specifically told that we shouldn’t. The Ten Commandments, Paul says, forbid coveting, yet this commandment produced in him “every kind of coveting.” Paul believes that this is because we all have sin living in us, a consequence of the Fall, when Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, despite being specifically told by God not to do so. Since the punishment for sin is death, this puts us all into a rather unfortunate position. Sin is within us all, we all sin, and therefore, we are all destined to die. In other words, as Paul says in today’s verse, our bodies, which are the instruments through which we commit sin, are all “subject to death.”
There is good news, however. There is hope. Paul asks who will rescue him from his body that is subject to death. He knows the answer, of course. We have all been rescued from the death that we deserve as sinners by Jesus Christ our Lord. He was entirely free from sin, and took on the punishment for all of our sin himself. He died in our place. Since he is God, however, he died, but then rose again three days later, defeating death. Death is not something that we, as Christians, need to fear, therefore. Whilst our bodies might be subject to death, our souls, the essence of our being, are safe.
Give thanks today, as Paul does in this verse, that we have been saved from sin through Jesus Christ our Lord. Give thanks that even though we sin, offend God and disobey his commands, we have nevertheless been saved. And in recognition of all that Jesus went through in order to save us, why not also strive to eradicate sin from your lives as much as is possible?