In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes about the Law given in the Torah and preached by the Jews. He tells us that it is somewhat like the gate in this picture. It’s there to remind us that there are things we should not do if we want to live a Godly life. Keep on this side of the gate, and all will be well with you. Cross the chain, and you'll have consequences.
But here’s the thing, Paul writes, "Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. Rom 7:7 In this picture, it’s the gate that drew our attention. We now see what we can’t have. Others have it, so we really want it. And it’s pretty clear the gate isn’t going to stop us. So we make the decision to slip under the chain. And once we are under that chain and walking toward the place we shouldn’t go, the gate can do nothing to bring us back except remind us of how far we’ve gone. “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Ro 7:18–19
This was Paul’s frustration with Judaism and my frustration with Christians who only want religion. Religion tells us what we should and should not do, but it can’t keep us from doing it. So once we make a decision to sin and carry it out, all we have left is the misery of wretchedness and self-loathing.
Paul’s solution was the Holy Spirit. “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.” Ro 8:2–3. It is the power of the Holy Spirit working in us that causes us to STOP doing the wrong thing. No, not all at once, but gradually over time, we find ourselves disliking and avoiding those things that in the past seemed to draw us into sin and misery.
So how do we stop sinning? We get the Holy Spirit. So how do we get the Holy Spirit? Now, that’s the question to ask!
So how do we get the Holy Spirit? Now, that’s the question to ask!