A coworker confessed to me that he didn’t think he was “Jesus material.” I listened as he described what he called his “comfortable, narcissistic” life, and how it didn’t satisfy him. “But here’s my problem, I’ve been trying to be good, even caring, but it isn’t working. It seems that the very things I want to do, I can’t do, and the things I want to stop doing, I just keep doing.”
“What’s your secret?” he asked me in complete sincerity. “My secret,” I answered, “is that there is no secret. I’m as powerless to live up to God’s standards as you are, which is why we need Jesus.”
I pulled out a Bible and showed him “his” quote as the apostle Paul expressed it in Romans 7:15. Paul’s words of frustration often resonate with both pre-Christians and Christians who find themselves trying to be good enough to deserve God but falling short. Maybe it resonates with you. If so, Paul’s declaration that Christ is the author of our salvation and its resulting changes (7:25–8:2) should thrill you. Jesus has already done the work to free us from the very things that have us so puzzled with ourselves!
The barrier between us and God, the barrier of sin, has been removed without any work on our part. Salvation—and the changes made by the Holy Spirit in the process of our growth—is what God desires for all. He knocks on the door of our souls. Answer His knock today. It’s no secret that He’s the answer!
See christianuniversity.org/NT225 for more study on the book of Romans.
Without Jesus, salvation and spiritual growth are both gifts beyond our reach.
In Romans 7:14–25, Paul candidly shares his personal spiritual struggles as well as his deep confidence in Christ for help and hope (7:25). Romans 8 then unpacks that help and hope. The hopeful promise of “no condemnation” (8:1) is supported by the most extensive treatment of the Holy Spirit’s helping ministry (vv. 5–27) found anywhere in the Scriptures (outside of John 14–16). Paul’s confidence in Christ’s help and hope are not theoretical—they are provided by the indwelling Holy Spirit (8:11).