For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. 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. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. — Romans 7:18-25, ESV.
I want to see God’s power. I pray for God’s presence to be with me. But I have a problem. I cannot depart from my sin, no matter how hard I try.
In fact, it begin to dawn on me that I have no control over it. But deep down, I know, God’s Love covers all sin. God’s love will free us from all bondages. But, why am I still trapped?
I know, it is my physical body (the mind and the will) that is trapped in sin. Not my soul. Because I’m bounded by the physical vessel and sin is manifested in the physical. Hence, I’ve no control over it.
This presents a problem. God is Holy. And since He is Holy, He cannot come near me, because I’m a sinner.
So I prayed. On the one hand, I pray for His departure because of my sinful nature. On another, I pray for Him to draw close to me knowing that without Him, I am nothing. This is the paradox of spiritual need.
I need His Power. I need His Presence. But because I’m a sinner, His wrath rests on me. How then can I expect miracles to be performed through me? Miracles that, in turn, will prove His existence?
Without the necessary prove, His existence will merely be a thought experiment; an imagination exercise. But deep down, I know He isn’t.
I am now presented with a dilemma. Do I believe in Him who is real and living, or do I believe in a thought experiment I’ve been having in my head.
This is a struggle.
How do you proclaim salvation in the name you aren’t sure exist? Unless you prove it! Unless you show it, how do you proclaim the living nature of God when miracles are absent from our testimonies?
I turned to the Bible and looked to Paul. Paul knew God and His power. He have seen it at work despite His weaknesses. So where is the power that is perfected in our weaknesses?
This too I do not know.
So I rethought the teachings of Luther and contemplated on the concept of Sola Fide “by faith alone”.
I figure, no matter how bad our current plight is; how deep we are trapped in our sins, if we put our faith in every single word of God’s written promises, we will see the hand of God at work. When we see demons being afraid of us, or speak in foreign tongues, or pick up serpents with our bare hands, or drink poison and not die, and experience healing through the laying of hands, we know this is God’s doing.
But this requires great courage. And often, it is that first step that is the hardest. How do you know if you’ll survive the poison? How do you know if the demon will not harm you? How do you know if the illness will depart from he whom we laid our hands on? We wouldn’t! After all, given our sinful nature, what makes us think God will do great things through us?
I figure this is where trust comes into play. We need to trust that no matter how deep we are stuck in sin, God’s grace is sufficient for us. We need to believe that no matter how great the sins we have committed, His love and forgiveness covers them all.
We need to believe that our physical bodies, as sinful as it is, has died along with Christ at the cross. And now, the lives we now live is no longer bound by the law that condemns us to death. Rather, the lives we now live is to be lived out by the law of the Spirit.
It is by faith we are counted righteous no matter our plight. It is by faith that we proclaim that the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead will never leave us. It is by faith that when we lay hands on the sick, God will bring about healing. It is by faith that whoever we bless will indeed be blessed.
Therefore, faith is the first step we take in knowing that we are accepted by the Creator of the universe. Through faith, we know that He works within us to do all things for His name’s sake. And in whatever we do or whatever we may face, there will be no fear, for we know the reason behind it all — the battle that we are in is His and His alone.