We have three little boys who all share one room. That means that not only do all three sleep there, but there are also three dressers and clothes for three boys all in one room. The two oldest ones are just learning how to dress themselves, so as they search for clothes, they can often create a lot of disarray. Further they often drag things into their room that don’t belong there. Lets face it, the nursery becomes a mess.

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Well, my wife decided to tackle that mess. She put everything back in its place and the nursery once again looked neat and orderly. In the process though, she took aome things that did not belong there and temporarily moved them to the dining room until they could be sorted. Because the dining room was now a mess, I did not even notice how nice the nursery looked.

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My wife had worked hard and had gotten the nursery really nice, but because that mess had simply been transferred to another room, her hard work went largely unnoticed.

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Man often does the same sort of thing with sin. We might gain victory in one area, simply to realize that other sins have gotten worse. We then clean up those areas and find the first area is dirty again. Suddenly we realize that the battle against sin is like trying to keep every last leaf out of our yard in the fall while the wind in blowing.

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The apostle Paul understood that struggle when he wrote in Romans 7:15, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” He is admitting that he ends up doing some of the things that he preaches against and ends up sinning even though he hates sin. The passage continues as the Apostle shares very personal thoughts about his inward struggle with sin. You can almost feel his frustration as you read his writing. I know I feel it myself as I examine my own life and my struggles with the sin nature.

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After understanding that apostles and pastors still struggle with sin, what kind of hope do any of us have? Paul himself seemed to ask that same question before answering it himself. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) The answer comes in the very next chapter of Romans as he finally writes: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

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The point is, we cannot be sinless. Our only hope is in Christ, and as we trust Him and walk in His Spirit, we no longer have to worry about condemnation even though we are sinners. Of course Paul was not saying that this gives us license to sin. Consider his earlier clarification on this, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2)

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God’s grace is not an excuse to sin, but it is a wonderful hope to all of us as we inevitably fall into sin even after we have trusted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. As we walk in submission to the Spirit of God, let us remember the wonderful hope of His grace. “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:” (Romans 5:20)