Romans 7:15 – For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Isn’t it true that, no matter how good you would like to be, you often find yourself messing up? This is the natural failure that seems to accompany our journey through this world. Often we start out with seemingly noble intentions only to find ourselves flat on our faces before our day is done. And, at times like this, verse 15 of Romans 7 is comforting. We are comforted that God saw fit to have Paul record for us his struggles, to let us know that the Christian life, while progressively getting better, can, at times, be marked with slip ups along the way.
But with that said, I want to point out a word in that verse that should cause us to step back and reevaluate our use of this verse as a comfort, or perhaps a comfortable excuse. The word that I want us to look at is “hate.” Paul says that, on occasion, he wants to do good, but somehow does what he hates. Sometimes, when he wants to treat people with dignity and respect, he will let someone get under his skin, and he will be harsh, sharp tongued, and simply cruel. He hates that kind of behavior, but he does it anyway.
What we need to learn is this: Though Paul says he sometimes slips into his old patterns of sinful behavior, as a true believer, he hates it. Paul does not revel in willful sin, then turn and say, “O well, good thing God is gracious.” He does not shrug his sin off as if it were nothing. Paul despises, abhors, detests, hates his sin. He does not love it. He can not love it. When he falls into sin, he feels like he falls. He does not feel like he can excuse it. He does not feel like he couldn’t help it, so he is not responsible. He hates it, and he strives to get better.
IF we are to live a true Christian life, we must learn to hate our sin. Yes, sometimes we will still fail. Sometimes we will do the very thing we hate. But let’s make sure that we learn to truly hate the very sin we commit. Let us not shrug off sin. Let us not excuse sin. Let us grow in the love of and fear of God. Let us learn to hate all that defies God’s holy standards. Let us hate our sin, and when we do, we will most certainly not find ourselves falling into it so much.
Do you hate your sin?
Dear Lord, I pray that you will help me, through your Holy Spirit and holy word to have a holy hatred of sin. Let me not love sin. Let me not excuse sin. Let me live a life of genuine repentance for your glory.