It is a difficult passage, but the meaning is clear when we realize that he is talking about his struggle with sin before becoming a Christian. As a child, Paul did not know right from wrong and was not accountable to the law of God. He “was alive once without the law” (v. 9). After coming of age, he realized he was a law breaker and now under the condemnation of the law. The problem was not with the law; it was “holy and just and good” (v. 12). The problem was with Paul; he was a sinner (vv. 13-14).
Paul described his struggle as a sinner (vv. 15-23). He knew what the law said and knew that the law was good, but he stilled sinned. Sin dwelled in him. He was controlled by the flesh. Evil was present with him. So, he did what he did not want to do, what he knew he should not do, and he did not do what he wanted to do, what he knew he should do. His mind was taken captive by his flesh.
Young people are going to school. Parents are raising their kids. Many are working hard every day to make a living. The elderly are just trying to stay well and leave a legacy. We are all hoping to survive another day in an evil world.
But why do you do what you do? What is it all about? Who or what are you living for? If you were to sum up your life in one word, what would it be?
The apostle Paul wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). Every Christian ought to agree with Paul when he wrote, “Christ, our life” (Colossians 3:4).
From the beginning God saw that it was not good for man to be alone and made a helper comparable to him (Genesis 2:18). He brought the woman to the man and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:21-24). This was God’s idea of marriage.
There are those who have other ideas about marriage. Some refuse marriage, while others forbid marriage. Some want sexual relations without marriage. Some want sexual relations outside of their marriage. Some want a polygamous marriage. Some want a same sex marriage. Some want a divorce from their marriage partner. Some want to marry another.
We all offend one another. We should not want to and should try not to, but sometimes we do; sometimes without even realizing it. When we see that we have offended someone it should make us feel very bad. We should apologize and ask their forgiveness. We should try and make it right. We should try and be careful not to make the same mistake again, yet sometimes we do.
There has been a great deal of controversy in America over the question of when life begins ever since the Roe v Wade decision by the Supreme Court which legalized abortion in the U.S. For some it doesn’t matter when life begins at all, they just want the freedom to abort if they so choose. Others seek to protect the unborn from the point of conception.
We are not here to argue party politics or government policy, but we are interested in what God has revealed to us in the Bible. What does He say? Why does it matter?
When does life begin?
To answer the question, “Does it matter when life begins?”, we must first know when life begins. The Bible answer is that life begins at conception, in the womb of the mother before the child is ever born.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Judah was facing seventy years of captivity for their sinful rebellion against God. Yet, He wants them to know His thoughts for them. It was not to do them evil, but to give them a future and a hope. This is what God wants for all His people.
Sometimes we find ourselves suffering the consequences of our sins, as well as the sins of others. In those times we can become discouraged, knowing only doom and destruction. Often, we become angry at ourselves, at others and at God. It is difficult for us to understand what is happening and why it is happening. Instead of turning to God in prayer and going to His word for answers and for help, we fall away from Him.
2 Peter 3: 18 reads “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”
These are the last inspired words written by the apostle Peter, probably just shortly before his death. I don’t know about you, but after all I’ve been eating this holiday season, I’m thinking more of shrinking than growing. Of course, Peter was concerned about our spiritual growth. He writes in his first letter to long for the milk of the word like newborn infants so we can grow unto salvation (1 Peter 2:2). In the second letter he tells us to make every effort to add to our faith so that we might be fruitful and enter the Lord’s everlasting kingdom (2 Peter 1:5-11). In the last words of this letter he tells us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Recently, I was asked by a pre-teen about drinking. She was interested in what the Bible said because she wanted to please God. She also knew that He knows best; that He is the One to whom we need to go for wisdom and direction in life. If we want to live a blessed life and enjoy eternal life, we must look to God.
All Christians ought to be equally concerned about what God says regarding intoxicating drink so that we might please Him and show this to the world. Parents will be especially responsible for what they teach their children and the example they set for them.
So, here is the short answer (click here for more) from my understanding of the Bible. I hope it will help us all in approaching this subject and helping our young people.
How do you respond to those you feel have mistreated you? Do you lash out in anger? Are you hostile? Do you withdraw, cutting off all ties? Do you turn on yourself?
Such negative responses are very harmful to all involved, especially to you. They will only hinder reconciliation and may destroy your relationship altogether. You are allowing the other person to determine how you feel and act. This is very enslaving and will ruin your life.
Let’s talk about your relationship with God. Some of you may not believe, but that doesn’t mean He is not there. Nor does it mean that He has nothing to do with you. In fact, you are His creation and constantly provides all you need in this world. More than that He has sent His Son to provide the sacrifice for your sins so that you might be reconciled to Him. Whether you believe it or not, He loves you and wants you as a loving father wants his child.
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135